The 10 best true crime shows of 2022

The Texas Killing Fields
Image via Netflix

2022 was a busy year for the world of true crime as series and documentaries seemed to come out every other week. So with all the true crime competition out there, it begs the question, which ones are worth the watch? Well based on ratings, shock value and streaming numbers, we have compiled 10 of the best true crime shows out there from the past year. Check them out before they”re gone.

1. Bad Vegan

Bad Vegan introduces viewers to the twisted behind-the-scenes story of the demise of the raw food queen Sarma Melngailis. The documentary pulled back the curtain on her and her husband “Shane Fox’s” dark and ultimately fraudulent relationship that played out on the covers of newspapers and tabloids.

The raw food vegan movement was still on the border of the mainstream when Sarma and her restaurant Pure Food and Wine stepped onto the scene. She put the high-end raw food movement on the map, and took it from “hippie” to “hip.” On the outside, she was the “Get The Glow Girl” and had a thriving and expanding business, but behind the scenes, things were far more sinister.

The documentary follows the decline of Pure Food and Wine and Sarma herself as her relationship with the elusive “Shane” became increasingly toxic. As one thing led to another, Sarma and her restaurant began to be on the cover of magazines for an entirely different reason.

Bad Vegan premiered on Netflix and while it was heavily streamed, the reviews were mixed, apparently not due to the quality of the documentary itself, but based on the characters and the events themselves. The story definitely proves fact can be stranger than fiction and the twist ending is enough to put anyone off their appetite. Come to your own conclusions by checking it out on Netflix.

2. Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich

Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich follows the twisted tale of millionaire Jeffery Epstein and his fall from grace. Epstein was a very successful financier who had a very dark addiction to young women. Together with his girlfriend, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, he began recruiting young women to not only fill his own dark desires, but to share them with friends, which allegedly included members of the royal family.

Finally, he was arrested as his dark plot was revealed and his girlfriend’s involvement came to light. Yet the story doesn’t end there, complete with lots of legal loopholes, plot twists, and even more secrets revealed, this documentary takes you on a real rollercoaster. It reveals the sometimes dark underbelly of the world of the rich and famous and gives voices to the victims who were silenced for so long. It is definitely a story you won’t want to miss, check out this twisted tale on Netflix.

3. The Vow

Celebrities, sex slaves, billionaires, and even branding, the story of the NXIVM cult had all the components of one of the nation’s biggest scandals. HBO’s The Vow gave an in-depth look behind the curtain of deceit that was the NXIVM cult. It follows the storyline of several of its previous members, its leaders, and a multitude of its victims.

The NXIVM roster included several high-status celebrities such as Smallville’s Allison Mack, the Bronfman heiress sisters, Battlestar Galactica star Nicki Clyne and even India Oxenberg, daughter of Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg. Part of The Vow storyline follows Catherine’s tireless search to get her daughter back from the cult and its manipulative leader Keith Raniere.

NXIVM began as a “corporate success” and “self development” program that somehow deteriorated into a sex slave cult that branded its members. The Vow pulls back the curtain on this bizarre group, showing how even the group’s co-founder Nancy Salzman was taken in by Keith Raniere’s charisma and chaos. It follows the groups founding all the way to its dark and very public demise through the eyes of its victims and the public media throughout the trial.

This star-studded celebrity cult and its twisted tale, you will just have to see to believe. Check it out on HBO, if you dare.

4. The Staircase

True crime documentaries and stories are known to be full of plot twists and turns, with facts often being far stranger than fiction, and The Staircase is no exception. In fact, it is one of the more bizarre true crime stories.

It begins in a somewhat straightforward way with the mysterious death of a well-known author’s wife, but as the case evolves, it gets really strange. Homosexual sex worker army men for hire, bizarre sexual fantasies, and a multitude of motives cause this case to really stand out from the true crime crowd.

Michael Peterson and his wife Kathleen were reported to be the “perfect couple” as friends and family said they never fought, and had been happily married for years. They lived a quiet life in a North Carolina town with their family. So when Kathleen suddenly wound up dead at the bottom of the family home’s staircase, suspicion was not initially aroused.

Yet as details of Michael’s private life began to unfold, including a previous dead wife who died at the bottom of a staircase, things took a turn and suspicion began to arise. Cue internet searches that revealed multiple interactions with other men, sexual fantasies, and some dark dealings with sex workers, and you have another layer of motive for the case. Perhaps Kathleen and Michael weren’t the perfect couple after all, but did he kill her?

The documentary follows the crime, the case, and the bizarre history of Michael Peterson himself. Check it out on Netflix and HBO.

5. The Good Nurse

What happens when good nurses go bad? Nothing good, as we see in the series based on a true story, The Good Nurse. The series follows the real-life story of Charlie Cullen, a nurse who, if calculations are correct, could be one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

Charlie Cullen was a nurse for almost 16 years and by all initial accounts, he was a very good one. Yet slowly but surely the truth behind his dark nature was revealed. When patients began dying around him, his co-workers grew suspicious, especially the co-worker he was closest to. In a storyline too bizarre to not be true, his real-life co-worker Amy Loughren had a life-threatening heart condition. Cullen dove right in offering to help her with her work, her medical condition, and even her two daughters she had been raising all on her own. Yet the number of patients dying unexpectedly was hard to ignore. Could the nurse and friend that Amy knew possibly be a killer?

