What is it about true crime that is so compelling? Morbid fascination, escapism, tension and whodunnit speculation we can pore over in our WhatsApp groups (we’ve all been down a three-hour internet rabbit hole after watching an unnerving documentary). Plus, the more bizarre the circumstances and the greater the fall, the bigger the relief that it didn’t happen to us. Yes, we’ll admit it.
2022 is bringing the goods when it comes to even more bingeable stories, from harrowing documentaries to star-studded miniseries based on real life. Here are the ones to look out for next year...
This one is as bizarre as bizarre gets. The Netflix docuseries will tell the story of Sarma Melngailis (aka the 'queen of vegan cuisine'), known for raw food restaurants Pure Food And Wine and One Lucky Duck. Back in 2015, the celebrity restaurateur suddenly went off the grid after her employees walked out en masse, accusing her of not paying them. Soon enough, it transpired that Melngailis had stolen millions from her restaurants and gone on the run with then-husband Anthony Strangis. Turns out Strangis had actually conned her out of her wealth, promising that he could expand her food empire and make her beloved pit bull immortal. IMMORTAL.
Due to air on Netflix in 2022
Bringing together a star-studded British cast of Stephen Merchant, Sheridan Smith and Jaime Winstone, this factual three-part BBC One drama will unpack the harrowing story of real-life serial killer Stephen Port, who met and murdered four men he met on Grindr – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor – in 2014 and 2015. Heart-rending and condemning, it is set to delve into the failings of the Metropolitan Police’s investigations and tell the story from the point of view of the bereaved families and friends. Not one to miss.
Due to air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on 3rd January 2022
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman
Another one from Netflix’s extensive 2022 true crime slate, this three-part series from the team behind BAFTA-winning documentary The Imposter is about a conman who masqueraded as a British spy, financially devastating families by manipulating victims and stealing from them. He was convicted back in 2005 but, in a shocking twist, one of the families all of a sudden begins to fear for their mother in the present day.
Due to air on Netflix in January 2022
So it turns out that ghosting is definitely not the worst thing that can happen to you on a dating app… Directed by Felicity Morris (of terrifying Don’t F*** With Cats), this Netflix documentary tells the jaw-dropping story of conman Shimon Hayut, who managed to scam women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a billionaire Russian playboy named Simon Leviev on Tinder. Hayut eventually went to prison for fraud but was let out early – to the fury of the women still seeking justice. Even worse, it turns out his escapades weren’t quite over yet…
Due to air on Netflix in February 2022
Remember that viral New York Magazine article, "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People"? We finally have a Netflix drama miniseries, produced by TV legend Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton), so we can see all the juicy drama play out on our screens. We’ll see journalist Vivian (loosely based on NY Mag contributing editor Jessica Pressler, who broke the story) begin to investigate the case of Instagram-famous socialite Anna Delvey – actually a twentysomething fraudster named Anna Sorokin – who managed to convince New York's wealthiest elite that she was a billionaire German heiress. We can’t wait to watch the web of lies unravel against a backdrop of private jets, exclusive parties and luxury hotel accommodation.
Due to air on Netflix on 11th February 2022
Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King
We love the dedication of rabid internet sleuths but this time it’s personal. This documentary follows a group of investors who try to solve the unexpected death of Canadian cryptocurrency multimillionaire Gerry Cotten on his honeymoon in India. At the time of his death, his company owed investors $250 million – funds which duly vanished into the ether. Stranger still, the company kept his death secret for a month, leading many to believe he may still be alive…
Due to air on Netflix in 2022
Both Jennifer Lawrence and Amanda Seyfried will be taking on disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in upcoming portrayals but with Lawrence's stint in Apple Original biopic Bad Blood a little way off, we can focus on Seyfried's Hulu series first. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Holmes – once dubbed 'the next Steve Jobs' – became the youngest self-made female billionaire with her supposedly revolutionary health tech company, which claimed to accurately screen for hundreds of diseases using just a drop of blood. But she suffered a spectacular fall from grace after it transpired that it was all a scam, and she's currently standing trial on numerous charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Due to air on Disney+ on 3rd March 2022
The Gallows Pole
This six-part BBC drama series is being helmed by legendary This Is England director Shane Meadows – I mean, do we need any more reason to tune in? A meaty mix of true crime and period drama set in Yorkshire during the Industrial Revolution, it will follow the remarkable true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners. Together they staged a revolutionary criminal enterprise, including the creation of counterfeit gold coins, which toppled the economy and became one of the biggest fraud stories in British history. The very star-studded cast will include Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera and Cara Theobold, 1917’s George MacKay, Peaky Blinders star Samuel Edward-Cook and The Souvenir’s Tom Burke, as well as This Is England faves Michael Socha and Thomas Turgoose.
Due to air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2022