50 Fascinating Documentaries for Forensics Science Junkies
Has a television show got you rethinking your passions? With all the new and old crime procedural dramas, forensic science is more popular than ever. But is a love of forensic science enough to make you a junkie? Possibly, but if you want to rise above the typical junkie, you have to educate yourself.
To help in this quest are the below 50 fascinating documentaries for forensic science junkies. They can give you behind the scenes looks, insight into the latest technology, its history, and even some fictionalized fun. So grab your mouse, a credit card, or even just some free time to check them out.
Fascinating Documentaries for Forensics Science Junkies
These documentaries feature general aspects of forensic science.
1. Crime 360 : In this hit investigative series from A&E, experience actual crime investigations as they unfold, from the moment detectives are called in to work on a case until it is ultimately solved. It features gritty detective work combined with groundbreaking forensics such as computer-generated imagery, state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning, and 360-degree digital photography. An excellent tool for forensic science junkies to see how the entire scale of law enforcement works together.
2. The New Detectives : As seen on The Discovery Channel, these documentaries take you into the real world of high-tech detection and crime solution. Follow the trail of clues along with renowned forensic experts and criminal investigators. They employ a variety of extraordinary techniques, using anthropology, physiology, chemistry, entomology, psychology and computer technology, to solve today's crimes.
3. The FBI Files : Retired Special Agent and former Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Office James Kallstrom is your host In this award winning documentary series. It reveals for the first time the crime busting techniques and forensic science used by the FBI to break the most baffling cases. From crime scene analysis to the most up-to-date laboratories, FBI agents relentlessly comb through mountains of evidence to narrow their search, ultimately prevailing over the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
4. Modern Marvels FBI Crime Lab : Go where few have gone before in this documentary from The History Channel. This state-of-the-art facility is the most sophisticated forensic laboratory in the world. New technologies are demonstrated, scientists are interviewed, and there is loads more.
5. The First 48 : A common term for forensic scientists, the first 48 refers to the most important time after a murder is committed. That is the evidence gathered in the first two days is critical to deciding if the crime can and will be solved. In this collection of the series, the most intense investigations are looked into.
6. How To Commit The Perfect Murder : Modern forensic science should make it impossible to commit murder and get away with it. But how easy would it be to outfox the detectives? With the help of top forensic scientists and real-life murder investigations, this documentary from the BBC explores whether it's possible to commit a perfect murder.
7. Body of Evidence : Dayle Hinman, one of the country’s leading forensic profilers, is featured in this documentary from Court TV. Using intensive examination of forensic evidence and skillful psychological insight, Dayle aids the police in isolating suspects and solving numerous murders. Twelve episodes are featured on an array of crimes.
8. Forensic Science Investigators : Get true horror and heroism stories unfold right before your eyes in this chilling journey into the crimes of actual murderers and serial killers. Six episodes are included in the set, currently selling for $26.99.
Fascinating History Documentaries for Forensics Science Junkies
Forensic science may be all the rage now, but see how it first began by checking out these documentaries.
9. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story : Before it was a timeless book series or popular movie, Sherlock Holmes was a figment of imagination. A leading professor of medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell was a pioneer in a new field, forensic science and inspired his student, Arthur Conan Doyle to create a legend. Includes interviews with literary historians and Holmes experts and asks the question what is it about this imaginary Victorian detective seem so real?
10. A&E Killer Two Pack : See how forensic science was used in the pursuit of two of the most notorious killers in history. Both Ted Bundy and Jack the Ripper are featured in this set. With entries from two leading channels, the price is still amazingly low at $13.99.
11. Cold Case Files : Not a perfect science, how has forensics helped in cases that were never solved? With chilling episodes hand-picked by legendary producer and host Bill Kurtis, ten of the toughest and most fascinating true crimes ever known to homicide are gathered in one documentary. Combining the latest forensic techniques with old-fashioned police work, each episode takes a step-by-step look at how a mystery is finally solved and the culprit is ultimately apprehended.
12. Crimes of the Century : From the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon, to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, this two DVD set takes an in-depth look at some of the most brutal and shocking crimes of the 20th Century. Unsolved cases of The Black Dahlia murder and the Lindberg baby kidnapping are also featured. You can also see true stories of The Boston Strangler, Charles Manson, Son of Sam, O.J. Simpson, along with many other infamous criminals and their crimes told with stunning archival film footage and rare photographs of the actual events.
13. Forensic Casebook With Matthew Kelly : Matthew Kelly looks back at some of Britain's most intriguing crimes and shows how forensic techniques were developed to crack previously unsolvable cases. An excellent documentary for examining the history of forensic science.
14. Stalking the Ripper : If you’re a fan of author Patricia Cornwell and forensic science, stop here. This BBC special aired in 2002 and showed Cornwell’s research etc into the identity of Jack The Ripper which resulted in the book “Portrait of A Killer.” Available in six parts at no charge on YouTube.
