Since its premiere last month, Netflix's "Making a Murderer" has become the most talked-about true crime investigation on the Internet, with people comparing it favorably to both the "Serial" podcast series and HBO's "The Jinx."
The documentary series has struck a nerve by highlighting the ease with which the justice system can be seemingly corrupted or skewed, sending an innocent man to prison for a crime he didn't (or maybe didn't) commit.
Unfortunately, stories like that of Steven Avery's, the show's central character, are not entirely rare. On Netflix alone, you can find a number of documentary films that raise questions about whether justice can be expected in our legal system.
We highlighted 10 fascinating true crime documentaries to stream back in 2015, but here are seven more that we'd suggest watching on Netflix. Better clear your calendar and prepare to get mad.
Released in 1988, "The Thin Blue Line" examines the story of Randall Adams, a man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Similar to "Making a Murderer," the film highlights inconsistencies and unfollowed leads in the case and trial. This is an instance in which widespread outrage spurred by the film may have helped Adams' case: He was released about a year after the movie was shown.
At first, it seems like the town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, simply has a bunch of bad kids on its hands -- until people began noticing that teens were being given much harsher sentences than their minor crimes warranted. Soon, it's revealed that the judge behind these sentences, Mark A. Ciavarella
, has been accepting cash in exchange for doling out these sentences -- placing around 3,000 children in the juvenile justice system over his tenure.
Whitey Bulger may be a more familiar name nowadays thanks to Johnny Depp's turn as the murderer and crime boss in 2015's "Black Mass." This documentary follows both Bulger's 2013 trial and the FBI corruption surrounding the gangster throughout his criminal career.
How difficult is it to be a public defender in some of the nation's poorest areas? This 2013 documentary answers that question by tracking the work of three young lawyers who took on this task. Though "Gideon's Army" doesn't focus on a single criminal or crime like many other films, it exposes the grueling schedule, fearsome odds and low pay faced by those in the public defender position.
Get ready to be charmed by a jewel thief. For a taste of her character, we'll let the film's website
do the talking: "A glamorous 83-year-old, Doris Payne is as unapologetic today about the $2 million in jewels she’s stolen over a 60-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat." But it's not all hijinks, as the filmmakers also look at the circumstances in Payne's life that led her to choose crime.
What if we were still paying for all the mistakes we made in childhood? This documentary takes that question to an extreme level by examining whether a sentence of life without parole is justifiable for youths convicted of murder. It's an emotional look at the issues of prisoner rehabilitation, whether people truly change and the human capacity to forgive.
Another chilling addition to ESPN's "30 for 30" series, this documentary shows the real-life "Foxcatcher
." The wealthy John du Pont opened up his 800-acre Foxcatcher Farm to wrestlers dreaming of Olympic gold, providing training facilities and free accommodations. But anything that seems too good to be true likely is, as du Pont grows more paranoid to the point of committing murder.