All eyes are on the most exciting true crime films and series coming our way in 2020. Get ready for your latest true crime obsession?
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17. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
Release date: January 15th, 2020 on Netflix
?’Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’ is a three-part documentary series examining what led to the murderous fall and shocking death of former NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez. This is one of the first true crime documentaries to be released by streaming giant Netflix this year.
Hernandez was acquitted of the double murder Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012. Then in 2015, he was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd, in 2013, but was appealing that conviction. On April 19th, 2017, Hernandez took his own life behind bars – hanging himself in his cell – he was 27-years-old.
The question is – how could an athlete with such a bright and promising future turn to murder? ‘Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’ interviews those who knew former New England Patriots star and also features footage of his childhood with the intention to answer those difficult questions.
16. Ted Bundy: Falling For A Killer
Release date: January 31st, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video
After nearly 40 years of silence, Elizabeth Kendall and her daughter Molly share their experiences with unsettling new details about Ted Bundy. Following on from the re-release of her memoir ‘The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy’, she will share her new perspective alongside many other Bundy survivors.
Elizabeth met Ted in 1968 and they were in a romantic relationship together for six years. Following his arrest for the murders of 30 women and teenage girls, Elizabeth struggled to stand by the man she had invited into her home as a father figure to her daughter. In the trailer, she explains, “I?m hoping that this is the end to anything related to Ted.”
Interviews with Bundy’s former friend Phyllis Armstrong, news reporter Barbara Grossman, and detective Kathleen McChesney will also feature. The five-part docuseries will be available to watch on January 31st, 2020, on Amazon Prime Video.
Release date: February 3rd, 2020, on HBO
Serial killers and cold-blooded murderers aside – we all love a bit of white-collar crime every now and again.
HBO’S upcoming docu-series ‘McMillions’ will give a detailed account of the McDonald’s Monopoly game scam during the 1990s as told by the participants in the case, including the prizewinners and the FBI agents who caught the security officer who orchestrated the entire scheme.
The ex-cop rigged the McDonald?s Monopoly game promotion for a decade, stealing millions of dollars and building a vast network of co-conspirators across the U.S.
14. Narcos: Mexico Season 2
Release date: February 13th, 2020, on Netflix
Diego Luna returns to his role as a Mexican drug lord and cartel founder F?lix Gallardo for the second season of ‘Narcos: Mexico’. Set in the mid-1980s, F?lix starts to feel the pressure when his Guadalajara Cartel cracks under the pressure while Mexico’s government resorts to desperate measures as they respond to social and political shifts. However, it’s not Mexico’s political climate that Felix needs to worry about – as the trailer makes clear the real conflict is emerging from inside his cartel.
The fifth season of Narcos (or second season of Narcos: Mexico) states in its official synopsis it will be: “chronicling the missteps, ill-conceived agendas, and corruption on both sides of the border that have led to a dangerous presence in the failed war on drugs.”
The hit Netflix show, which scored a whopping 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, will be available to stream on February 13th.
13. Unabomber: In His Own Words
Release date: February 22, 2020 on Netflix
American domestic terrorist. Anarchist. Former mathematics professor. Between 1978 to 1985; Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, launched his reign of terror and conducted a nationwide bombing campaign targeting people involved with modern technology. He killed three people and injured 23 others.
In the docu-series, the CIA attempts to turn Kaczynski into a super agent – a plan that backfires. This is a look into his childhood to discover what might have turned a young mathematical genius with few friends into a sociopathic terrorist.
12. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
Release date: February 26th, 2020, on Netflix
On May 24th, 2013, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was brutally murdered by his mother and her boyfriend after suffering abuse for months at their hands.
The new Netflix docu-series ‘The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez’ explores the events leading up to the tragic death of the young boy as well as the failures of the Department of Children and Family Services in preventing this from happening.
Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, called 911 to report her son had hit his head and wasn’t breathing. When paramedics arrived they found the boy naked; his ribs shattered, his skull fractured, and BB gun pellets lodged in his skin. He was declared brain dead and died from his injuries two days later at the hospital.
This may be one of Netflix’s most disturbing and heart-wrenching true crime documentary yet.
11. Forensic Files II
Release date: February 2020 on HLN
Good news for Forensic Files fans – the reboot, called ‘Forensic Files II’, will be released in February this year. Dedicated fans became hooked on the series which aired from 1996 to 2011 and new episodes are coming very soon to HLN – a channel owned by CNN.
