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The best murder mysteries on Netflix

Good luck trying to solve these.

Jul 7, 2020, 11:58 am*

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John-Michael Bond 

John-Michael Bond

Netflix is a playground for true crime fans of all stripes. But when it comes to murder mysteries, the ranks can sometimes seem a bit shallow. Save yourself some time and consult our list next time you want to solve a case. These are the best murder mysteries on Netflix right now.

The best murder mysteries on Netflix

1) The Irishman

In The Irishman, an elderly Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) reflects on his relationship with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the union leader who famously went missing (and who Sheeran admitted to murdering late in life). Martin Scorsese’s first movie with Pacino reunites him with longtime collaborators De Niro and Joe Pesci, who’ve created some of the greatest films of all time together. As Sheeran says at one point, a lot of people nowadays don’t know who union boss Hoffa is, or if they heard of him, they only know that he disappeared; a long-standing rumor is that Hoffa was buried under the old Giants Stadium in New Jersey. But what The Irishman and Pacino capture so well is that before his disappearance became the stuff of legend, Hoffa was a person with his own set of quirks (he really likes ice cream!) and is easily prone to anger. There’s ruthlessness toward his enemies but also kindness. —Michelle Jaworski

2) Dark Places

Based on the hit novel by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Dark Places is a vicious murder mystery about family secrets and memory. Libby Day was the only survivor of a 1985 massacre that claimed the lives of her mother and two sisters. After being questioned by the police, Libby tells them the killer was her brother, Ben. Decades later, Libby is hard up for money and haunted by her past. But a strange offer from a group of true crime fans sets her on a path to learning the truth about that night.   

3) Zodiac

Not every great mystery gets solved. From the late ’60s to the early ’70s, the Zodiac Killer haunted California’s Bay Area. The only clues were the bodies left behind and a series of letters the killer sent to the press. David Fincher delivers a terrifying modern film noir starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Rowney Jr.  

4) Mindhunter

Close to two years after its debut, the true-crime series returns. With a new boss (Michael Cerveris) who seems more open to the work they’re doing, the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit gets access to even more serial killers in the quest for profiles. But Mindhunter season 2’s real story becomes apparent when agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is asked to meet with the grieving mothers of Black boys who have been murdered or abducted in Atlanta. They’re frustrated because no one has investigated, and the racial politics of the South in the late ’70s complicate matters, especially since the KKK and the police had overlap in membership. The series drops us into a tense scene, as season 2 addition Agent Jim Barney (Albert Jones) tries to buffer Ford’s narrow-minded theories, formed in a city he doesn’t know. “Black or white shouldn’t matter,” Ford says earnestly. “Well, it does,” Barney replies. —Audra Schroeder

5) The Interview

Eddie Fleming is a loser. He’s lived alone since losing his job and family, an unassuming man with an unassuming life. Then the police break down his door and arrest him on suspicion of stealing a car. Finding himself in an interrogation room with two police officers, Eddie is about to have the worst day of his life, because the cops think he’s done far worse than theft. This tense thriller takes place almost entirely in one room, but Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin deliver harrowing performances to hold it together. If you like low-key chillers, sit down for The Interview.

6) Dead to Me

Dead to Me is a comedy, drama, and thriller all wrapped up into one TV series. It follows Jen as she attempts to come to terms with the death of her husband Ted in a hit-and-run accident by solving the murder, right as she meets warm and positive Judy at a grief support group. The two form a fast friendship and team up to find the owner of the car responsible for Ted’s death, despite their different personalities. The most fun part about watching Dead to Me is the twists and turns sewed into the plot, making it an easy series to binge watch in a weekend. —Tess Cagle

7) Criminal

Netflix‘s Criminal ​is the streaming giant’s credible and often gripping turn at the popular police-drama procedural. Armed with a novel premise, the sweeping crime-solving series takes place in four separate countries (United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany) for three episodes in each location. The big trick: All 12 episodes transpire almost entirely within the metropolitan police interrogation rooms in each country. While capturing country-specific tones, police mores, and language differences, Criminal manages to reach deeper into the core of police drama without the bells and whistles, tersely drilling down to the mental struggle between the police and the suspects. —Kahron Spearman

8) The Keepers

On Nov. 7, 1969, Sister Cathy Cesnik, a popular nun and teacher at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School, went missing. Two months later, her body was found. To this day, the murder remains unsolved. This docuseries explores her death and the terrible church secrets that may have led to it. Haunting yet informative, The Keepers is a masterpiece even without a clear resolution, and one of the best original murder mysteries on Netflix.

9) The Staircase

Most documentaries have a defined stopping place, but The Staircase is a rare exception. Originally aired in 2004 on Canal+, the series added three new episodes in 2018 and joined the ranks of murder mysteries on Netflix. In 2001, writer Michael Peterson called the police saying his wife Kathleen had fallen down the stairs and died. Police didn’t believe Peterson’s claims that she fell down the stairs while drunk, and arrested him for the crime. The Staircase follows Peterson’s trial and the bizarre revelations that came from it, including the infamous “Owl Theory.”

10) Unsolved

The murders of 2Pac and Biggie get the prestige drama treatment in Unsolved. Examining the killings from two separate decades, 1997 and 2007, Unsolved looks at how a case this big goes unsolved. Dealing with police corruption and the public image of two icons, Unsolved treats its difficult subject matter with respect.

11) Remastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke

In ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, director Kelly Duane de la Vega skillfully reveals the oft-overlooked social consciousness and business acumen of the famed “King of Soul.” Simultaneously, she details the music industry’s corrupt nature, including Cooke’s ignominious death at a seedy motel. ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke represents a resurrection of the trendsetting singer’s legacy, previously left to wither in morbid curiosity. Duane de la Vega not only provides space for Cooke’s legacy to reemerge but does so with an eye toward restorative justice, returning dignity to his name. —K.S.


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*First Published: Mar 29, 2019, 7:00 am