Netflix offers some of the best true crime shows, many of which deal with murder mysteries, but fans often seem to be particularly fixated on serial killers both real and fictitious. For whatever reason, series that were inspired by or were meant to document real-life killers are incredibly popular at the moment.
Each story is more fascinating than the next, and serial killer shows on Netflix are available in abundance. The streaming service has worked to help satiate the appetites of viewers who love the genre with a wide selection of programming that fits. Some shows, however, come more highly rated than others.
Updated on April 22nd, 2022 by Christine Persaud: Viewers’ intense fascination with serial killers and their backstories continues, and that translates to an ever-growing list of serial killer shows. Whether it’s a story about a real-life killer, inspired by one, or a completely fictional tale, fans lap up the content with fervor, sitting at the edges of their seats to see what happens next. Serial killer TV shows are one of the most binge-able types of shows there are, so it’s no surprise that there are always new titles to make up the best serial killer series on Netflix, with many highly rated options in the genre.
13 The Raincoat Killer: Chasing A Predator In Korea (2021) – 6.4
Back in 2004, Yoo Young-chul was convicted of heinous crimes, including not only multiple murders, consisting mainly of sex workers and elderly wealthy women, but he also burned, mutilated, and even ate the livers of some. It is one of the most horrendous cases ever in South Korea, so it’s no surprise it got worldwide attention.
Netflix’s story is a docuseries that runs through the story of Young-chub’s wrath throughout Seoul as well as authories and the hunt for the horrific killer.
12 The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (2021) – 7.0
Anyone familiar with the David Berkowitz case knows that he called himself the Son of Sam, confessing after capture to being the member of a Satanic cult and calling the murders rituals. He pled guilty to at least eight shootings and killing six people in New York, qualifying him for serial killer status.
In this docuseries, Paul Giamatti narrates as the voice of Maury Terry, a journalist who worked on the case for 40 years. But there’s an interesting angle to The Sons of Sam: Terry was convinced that Berkowitz did not act alone. This series, dubbed one of the best films and TV shows based on Son of Sam murders, according to IMDB, explores his theories.
11 Catching Killers (2021 – ) – 7.1
Within the true crime genre, Catching Killers focuses on the other end of the spectrum: the people who work tirelessly to capture serial killers. This includes police as they investigate the cases, often always finding themselves one step behind the killers, as well as the prosecutors charged with bring them to justice once captured.
Each episode of the two seasons to date focuses on a different serial killer, including some notorious names like Aileen Wuornos, The Happy Face Killer, BTK, and The Toronto Village Killer. It’s a great option to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes and how such cases impact the personal lives of those working endless hours to catch the bad guys.
10 The Confession Killer (2019) – 7.4
Back in the ’80s, Henry Lee Lucas confessed to murdering more than 200 people across the U.S. However, in a strange twist, it was determined that he was lying and was not, in fact, responsible for any of them.
Another of Netflix’s many true-crime series, The Confession Killer looks at the events that led up to Lucas’ false confessions and examines the reasoning behind his actions. It also includes interviews with a number of people in law enforcement and the media who worked on the case.
9 Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer (2021) – 7.5
There’s often talk about how serial killers can come across as charming, even attractive, to those who don’t know what darkness is bubbling beneath the surface. But, in the case of Richard Ramirez, chronicled in Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer, his chiseled looks led to the man receiving fan letters, and even getting married, while incarcerated. This is despite the fact that he admitted to or was suspected of committing several murders of men, women, the elderly, and even possibly a child.
This gripping true crime docuseries tells the story, from the perspective of law enforcement officers on the case and how their chase to identify and catch him affected their lives. While Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer does leave out some details, it’s a popular watch for fans of the true-crime genre.
8 The Serpent (2021) – 7.6
One of Netflix’s latest true-crime series, this British crime drama serial is based on real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who murdered tourists in Thailand in the mid-’70s. He would target young people backpacking through Bangkok, first drugging them, then robbing them of their belongings to steal their passports and identities.
Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrew Leclerc spent a year traveling the world, selling stolen gems until a Dutch diplomat named Herman Knippenberg started to investigate the murder of two Dutch tourists and discovered what was going on. The Serpent offers a dramatization of all of the alleged events.
7 Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019) – 7.7
Centered around real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes is a documentary that reveals hours of fascinating interview footage with Bundy along with interviews with his family and friends, law enforcement, and surviving victims.
It’s just four episodes but the true-crime docuseries presents a full picture of Bundy’s life, crimes, arrests, escape, death, and everything in between. Even for those who believe they already know everything there is to know about one of the most prolific killers in modern history, there are some interesting reveals.
6 Y0u (2018 – ) – 7.8
What makes Joe Goldberg so captivating is that, despite having killed and kidnapped multiple people, he believes that he is inherently good and that the person drove him to do what he did. YOU makes this clear by giving viewers a glimpse into Joe’s inner thoughts via an ongoing internal monologue of him justifying his moves to himself.
Joe has an obsessive personality, and, when he finds the object of his affections and desires, it can make him do just about anything. As the show progresses, he gets worse and worse, and, even though Joe is a very disturbed individual, he manages to come across as charming and likable to others. In fact, YOU manages to present thought-provoking quotes about love and life, both from Joe and other supporting characters.
5 Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer (2019) – 8.0
Another docuseries, Don’t F**k With Cats is based on Luka Magnotta, a young man in Montreal who murdered Chinese international student Jun Lin and was eventually caught. He wasn’t technically a serial killer, but those who hunted him were convinced that he was about to become one. Plus, he did harm and kill animals.
The docuseries focuses on Internet sleuths who came across videos of Magnotta harming and killing cats. After seeing the content and being horrified by it, a group of them decided to go on their own investigation to uncover the identity of the man in the videos, for fear that his violence would escalate to humans.
4 Real Detective (2016 – ) – 8.0
A Canadian police docudrama anthology series, every episode of this series tells the story of a real true-crime murder that occurred in the U.S., complete with dramatic re-enactments so viewers can get a full idea of what went on.
From a police officer who gets personally involved with the family of a recent victim to a series of murders in Hollywood and the kidnapping of a 7-month-old baby, there’s a lot of ground covered.
3 The End Of The F***ing World (2017 – 2019) – 8.1
This British dark comedy-drama takes a comedic look at the idea of serial killers, offering up a one-of-a-kind perspective wholly unique from other true-crime series. At the center is James, a 17-year-old high schooler who believes that he is a psychopath. Alyssa, meanwhile, is drawn to him in hopes that he can help provide a meaningful escape from her horrid home life.
Based on a series of mini-comics of the same name by Charles Forsman, James kills animals, mostly, but he has humans on his radar and has decided that Alyssa might be a suitable victim.
2 Hannibal (2013 – 2015) – 8.5
A psychological horror-thriller, Hannibal marks yet another telling of Thomas Harris’s novels, Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. FBI special investigator Will Graham visits a respected psychiatrist in hopes that he can help him get into the mind of a serial killer he’s hunting. All the while, however, Will is completely unaware that the psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a terrifying killer himself.
There are many reasons to binge-watch Hannibal. It’s an interesting dynamic between the two as Dr. Lecter tries to manipulate Will into tapping into his dark side, while Will starts to feel as though the doctor is the only person who truly gets him.
1 Mindhunter (2017 – 2019) – 8.6
An interesting combination of fiction and true crime, what made Mindhunter fascinating was that the characters from the show were actors playing real-life serial killers. In fact, some of the dialogue from the on-screen confrontations was taken from interviews conducted by the real people on whom the characters of Holden and Tench are based. That’s just one of many interesting behind-the-scenes facts about Mindhunter.
The casting was so brilliant that fans had a tough time separating the fact that they weren’t actually seeing the real Charles Manson or Edmund Kemper on screen. Tench, with the help of Douglas, is credited with studying the behavior and thought processes of repeat killers, and eventually coining the term “serial killer.”
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