JonBenét Ramsey in JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?

Ever since Discovery+ launched in January 2020, the new streaming service has become the go-to place to watch the latest and greatest shows and specials from the likes of Discovery, HGTV, TLC, ID, and other channels specializing in reality shows and docuseries. And while there are plenty of home remodeling programs, wildlife series, and everything else under the Discovery umbrella, the streamer’s true crime section isn’t something that should be looked over. With documentaries, docuseries, and specials about the mysterious deaths of JonBenét Ramsey and Brittany Murphy, as well as vicious murders like the ones carried out by Chris Watts, there’s a lot to take in.

Upon spending as little as a few minutes in the true crime section on Discovery+, you’ll quickly discover the sheer abundance of content, so much so you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with serial killers, disappearances, and detailed examinations of some of the most heinous crimes in modern history. That being said, we’ve put together a list of some of the best options for someone looking for true crime options on Discovery+.

JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened

JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? (2021)

This December will mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey on Christmas Morning 1996 in Boulder, Colorado, but intrigue in the unsolved case remains just as high as it was during the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. There have been dozens of specials in the quarter century following the mysterious and tragic event, but the new movie touching on the subject, JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? is at or near the top in terms of how well it examines the investigation into the murder that shocked a nation.

The new Discovery+ documentary includes never-before-heard audio recordings of detective Lou Smit, the former Colorado Springs police detective who came out of retirement to get to uncover the the events that led to the murder of the beauty queen all those years ago.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

Family Man, Family Murderer

Family Man, Family Murderer (2019)

The murder of Shanann Watts, her two young daughters, and her unborn child by Chris Watts in August 2018 remains one of the most heinous and hard to understand crimes in recent memory, and the 2019 ID short-subject documentary Family Man, Family Murders examines the events that led the man many assumed to be a loving husband and father to visciously bringing a brutal and inexcusable end to his family. A more traditional approach the 2020 Netflix documentary on the same incident, this ID murder mystery consists of interviews with friends, family, and investigators that are then stitched together with reenactments and narration. The documentary is relatively brief (42 minutes), making it a perfect method of learning more about Chris Watts and pain he inflicted upon his family.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy (2020)

It has already been more than a decade since the December 2009 death of Brittany Murphy, the actress who became a star in movies like Clueless and 8 Mile as well as television shows like King of the Hill where she portrayed Luanne Platter. There is an air of mysterious and intrigue that surrounds Murphy’s shocking death all those years ago, and the ID murder mystery documentary Brittany Murphy examines her untimely death, the fallout surrounding its strange circumstances, and how those closest to her are still holding out for answers and justice.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

O.J. & Nicole: An American Tragedy

O.J. And Nicole: An American Tragedy (2017)

The trial of O.J. Simpson is often considered a landmark moment in ‘90s pop culture, but one aspect of the trial that is often overshadowed is the actual murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. The 2020 documentary O.J. and Nicole: An American Tragedy, through the use of photos and words from the victim, along with interviews with her sister, Tanya Brown, hopes to not only shed light of the victims opposed to the alleged perpetrator but also to humanize Nicole Brown Simpson. This personal and in-depth documentary also goes into the effect the murder and subsequent trial had on the Brown family as they attempted to grieve in the public, and unwanted spotlight.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

BTK: Chasing A Serial Killer

BTK: Chasing A Serial Killer (2020)

There’s a good chance we never see the BTK Killer story play out on Netflix’s Mindhunter, but if you were intrigued by the story of the unassuming ADT security technician with more than a few skeletons in his closet, the 2020 docuseries BTK: Chasing A Serial Killer offers an in-depth look at one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. This three-part series not only goes into the details about the crimes committed by the elusive killer who preyed on the community of Wichita, Kansas, for three decades, but also the man himself: Dennis Rader, the family man who hid a deep and dark secret from his family, friends, and neighbors all those years.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

Vanity Fair Confidential

Vanity Fair Confidential (2015 - 2018)

