The 10 Best True Crime TV Shows to Stream on Max

August 22, 2023 - Movies

Ever since Truman Capote’s true-crime book, ‘In Cold Blood,’ hit the shelves in 1966, we’ve had a fascination with everything that goes into investigating crimes across America. More recently, podcasts such as ‘Serial’ have only fueled our desire to know more about the justice system, and how criminals are actually caught.

While shows on Netflix such as Making a Murderer only furthered our love of the genre, there’s also some pretty decent series that can be found on Max thanks to its merger with Discovery+. Whether you’re looking for cases that are close to home, or ones that are ripped from the headlines, here are 10 offerings that will satiate your need for more true-crime.

10 Diabolical

Diabolical Title Card
Lion TV

Running from 2018 until 2020, Diabolical reminded us that sometimes things are just too good to be true. What might look nice on the outside, could be hiding a sinister secret on the inside just waiting to be unleashed.

Featuring cases ranging from killer widows, to conniving caregivers, the show focused on those that appeared harmless to their victims, until something set them off, and they committed violent acts of murder that no one saw coming. There were police interviews, interviews with friends and family of the victims, and reenactments of the crimes, making Diabolical a gripping true-crime series that even three years after it finished is still a must-watch.

9 A Body in the Basement

A basement door in A Body in the Basement
Lion TV

Recently premiering on Max, A Body in the Basement features stories of victims that were found, well, in the basement. How many people can be found in such a manner, you ask? Well, apparently a lot, as the entire series details cases of murder where bodies went undiscovered in various basements, and for quite a while in some instances.

For example: one couple let a friend of theirs store a locked freezer in their basement, until they needed some meat to cook for dinner. Heading down to the basement to pry open the lock, they discovered that there was meat in there, but it was of the human variety. In classic true crime fashion, this one also features interviews with friends, family, and police, while also delving deeper into the background of the victims, and how their lives ended in such a grizzly fashion.

8 On the Case with Paula Zahn

Paula Zahn in On the Case with Paula Zahn

Should you be looking for a true-crime show to sink your teeth into, look no further than On the Case with Paula Zahn. This series has 22 seasons currently available to stream on Max, with each episode detailing different cases that sometimes span decades.

With veteran news anchor Paula Zahn at the helm, she steps out from behind the desk to go into the field and interview police, lawyers, family members, and even the killers themselves to get to the bottom of what happened in each murder, and why. Featuring in depth investigations that cram a lot into 45-minute episodes, On the Case with Paula Zahn doesn’t hold back, giving gruesome details that might make even the most die-hard true-crime fan a bit queasy.

Related: 19 TV Crime Series Based on a True Story

7 People Magazine Investigates

People Magazine Investigates Title Card

We’ve all seen People Magazine while in the checkout line at the grocery store. It’s about as familiar to Americans as the flag itself, and while they cover a lot of celebrity news, the famous magazine also deals in human interest stories, including murder.

People Magazine Investigates takes those human interest stories, and turns them into an expertly done true-crime series that is currently in its seventh season on Max. While they deal in high-profile cases such as The Long Island Serial Killer, The Golden State Killer, and The I-70 Killer, the series also takes a look at some lesser-known cases that deserve more attention. Featuring interviews with journalists from People Magazine, police, forensic experts, lawyers, and other various experts, People Magazine Investigates is top-notch reporting that isn’t to be missed if you’re a true crime fanatic.

6 Signs of a Psychopath

Signs of a Psychopath Title Card

“He was such a nice, quiet boy,” is a line heard more often than not when it comes to killers. To the untrained eye, their actions can go undetected for months, even years, but to the keen observer, there are always signs.

That’s the premise behind Signs of a Psychopath, which takes a look at murderers, and the telltale signs they exhibited leading up to their kills. Now in its sixth season on Max, each episode is only about 22-minutes long, but they pack a punch, revealing police recordings of the actual killers, as well as interviews with experts in criminal profiling. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’ve ever wondered if your neighbor was truly a psychopath.

