The year 2011 saw a fierce bidding, one of the first of its kind, to acquire the rights to David Fincher’s reboot of ‘House of Cards.’ Netflix emerged as the winner outbidding the giants like HBO and AMC. ‘House of Cards’ was the streaming giant’s first major step in original programming. Though media outlets tagged the acquisition as “the biggest gambling in the history of the streamer,” the move paid its due when ‘House of Cards’ earned 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and eight Golden Globe Award nominations. Netflix has become an important tour de force Netflix in the world of entertainment over the years. Though its dominance has been challenged by Amazon, Hulu, and others, Netflix still holds the flag high with its diverse program slate.
True crime documentaries became one of the staples of Netflix’s oeuvre, and each one of these shows became quite a sensation among the audience not only in America but all over the world. Such documentaries or docuseries were made earlier by other networks as well, but few have been able to establish their stronghold on the subject as quickly as Netflix has. One of the Netflix original shows which quickly received a lot of attention is ‘Making a Murderer‘. The plot explores one of the most shocking cases in the history of crime in the U.S. in which man a named Steven Avery wrongfully convicted of murder and went on to spend 18 years of his life behind the bars.
After his exoneration, Avery lodged a case against the system and the people who were behind his arrest, only to find himself accused of another murder of the 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach! ‘Making A Murderer’ was picked up by Netflix after HBO and PBS turned their heads on the project. Upon its release, the docuseries became a huge sensation, gained huge viewership, critical acclaim, and went on to win four Primetime Emmy Awards. So, without further ado, here is the list of best TV series similar to ‘Making A Murderer’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these TV shows like ‘Making A Murderer’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
8. I am a Killer (2018)
Another original true-crime series from Netflix, ‘I am a Killer‘ offers us a unique view of crime and criminals from the perspective of some prison inmates who are waiting for the day of their death sentences. An eye-opening account which never could have reached us otherwise, each episode of the series documents one such inmate, his life before and after the crime, the main reason why he took such a drastic step in the first place, and what he thinks of the crime now when he looks back.
It is very rare for us to have any sort of communication with people who have actually murdered someone, and thus these casual interviews seem more bone-chilling than hardly anything we come across on television. There is only one problem- not a single woman waiting for her death sentence is documented in ‘I am a Killer’. Notably, in this series, we talk about convicted murderers while it is the conviction itself is under introspection in ‘Making A Murderer’.
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7. The Jinx (2015)
A riveting HBO documentary miniseries, ‘The Jinx’ centers around the strange case of Robert Durst. The son of a New York mogul, Durst is the prime suspect in the murders of his former wife Kathie, journalist Susan Berman and his neighbor Morris Black. Throughout the first four episodes of the six-part series, the narrative closely follows Durst’s interviews regarding the case. The last two episodes make a quantum jum in narration which make ‘The Jinx’ a standalone historical docuseries in its own right.
The director of the series, Andrew Jarecki, operates in top form while portraying the picture of this haunting case for the viewers, with the show suddenly taking a wild turn. A crucial piece of evidence surfaces during the course of the interviews. The grand finale of ‘The Jinx’ has been regarded by many to be one of the most shocking moments in the history of television. The series managed to bag two Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. ‘The Jinx’, just like ‘Making A Murderer’, is a show which is trying to explore the nuances behind convictions when it comes to murder cases and suspects without any filters of social stigma.
6. The Keepers (2017)
It is not unknown to us that many Catholic priests throughout history have been accused of sexually molesting children who were under their influence sometime or the other. Even the 2015 film ‘Spotlight‘ was an eye-opening account of the rampant cases of sexual abuse carried out by such priests. The series in question, ‘The Keepers’ is a seven-part documentary focusing on the unsolved murder case of the nun Sister Cathy Cesnik.
Many of her former students believe that a priest at the school Cesnik taught in, Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, is behind her murder. Sometimes the probing and the retelling of the incidents make us feel that the case has remained unsolved to this very day because of a cover-up which has much deeper and sinister roots. Like we have seen in ‘Making a Murderer,’ ‘The Keepers’ introspects the moral compass of conviction and sentence.
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5. The Staircase (2004)
American novelist Michael Peterson was accused of murder of his wife way back in 2001 after he himself called the police to report the death of his wife. According to Peterson, his wide died after falling from a staircase. But the cops assumed that after witnessing such a scene in Germany, Peterson replicated the act to manipulated his wife’s death as an accident.
In the docuseries ‘The Staircase’, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade follows this case from close quarters, even filming parts of the court proceedings where we witness the prosecution opening up about Peterson’s sex life and how it might have had an important role to play in the alleged murder of his wife. A tale of uncertainty and legal battles against a serious charge that can send a man behind bars for the rest of his life, ‘The Staircase’ is a seminal docuseries in its own right.
4. Shadow Of Truth (2017)
‘Shadow of Truth’ is one series which has been compared to ‘Making a Murderer’ because of its thematic similarities. Both the shows deal with the truth behind murder convictions. ‘Shadow of Truth‘ focuses on the murder case of an Israeli girl called Tair Rada and the eventual conviction of a Ukranian immigrant, Roman Zadorov who worked at Tair’s school. The documentary approaches the case with a radical treatment.
Each episode of the four-part miniseries tells the story of the murder from four different perspectives while questioning the truth as deemed by the judicial system. ‘Shadow of Truth’ poses a number of questions in front of us, and raises doubts in our minds regarding the judicial system and its methods in dealing with a case where there is only circumstantial evidence against the accused. The series triggered a major controversy in Israel which made people question the country’s legal system.
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3. The Killing Season (2016)
The Long Island serial killer and the Eastbound Strangler are two notorious murderers who have not been caught yet for the numerous murders they have committed. These unsolved cases have given birth to numerous speculations and suspicions over the years, but none has paved the path for any constructive solution.
The series ‘The Killing Season’ follows Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills in their exploration of such shocking unsolved murder cases as they interview people associated with the investigations to try and figure out unexplored threads that lead to truth. Just like ‘Making a Murderer,’ ‘The Killing Season’ also facilitate the viewers’ deeper involvement in the interpretation of the series of incidents before and after the acts of crime.
2. The Confession Tapes (2017)
Confessions are not always what they seem to be- a clear admission by a person who committed a certain crime. Sometimes, confessions can also be forced out of somebody through fear and coercion. The Netflix series, ‘The Confession Tapes‘ focuses on such scenarios of several alleged murderers, who had once confessed on tape about their crimes, refuse to admit that they had confessed out of their own free will.
Along with experts on matters of how justice can go wary, the series presents concrete arguments on how the crimes could have happened if the person now convicted is presumed to be telling the truth. Just like ‘Making a Murderer’, ‘The Confession Tapes’ is about the frailties of the judicial system and a lack of transparency in investigation of such important cases.
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1. The Innocent Man (2018)
In the ’80s, a couple of murders in an otherwise sleepy town of Ada in Oklahoma took the whole nation by storm. The case involved the rape and murder of a girl called Debra Sue Carter and the eventual arrest of Ronald ‘Ron’ Keith Williamson as the prime suspect. Williamson was initially sentenced to death and spent 11 years in jail waiting for the execution before he was finally found not guilty and exonerated.
The case went on to become the plot for popular writer John Grisham’s crime novel which follows the entire course of events. The book serves as the main source material for the series ‘The Innocent Man.’ It is a shocking account of a man who spent 11 years of his life counting down the days he had left before his death sentence. The series will shock you to your very core as you consider the idea that numerous people throughout history might have suffered the same fate as well.
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