Best True Crime Docuseries on Hulu, Ranked


True Crime is one of the most popular media genres today. There has been a massive increase in true crime docuseries on various streaming platforms, Hulu being chief among them. Though the cases featured in each episode of these shows are all important, there are some that garner more media attention than others. There are many high-profile crimes that have become well-known in our society today, some for their horrific nature; others due to the celebrity of those involved, and more that are pushed into the spotlight by victims’ families or others who want to make a difference by sharing their story.




In addition to the many great true-crime documentary features on Hulu, there are also several television series that shed light on some of the most well-known true-crime stories of our day — and a few lesser-known cases too. Hulu has become home to many popular true crime serialized programs that viewers might be familiar with, including Cold Case Files, 20/20, TheFirst 48, Deadly Women, Unusual Suspects, Unsolved, and Homicide Hunter, among others. For those looking for a more niche serialized series, however, they’ve got you covered. For example, Southern Gothic depicts various crimes that occurred in the American South. To Catch a Smuggler focuses on Homeland Security agents as they attempt to catch contraband being brought into the U.S. Underworld, Inc. is a deep dive into the various crimes committed on the black market. Here are some of the best compiled docuseries on Hulu.


Updated on March 31, 2024 by Amanda Minchin: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.


15 The Secrets of Hillsong (2023)

Hulu

If Carl Lentz’s face looks familiar, it might be because he’s the man who helped Justin Bieber find God back in 2010. After falling out of grace with Hillsong Church in 2020, he finally made his grand return with this docuseries. The Secrets of Hillsong is a docuseries produced by Vanity Fair. Across four episodes, audiences learn how Lentz arrived in NYC and made his way through the upper echelons of the entertainment industry. His founding of Hillsong Church is full of wonder, intrigue, and quite a few skeletons in the back of the choir closet.


What Makes The Secrets of Hillsong Compelling?

Hillsong Church may be a faith-based organization, but they have been continually involved in multiple scandals, including, but not limited to, numerous sex scandals related to church members. The church itself has some very toxic views on homosexuality and civil rights movements such as Black Lives Matter. This docuseries offers a deeper look inside its workings from some of its former, most prominent members. It is not always the case that high ranking members like these can be coerced to appear on camera; this docuseries, however, is quite an exception.

14 The Murder of Laci Peterson (2017)

A Photo from the Wedding of Scott and Laci Peterson
Hulu


The Murder of Laci Peterson was a six-part A&E docuseries featured on Hulu that depicted the tragic 2002 disappearance and death of a California woman who was eight months pregnant with her first child. The case garnered huge publicity after Laci’s husband, Scott Peterson, was arrested, tried, and convicted of the murder of his wife and their unborn child shortly after their remains were discovered. Did Scott Peterson kill them to get out of his marriage? Or were the blinders pulled over the eyes of investigators?

What Makes The Murder of Laci Peterson Compelling?

To say this case has been gone over with a fine tooth comb over the years is no understatement, possibly the result of Missing White Woman Syndrome. Several other media outlets and television shows have covered the case over the years, including Dateline, 48 Hours, 20/20, Snapped, Dr. Phil, E!, Investigation Discovery, Reelz, as well as a two-hour documentary on ABC and HLN, and two made-for-TV movies… and that’s not including the obvious Law & Order spin-off. This series, however, delves into the potential controversy over whether Scott Peterson is actually guilty of the crime. This series aims to shed light on the mistakes made during the investigation and provide a bigger picture of the case.


13 Southern Gothic (2020)

A Tree Lined Street in Southern Gothic
Hulu

The Southern states got their time to shine on the true drama stage with Southern Gothic. This Hulu original produced by David O’Donnell explores six different crimes in Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, Alabama, and other places. The crimes covered run the gambit, from missing teens in Texas, to a floater in Tennessee, to the gruesome murder of a college student in Kentucky. Each episode sheds some light on the mysteries surrounding the deaths of several people and how the authorities handled their cases.


What Makes Southern Gothic Compelling?

