American author Michael Peterson claims his wife Kathleen fell down the stairs at their Durham home on December 9, 2001. Local police had different ideas and charged Michael with her murder. French documentary maker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade started filming just a few days after her death, and captures incredibly raw, intimate footage as Peterson orchestrates his legal defence for this eight-part documentary series. It's not over: there's a follow-up 2013 feature documentary called Last Chance, also worth checking out. Make sure you stay away from Google until you've seen both.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
This six-part HBO documentary focuses its attention on real estate heir, accused murderer and serial burper Robert Durst, who contacted Andrew Jarecki after watching his film All Good Things - a 2010 feature film starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst based on Durst. For this doco, Jarecki examines Durst's potential role in three deaths, interviews his subject twice, and captures one of the most extraordinary endings to a TV show I've ever seen. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. Immediately.
Richard Kuklinski was convicted of five murders but claims he committed many, many more. The New Jersey mobster hid his criminal activity from his family for years until police caught up with him in 1988. While incarcerated, Kuklinski gave several interviews about his murder career, including his thoughts on why he did it, which were compiled for this HBO documentary. Like Kuklinski's nickname, it's chilling viewing.
Everyone thought podcasts were dead until Serial came along. That's the format Sarah Koenig chose to air her riveting 12-part series on the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee. It inspired a legion of couch-bound murder detectives to come forward with their theories about the case, as well as hundreds of parodies and copycats. Four episodes of season two have been released, but Koenig has chosen a different topic this time around: the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl from his Afghanistan military base.
West of Memphis
Kiwi filmmaker Peter Jackson felt so strongly about this case he got involved, co-producing this documentary about the West Memphis three, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, who were charged and convicted of the murder of three children in 1994. If that's not enough for you, there are three Paradise Lost films you can watch as background.