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The True Crime Genre: Netflix's Lifesaver?

Netflix is having one of the most favorable moments as a company thanks to true crime. Will it be enough to recover the thousands of lost subscribers?

Frames from 'the watcher' and 'dahmer'

Photos: YT-Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: El género de true crime: ¿el salvavidas de Netflix?

Jeffrey Dahmer, Anna Delvey and Simon Leviev, in addition to being criminals, have in common that Netflix has dedicated a production to each of them. The three have gone viral on social networks, and have reached the point where many achieve some empathy with them.

The series based on the crimes of these characters, which range from multimillion-dollar scams, to serial murders or unsolved mysteries that generate terrorism (such as the recent "The Watcher"), are managing to be Netflix's solution in one of its most difficult moments as a streaming platform.

Why Do True Crime Drive Us Crazy?

Since last year, true crime has been highlighted as one of the favorite trends of people who watch series, movies, and documentaries. True crime is a subgenre within the audiovisual world that hosts productions based on real events. These can come in a series or movie format, also in a documentary or adaptation.

Generally, there has been a fascination of viewers with outlaw characters, as if a story fails to have much of an impact without an antagonist. When it comes to real criminals, it seems that we all want to know what is in this person's head, or what his past was in order to get closer to a conclusion about it.

When “The Tinder Swindler” hit the platform, social media was trivially filled with profile pictures of Simon Leviev, even though he had bankrupted dozens of women. There was also empathy for Anna Delvey when “Inventing Anna” came out. Many people empathized with her, even though she swindled various high-class entities and venues. The most recent has the digital universe full of memes of Evan Peters playing Jeffrey Dahmer in the serial killer series, although he dismembered his victims.

Also read:"Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story": Netflix's Most Disturbing True Crime

How Can Netflix Compete with the Other Platforms?

After the last season of "Stranger Things" it seemed that Netflix had stalled with respect to its competition. HBO Max had stood out with another season of "Euphoria" and the premiere of "House of the Dragon"; Prime Video defended itself with the “Lord of the Rings” series; and Disney+ had "Moon Knight" and "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law."

Most of the other platform hits were based on classic near-fantasy franchises and comic book adaptations. Netflix, lacking this material, has played heavily with true crime and has done well. In fact, two of the most successful Colombian Netflix series come from this subgenre: “Historia de un crimen: Colmenares” and “El robo del siglo”.

Last week we saw how a true crime like “The Watcher” was in charge of unseating another like "Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story". This is perhaps one of the few that can retain more subscribers after the massive abandonment that the platform suffered at the beginning of the year. The unknown is whether only this type of series can retain an audience, attract again the public that has already left them, or gain an audience that they have never had.