Southern Gothic offers a mixture of real-life accounts with archive footage to tell the stories of these crimes. Hearing the accounts of the loved ones of the deceased makes each tale more compelling. This is especially poignant as every episode takes its time to get all the relevant information onscreen before actually presenting the final resolution. In doing so, they speak to just about every person imaginable who might have been involved. That’s no easy feat!

12 BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer (2022)

The Man Known as BTK
Hulu

BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer delves deep into the psyche and crimes behind one of the most notorious serial killers of our time. Dennis Rader seemed to have it all — a good job, a loving family, respected positions within his community. All the while, he was hiding the fact that he was one of the most vicious serial killers of the time. His moniker says it all — B for Bind, T for Torture, K for kill. Dr Katherine Ramsland takes an in depth look at the evidence and the man himself in this chilling docuseries.


What Makes BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer Compelling?

True-crime fans will clamor eagerly for more news from one of their go-to serial killers. This story, however, goes one step further. In bringing into evidence actual testimony from Rader himself and formulating it from a psychiatric point of view, this docuseries gives valuable insight into the twisted mind of this man. While this may not bring closure to his victims, it does certainly prove a compelling tale, one that might just serve to prevent future murders.

11 Web of Death (2023)

A Poster From Web of Death
Hulu


Web of Death is a Hulu original produced with ABC News Productions. This six-part docuseries follows six online bloodhounds, the moniker given to civilians with detective skills who are also tech-savvy enough to solve cases independently. These people have no connection to police procedures, but they know their way around DNA databases and the use of social media like no one else. These armchair detectives use their computer-savvy skills to track down crime perpetrators that might otherwise be lost. Instead of taking matters strictly into their own hands, they work with law enforcement to track down the leads they, for whatever the reason (time, resources, skills, etc.), can’t.

What Makes Web of Death Compelling?

Civilians solving crimes on their own? How cool is that? Web of Death offers a fresh take on true crime in the modern age, even though most online bloodhounds take on cold cases that the authorities have long forgotten. These six different accounts come from backgrounds of all shapes and sizes, from laborers, to journalists, retired firefighters, and web sleuths. Slogging through databases might not sound like a fun night, but it was worth the wait for these bloodhounds who never gave up the fight. It’s about time these unsung heroes shared a piece of the limelight!


10 Butchers of the Bayou (2022)

The Two Killers in Butchers of the Bayou
Hulu

Butchers of the Bayou follows the story of not just one, but two serial killers who operated in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. From 1991 to 2001, the murders of over 60 women were left unsolved until their killers, Sean Vincent Gillis and Derrick Todd Lee, were caught. Their predilection for a wide range of victims and causes of death sent investigators on a wild goose chase for years. They may have acted separately from each other at first, but it appears that once they knew of each other’s presence, they made it their mission to outdo each other, with increasingly horrific results.


What Makes Butchers of the Bayou Compelling?

What’s worse than a serial killer? Two of them. This tale is chilling, not just in its usual source-serial murders, but in the straight-up fact that this went on for so long and affected so many victims. The idea of an arms race between serial killers is truly sickening. The docuseries, however, sheds light as to how this happened in hopes of preventing future murders. That in itself is commendable, even if it does not change the past.

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9 Death in the Dorms (2023)

An Still From Death in the Dorms
Hulu


Death in the Dorms is a two-season series that, much as its title would suggest, highlights the lives of college students cut short. The cases within the two seasons cover a myriad of victims, the deaths of whom affected loved ones from all across the globe. From football players, to hazing rituals gone awry, to untimely fires and rambunctious rideshares, the twists and turns in these narratives are sure to shock and amaze while at the same time highlighting the stories behind the victims.

What Makes Death in the Dorms Compelling?

Young life cut short has long been the focus of many a compelling true crime narrative. These stories, however, take place in what is usually considered a safe haven for students — college. Sure, petty crimes like drug and alcohol abuse are known to happen in these parts… but murder is perhaps the last thing on a student’s mind when move-in day comes calling. This series also does a fantastic job of highlighting the short lives of these victims before, during, and after their deaths, a trait which is truly lacking in the true crime space.