16 new half-hour episodes will showcase all-new mysteries to solve and feature the same style, music, story type, and content that fans know and love.
CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz said, “Forensic Files is the most recognized, celebrated and imitated series within its genre. After more than 20 years, it’s amazing that one of the earliest crime docu-series still boasts the most loyal viewers and fan base.”
10. The Most Dangerous Animal of All
Release date: March 2020 on FX
Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name, ‘The Most Dangerous Animal of All’ follows Gary L. Stewart’s quest to prove that his father was the unidentified zodiac killer. Stewart attempts to link his late father Earl Van Best Jr. to the Zodiac Killer – combing through government records and news reports and through conversations with his father’s relatives and friends, Stewart turns up a host of clues, including forensic evidence, identifying his father as one of the most infamous and still-wanted serial killers in American history.
The Zodiac Killer murdered five victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Was his father really one of the most notorious-and still at large-serial killers in America?
9. Lost Girls
Release date: March 13th 2020 on Netflix
In 2010, the bodies of five ‘Craigslist’ prostitutes were found on the same Long Island beach and a presumed serial killer was on the loose. Now ‘Lost Girls’ based on the best-selling book by the same name is a dramatic re-telling of the missing women on Netflix.
The description reads: “Desperate to find her missing daughter, a mother fights to uncover the truth and helps expose a string of unsolved murders. Based on a true story.”
Over the course of three years, each of these young women vanished without a trace: Maureen in 2007, Melissa and Megan in 2009, and Amber and Shannan in 2010. Sharing the same profile – all were in their twenties, all but one was under five feet tall, and all were prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist – the police concluded they were all the victims of one murderer, the Long Island serial killer.
8. Tiger King
Release date: March 20th, 2020, on Netflix
Among the eccentrics and cult personalities in the stranger-than-fiction world of big cat owners, few stand out more than Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country-western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo.
Charismatic but misguided, Joe and an unbelievable cast of characters including drug kingpins, conmen, and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats, and the status and attention their dangerous menageries garner.
But things take a dark turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot and reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.
7. Murder House Flip
Release date: April 6th, 2020, on Quibi
Home renovation meets true crime in the new series ‘Murder House Flip’. Viewers can expect to take a look inside some of the country’s most infamous murder home and delve into some of the secrets within its walls. A team of forensic specialists, spiritual healers, and high-end renovation experts will then cleanse and repair these houses of horror.
Elyse Seder, SVP Alternative & Syndicated Programming of Sony Pictures Television, said, “We are thrilled to bring this one of a kind series to life and dive into a world that combines America’s two biggest TV obsessions: true crime and home renovation.”
True crime fans have been going wild for the series and it’s a brand new concept. The show will be available on mobile-only streaming service Quibi in April.
Release date: Expected September/October 2020 on ITV
David Tennant will play serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a new ITV drama about the crazed serial killer. Nilsen is often referred to as “The British Jeffrey Dahmer” as he murdered and dismembered at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983 in London.
Nilsen had a strict ritual after the killings; he would strip and bathe the bodies, then dispose of them either at a bonfire or flushing the remains down the toilet. His crimes went undetected until a plumber noticed a flesh-like blockage in the drains which included bones. When police inspected Nilsen’s home, they discovered three bodies and following a search of his previous address – eight further bodies were uncovered.
Executive producer Kim Varvell said, “Dennis Nilsen?s crimes shocked the nation in the early 1980s. Our program focuses on the emotional impact of those terrible crimes, both on those who came into contact with Nilsen himself, and also on the victims? families.”
5. American Crime Story – Impeachment
Release date: September 27th, 2020, on FX/BBC
Mega-producer Ryan Murphy has shelved his plans for American Crime Story’s season 3 to focus on Hurricane Katrina and instead he has turned his attention to Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. ‘American Crime Story – Impeachment’ stars Clive Owen as the former president and Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky.
Lewinsky told Vanity Fair, “People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades. In fact, it wasn?t until the past few years that I?ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later.”
She added, “But I?m so grateful for the growth we?ve made as a society that allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation. This isn?t just a me problem. Powerful people, often men, take advantage of those subordinate to them in myriad ways all the time. Many people will see this as such a story and for that reason, this narrative is one that is, regretfully, evergreen.”