Since its return in 1983, Vanity Fair has been a staple of pop culture, fashion, and current events journalism, including some of the most shocking and damning stories in the format and beyond. Four dozen of those stories ripped from the pages of the iconic current affairs magazine are told in gripping fashion in the series titled Vanity Fair Confidential. In each of the 48 episodes, some of the biggest and brightest writers in the magazine’s history share the stories that still shock them all these years later. With topics ranging from the unsolved murder of Tupac Shakur to the story of a journalist in a race against time to save a man they believe to be innocent, the episodes cover the whole spectrum of true crime.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

Doomsday: The Missing Children

Doomsday: The Missing Children (2020)

One of the true crime series that touches on a more recent incident, Doomsday: The Missing Children aims to shed light on the disappearance of JJ Vallow and his step-sister, Tylee Ryan, after they went missing in Idaho in the fall of 2019. In addition to looking into the strange events surrounding the disappearance, the three-part docuseries also dives into the crazy world of their mother, Lori Vallow, who became public enemy number one in the weeks and months after the children were first reported missing. Over the course of the series, however, new and grim details come to light, forever changing the lives of all involved.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

Onision In Real Life

Onision: In Real Life (2021)

To some, Greg Jackson, aka Onision, was one of the first and most successful video producers to make a name for themselves in YouTube’s infancy, but to others, Onision is a sick, demented, and polarizing personality responsible for some of the most awful videos on the platform. The 2021 Discovery+ original series, Unision: In Real Life hopes to shed light on the YouTuber and the lives of the people he has affected over the years and the fallout those people, including Onision, have experienced. The series (which is ongoing) is equal parts breakdown of a potentially criminal personality and examination of a sociopath’s psyche.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade

The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade (2018)

The final decade of the 20th Century was one of the most shockingly violent span of years in modern history. With Columbine, OJ, JonBenét Ramsey, Waco, and countless other events airing over the 24-hour news cycle, the 1990s had its fair share of moments. But what about the lesser known stories, the ones that ended up buried in the middle of newspapers and on the late-night news (even on the news at all)? Well, the 2019 docuseries The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade sheds light on a few of those stories, including tells of disappearances, kidnappings, and murder.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

The Lost Boys of Bucks County

The Lost Boys Of Bucks County (2020)

Discovery+ is also home to documentaries about incidents that didn’t get a great deal of public exposure, case in point The Lost Boys of Bucks County. This 2020 documentary follows the tragic story of four young men who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Starting with the events preceding the disappearance and going up to the shocking and gruesome revelations investigators made through their tireless search for the victims, the documentary doesn’t hold back in its pursuit for the truth.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

People Magazine Investigates Cults

People Magazine Investigates Cults (2018 - 2019)

Society has always had an obsession with cults, why do you think there are so many documentaries, docuseries, scripted productions, and countless books about the most sinister of those groups? The series People Magazine Investigates Cults is no different in that covers some of the most notorious cults — the Peoples Temple, Heaven’s Gate, the Manson Family — as well as the how and why of their respective outcomes. Each of the show’s 12 episodes tackles a different cult and goes into tremendous detail of how they came together, and in some cases, their tragic endings. And even though it is not as in-depth as more recent series of the same variety, People Magazine Investigates Cults is a great place to start.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

The Crimes That Changed Us

The Crimes That Changed Us (2020)

Last but certainly not least is The Crimes That Changed Us, an 8-part docuseries, which as the name suggests, tackles some of the most notable crimes in modern history. With episodes ranging from the death of Selena to the Atlanta Olympic bombing and pretty much everything in between, the series does a fantastic job of providing insight for those not familiar with the crimes while also bringing new information to the table for those who are well-versed in these incidents.

Stream it on Discovery+ here.

That is just a small sampling of all the great true crime documentaries and docuseries you can stream on Discovery+ right now. If you want to know what new shows are coming to the streaming service, check out CinemaBlend's 2021 Winter/Spring TV Schedule for all the latest.

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