8 The Most Dangerous Animal of All (2020)

A Known Suspect in The Most Dangerous Animal of All
Hulu

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Most Dangerous Animal of All is a four-part docuseries that merges true crime with found family. The series follows Gary L. Stewart, a man given up for adoption as a child. In trying to research his ancestry and possibly reconnect with his family, he comes across some startling evidence that suggests the impossible — his father might just be the serial murderer known as the Zodiac Killer. Is there truth to his claims? Or is this just another example of imagination gone awry?


What Makes The Most Dangerous Animal of All Compelling?

What’s interesting here is both the book and the docuseries provide compelling evidence of Stewart’s claims. The Zodiac Killer has long been of interest to fans of true crime, partly for their ability to stay hidden for so long. Should these allegations be true, it would once again highlight the power of ancestry DNA websites in bringing an end to long-unsolved cases. The Zodiac Killer would be in good company. After all, the Golden State Killer was also found by means of ancestral and DNA research.

7 How I Caught My Killer (2023)

Candice Parchment in How I caught My Killer
Hulu


How I Caught My Killer is a docuseries posing an interesting question: Can a victim help solve their own murder after departing this world? In these cases, the answer is 100% yes. In the age of social media, chat backlogs, and GPS locations, everything is possible. This Hulu original presents nine accounts cases highlighting the real-life resources used by authorities and families to solve the murders of their loved ones, resources that were often provided by the victims themselves shortly before their untimely end. From social media to pet snakes to fitness apps and diaries, sometimes the unlikeliest of tools are what provides justice to these victims.

What Makes How I Caught My Killer Compelling?

There’s no such thing as the perfect crime, even less so after the internet and forensic analysis boomed in the late 20th century. While many cases seem tough to crack, How I Caught My Killer illustrates how the most seemingly minor details can help authorities overcome obstacles and solve a case. Elements that might otherwise be seen as trivial, such as a phone call, a social media post, and a chat log are essential to these puzzles, and lead to the arrests and convictions of the perpetrators involved.


6 Keeper of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders (2022)

A Re-Creation of the Three Victim in Keeper of the Ashes
Hulu

Keeper of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders is a four-episode event produced and conducted by actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth, who travels back to her hometown in Oklahoma to research the brutal killing of three girls’ scouts on their first night at a sleep-away camp in 1977. The case was inconclusive, leaving many questions out in the open. Why were they chosen that night? And who would go to such dark and deep depths to end their lives? Thankfully, the emergence of new technologies has made it possible to reopen the case and analyze existing evidence in a brand-new light.


What Makes Keeper of the Ashes Compelling?

Some of the most compelling stories in true crime are related to cold cases. The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders sparked a nationwide manhunt, but its resolution left too many questions unanswered. All signs point to a man named Gene Leroy Hart, but he was acquitted despite having a rap sheet filled with sexual violence. DNA testing in 2017 pointed towards Leroy Hart again. The docuseries helps to clear the air about the matter after all these years.

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5 The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade (2018)

A Scene from The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade
Hulu


The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade is meant to break the illusion of the 1990s being the last great decade before entering the new millennium. The 1990s was the last decade of what many consider simpler times, one with limited internet usage or social media pressures. However, it was also a time of social unrest and rampant crime in the US. This Hulu original explores ten horrific cases of the decade, each one more intriguing than the last. From the infamous bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, to NYC nightlife, Lamborghinis in the Everglades, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in Japan, and even Witchcraft in rural Indiana, these stories all have one thing in common — the 1990s.


What Makes The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade Compelling?

Nobody likes a reality check, but the truth is that “the good times” for some were the bad times for many. This decade is known for its high profile crimes, from O.J. and Rodney King, to JonBenét Ramsey, the Bobbits, and the Unabomber. Instead of focusing on these, this series uses a mix of dramatizations and real-life accounts to explore some low-profile yet heinous crimes committed by regular people from across the decade. This series, thankfully, is more focused on crimes that likely went under the radar of most media outlets of the era.

