12 True Crime Documentaries And Series Streaming On Discovery+

JonBenét Ramsey in JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened
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Ever since Discovery+ launched in January 2020, the streaming service has become the go-to place to watch for fans of Discovery, HGTV, TLC, ID, and other channels specializing in reality shows and docuseries. There are plenty of home remodeling programs, wildlife series, and everything else under the Discovery umbrella available on the platform, and the streamer’s true crime section is one of its most impressive. 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.

And although we don’t yet know how Discovery+ and its massive library of titles will be affected by the Discovery/HBO merger, for now there are plenty of great true crime shows to check out! Let’s dive in…

Cold Blooded Alaska title card

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Cold Blooded Alaska (2021)

Over the years, Alaska, or “The Last Frontier” as it has long been called, has produced its fair share of notorious criminals like Robert Hansen, Edward Krause, and Louis D. Hastings who each committed a series of heinous crimes in their time. The 2021 nine-part documentary series Cold Blooded Alaska tackles some of the 49th state’s most brutal crimes and criminal investigations that show why Alaska has earned such a bloody reputation throughout its history.

Stream Cold Blooded Alaska on Discovery+.

The Fruitcake Fraud title card

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Fruitcake Fraud (2021)

Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, is one of the world’s premier fruitcake producers, bringing in tens of millions of dollars in sales each year, but that is just part of the story. The 2021 Discovery+ documentary Fruitcake Fraud brings to light the tale of how the company was embezzled out of $17 million and how the employees found themselves at the center of one of the strangest FBI investigations in modern history.

Stream Fruitcake Fraud on Discovery+.

Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (2022) title card

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Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (2022)

The Hillsong megachurch has become one of the most controversial religious institutions in recent memory with one scandal after another. The 2022 documentary series Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed spends three episodes exploring the church, its leaders, and the various scandals that have surrounded it the past few years. The engaging and informative docuseries helps provide a better understanding of the embattled organization.

Stream Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed on Discovery+.

JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened? title card

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JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? (2021)

December 2021 marked 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 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 JonBenét: What Really Happened? on Discovery+.

Family Man, Family Murderer title card

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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 viciously bringing a brutal end to his family. A more traditional approach to 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 this story.

Stream Family Man, Family Murderer on Discovery+.

Brittany Murphy title card

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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 mystery 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 Brittany Murphy on Discovery+.

O.J. And Nicole: An American Tragedy title card

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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 on the victims, as 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 O.J. and Nicole: An American Tragedy on Discovery+.

BTK: Chasing A Serial Killer title card

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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 BTK: Chasing a Serial Killer on Discovery+.

Onision: In Real Life title card

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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 dark and polarizing personality responsible for some of the most awful videos on the platform. The 2021 Discovery+ original series, Onision: 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.

Stream Onision In Real Life on Discovery+.

The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade title card

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The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade (2018)

The final decade of the 20th Century was one of the most shockingly violent spans in modern history. With crimes like O.J., JonBenét Ramsey, Waco, and the Columbine school shooting impacting nearly every facet of life, 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 The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade on Discovery+.

The Lost Boys Of Bucks County title card

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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 The Lost Boys of Bucks County on Discovery+.

The Crimes That Changed Us title card

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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 updated information to the table for those who are well-versed in these incidents.

Stream The Crimes That Changed Us on Discovery+.

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 the 2022 TV schedule so you don’t miss a thing! 

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.