15. Nefertiti Resurrected : A controversial figure in Egyptian times, see how forensic science reveals the truth in this documentary. Led by Dr. Joann Fletcher and a team of internationally renowned scientists from the University of York, they take on one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since Nefertiti's stepson - King Tutankhamen - was discovered in 1922. Drawing on 13 years of research, Fletcher and her team bring Nefertiti's turbulent reign to life as never before using cutting-edge computer animations to recreate ancient Egypt's great temples, x-rays to reveal the telltale signs of foul play on her mummy, and forensic graphics to recreate the mummy's face.
Fascinating Specialty Documentaries for Forensic Science Junkies
Follow a specific area of forensic science in these documentaries.
16. The Autopsy Files : Long before the recent trend in criminal investigation shows, Autopsy was the show that inspired them. Hosted by Dr. Michael Baden, one of the century's most renowned forensic pathologists, this 10th anniversary edition features the first two mesmerizing episodes of this groundbreaking, reality-based series
17. Medical Examiner Dr. G : Similar to the above, Dr. G specializes in forensic science where evidence is gathered from corpses. This hit show from Discovery Health has loads of true-life info and cases. The website also shows how autopsies work, causes of death, and video clips.
18. Most Evil : Ever wonder what drives someone to kill? Then check out forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone, who explores the answer to this mystery and much more with his groundbreaking "index of depravity" that decodes the killer's mind, method, and motive. These 14 intriguing episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 dare to look into the many different faces of evil, ranging from the most notorious serial killers to real-life cannibals and vampires.
19. Mind of a Serial Killer : Forensic science junkies who are fans of Patrick Stewart will enjoy this documentary. Step behind the scenes at the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, where psychological detectives race against time to penetrate the minds and emotions of the most elusive of murderers. Using state-of-the-art science, elite investigators tease a-part crime scene evidence and scrutinize victim profiles to construct an astonishingly accurate personality print of the perpetrator- and a good guess as to how and when he'll make his next move.
20. Blood Splatter : If you’ve ever wondered if the show “Dexter” was accurate, check out this forensic science documentary. When Kimberly Wilson was found strangled, police went to tell her family and stumbled upon the bodies of her father, mother, and sister, with blood splattered throughout the home. This was when blood splatter evidence first received noticeable attention in the trial of their killer.
21. The Criminal Mind : This documentary is part of The History Channel’s Forensic Firsts series. Go behind the scenes to take a look at the profile of criminals. There are also many other useful additions on forensic science in the series.
22. The Secret History of Hacking : If interested in computer forensic science, check out this documentary. It uncovers the real story of a counter culture that has corporate America on the run. Available to view for free.
23. Forensic Science for Writers : Forensic science junkies who also like to write should check out this movie. Dr. Lyle offers writers an overview of the most important forensic science topics they need to know about to write believable fiction and includes downloadable handouts for each lesson. Topics Include: Evidence - searching the crime scene, and gathering and protecting the evidence Cause & Manner of Death - how a coroner determines what happened Time of Death - body temperature, rigor mortis, insects, decay and more.
Fascinating Documentaries for Forensic Science Junkies on Crime
These documentaries focus on a particular crime or criminal.
24. Real Life Hannibal Lecters : Because true life can be just as frightening as fiction, this documentary focuses on some of the most infamous murderers in history. Featured profiles are on Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and more. It also features interviews with world-renown experts on serial killers and exclusive footage.
25. America’s Serial Killers : This documentary strips the covers from a world of profiling, forensic science, and painful investigation as history's most brutal serial killers are exposed. Although mass murders happened before, see how the serial killer rose in America during the last century.
26.The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter : Hosted by Hollywood historian Scott Michaels, this documentary takes a look back at the Manson murders. It contains original Manson Family music recordings, rare vintage photos of the story's major players, and never-before-seen autopsy reports. Viewers are taken on an insightful exploration of over 40 key locations associated with the spree that rocked Los Angeles - and shocked the world - in August 1969.
27. Why O.J. Simpson Won : The most visible crime in recent history, see what went on during the infamous Simpson trial. The documentary examines all the evidence, pores over the testimony and details the complete story of the "trial of the century," from the low speed chase to the bloody glove to the verdict that divided America. In revealing interviews, many of the principle figures including Johnnie Cochran, Fred Goldman, LAPD Chief Willie Williams, and members of the jury trace the defining events of the case.
28. The Iceman Interviews : Renowned forensic psychologist Dr. Park Dietz gets up close, personal, and even confrontational with psyche of one of the most dangerous men alive. Bringing together the earlier two other documentaries with the newly released Dietz interview, is this new special edition. It includes Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski's riveting on-camera confession, exclusively for HBO, of the murder of police officer Peter Calabro.
29. Jeffrey Dahmer Biography : For bringing serial killing to chilling new heights, Dahmer stands out. In this A&E biography, details of his life and experiences are revealed. Best of all, you can see it on YouTube for free.
30. John Wayne Gacy : Similar to the above, this documentary tells the story of John Wayne Gacy. A&E takes a look at this serial killer who was able to hide in plain sight. Another standout for its free view-ability on YouTube. Stay away if you’re scared of clowns.
