Screenshot from true-crime documentary 'Audrie and Daisy.'

5 True-Crime Documentaries That Will Help You Move on From ‘Tiger King’

If you're craving more real life drama, look no further than these gripping films and TV series.

Many interesting things have happened during quarantine. One of those things was the release of the true-crime documentary “Tiger King.” Not long after its release, people started making memes, releasing theories and even taking sides.

I am one of the people that has not jumped on the bandwagon, so I am not one of those “cool cats and kittens.” Instead, I found myself watching other interesting true-crime shows. I have always been fascinated with the crime genre, especially the whodunnits. I am currently writing a crime novel, so I like to get inspiration from real life.

Warning: Some of these documentaries might be disturbing to some viewers.

1. “Deadly Women”

This documentary shows that not all women are sugar and spice. Every episode focuses on a woman who has killed, and at the end of the episode, she gets caught because of a stupid decision that she made.

In “Deadly Women,” the scenes are reenacted by professional actors and analyzed by experts, and family and friends of the deceased are interviewed. Motives range from wanting money to wanting revenge, and some of the women just had serious problems.

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Some of the women featured in these episodes kidnapped babies, were evil nurses and some were even the Manson girls.

However a few of the deaths were justified, and I believe the women should have just gotten serious therapy. There was a woman who killed her Nazi husband in order to protect her daughter, a woman who killed her father to protect her niece and a woman whose reputation got ruined in a time where it meant everything.

This is not to condone murder in any way, but sometimes there are people out there that deserve justice. If they did an episode on Gypsy Rose Blanchard, then there would be many people fighting for her release.

All the episodes are about real murders, although certain names are changed for the sake of privacy. It is a show you should watch if you really want to know how these women got caught. The dramatizations may not be the most accurate, but they paint a picture of what happened.

2. “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”

If you liked seeing Zac Efron charm and completely shock you as notorious killer Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile” then you should watch “The Ted Bundy Tapes.”

Bundy was a charmer. He did not look evil, but his story shows that we should never be deceived by appearances; anyone can be a killer. No one suspected him because he didn’t fit the profile. He was able to lure women with his charm.

You will hear actual audio recordings of Bundy and find out what was going through his mind when he killed all those women. There are more than 100 hours of interviews in this series, so make sure you get comfy.

3. “Casting JonBenét”

Remember JonBenét Ramsey? She was the child beauty queen who was tragically murdered in her family’s home in 1996. While some millennials and Generation Z may be too young to remember, it is still a fascinating case.

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“Casting JonBenét” does not give new answers to the case that most people have been waiting for. Rather, it talks about the large impact that the famous cold case left behind. The film has local actors from Ramsey’s hometown, and the actors gave their perspectives on the whole case.

The actors replayed the scenes, from Patsy the mother making the call to John the father finding the body of his daughter. As they reenacted the scenes, they recalled their own experiences with the family and their own thoughts about what happened.

4. “Audrie and Daisy”

This documentary follows the lives of Audrie Potts and Daisy Coleman. Both girls were at parties, and they were both sexually assaulted and shamed by their peers, called liars and bullied online. Both girls attempted suicide; Coleman survived, but sadly, Potts did not.

Coleman faced a lot of insults both in person and online. There were people that took the sides of her rapists. The guys that did the crime were both athletes from well-respected families, so of course society believed them over Coleman.

Why does society sometimes believe the rapist? Why are the Brock Turners protected more than the Chanel Millers? “Audrie and Daisy” can really show how this kind of thing affects not only the victim, but those around them. It also shows how messed up society sometimes is, and this documentary brought attention to that important issue.

5. “Nightmare Next Door”

In every white picket fence neighborhood, there is always someone who has secrets. “Nightmare Next Door” kind of plays out like a whodunnit —it keeps the viewers guessing on who the killer is.

In this show, when a murder happens, usually the victim is not known to have very many enemies. It really makes people wonder who would want that person dead. Who could have done something like this? The only difference with these murder mysteries is that, sadly, they really did happen.

The first episode I watched was about Mary Peterson. She seemed like someone who no one could get mad at. She was nice to everyone; she always had a smile on her face. Who knew that someone like her would end up murdered by someone she knew? It really shows that you don’t truly know what everyone is really like.

This show can keep you guessing. While the cases may not be new to a lot of people, they will get the people who might not know them thinking.

So even though “Tiger King” may be hyped right now, there are other shows that are just as interesting — shows that will keep you guessing and make you think. You don’t have to get into the hype just because everyone else is. If you want to watch a true-crime documentary, watch one of these, or any of the multiple true-crime documentaries available on Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services.

Lisa Lilianstrom, Northern Illinois University

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Lisa Lilianstrom

Northern Illinois University
Journalism, minor in Communications

Everyone deserves to have their stories heard. Writer, student, artist — plans to one day travel the world with the love of my life.

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