The history of movies and TV shows is full of criminals - fictional ones, of course, invented by writers. Their crimes - and their personalities - are often based on people who have actually lived and have actually done the things depicted in these stories, no matter if they are robberies, homicides, or “white collar” crimes.
But people seem to have gotten tired of fictional villains and developed a taste for the real thing. This has led to a surge in true-crime programming, either in the form of documentaries or - increasingly - in the form of docu-dramas. The more eccentric the protagonist, the more popular a series, it seems. This is probably why the Tiger King is so popular
, and why series that preceded it were massive hits, going on for several seasons.
As you might expect, this year won’t be without its share of true-crime stories on the screens, building on the viewers’ hunger to find out more about the real-life villains that sometimes shaped the world around us. American Crime Story: Impeachment
American Crime Story already has two successful seasons behind it - “The People v. O. J. Simpson”, released in 2016, and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”, released in 2018. For this year, in turn, FX has a more sensitive subject to cover: the impeachment of the 42nd US president, Bill Clinton.
Clinton was impeached in 1998 for “high crimes and misdemeanours”, specifically lying under oath and obstruction of justice, stemming from the harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones as well as his testimony in the case involving Monica Lewinsky. The series is based on the non-fiction book “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President” by Jeffrey Toobin.
“American Crime Story: Impeachment” is expected to be released this September.Inventing Anna
Shonda Rhimes is probably well-known for fans of series like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, and “Station 19”. This year, we’ll have the chance to see another one of her creations, a Netflix true-crime drama about Anna Vadimovna Sorokina, better known as “Anna Sorokin”, posing as a German heiress and squeeze hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a series of New York City businessmen a socialités.
She used her talent as a fraudster to live her best life while in New York, staying in trendy hotels, eating in some of the most expensive restaurants, and visiting spas and salons… but somehow she always convinced others to pay for her. Her story was a bit fluid - she claimed to be an heiress to a solar panel magnate, a diplomat, or an executive, she claimed to have a €60 million trust fund and plans to set up an art foundation, among others. Ultimately, she was arrested in 2017 and jailed until at least next October.
The story of her New York escapades will hit the screens later in the year.Dr Death
The career of neurosurgeon Dr Christopher Duntsch had a few signs of what’s to come early on: while on his fourth year of residency, he allegedly operated on a patient under the influence of cocaine. While working at the Baylor Plano Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, he kept boasting about his abilities as a neurosurgeon but his words have proven to be little more than hot air: several of his operations ended with the patients being severely maimed, and one of them, with the death of the patient. Ultimately, his license was revoked, and in 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison - the first time a medical doctor ended up behind bars because of malpractice.
The life and career of the sinister doctor who made fun of his Hippocratic Oath have been the subject of a popular true-crime podcast called “Dr Death”, hosted by Laura Beil, ultimately turned into a true-crime docudrama starring Jamie Dornan in the role of the ominous surgeon.
The series is expected to be released later this year on the NBC’s new streaming service Peacock.