The Line Between Crime and Entertainment


Danielle Cosino

The true crime genre has taken storm through various media like YouTube videos, books, podcasts, documentaries, and series.

While the cases mentioned in the true crime genre are informative, perceiving them as just entertainment is unethical.

The true crime genre has taken storm through various media like YouTube videos, books, podcasts, documentaries, and series. There’s been a lot of debate surrounding the approach of covering these real-life cases of serial killers, murders, and kidnappings.

True crime is typically covered on YouTube through mukbangs, in which someone is eating food while discussing the case, and “get ready with me” (GRWM) videos. These types of videos water down the serious and heavy themes of the case since these YouTubers discuss gruesome details while casually doing their makeup or eating alfredo pasta.

However, there are other YouTube channels that exclusively focus on the case without the added element of doing a casual, unrelated activity which maintains the serious tone of the crime. Their videos provide in-depth details of the case since they’re created by current or previous experts in the criminal justice field. They’re also advocates of bringing justice to these victims and providing hope for current victims.

Some notable channels are JCS – Criminal Psychology, True Crime Daily, and Kendall Rae.

Netflix also has a plethora of true crime content.

The docu-series “Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer” covers the story of Canadian killer Luka Magnotta and how a group of people on Facebook tried to hunt him down via the internet.

While it’s satisfying watching these ordinary people from all over the world play detective on the internet, it didn’t highlight the actual victim, college student Jun Lin.

This cat-and-mouse chase between Magnotta and the Facebook group overshadowed who Lin was as an individual. In fact, the docu-series interviews Magnotta’s mother and asks how she feels about her son being a murderer but doesn’t follow up with Lin’s family.

More recently, Netflix received a lot of backlash for their new drama series “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

Even though the show emphasized on humanizing the victims and their families, many victims’ family members have expressed frustration towards Netflix for producing and releasing the series.

One of the victim’s family members, Eric Perry, tweeted:

“I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”


Furthermore, Perry tweeted that Netflix never reached out to their family.

“…To answer the main question, no, they don’t notify families when they do this… My family found out when everyone else did.”


The dramatization of these murderers is very harmful since it minimizes these cases into entertainment only and takes away the real-life aspect of the crime.

The most ethical way to produce true crime is to not let these murderers and kidnappers be the focus of the story. Lay out all the facts, don’t dramatize any details just because it would make “better television,” and be considerate of the victims’ families.

Remember that these are real cases involving real people. Be empathetic and conscious of the content that you’re intaking.

True crime is a great way to bring awareness to the victims of murder and kidnapping that would’ve never been heard of if it wasn’t for these various outlets; however, it must be done in a way where it truly brings light to these victims and advocates for real justice.