There's just something about true crime. In recent times, the spate of documentaries released has made for the most interesting water-cooler banter since Twin Peaks. We're continually fascinated by the crimes, the did-they-or-didn't-they, the grit and startled at how much can be revealed, sometimes decades after these crimes have been committed. That is the power of the medium of the true crime series. It does more than entertain; it seeks answers, asks questions that many wish to keep hidden.
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This year, already there will be three series that will no doubt be the subject of continued fascination. In short, you won't be able to stop watching. Here's the first glimpse of each:
Kicking off your next TV obsession is the tragic and disturbing story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose. The series is based on a 2016 investigative piece written by Buzzfeed, which details Gypsy Rose, stricken by cancer and muscular dystrophy and a host of other long-term conditions, always supposedly tirelessly devoted to her daughter.
But after Dee Dee’s death, it was revealed that Gypsy was a perfectly healthy 24-year-old, and had never suffered from any of the medical problems her mother had spoken about. It is thought that Dee Dee had Munchausen by proxy, a rare syndrome in which a person, usually a primary caretaker, fakes or induces physical and psychological symptoms in another person. The events that lead up to this reveal are fascinating.
The Act begins on Hulu in the US on March 20, should be on our shores soon after
This Amazon Prime docuseries investigates the headline-grabbing case of the marriage of John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt in the early nineties. In a case that gripped the US, 24-year-old Lorena Bobbitt, 24, severed her 26-year-old husband John Wayne’s penis with a kitchen knife as he slept and was later arrested for malicious wounding.
The four-part series features a brand-new interview with Bobbitt, who accused Wayne of systemic domestic and emotional abuse, and a large part of her defence drew on the idea that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Wayne denied the allegations). The case highlights how this trial was one of the first in the American legal system to really call into question what constitutes marital abuse.
Lorena is available to stream on Amazon Prime now
Dirty John, starring Eric Bana and Connie Britton, is an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name. This is the true story of Debra Newell (Britton), a beautiful and successful middle-aged interior designer who falls in love with a supposedly wealthy anaesthesiologist John Meehan (Bana). Only, as the title suggests, perhaps he isn’t as perfect as he first appears. Newell's family are suspicious.
The series is an impressive reconstruction of the stories told by the Newell family in the original podcast and captures the allure of John to a tee, explaining how Debra could have misread so many warning signs as she did.
Dirty John is available to stream on Netflix now