Unsolved cases make reappearances; recent true-crime documentaries spark interest


Although many cases used to be left unsolved, with the recent obsession over them, they are being wrapped up now instead of back during their time of relevance.

Claudia Huggins, Editor-In-Chief (Print)

As humans, we have a natural fascination with old cases that were never solved or appropriately concluded. Netflix clearly observed this obsession after pushing out an abundance of crime documentaries in 2018. Ranging from national cases, to cases no one’s ever heard of, people love them no matter the significance, but has anyone ever stopped to think about why?

Over the past few years, Netflix has made millions off the original true-crime shows they’ve published, their most recent and extremely popular show “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.” A few others include: “The Staircase,” “Making a Murderer” and the recently popular show among young people, “Abducted in Plain Sight.”

“It’s natural for people to like the suspense. Also, it’s something they may not have experienced, so it interests them,” Senior Carrino ck Skuse said.

The outrageous endings, shocking evidence and immense suspense sparks interest in pretty much the entire population, but the question still stands: why?

According to an article written by Erin McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief of MentalFloss.com, one of the top reasons why people love true crime shows is because the concept of “evil” fascinates a population of “regular” people.

“We want to figure out what drove these people to this extreme act, and what makes them tick, because we’d never actually commit murder,” McCarthy said.

As humans, we are attracted to things out of the norm, and to the general population, pure evil and ill intentions are not an everyday occurrence.

Another reason people are so attracted to these shows, according to McCarthy, is because of the adrenaline rush we get while watching them. Oddly, witnessing terrible events occur releases a rush of adrenaline. Adrenaline is addictive and can keep a person’s attention to extreme extents.

Along with the adrenaline rush, as people watch these shows, they get very invested. Oftentimes, their brain can feel so wrapped up in the story and feel the need to solve it. According to Scott Bonn, a professor of criminology at Drew University and author of “Why We Love Serial Killers,” people often feel the need and desire to figure out who did the deed before the detectives or law enforcement from the show can.

Not only has Netflix benefited from the population’s obsession over true-crime, but so has Adnan Syed, main focus of the ever-so-popular podcast “Serial,” which was narrated and created by Sarah Koenig. Season one of the podcast featured Koenig and her team diving into Syed’s case, in which he was the prime suspect of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee’s murder.

It didn’t take long for the podcast to gain insane popularity, as well as a lot of backlash. However, the backlash wasn’t towards the podcast, but towards the logistics of Syed’s case. He was charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder back in 2000, but there were a lot of discrepancies with the “facts” and “evidence” during his case, thus sparking the interest of Koenig and over five million people.

Just recently, HBO picked up the story to continue on with Syed’s story, for he has recently received a new trial after having been in jail for almost 20 years. The series premiered on March 10.

Not only has society’s obsession with true-crime benefitted huge corporations such as Netflix and Amazon, but also people who may need their cases looked at again, or maybe even someone whose justice was not properly served the first time around. All in all, our fascination with evil and murder will never truly go away, so the good news is that there will likely be many more documentaries and series to come in the future.