Why I Love True Crime Television Shows

Are true crime television shows your guilty pleasure? They’re this millennial’s as well, as here’s why.

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I have a confession to make.

I watch true crime shows on a semi-regular basis, particularly on channels like Oxygen and Investigation Discovery. It’s my guilty pleasure, no pun intended.

I don’t talk about my affinity for these types of TV shows too often, but on the off moment that I do admit my guilt, it’s usually a result of questions from my family or peers.

Living at home results in a parent inevitably walking into a room to find Dateline or Snapped on the television. I’m then met with the following: “Why? Why do you love these shows? They are so depressing.”

To answer the somewhat annoying questions without saying “Because I just do, okay?” (I am, after all, an adult…although that’s easy to forget sometimes.), I give you the following responses:

I’ve always loved mysteries
Okay, granted these mysteries happened to real people – hence the genre “true crime.” They’re not the fictional Veronica Mars mysteries I’ve loved since forever. But as a young reader, I always made my way to the mystery section of the YA shelves. At this point, I get hooked and I feel like I can always figure out how to solve the mystery before the episode ends. I find myself yelling at the TV, as though watching a game show. “It’s the wife! It’s the husband! It’s always the spouse!”


I love the fact that I don’t have to watch true crime shows in order
Unless, of course, it’s a two-part episode. But most cable channels will show the two parts back-to-back, making it awfully convenient for someone like me who truly can’t commit to watching a weekly series. I’ve already talked about how I was a big fan of House, but a big part of why I missed a lot of the final episodes was the fact that I couldn’t play catch-up due to my ever-busy and ever-changing schedule. With a true crime show, I never have to worry about catch-up.

As a sensitive person, I feel a weird, deep connection to some of the people who appear on these shows
I’ll tell you, I much prefer interview format true crime shows (i.e. the aforementioned Dateline, or 48 Hours) to reenactment format, as the acting is usually atrocious. But I also find myself wanting to hear more of what the real families have to say about what they’ve been through — like they’re opening up to me, the viewer. It’s incredibly brave of these people to appear on national television to tell their respective stories, and in turn, raise awareness for what are often sensitive subjects (missing children, human trafficking, drug addiction and domestic violence to name a few).

The reporters are sharp
And, some of them even have personal reasons for their chosen careers. Reporter Tamron Hall’s sister was murdered, and as a result, she was driven to report on similar crimes and make sure she spoke the truth about the situations being reported. Other household names, including Keith Morrison, Paula Zahn and even first Presidential debate pushover Lester Holt give iconic reports that grip the attention of any viewer.


Are you a fan of true crime shows? If so, let us know what your favorites are in the comment box!

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