The Best Documentaries Of 2016: True Crime


Note: click on the links below to watch trailers and find out where these films are available.

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Documentaries like Werner Herzog’s Into The Abyss and Errol Morris’ acclaimed The Thin Blue Line are available to stream, but new true crime material might be at its height because it elicits action.  HBO’s The Jinx led to Robert Durst’s arrest, Serial started a movement toward a new trial for Adnan Masud Syed, and Netflix’s Amanda Knox reminded viewers to vet and question news coverage months before the election elevated those concerns to catastrophic levels.

Making A Murderer was another shake-up that was as controversial as they come.  All I know for sure is that regardless of Steven Avery’s innocence or guilt, the way the case was handled made me incredibly uneasy, particularly regarding Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey.  The best case scenario is that with time more will be revealed, and the more un-biased the better.

What I found much more compelling wasn’t a documentary at all, so I’ve saved it for last.  This fall American Public Media’s released a 10-episode podcast, In The Dark, which profiled the Jacob Wetterling case after it was solved this September.  It slowly tracks away from the Wetterling case without losing its focus, becoming a compelling argument for police accountability everywhere.  I can’t recommend listening to this enough, as difficult as some of the details might be.  It will change the way you view crime and investigations for the rest of your life.


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