The following article contains descriptions of graphic violence.
Some of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix are either fact or fiction. Many 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.
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 like the highly documented Ted Bundy, inspired by one, or a completely fictional tale, many seem to lap up the content with fervor, sitting on 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 TV shows on Netflix, with many highly rated options in the genre.
14 The Confession Killer (2019)
One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix is The Confession Killer, but it’s technically not even about a real serial killer. 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.
13 The Raincoat Killer: Chasing A Predator In Korea (2021)
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 docu-series that runs through the story of Young-chul’s wrath throughout Seoul as well as the authorities and the hunt for the horrific killer. One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, this case is particularly chilling as Young-chul’s methods are elaborately brutal. If anything holds this series back it’s that the documentary spends too much time on psychological analysis and rushes through the investigations.
12 YOU (2018 – )
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. Definitely one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, 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 affection and desire, 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 even manages to present thought-provoking quotes about love and life, both from Joe and other supporting characters.
11 The Ripper (2020)
One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix is The Ripper, which covers the winding case of the Yorkshire Ripper in Britain, whose crimes are highly reminiscent of the infamous Jack the Ripper. Through the use of never-before-seen footage and a massive number of police interviews, The Ripper educates the audience on the serial killer case piece by piece, leaving not a crumb of information behind.
The docuseries covers everything about the Yorkshire Ripper case and its similarities to Jack the Ripper in exhaustive detail, including exactly how much manpower went into solving one of the most iconic cases in U.K. history. That being said, the four-part docuseries does move at an alarming pace, and some viewers can get lost along the way because of this and the sheer amount of information that’s being presented.
10 Memories Of A Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes (2021)
Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes is one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix right now, and covers the infamous case of Scottish serial murderer Dennis Nilsen. Nilsen is a particularly gruesome figure, as he’s responsible for killing over 12 men and boys and attempting seven other murders. In addition to this, he was also a necrophile who would perform a bizarre ritual and then dispose of his victims’ remains by burning them or flushing them down the toilet.
One of the few serial killers to get the big screen treatment, save for David Tennant in Des, The Nilsen Tapes is unique in that it combines interviews, archive footage, and accounts from people who actually knew Nilsen (who was played by David Tennant in Des) to paint an accurate picture of the serial killer’s psychology.
9 The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (2021)
Anyone familiar with the David Berkowitz case knows that he called himself the Son of Sam, confessing after capture to being a 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 one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, movie star 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, explores his theories.
8 The End Of The F***ing World (2017 – 2019)
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 of one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix 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. The End of the F***ing World features characters that don’t really have many redeeming qualities, but its storyline exceeded that of Forsman’s comic and ended on its own terms rather than being canceled.
7 Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer (2019)
Another docuseries and one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, 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.
6 Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer (2021)
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 and one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix 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.
5 Catching Killers (2021 – )
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 bringing them to justice once captured. One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix is such because of its unique take on the true crime genre.
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. Catching Killers is a different type of true crime show, and 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.
4 Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)
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. One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix puts one of the most infamous murderers of all time under a microscope.
It’s just four episodes, but the Netflix 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, especially considering how widely Bundy has been documented over the years.
3 Hannibal (2013 – 2015)
A psychological horror-thriller, Hannibal marks yet another telling of Thomas Harris’s novels, Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising, and is one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix. 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. The series is Mads Mikkelsen’s breakout performance, and he plays the infamous fictional cannibal chillingly well.
2 Mindhunter (2017 – 2019)
An interesting combination of fiction and true crime and one of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, 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, 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.” Unfortunately, the series ends on a cliffhanger and was never renewed for a third season for unspecified reasons.
1 Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022)
The best of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix is Ryan Murphy’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Starring Evan Peters as the well-known cannibal and serial murderer, Monster follows Dahmer’s crimes in a non-linear fashion, depicting the horrifying murders in excruciating detail. The show is not an easy watch, to say the least, as it’s a highly graphic program that recounts terrifying and heinous acts of violence.
In addition, the Ryan Murphy TV show explores social issues like how white privilege affected the case, and if police had taken the words of his neighbors seriously, it could have saved several of his victims. Between its stellar cast and intriguing storyline, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is easily the best serial killer TV show on Netflix, even winning Evan Peters a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Dahmer.
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