From Netflix to Tarantino, there’s a lot on the horizon to satisfy your true crime cravings.
The true crime boom we’re currently experiencing is showing no signs of slowing down. From fictional films based on true stories to comprehensive documentaries, there’s plenty of content out there to keep the armchair detective in all of us preoccupied. But if all of that isn’t enough, below are 15 upcoming shows and films that all true crime junkies should have on their radar.
White Boy and White Boy Rick
Who doesn’t love a good “based on a true story” film? As we all know, sometimes real life can be more intriguing than fiction, and this is especially true when notorious criminals are involved. One such stranger than fiction case is that of Richard Wershe Jr., or as audiences will soon know him: White Boy Rick. The film chronicles the life of Wershe, a Detroit man who was recruited as an FBI informant at age 14. After he was dropped by his handlers, he was arrested for drug possession and sentenced to life in prison — at only 17 years old. White Boy Rick is set for release on September 14th and stars newcomer Richie Merritt as Wershe and Matthew McConaughey as his father.
Ahead of that film’s release, there is also the documentary White Boy from director Shawn Rech, that explores Wershe’s story and contextualizes it in Detroit’s history of corruption. The film will be released on VOD on May 29th, and you can see the trailer for it below.
On the small screen, Mindhunter should likely return to Netflix for Season 2 within the next year, though there’s no official premiere date set. David Fincher will return to direct two episodes and the rest will be helmed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and Carl Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress). Fincher has stated that Season 2 will focus on the Atlanta Child Murders, a series of killings that occurred between 1979-1981.
The murders are attributed to Wayne Williams, and while there were dozens of victims, he was only convicted of two. Williams has maintained his innocence, and there are theories that he was not responsible for all the crimes that police attribute to him. Though the case may be technically solved, there will be various avenues that the show could take in exploring the crimes. The opening scenes of each episode of Season 1 hinted at the inclusion of Dennis Rader, known as the “BTK Killer,” so it will be interesting to see if this continues into Season 2. Rader wasn’t captured until 2005, though, so his inclusion could hint at the scope the show intends to cover if it sticks around long enough to include Rader’s arrest.
Filmmaker Liz Garbus, who is known best for her Oscar-nominated documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, is making her narrative feature film debut with Lost Girls. The film will be based in part on the book of the same name by Robert Kolker, who investigates the deaths of multiple women associated with sex work in New York. The murders are attributed to an unknown assailant known as the “Long Island Serial Killer.” It is believed that this person murdered up to 16 people over the span of nearly 20 years and is still at large. The film will star Amy Ryan as a mother searching for her missing daughter who uncovers the crimes that have been occurring. Netflix has the rights to the film, but production hasn’t begun yet.
The Irishman and Killers of the Flower Moon
Netflix will also release Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman in 2019. The film will chronicle the life of labor union leader and hitman Frank Sheeran and his involvement in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. The story of Sheeran isn’t the only true crime tale Scorsese has his eye on. Last year it was announced that he and Leonardo DiCaprio will team up for an adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI“by true crime author David Grann. The novel investigates the murders of wealthy Osage people in Oklahoma after oil was discovered on their land in the 1920s. There’s no word on when Scorsese could begin filming, but even if the movie is a few years away, it’s one to look forward to.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Zac Efron will also be joining the world of true crime soon. He portrays Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which doesn’t have a release date yet but will hopefully be coming out this year. The film is from director Joe Berlinger, who is known best for his Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries about the “West Memphis Three” case. Extremely Wicked will be told from the perspective of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth (Lily Collins) as she begins to suspect him of the murders occurring in their home state of Utah. Hopefully, the focus on Elizabeth and not on all of the details of Bundy’s crimes will balance out the grisly details of the case. As Mindhunter proved, sometimes telling can be more effective than showing, and this mentality could work well for a film about one of the most notorious serial killers of all time.
Another true story getting the film treatment is the bank robbery that gave Stockholm Syndrome its name. Stockholm, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, tells the story of the 1973 Swedish bank robbery during which hostage Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace) began to sympathize with the robber Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) and eventually became his ally. There’s no trailer yet, but there is this first clip from the film:
Charlie Says and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
There are also two upcoming films about Charles Manson, but they each approach the story from a different perspective. After a few years working on TV shows such as Alias Grace, director Mary Harron (American Psycho) is returning to the big screen with Charlie Says. The film will star Merritt Wever as criminology professor and author Karlene Faith, who met with female followers of Manson during their prison sentences. Manson will be portrayed by Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith, though the character will likely only appear in flashbacks as the women recount their time in the cult.
Quentin Tarantino also has his sights set on Manson. His upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows a fictional TV actor portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio as he navigates the Hollywood scene in the late 1960s. This will be set against the backdrop of the 1969 murder spree committed by Manson’s followers. The film co-stars Brad Pitt as DiCaprio’s character’s stuntman and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Burt Reynolds, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Kurt Russell have also recently been added to the cast. Tarantino applied his signature delicate touch to the choice of release dates, so the film is set for August 9, 2019 — the 50th anniversary of Tate’s death.
If Tarantino’s stylized and partially fictional take on true crime isn’t quite your speed, there are also plenty of upcoming documentaries to bring out your inner sleuth. On June 8th, Netflix will release three new episodes of The Staircase, a 2004 miniseries that is still divisive among viewers who question if author Michael Peterson murdered his wife. The new episodes document what has happened in the case since the original series was released. Netflix will also make the older episodes available at this time so everyone can catch up on the events of the case.
I Am a Killer
Also coming to Netflix is an A+E UK co-production with Sky Vision called I Am a Killer. The 10 episode series will first air on TV in the UK and later be released to the streaming service. Each episode will profile a prisoner who was convicted of murder and is on death row. One of the interviewees will be Miguel Martinez, a man from Texas who became the youngest person in the state to be given the death sentence when he was convicted at age 17. While most true crime shows end when a sentence is handed down, the series could be an illuminating look at what happens afterward.
True crime podcast fans will soon see some of their favorite podcasts get the small screen treatment. Bravo is working on a Dirty John TV series based on the podcast of the same name. The show will be a scripted drama that follows a conman who gains control of a woman’s life with devastating consequences for herself and her family. Oxygen is set to release an unscripted companion series that explores the true story of the case. The two should likely pair well with each other for those looking to explore every side of this fascinating story.
The Case Against Adnan Syed
HBO is working on a four-part documentary titled The Case Against Adnan Syed from West of Memphis director Amy Berg. The case involving Syed was explored on the first season of the popular podcast Serial, which questioned if he was indeed guilty of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, a crime he was convicted of in 2000.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
HBO has also picked up the true crime book “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” for a TV series. The book was written by Michelle McNamara and published posthumously earlier this year. Though McNamara tragically passed away in 2016, her work brought renewed interest to the case of the “Golden State Killer,” a serial killer who committed at least a dozen murders and over 50 rapes across the state of California in the 1970s and 1980s. In April, officials in Sacramento announced that they had apprehended the “Golden State Killer” after successfully tracing his DNA through a genealogy website. The series will be directed by Liz Garbus, who is also directing Lost Girls. There’s no word yet on when the series will premiere, but if it’s half as gripping as McNamara’s novel was, it’ll surely be can’t miss TV.