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The popularity of true crime documentaries is on the riseWhenever a major crime or scandal emerges and rocks the world, there’s one thing you can be sure of–there will be documentaries made about it sooner or later. Whether it’s about murder, violence, embezzlement, heists, or other forms of crime, true crime documentaries stand the test of time, with our morbid fascination for them lasting for generations.
Interestingly, one of the largest demographics of true crime fans are young women. Some experts have speculated that the reason for this is tied to human psychology. Michael Mantell, founding chief psychologist for the San Diego Police Department, states that “women fear being crime victims more than men do”, which makes them more interested in learning how to avoid becoming a victim. “For some, it’s a method to ‘feel like’ they have control over a given situation, though they often don’t.”
The true crime documentary experience is more immersiveTrue crime fans often find themselves deeply vested in the story. They observe investigators as they discover clues at a crime scene and piece information together, they watch prosecutors and criminal lawyers battle it out in sensationalised courtroom scenes, and they form their own theories about what may or may not have happened, regardless of an official verdict.
This journey leads them to discuss and pick apart the crime and its investigation long after the case has closed, debating with themselves and others on whether justice was served and what could have been done differently. True crime fans are a more active audience, often reading more about additional clues or theories after watching a true crime documentary title or series.
Types of true crime documentariesDepending on the topic, true crime documentaries often focus on different angles. Unsolved mysteries typically focus on the victim, such as The Mystery of JonBenet, the unsettling story of the 6-year-old who was found dead in her own home. Another example is The Teacher’s Wife, which investigates the disappearance of Lyn Dawson and how two coroners concluded that her husband murdered her, but he was not prosecuted at the time. Some other popular documentaries focus on the criminal, such as Aileen Wuornos. The documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer takes viewers through Aileen’s violent childhood and how she evolved into becoming a hitchhiking prostitute turned serial killer.
But not all true crime documentaries are about homicide and disappearance. Some also delve into intense corporate or political scandals, such as The Kleptocrats, which covers the story behind the world’s largest white-collar heist, where billions of dollars are embezzled from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund and end up lining the pockets of the Prime Minister and his inner circle, while also flowing into New York and Hollywood, used to court A-list celebrities and fund Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Check out the full iwonder true crime collection todayThe collection also features a wide range of documentaries covering scandals and conspiracies about lesser-known topics, like Kids for Cash, which uncovers a shocking judicial secret in America where children are sent to for-profit detention centres without counsel or being advised of their rights, Hooligan Sparrow which follows activist Ye Haiyan as she seeks justice for 6 schoolgirls who were sexually abused by their principal, and many more interesting true crime documentary titles.