The Best True Crime Shows Of 2022

Lily James and Sebastian Stan in Pam and Tommy
(Image credit: Hulu)

In recent years, especially with an increase in the number of streaming services, the true crime genre has reached new heights, and the 2022 TV output was no different. The past year, fans of the genre – both in the form of docuseries and dramas based on actual events – have been offered some of the most engaging and well-made titles in recent memory, with the likes of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and college sports scandals receiving incredibly popular series.

As the year draws to a close, we can’t help but look back on the best true crime TV shows to watch in 2022 and what made them so popular.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer at a trial in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Netflix)

Ryan Murphy’s 2022 Netflix series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, quickly became one of the most popular titles on the streaming service upon making its debut in September 2022. One of the most obvious reasons for that was the show’s cast, which was anchored by Evan Peters’ Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of the “Milwaukee Cannibal.” And while the series did take some liberties with the source material, Murphy’s creative choices made the series a riveting 10 hours of TV that put faces to the names of Dahmer’s victims and brought their stories to life.

Stream Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix. 

Manti Te'o in Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist

(Image credit: Netflix)

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist (Netflix)

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist was another Netflix true crime docuseries that quickly became a massive success on the streamer in the second half of 2022. The two-part documentary chronicles one of the most confounding college sports scandals in modern college sports history: Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend, and how the Heisman Trophy hopeful went from being at the center of one the most inspirational stories of the year in 2012 to the butt of countless jokes after he learned he was catfished.

Stream Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist on Netflix.

Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Hughes in The Dropout.

(Image credit: Hulu)

The Dropout (Hulu) 

Released in March 2022, the Hulu original series The Dropout focuses on the rise and fall of disgraced tech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, with Amanda Seyfried taking on the role of the recently convicted fraudster, iconic voice and all. The eight-part docudrama received praise from critics upon its release, partly due to how creator Elizabeth Meriweather and director Michael Showalter found a balance between the drama surrounding the collapse of Theranos (and Holmes) with just enough comedy to lighten the mood a bit.

Stream The Dropout on Hulu.

Jake Lacy in a Friend of the Family

(Image credit: Peacock)

A Friend Of The Family (Peacock)

Five years after the multiple kidnappings of Jan Broberg by family friend Robert Berchtold were covered in great detail in the 2017 documentary Abducted in Plain Sight, the saga was given the docudrama treatment with A Friend of the Family. The nine-part Peacock docudrama starring Mckenna Grace as Broberg (Hendrix Yancey plays the younger version of the character) got a lot of things right about the story that added a lot of depth and care to the story. Jake Lacy, in his portrayal of family friend and serial kidnapper Berchtold, proved that his menacing and scene-stealing performance on The White Lotus Season 1 a year earlier wasn’t a fluke.

Stream A Friend of the Family on Peacock.

Lily James as Pam Anderson looks at a VHS tape.

(Image credit: Hulu)

Pam & Tommy (Hulu) 

The 2022 true crime series Pam & Tommy showed Hulu subscribers how Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) and Pamela Anderson's (Lily James) sex tape found its way to adult book stores and the internet in the mid 1990s, starting with the disgruntled carpenter (Seth Rogen) who stole from his former clients as payback for not paying for his services in a home remodel. Created by Robert Siegel, the eight-part docudrama showed all sides of the situation, and managed to blend intense drama with absurdist comedy, especially in that one scene featuring the Mötley Crüe drummer having a conversation with a certain body part.

Stream Pam & Tommy on Hulu.

Julia Garner as Anna Sorokin in Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix)

Inventing Anna (Netflix)

Inventing Anna was certainly one of the biggest Netflix arrivals in February 2022 with its nine-part retelling of prolific con artist Anna Delvey (Julia Garner) and how she used her used her charm and skill at manipulation to take advantage of people and businesses in New York City’s upper echelon and take a ton of money in the process. With a cast that also included the likes of Anna Chlumsky, Laverne Cox, Terry Kinney, and Anthony Edwards, the series did a masterful job of capturing Delvey’s various alleged crimes and the marks who became her victims in the process.

Stream Inventing Anna on Netflix.

Colin Firth and Toni Collette in The Staircase

(Image credit: HBO Max)

The Staircase (HBO)

In May 2022, the HBO Max original series The Staircase was released and retold the story of Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), the real-life crime novelist accused of murdering his wife Kathleen (Toni Collette) in late 2001. Similar to the 2004 French docuseries of the same, the eight-part limited series dove into the events of December 9, 2001, what preceded Peterson’s fall from the staircase at her Durham County, North Carolina home, and the years-long legal proceedings that followed in its aftermath. The Staircase cast also included the likes of Dane DeHaan, Sophie Turner, and Patrick Schwarzenegger.

Stream The Staircase on HBO Max.

Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad in We Need to Talk About Cosby

(Image credit: Showtime)

We Need To Talk About Cosby (Showtime)

W. Kamau Bell’s four-part Showtime docuseries We Need to Talk About Cosby not only explores the many allegations of sexual assault brought against Bill Cosby (who was released from prison after two years) but also the cultural impact the embattled comedy legend has had on the entertainment industry the past 50-plus years. Featuring conversations with comedians and the multiple victims, the series offers a complicated view of a man who could be a beacon of hope, while also apparently someone completely different behind closed doors.

Stream We Need To Talk About Cosby on Showtime.

Andrew Garfield in Under The Banner Of Heaven.

(Image credit: Hulu)

Under The Banner Of Heaven (Hulu)

Based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction novel of the same name, the Hulu streaming series Under the Banner of Heaven debuted in April 2022 and followed Detective Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield) as he attempted to get to the bottom of the grisly murder of a young Mormon woman and her infant daughter. With themes of crime and punishment, good and evil, and lapsed faith, the series went on to receive two Golden Globe nominations for Garfield and co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones.

Stream Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu.

A man making a phone call in Don't Pick Up the Phone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Don’t Pick Up The Phone (Netflix)

Those who were under the impression that the 2012 psychological thriller Compliance was the stuff of fiction were in for quite a discovery with the 2022 Netflix documentary series Don’t Pick Up the Phone, which dove into the various hoax calls that inspired the movie. The three-part docuseries broke down some of the calls that resulted in fast food managers holding employees (and sometimes customers) in closed offices and subjecting them to strip-searches after a man acting as a police officer convinced them to do so.

Stream Don’t Pick Up the Phone on Netflix.

These were just some of the best true crime TV shows to watch in 2022. With so many new docuseries and docudramas arriving this year, it was hard to narrow it down. Now we just have to wait for all those true crime shows on the 2023 TV schedule to come out so we can do this again. 

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.