Ryan Murphy has become one of the chief purveyors of the true-crime genre, with his American Crime Story anthology Netflix series, and now with the release of Dahmer starring Evan Peters. And it has quickly become the number one show worldwide, beating perennial favourite Cobra Kai.
Murphy has turned his eye to the trial of OJ Simpson, the assassination of Gianni Versace, and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. He has now turned his gaze to one of the most notorious serial killers of all time – Jeffrey Dahmer – who murdered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Dahmer is one of the most famous murderers ever, due to his penchant for necrophilia and cannibalism.
Documentaries and especially drama movies and series about real-life serial killers are always controversial. Some family members of Dahmer’s victims are opposed to the series, as they say it retraumatises them all over again. But this unfortunately does not affect the popularity of true crime. Series such as David Fincher’s Mindhunter (2017-2019), and The Serpent, which was about murderer Charles Sobhraj (2021), and the Ted Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) have all proved popular on Netflix.
Since its earliest days, Netflix has been known for its true crime documentaries such as The Staircase and Tiger King – which have become global phenomena. True crime has become popular on other streaming services such as HBO Max and Apple too.
The Serial podcast (the first season of which came out in 2014), along with Netflix’s docuseries Making a Murderer (which started in 2015) led to a explosion of interest in true crime in the second half of the 2010s. The suspect involved in the case which was investigated in the Serial podcast has just been released.
True crime will always prove controversial, but it looks as though its popularity is going nowhere. For further crime stories, check out our guide to the best spy movies.