4 compelling real-life crimes that translated onto screen

2017-08-07 13:59

Anyone who has watched the footage of a real-life courtroom knows how tedious the technical terms and court-mandated procedures can be. It is nothing like the action you see in The Good Wife or Suits, with witty back-and-forth between lawyers and last-minute, case-winning evidence.

But then there are those real-life cases with even more suspense and intrigue than our favourite courtroom shows. With a record-breaking number of viewers, the media coverage of Oscar Pistorius’ trial in 2014 proved that there is a huge interest in what goes on behind the closed doors of the courtroom.

Here, we’ve listed four real-life trials that were intriguing enough to capture the public imagination, and which were later the basis for these fascinating documentaries:

  1. Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

This addictive HBO documentary series is about Robert Durst, the wealthy real estate mogul who was arrested in 2015 in connection with the execution-style killing of his close friend in 2000. 

It turns out that he was also acquitted for the murder of a neighbour in 2001, and that his wife went missing in 1982. She was never heard from again, and her body was never found. Written and directed by Andrew Jarecki, this series lets Durst tell his story in his own words, while interviewing those close to him and to the victims to let you decide on his guilt or innocence for yourself. The final episode contains an absolute bombshell, and it’s worth noting that Durst was arrested just before the finale aired in the USA. This is true-life crime viewing at its compulsive best.

Now is a good time to watch the documentary series, ahead of Durst’s upcoming murder trial, with damning evidence coming out in hearings that place him in LA, at the time his close friend was shot in her Beverly Hills home.

Watch now »

  1. Khuli Chana: Picking Up the Pieces

In this documentary, rising hip-hop star Khuli Chana tells the story of his career being halted in 2013 when the police shot him nine times with an automatic rifle in a case of mistaken identity. The documentary reveals more details about the incident as well as the financial settlement he reached after a legal case against the South African Police at the Johannesburg High Court in 2016, and how his life has changed since then. Watch now »

  1. Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart

This feature documents the first fully televised court case in the USA, the trial of Pamela Smart who was accused of murdering her husband in the 1990s. Smart was 22 years old at the time and became something of a celebrity in the US, as the audience watched every twist and turn that her case took, and became embroiled in the drama of the trial. The documentary focuses on the role the media played in the case, and will have you questioning just how much influence the coverage really had over proceedings. Watch now »

  1. 204: Getting Away With Murder

One of the most compelling trials in South Africa was the one that followed the murder of Brett Kebble. The investigation led to one of the most bizarre criminal conspiracies South Africa had ever seen. Kebble was a charismatic businessman who rose to fame in the mining industry and met his end in a hail of assassin’s bullets in 2005. The crime later implicated fellow businessman Glenn Agliotti and then-police commissioner Jackie Selebi. In the documentary, the confessed killers, Jackie Selebi, Glenn Agliotti and the Kebble family were interviewed, exposing the underworld of South African society. Watch now »

Check out all these documentaries on Showmax as well as Rectify, Seasons 1-4, a series that covers a fictional story of a man who was accused of rape and murder, and spent 19 years on Death Row, before new DNA evidence led to his release - but the case is anything but closed. Sign up for Showmax today and get a 14-day free trial!

Did you know if you're a DStv Premium customer, you now get Showmax at no extra cost? Find out more at here 


Read more on:    showmax  |  television
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.