As the binge-era has blossomed, so too has the true crime genre. Once relegated to TruTV, Lifetime and the History Channel, true crime documentary series have become one of the most powerful genres on streaming channels and apps.

Documentarians have some of the hardest jobs because they take the facts, historical records and genuine statements and have to weave them into a narrative that — while it can be manipulated — is still grounded in non-fiction.

Almost every major streaming app has at least one acclaimed docuseries, but for the most part, Netflix has the best.

1. "Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children"

I know I just said Netflix is the reigning champ, but HBO is no slouch. They have some great docuseries, but only one made the final cut. "The Lost Children" chronicles the events of a series of killings that took place in Atlanta, Ga., between 1979 and 1981.

Over the nearly two-year period, the bodies of 28 black children, teens and young adults were discovered in Atlanta. Ultimately, the police arrested and tried Wayne Williams for two of those slayings and subsequently closed more than a dozen cases, lumping them in with the conviction.

The series lays out the story of the surviving families involved — then and today, the investigators involved and those who advocate that Wayne Williams, who is also black, did not in fact kill anyone, but instead was used a scapegoat for a city on the brink of a race war.

The series does what the best documentaries do. It presented the facts in a compelling way that leaves the viewer to decide how to feel.

Available on: HBO

2. "Tiger King"

Hitting Netflix just as the shutdown began, "Tiger King" is certainly one of the most talked-about documentary series out there. The documentary explores the world of big cat sanctuaries, private zoos and privately-owned lions, tigers and other exotic animals.

While the basic premise is enough to get most viewers to watch, it is the world behind the scenes that becomes truly compelling. As events unfold, we are shown an underbelly to the business that includes — but is certainly not limited to — fraud, murder, murder for hire, animal cruelty, and the grooming and manipulating of young men and women into sex slavery.

While the narrative certainly follows the life of one particular park owner, we are shown a wide array of, frankly, disgusting — but narratively compelling — human beings.

Available on: Netflix

3. "Evil Genius"

Fictional films and television are rife with all the various ways one can rob a bank. A candy bar, a polite note and of course, a gun are just to name a few.  But only real life could produce the story of a pizza man with a bomb collared around his neck robbing a bank while the perpetrators wait for his return with the loot.

"Evil Genius" follows the events and persons surrounding a bank heist that went horribly wrong, ending with the gruesome death of the pizza man, which was caught on multiple local cameras.

Available on: Netflix

4. "Making a Murderer"

If the recent influx of true crime documentaries has taught us anything it's that coerced false confessions are real and they are one of the largest miscarriages of justice that can happen in America today. 

The consequences are two-fold in the instances of a murder case. One: an innocent person is put in prison. Two: the person who did commit the murder is still at large.

Filmed over 13 years, "Making a Murder" explores the conviction of two men in a murder that the documentary flat out declares they did not commit.

Available on: Netflix

5. "The Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez"

What causes someone to become a killer?

It's a question that is the driving plot of many movies and television series, fiction and non-fiction alike.

"The Killer Inside" explores the life and eventual death of Aaron Hernandez, former NFL football star and convicted murderer.

Many would say that no new information was brought to light by the documentary and that much of the information played out quite publicly in the media.  But what the series does, and quite well, is it gives us the whole story, all on the table, and as clearly as possible.

Available on: Netflix

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