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Not every person may be willing to admit it, but I believe we all have some ingrained morbid curiosity that compels us to stream true crime documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, or wherever else we can learn more about the how, when, what, where, and who when it comes to murder and more. However, if you would rather have the freedom to feed that dark side of yours without breaking the bank, you can find plenty of documentaries, docuseries, and dramatized feature films that go in-depth with all the dirtiest details about the most notorious criminals on record at no cost to you streaming on Peacock. All you have to do is sit through a few quick ads here and there.
Well, I should clarify that more honestly: there are some true crime programs on the digital platform, which is otherwise free to use, that do require an upgrade to its paid premium option, including one on our list of streaming options below. However, once you see the title I am referring to (our first on this list, actually), it will be worth every penny, or at least a free trial run before you decide if you want to indulge in more of Peacock’s paid content. So, without a further ado, the following is a collection 12 movies, TV shows, and TV specials every true crime fan should check out on Peacock, starting with a recent docuseries about one of the most infamous murderers of all time.
John Wayne Gacy: Devil In Disguise (2021)
In 1980, contractor, active civil servant, and part-time birthday clown John Wayne Gacy was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering 33 young men and boys - the largest mass murder on record at the time - throughout the 1970s, who were found buried underneath his home in Des Plaines, Illinois. This six-part, Peacock exclusive docuseries contains revealing interviews from the families of Gacy’s victims, the investigators and attorneys involved with his case, and even the killer himself while he was on death row. Not only does John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise offer all the known facts about the case that you cold imagine, it even posits whether or not the full truth of these harrowing crimes have come to light.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
While his body count was smaller than that of John Wayne Gacy (17 adult men and boys), it was Jeffrey Dahmer’s penchant for the triple threat of murder, necrophilia, and cannibalism which made his killing spree from the late 1970s to early 1990s even more harrowing. However, cartoonist John “Derf” Backderf got to know a different side of Dahmer while attending high school with him in Ohio, which inspired his acclaimed graphic novel that director Marc Meyers adapted to film in 2017. Starring Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Ross Lynch and Hereditary actor Alex Wolff, My Friend Dahmer is a disturbing coming-of-age story that sheds light on the Dahmer the world never knew and how his youth may have held the secrets to his dark future.
Killer Legends (2014)
Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy are undisputedly legendary killers, but some crime aficionados are often more interested in the killings that are, by its true definition, the stuff of legend. Joshua Zeman (co-director of 2009’s Cropsey documentary and producer of Netflix’s upcoming Sons of Sam docuseries) is one such person, and teamed up with fellow filmmaker Rachel Mills to uncover the truth behind some of the world’s most unsettling urban legends, from the Hook Man to the Candyman, even. After watching documentary feature Killer Legends, you may think twice before dispelling your favorite campfire story as just another tall tale.
Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2010)
Perhaps some urban legends can be accredited to the stories featured on this long-running documentary series, which sheds light on all the known facts of various shocking cases that, to this day, remain an enigma to those involved. Before Unsolved Mysteries was rebooted for Netflix in 2020, Robert Stack hosted from the late 1980s to the early 2000s and you can stream some of the most memorable Unsolved Mysteries episodes of the series featuring the Academy Award-nominated actor’s iconic delivery. Who knows? Maybe you will be able to figure out the truth yourself.
For those who prefer true crime stories with some closure, one of the most popular contemporaries to Unsolved Mysteries is Dateline, a long-running investigative series which has been delivering viewers in-depth analysis on the events leading up to thousands of crimes on NBC since 1992. On Peacock, you can stream the most recent 12 seasons of the long-running series, featuring rotating hosts like Lester Holt and investigative interviews by correspondents like Keith Morrison - whom former Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader does a killer impersonation of.
Homicide For The Holidays (2016-2019)
Imagine an investigative news series in the vein of Dateline in which the crimes covered in each episode had something to do with Christmas. Indeed, such a show exists, which can be streamed on Peacock and covers 21 instances of someone who ended up on Santa’s naughty list for the worst thing someone could do: commit murder. Homicide for the Holidays is a show for the true crime fan who is especially fascinated by killings of the most bizarre and thematically niche kind.
Aaron Hernandez Uncovered (2018)
Speaking of bizarre, one of the most shocking murder cases in recent memory is that of Aaron Hernandez, who was a successful tight end for the New England Patriots until 2013, when he was arrested and later found guilty for the murder of semi-professional linebacker Odin Lloyd. However, almost like a reversal to the story of fellow infamous football player O.J. Simpson, Aaron Hernandez Uncovered aims to ask the question of whether or not his conviction reflects the truth. The two-part docuseries looks deeper into the evidence against the late father of one and the brain trauma caused by his athletic career, which some believe may have contributed to his strange behavior.
In Defense Of (2018-Present)
Speaking of questioning the truth, this docuseries does not aim to prove the innocence of some of the most recognizable murder suspects in history, but does shed light on what it is like to be the one hired to prove their innocence. The four episodes of In Defense Of available to stream on Peacock feature interviews with Ted Bundy’s attorney John Henry Browne, Jodi Arias’ lawyer Kirk Nurmi, and others, as they recall the challenges that come with defending the indefensible and the effects that such cases have had on their own lives.
The Case Of Caylee Anthony (2018)
One can only imagine how it must have felt to be an attorney on either side of the trial that would see Casey Anthony walk free after facing accusations of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee. The not-guilty verdict is one of the most controversial endings to a court case in history, inciting an onslaught of public outrage that had some people calling it “the social media trial of the century.” Learn all about what happened and how events led to the infamous outcome in The Case of Caylee Anthony - a five-part docuseries in which a retired FBI profiler and a former behavioral analyst from New Scotland Yard delve into the evidence of what might have really happened to the little girl.
The Disappearance Of Natalee Holloway (2017)
An even more dumbfounding question is what could have really happened to Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old student who vanished on May 30, 2005, while on a senior trip with her high school classmates in Aruba? The case regarding the Mississppi teen's whereabouts would also be much covered by the media, with there being no trace of Natalee to this day. The strange and enraging circumstances surrounding this search are chronicled in The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, one of several multi-episode docuseries about similar high-profile missing persons cases available on Peacock.
An American Crime (2007)
I personally envy those who can say that they have never learned about the fate of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965, because knowing the truth can a bit too much to bear. There were actually two films made in 2007 that recall the neglect, abuse, torture, and eventual death that the teenager suffered at the hands of the next-door neighbor her parents trusted with her care, Gertrude Baniszewski, and An American Crime is the one available on Peacock. Starring Get Out’s Catherine Keener as Baniszewski and The Umbrella Academy’s Elliot Page as Likens, this is one horrifying true crime story you may never forget no mater how badly you want to.
If binging all of this disturbing and depressing content puts you in need of a palette cleanser, yet still craving more true crime in some capacity, Peacock also has you covered. Boyhood creator Richard Linklater directs Jack Black in a Golden Globe nominated performance as a meek Texas mortician whose relationship with a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine) turns deadly. Also starring Matthew McConaughey as a DA who suspects Black’s character of murder, Bernie is one of the most bizarre and darkly funny crime movies you will be shocked to learn is inspired by true events.
With a price as unbeatable as Peacock offers, you may never need another streaming platform to satisfy your craving for true crime. On the other hand, if you have already watched all that Peacock offers on the subject, is there a favorite movie, TV show, or documentary you prefer?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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