In a terrifying true story, this tale of a good nurse gone bad sees Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain bring the story of Charlie Cullen to the big screen. Brace yourself and check it out on Netflix.

6. The Tinder Swindler

Beware the Tinder Swindler! The title brings to mind images of catfishing, of a man who is perhaps slightly older, heavier, or less successful than he appeared. Yet the reality behind the Tinder Swindler is far more sinister than some blurry profile pics.

In one of the most bizarre worst-case scenarios that dating apps can offer, The Tinder Swindler follows the story of Simon Leviev, a master manipulator who acquired a small fortune from a group of women he dated. Leviev used Tinder as his hunting ground, swindling his dates into thinking he was massively wealthy, but then coaxing them into giving him money. In a strange sort of dating Ponzi scheme, he would take money from one woman, to convince another he was independently wealthy then eventually take money from that one too.

He used the classic manipulative technique of keeping the women always slightly off-balance by claiming people were after him and the money was a safeguard against his death. He managed to use this strategy to accumulate around $10 million dollars.

Yet hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so the creative way one of his victims takes their revenge is worth watching the documentary all by itself. Check out this wild story on Netflix.

7. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

While Monster is not a documentary, it follows the real-life storyline of Jeffrey Dahmer very closely, like scarily closely. Monster reveals details of Dahmer’s life and crimes that the general public were not particularly privy to and probably wish they still weren’t. Evan Peters nails the role of the twisted serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, who killed, preserved, and ate his victims.

Dahmer’s crime spree lasted almost two decades and included 17 victims, many of whom came from minority communities which helped him stay under the radar. In an even more unbelievable detail of Dahmer’s life, Monster revealed just how many times Dahmer eluded detection despite multiple neighbors’ conflicting reports and the police actually returning one of his escaped victims right to him.

Check out this chilling true story on Netflix.

8. Sins of Our Mother

Sins of Our Mother explores the dark story of Lori Vallow and her descent into the cult that would eventually destroy her entire family. The documentary is told from the viewpoint of her sole surviving child, her adult son Colby. It’s a heartbreaking story as Colby details the descent of the mother he loved to a person he didn’t even know.

Lori Vallow started off as the picture-perfect mother; despite her tumultuous love life, she had been happily married to her husband Charles for several years and the two had even adopted a child together. They were very dedicated to their church and seemed — by all accounts — a happy couple and family. Yet, below the surface, things were far from perfect.

Lori began following the teachings of a preacher named Chad Daybell, who had some odd beliefs, to say the least. Soon the two realized they had more in common than their bizarre beliefs and struck up a relationship, but there was just one little problem. Well, two, really. Within a few months of the two beginning a relationship, both of their spouses were dead, and Lori’s two young children were missing. The story follows murderous love, bizarre beliefs including the living dead, and a missing persons case that gripped the world.

Check out Sins of Our Mother on Netflix.

9. Inventing Anna

From the mind of Shonda Rhimes comes a series based on a true story about a European socialite, who actually wasn’t. Inventing Anna was created by Rhimes, the same woman who brought us Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and many others. So it’s no surprise that Inventing Anna is yet another award-winner. While there is quite a bit of creative liberty taken with certain details, the basic storyline of Anna Delvey is well represented in this series adaptation, because, truthfully, her story needs no embellishment.

Anna Delvey presented herself as a wealthy European socialite and heiress, but she wasn’t. Yet she was so good at her charade that she managed to trick multiple big-money investors, banks, celebrities, and even friends out of millions of dollars. The series follows her story from humble beginnings to a very lucrative middle and finally ends with her very public ending and downfall.

The series is too good to miss and all of Anna Delvey’s misadventures are totally binge-worthy. Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix.

10. Texas Killing Fields

Everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently, that applies to the crimes as well — if the Texas Killing Fields story is any indication. This true crime series explores one of the country’s most notorious and insidious unsolved crime sprees.

When Laura Miller went missing, police were initially not that concerned, assuming the young woman would show up eventually, unharmed. Yet when another young woman, Heidi Fye, also vanished, it seemed too much of a coincidence. Before long, the worst outcome was realized as the women’s bodies were found in a field on Calder Road that would come to be known as the infamous Texas Killing Fields. Before all was said and done, 30 bodies would be discovered in that field over almost two decades.

The documentary hones in on the Texas Killing Field’s main suspects and explores all the possibilities behind one of the most insidious true crime stories in Texas history. Check out all the insight and intrigue connected with this case on Netflix.

The twisted, the bizarre, and the plain horrifying. These 10 true crime shows will have you happily saying goodbye to 2022. So catch them if you can before they are gone, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.