What’s Fresh in Crime Documentaries

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist

For all true crime aficionados, there is nothing more satisfying than solving the crime faster than the documentary unfolds. Diving into “Evil Genius,” however, is unlike any other true crime series. In this original Netflix four-parter, the investigation into Erie, Pennsylvania’s most peculiar crime leaves you guessing at every turn.

In 2003, Brian Wells, a pizza delivery guy, walked into a PNC bank with a gun disguised as a cane and a note demanding a quarter of a million dollars. As the series unpacks each element of this increasingly bizarre crime, viewers are taken through the steps Pennsylvania police and investigators went through as they uncovered the truth behind Wells’ murder.

One of the most recent releases from the Duplass brothers, the series is broken into four bite-sized hour-long segments. Whereas other true crime series may drag details and big reveals out too long, Evil Genius packs in all the plot twists and still wraps up the drama in a neatly tied bow; it’s both addictive and satisfying.

Wild Wild Country

After a successful premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this six-part documentary series has also found major success on Netflix. The documentary follows controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneneesh, known by his dedicated followers as Osho.

Osho’s claim to fame: being the leader of the alleged “sex cult” that swarmed mid-Oregon in the 1980s. Rajneneesh’s philosophy surrounds the pursuit of the “new man,” including radical views on sexual liberation and the institutions of marriage, religion and ideology. After moving to the United States, the tale of Rajneneesh and his compound begins, which the Duplass brothers follow using talking head interviews, newsreel footage and home videos.

Unlike many other crime documentaries, “Wild Wild Country” presents various angles in which to view the acts and crimes of Rajneneesh, his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela and the utopic commune. Viewers are asked to judge for themselves whether Rajneneesh and his followers were part of a New Age utopia that happened to be destroyed by corruption or if they were a brainwashed cult that operated as a cover for a widespread criminal enterprise.