5 Very Scary People

Donnie Wahlberg in Very Scary People

Remember Donnie Wahlberg, one of the founding members of New Kids on the Block? Have you wondered what he was up to recently? Well, wonder no more, as he can be seen hosting the true-crime series, Very Scary People, which is now in its fifth season.

Featuring high-profile killers such as John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and the Zodiac Killer, episodes are 45 minutes long, and are split into two parts, so you get 90 minutes total dedicated to one criminal. This allows for a deep dive into not only the crimes these people committed, but their backgrounds as well. It features interviews with journalists who covered the killers, the police that hunted them, and how their actions affected others. It’s a chilling look behind the mind of some of America’s worst serial killers, and definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Related: Best True Crime Documentary Movies Ever Made, Ranked

4 Homicide Hunter

Joe Kenda in Homicide Hunter
Investigation Discovery

Airing for nine seasons, and totaling 144 episodes, Homicide Hunter details the cases of retired Colorado Springs detective, Joe Kenda, who solved around 380 crimes during his tenure. While each episode features reenactments, Kenda bookends each episode as well with his deadpan delivery, and dry humor, and is peppered throughout to give his own commentary on how he caught his victims.

Putting aside the fact that Colorado Springs has what’s got to be one of the nation’s highest murder rates in order to create an entire show around the deaths that happen there, Homicide Hunter is a tremendous look at what goes on inside the mind of a detective as he works to solve each case. There are also interviews with journalists, other police detectives who assisted Kenda, and the family members of the victims that all combine to make what is truly one of the best true-crime shows on Max right now.

3 Homicide Hunter: American Detective

Homicide Hunter: American Detective Title Card

Can’t get enough Joe Kenda once you’re done with Homicide Hunter? Make sure to check out Homicide Hunter: American Detective, which is a spin-off of its predecessor, and currently has three seasons available to stream on Max.

While this one does feature Joe Kenda in each episode, the cases are not his own, but rather those of other detectives from across America who worked day and night to bring justice to victims everywhere. These 45-minute episodes feature mind-blowing accounts of murder and mayhem that seem almost unsolvable, but the detectives it features will stop at nothing to apprehend the perpetrators. In true Joe Kenda fashion, it also features his wry commentary, and interviews throughout.

2 Evil Lives Here

Evil Lives Here Title Card

Currently in its 14th season on Max, Evil Lives Here is a chilling look at murder committed by spouses, parents, siblings, children, and those who live under the same roof as their victims. While there are some high profile cases examined, such as the Dirty John case, most episodes deal with crimes that don’t make headline news across the country.

Told by the people who shared homes with these psychopaths, Evil Lives Here blends reenactments with police interviews, family photos, and interviews with those close to each case. It’s a scary reminder that even people we think we know like the back of our hand can turn on us without warning, leading to unspeakable crimes that can rip a family apart. It’s the stuff of nightmares, really, and is a show that isn’t to be missed if you’ve ever wondered if a loved one can be a killer.

1 Undercover Underage

Roo Powell in Undercover Underage

One of the most heinous crimes that can ever be committed is an adult soliciting a minor online for sexual contact, which is why Roo Powell created SOSA (Safe from Online Sexual Abuse), an organization that helps educate parents and their children about the dangers of online predators, and how they operate.

It’s this organization that is featured in Undercover Underage, as Powell and her team work tirelessly to uncover the identity of online predators before they can do any more harm to children. Decoys are set up to interact with these monsters, who communicate with them through chat and video until they can glean enough information to narrow down their identities. That info is then shared with law enforcement, and when a meeting is set up, police swoop in and apprehend the predators. It’s dangerous work, as they don’t know what will happen at any given moment. Will the perpetrator try and run? Will they pull out a gun and start shooting? It’s gripping television that serves the purpose of ridding the world of these pedophiles, and though the episodes can be sometimes hard to stomach, it’s worth checking out to see all the amazing work SOSA puts into nabbing these criminals.

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