31. Who Shot President Kennedy? : One of the most forensically examined cases in history, this documentary covers the Kennedy assassination. Narrated by historic journalist Walter Cronkite, it uses purely forensic science to examine the case. It contains footage of the Dallas physicians who tried to save the President's life, computerized 3-D Dealey Plaza replica, crucial frame by frame Zapruder footage comparisons, photo analysis by experts, and leading critics of the lone gunman conclusion by the Warren Commission.
32. Mein Kampf : What does a serial killer do with an army at his disposal? Make history as one of the most brutal men ever. German for “my struggle,” this documentary examines the life of Adolf Hitler. Thirty minutes are available on YouTube.
33. The Zodiac Killer : Decades ago, this serial killer terrorized the entire country. In this 44 minute documentary, “Cold Case Files” dives into the victims and suspects of the Zodiac. Available to view for free at Google Videos.
34. Snapped : Think men are the only ones capable of horrific crimes? Then check out this documentary on true crimes committed by women. Part of the Oxygen network, there are also many other tools and more information on the site.
Free Fascinating Documentaries for Forensic Science Junkies
Watch these forensic science documentaries for free by clicking on the below.
35. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out : Filmed in 1981, this documentary will delight and inspire anyone who would like to share something of the joys of scientific discovery. Feynman is a master storyteller and shares stories about childhood, Los Alamos, and how he won a Nobel Prize. A good choice for forensic junkies interested in the science aspect.
36. Taryn Simon Photographs Secret Sites : What happens when the criminal justice system goes wrong? In this lecture for TED, Taryn shows haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit. She also documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public.
37. Peter Donnelly Shows How Stats Fool Juries : In another free entry from TED, Peter shows how forensic science junkies can have a look at what really goes on in the jury room. He reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics -- and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.
38. Code Name: Artichoke : More than 40 years after his death, the body of former CIA scientist Dr. Frank Olson has been exhumed. Olson’s son Eric is convinced his father was murdered by agents of the American government because he wanted to leave the CIA. Forensic pathologists at George Washington University performed an autopsy and concluded that Olson probably was the victim of a violent crime.
39. Undercover Copper : Forensic science junkies interested in solving rape cases should watch this. The British documentary examines how rape victims are treated at every stage of the criminal justice process. From the initial reporting of a rape to the police, through to the conclusion of the court process, discover a postcode lottery of initial forensic and medical care for rape victims.
40. 9/11 Science and Conspiracy : Was the most deadly terrorist attack in our nation’s history all a conspiracy? National Geographic uses forensic science to delve into that topic in this documentary. Visit to see when you can view it for free by checking its next scheduled airing.
41. The Real CSI : In another entry from National Geographic, real world forensic cases are examined. From a gunshot wound to the head, homicide, and suicide, detectives examine it all. Only four minutes long, it is still a good view.
42. Lockup : The series on MSNBC also features a documentary. In it, they highlight nine of the most violent inmates the series has ever interviewed. Even if you don’t like watching shows about prison, inmates, etc., this one is a must-watch for those who care about self-defense because it shows the worst of what you might have to deal with.
43. Does Snuff Exist? : If you thought pornography was the worst someone could do with a camera, think again. Snuff stands for alleged murders caught intentionally on tape. Forensic science junkies with a strong stomach should watch this to see if a snuff film is real or fake.
44. To Catch a Predator : Although not specifically a documentary for forensic science junkies, this film is still essential for giving a look at some of the most common and horrific pedophiles they may encounter. There are also suggestions from police officers, therapists, and child predators on the best approaches for preventing these crimes.
Fascinating Fiction for Forensic Science Junkies
If you need some entertainment peppered into your forensic science studies, check out the below.
45. Dexter : Dexter and his boyish good looks hide something more devious: an unrepentant serial killer. Choosing his victims carefully, Dexter also hilariously doubles as a forensic science expert who catches criminals just like him. The site contains loads of extras, downloads, and more.
46. CSI : One of the original crime procedural dramas, CSI follows the lives and cases of crime scene investigators. The CBS site has a community for fans of the show, along with behind the scenes looks. You can also watch full episodes on the site.
47. Law and Order : See how police and lawyers work together to solve crimes on this long-running show from NBC. Video clips shows you highlights of the show and more with the cast. Much like the above, there are also spin-offs for the viewing.
48. Criminal Minds : If you are a forensic science psychology junkie, check out this show. Investigators delve into the minds of criminals in order to catch them. Watch full episodes straight from your computer.
49. NCIS : This forensic science show is set in the navy. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service team investigates cases such as the death of the U.S. president's military aide, a bomb situation on a U.S. Navy warship, the death of a celebrity on a reality show set on a USMC base, terrorist threats, and kidnappings. The site also lets you watch full episodes.
50. Barney Miller : If you are a forensic science junkie who wants a humorous look behind the scenes, try this show from the 70’s. Some typical conflicts and long running plotlines included Miller's frustration with red tape and paperwork, his constant efforts to maintain order, and his numerous failed attempts to get a promotion. Plus, Hulu has many episodes available to view for free.
Whether a forensic scientist yourself, studying to become one, or just a passionate hobbyist, you can fill hours and get loads of expert information from the above 50 fascinating documentaries for forensic science junkies. If your wallet is unable to handle the strain, try renting them from a site like Netflix