By Jasmine Grant
We love to veg out with our favorite scripted series and reality shows, but nothing beats a bone-chilling true life crime documentaries that shed light on the deep flaws within our justice system and the human psyche. Jay Z recently made his rounds at the Sundance Film Festival promoting his docuseries Time: The Kalief Browder Story. The profoundly tragic story of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old boy held at Rikers Island for three years, is one that hits home for the Brooklyn rapper. “I believe this young man, his story, will save a lot of lives,” Jay Z told the Associated Press on Wednesday. Jay Z’s Spike TV production isn’t the only docuseries making huge waves this year. From high profile unsolved murders like the O.J Simpson case to wrongful convictions such as Making A Murderer which had our jaws on the floor, there’s something about true crime that keeps us glued to the TV and our fingers hovering over the “next episode” button.
2017 is bringing the heat in the realm of crime documentaries. Some cases you may be very familiar with. Some you may have seen on the news, but have only now been recounted. There’s even a few you’ve never heard of before that will blow your mind. Get your popcorn, your favorite Netflix and chill buddy and hang on tight. These unsolved crime tales are about to take you on wild ride.
The Kalief Browder Story
In May 2010, 16-year-old Kalief Browder was walking home from a party in the Bronx when he was stopped by police and brought in for questioning over the theft of a backpack. After spending three torturous years in New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail awaiting trial, the charges against Kalief were dropped. He returned home only to commit suicide shortly after. Jay Z was so impacted by Kalief’s story, he teamed up with Spike TV to launch a six-part documentary on his story to shine a light on the systematic flaws in our justice system. The six-part feature premieres on March 1st.
Beware The Slenderman
HBO will recount the disturbing “Slender Man” case from 2013, in which two junior high school girls in Wisconsin lured a fellow classmate into the woods and stabbed her 19 times as a sacrifice to the fictional character named Slender Man. The Slender Man character came to life on a thread in the Something Awful Internet forum. The chilling documentary is now streaming on HBO GO.
TNT is hopping on board with TV’s current true-crime obsession with it’s soon-to-be-released miniseries about the case of Chandra Leavy, a Federal Bureau of Prisons intern whose remains were found in a Washington D.C. park one year after she disappeared in 2001. It was discovered that she’d been having an affair with married D.C. Congressman Gary Condit, who became a suspect in the investigation. Though another suspect had been found guilty of the murder, he maintains that he is innocent. An official trailer from TNT hasn’t been released yet, but the documentary is expected to debut later this year.
Making A Murderer Season 2
If you couldn’t get enough of the twisted, emotional tale of Steven Avery, you’re in for a treat. After being arrested in 1985 and serving 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, Avery was exonerated in 2003. In a wild twist Avery was once again arrested in 2005 – this time for the murder of a young woman Teresa Halbach. There was compelling evidence within the doc to suggest Steven and his nephew Brendan Dassey were framed by police. Season 2 is coming soon and will document Steven’s appeal process with his new lawyer, Kathleen Zellner. “From our perspective this story is obviously not over. It’s real life and (Avery and Dassey’s) cases are both still pending,” said directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. The release date for season two will be announced soon.
On Christmas Day 1996, 6-year-old pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey was found strangled to death in her family’s basement in Colorado. The murder has never been solved, her parents vehemently deny any involvement in her death. Two decades later, Netflix is tapping into America’s obsession with this unsolved case by releasing a new series called Casting JonBenét. The “part fiction, part truth” adaptation will get the Boulder, CO community involved, but unfortunately will not feature commentary from the Ramsey family. The film launches globally on Netflix and in limited theatrical release April 2017.
O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence
The O.J. Simpson case, dubbed one of the most high profile court cases in American history, got a glamorous makeover with The People vs. O.J. Simpson American Crime Story, which took home two Golden Globes. Now, Investigation Discovery takes a closer look with O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence. Narrated by Martin Sheen and featuring Big Brother winner Derrick Levasseur, this 6-part mini-series (aired January 15-17th) sheds light on unearthed evidence. Some of which suggests that Nicole Brown may have had two attackers instead of one.
Mommy Dead and Dearest
HBO Documentary Films will air Erin Lee Carr’s new true-crime documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest in March. The film explores Dee Dee Blanchard, who lived with her sick, wheelchair-bound daughter, Gypsy Rose. Dee Dee was found stabbed to death in their Springfield, Mo. home in June 2015, and her Gypsy Rose was charged with the murder. What happened from there, nobody saw coming. Find out what went down when the doc comes to HBO in March.
From Issa Rae to Donald Trump to Kanye and Kim, 2016 was full of many highs and lows.