4 Never Let Him Go (2023)

One of the Victims in Never Let Him Go
Hulu

Made along with ABC, Never Let Him Go follows a series of mysterious unsolved deaths alongside the New South Wales Coast in the 80s and 90s. The main story is that of Scott, a prodigal doctoral student who moved to Australia to study. Unfortunately, his body was found at the bottom of an isolated cliffside shortly after. What was initially branded as a suicide was found to be something far more sinister years later — murder. His was no isolated incident. In fact, his death was one of many of a string of murders of gay men around that area at the time. Bring out the tissues… you’ll need them.


What Makes Never Let Him Go Compelling?

The twists and turns in this case are absolutely heartbreaking. This story is one that’s meant to keep viewers on their feet from the start, from the assumption of suicide to the realization of foul play, to the flux of police and media presence in the case. There is a near palpable element of hopelessness – after all, what are the chances of a resolution to Scott’s death so many years later? The sad truth is that Scott Johnson is far from the last of these victims who needs to be brought to justice. Thankfully for Scott, his brother Steve and his family were able to garner the resources to see his case through. Others, however, have not been so lucky.

3 Children of the Snow (2019)

A Scene From Children of the Snow
Hulu


Children of the Snow is a four-episode series that discusses the “Oakland County Child Killer” cold case from the late 1970s. At that time, at least boys and girls in the Detroit area were abducted, held captive, and later found murdered in snowbanks, sparking one of the biggest manhunts in US history, and ushering in the now well-known mantra of ‘Stranger Danger’. Unfortunately, the perpetrator was never been brought to justice. This series is based on the book by author J. Reuben Appelman.

What Makes Children of the Snow Compelling?

This story is a case of fact versus fiction. What many assumed for years to be tried and true facts of the case were later wholeheartedly disproven. There have been several suspects in the case over the years, and this series follows a Detroit Detective in 2019 as he attempts to use newly available DNA testing to narrow down the list of possible culprits. It also features families of the deceased as they try to find answers.


2 Taken at Birth (2019)

A Photo of Dr. Hicks as Seen in Taken at Birth
Hulu

Taken at Birth tells the heartbreaking story of a group known as the “Hicks Babies.” In 1992, it was discovered that a small-town doctor from Georgia had illegally sold or given away hundreds of newborn babies from the 1950s up until his death in 1972. After giving the babies away, Thomas Hicks often told the mothers that their newborns had died. In some heartbreaking cases, he fathered the children himself for the sole purpose of selling them.


What Makes Taken at Birth Compelling?

One of his victims, Jane Blasio, is the lead investigator at the forefront of Taken at Birth. She discovered she was a “Hicks Baby” after decades of searching for her biological family. Throughout the course of the series, she tries to track down as many Hicks babies as possible in hopes of giving them some much-needed closure. She is joined by researchers Lisa Joyner and Chris Jacobs in her quest. The two are certainly a welcome addition as they are sympathetic to the cause, having also appeared on the TLC show Long Lost Family, in which they reunite adoptees with their birth families.

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1 Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story (2022)

A Scene From Captive Audience
Hulu


Captive Audience is a three-part Hulu docuseries that details the unbelievable and tragic story of the Stayner family: one son who was abducted as a child and found years later, the other son who grew up to be a serial killer after living in his shadow. In 1972, seven-year-old Steven Stayner was kidnapped and held captive for years until he was able to escape as a teenager in 1980. Steven struggled to readjust to a regular life and just nine years after he returned to his family, he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. Years later, in 2002, Steven’s brother, Cary Stayner was tried and convicted for the murders of four women in an equally remote area. He currently sits on death row at San Quentin Penitentiary.


What Makes Captive Audience Compelling?

This docuseries focuses on two interconnected elements, that of the cyclical nature of trauma and the impact of the media on a police investigation. Not every missing child is lucky enough to be found alive and brought back to live with their families. However, his reunion with his family was stunted by an inability to talk about what happened to him while he was away… aside from the made-for-TV movie about his life, that is. Forever in his shadow, this likely played a role in his brother’s crime spree years later. The impact on the case among family members who were alive then and who were born after is evident through both heartbreaking and uplifting interviews throughout. In doing so, this docuseries plays as a well-researched cautionary tale of sorts.

Don’t Have Hulu? Don’t Worry! Check Out These True Crime Documentaries on Netflix Instead!



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