Let’s be frank: America is obsessed with true crime. From stories of murder to horrifying tales of abuse, marital discord, cult leaders, and more, every streaming service has picked up or produced intriguing true crime shows of all kinds through the years.
In fact, it seems like every week, there’s a new true crime series (or 10) being released. Is it all too much? The answer, based on viewership, is a resounding absolutely not. Keep them coming, we say. So, which ones should you watch in October? We have rounded up a selection of five that will be worth your time.
Depp v. Heard (2023)
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The trial between formerly married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard became a media circus as hours and hours of testimony were aired for public consumption. The case became one judged not only by a judge and jury, but also in the court of public opinion. The way every moment, claim, counterclaim, phrasing, recorded video, still image, and revelation were dissected, analyzed, and even turned into internet memes is explored in this three-part docuseries.
Depp v. Heard follows the case through its many pivotal moments alongside showcasing how others covered the details on news programs and social media. What’s most fascinating about this docuseries, however, is how it demonstrates how the same content can elicit very different responses from different people. It also touches on the role of bots in spreading misinformation and biased content, and how social media interference potentially played a role in the verdict or, at the very least, public perception of it.
Stream Depp v. Heard on Netflix.
Waco: American Apocalypse (2023)
Whether you know the story of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians or not, you have probably heard about the Waco siege of the 1990s. How things went down during the 51-day stand-off between Koresh and his followers and different facets of law enforcement is tackled in intense, eye-opening fashion in the three-part docuseries Waco: American Apocalypse.
The story in Waco: American Apocalypse begins by providing a history of Koresh and how he became leader of the purported cult. There are interviews with former Branch Davidians, including those who lost ones they love, as well as law enforcement and journalists who tell the story from their perspectives. Raw footage and jaw-dropping interviews bring you right back to what it was like to watch those tense moments as they played out, and they also shed light on what it was like for those involved on the ground.
Stream Waco: American Apocalypse on Netflix.
The Ashley Madison Affair (2023)
Not every true crime series is about murder and mayhem. The Ashley Madison Affair covers a very different, but also explosive case whereby a dating website became so controversial, it caught the interest of a skilled hacker group. After hacking into the database of the site, which is effectively designed to help unhappy married individuals cheat on their spouses, the group threatened to release the information about some of the site’s most high-profile clients.
The names began to come out at a fast and furious pace, and the sexual secrets threatened to bring down major individuals and even companies. What made the situation even more shocking was when then Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman appeared to lean into the negative press. The Ashley Madison Affair explores the whole story, from the site’s rise to popularity to the big implosion.
Stream The Ashley Madison Affair on Hulu.
Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed (2023)
Sometimes the best true crime series fall under the radar, despite featuring high-profile, controversial stories. There have long been rumors surrounding former Latin boy band producer Edgardo Diaz, but never testimony so biting and graphic as that provided by former band member Roy Rosselló. While none of his allegations have been proven in court, the emotional nature of his recollections and the support provided by others willing to go on camera will, if nothing else, make you tear up and take every word he says seriously.
What makes Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed especially intriguing is Rosselló’s intertwining of his alleged experiences with Diaz with those he says he had with Jose Menendez, father to Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted in the murders of their father and mother, Mary Louise. Rossello offers details that suggest he believes the sons’ testimony because he claims to be a victim of their father. Wait, what? It’s worth a watch of the three episodes to see how these two shocking stories are suggested to be inextricably linked.
Stream Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed on Peacock.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street (2023)
Based on the Jim Campbell novel Madoff Talks and delivered in four parts, Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street walks you through the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff, one of the most successful financiers in history. Or was he? As eventually came to light, Madoff was responsible for one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in existence, allegedly cheating clients out of billions of dollars.
The walls eventually closed in on Madoff, and Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street walks viewers through his rise to power, followed by the moments that led up to the discovery of what was really going on. There are interviews with former employees, investigators, journalists, victims, and whistleblowers, as well as video footage from Madoff’s own depositions. But what the docuseries also does is explore the inaction by many who recognized that something was not right and allegedly failed to do anything about it.
Stream Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street on Netflix.