Release date: Expected late 2020 in theatres
There is only one man tough enough to fill the boots of Al Capone and that’s Tom Hardy. He will appear as the infamous mobster in the upcoming biopic ‘Fonzo’ which also stars Linda Cardellini as Mae Capone. Not one to shy away from a dramatic transformation, Hardy looks almost unrecognizable as he dons prosthetics to play the American gangster who rose to infamy in Chicago during the 1920s.
Directed by Josh Trank (Fantastic Four – 2015), the official synopsis reads: “A ruthless businessman and bootlegger who ruled Chicago with an iron fist, Al ?Fonzo? Capone (Hardy) was the most infamous and feared gangster of American lore. At the age of 47, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots Capone?s mind and his past becomes present as harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life.”
3. Dr. Death
Release date: Expected late 2020 on NBC
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey, The Fall) will star as Christopher Duntsch in ‘Dr. Death’. Duntsch was a Texas surgeon convicted of gross malpractice after thirty-one of his patients were left seriously injured after he operated on them, and two patients died during his operation. Based on the Wondery podcast of the same name, the series attracted over 50 million listeners since the first broadcast in 2018.
Duntsch was considered to be one of the greatest upcoming neurosurgery practitioners and he made bold statements to his colleagues such as: “Everybody?s doing it wrong. I?m the only clean minimally invasive guy in the whole state.” Dornan revealed during a ‘Death and Nightingales’ Q&A that he likes playing characters who are ?difficult to figure out”.
He added, “If they are showing goodness or kindness on the screen or on the page, are we meant to believe that that is sincere, or is there something behind that? I love the idea of playing that.”
Other big stars who will join the cast are Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater. The series will air late in 2020.
2. The Barking Murders
Release date: Expected late 2020 on BBC
‘The Barking Murders’ will take a look at the aftermath of four murders carried out by serial rapist Stephen Port who will be portrayed by actor Stephen Merchant. Also known as ‘The Grindr Killer?, Port ? who lived in Barking, London ? received a life sentence in 2016. He was convicted of the murders of four young men in their 20s – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.
The first three victims were initially thought not to have died in suspicious circumstances and despite LGBT groups correctly believing there was a serial murderer at large, the police had led the public to believe the crimes were not linked.
The three-part series is written by Jeff Pope and Neil McKay who also teamed up for ‘Appropriate Adult’ which looked at the story of serial killer Fred West. ‘The Barking Murders’ status on IMDB is currently in post-production and is expected late 2020 on BBC.
1. The Devil in the White City
Release date: Expected late 2020 on Hulu
The story of America’s first serial killer – Dr. Henry Howard Holmes – will be retold by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio. Based on the best-selling book ‘The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America’ by Erik Larson, Holmes confessed to 27 murders and was executed for his crimes in 1896.
Holmes’ twisted ‘Murder Castle’ in Chicago was built with one purpose in mind – murder. The official synopsis reads: “An architect works to build up the 1893 Worlds Fair, while a serial killer uses the fair to attract and kill women.”
DiCaprio acquired the book rights nearly a decade ago and there have been long-standing rumors that he would take on the role of Holmes himself. Now, the Academy Award-winning actor has made it ‘IMDB Official’ and his updated acting credits reveal that he is set to star as the twisted serial killer.
Also coming in 2021…
The Good Nurse
Release date: 2021
Fans of Eddie Redmayne are about to see a very different side of the actor as he takes on the role of serial killer Charles Cullen in the upcoming film ‘The Good Nurse’.
Cullen became known as ‘Angel of Death’ confessed to murdering 40 patients during the 16 years he worked at 10 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He later told detectives that he blacked out the memory of killing most of his victims and could not recall why he had chosen them. His decision to commit murder was performed on impulse.
‘The Theory of Everything’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts’ star will appear alongside Jessica Chastain in the film. The synopsis on IMDB reads, “An infamous caregiver is implicated in the deaths of hundreds of hospital patients.” Director Tobias Lindholm, who wrote a teleplay for an episode of ‘Mindhunter’ will also be at the helm.
Killers Of The Flower Moon
Release date: 2021
Another upcoming Martin Scorsese film is ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ based on The New York Times best-selling book by David Grann of the same name. Filming will finally begin in the summer with Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert De Niro set to star. According to IMDB, the film will be released in 2021.
The film retells the unsettling story of the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were murdered one by one after they made a fortune from the oil they found underneath their land.