8.0
2 votes
Great Crimes and Trials

Great Crimes and Trials

History 1993

Great Crimes and Trials is a documentary series narrated by Robert Powell. Featuring re-constructed and actual archive footage, the series charts the crimes of the most infamous villains ever including Dillinger, Manson, The Yorkshire Ripper, Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippen.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Great Crimes and Trials

#1 - Dr. Crippen

8.67

Season 1 - Episode 17

When an unassuming US doctor living in London in 1910 fell in love with his secretary, he was tied to a wife who he hated. His solution was murder. Dr Crippen and his mistress fled abroad and when a body was discovered in the cellar they tried to escape across the Atlantic. But one of the world’s first radio transmissions enabled the police to foil them.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 3 votes.

#2 - The Manson Family Murders

8.25

Season 1 - Episode 7

Charles Manson was the ultimate hippie leader with a difference. Together with his cult followers he pioneered a new revolution - a helter-skelter of bloody, calculated and remorseless killing that brought a new, sinister meaning to the term - ‘The Family’.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 4 votes.

#3 - The Hillside Stranglers

8.00

Season 1 - Episode 5

Within weeks, the hillsides around Los Angeles became the scene of a terrible carnage - more than ten strangled corpses. The police soon realised they were no longer dealing with a serial murderer but hunting something frighteningly new - two killers, who were out on a ‘spree’.

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 6 votes.

#4 - The Jonestown Massacre

8.00

Season 1 - Episode 8

It was a crime that defied the imagination. In November 1978, deep in the jungles of Guyana the Rev Jim Jones gathered nearly 1,000 devoted followers around him, and with a simple promise persuaded them to commit the greatest ‘revolutionary’ mass suicide of the 20th Century.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 6 votes.

#5 - Charles Starkweather - The Badlands Killer

8.00

Season 2 - Episode 1

Born in Nebraska, Charlie Starkweather was a dissolute teenager and self-styled rebel. He dreamt of becoming rich and of earning a fortune through crime. In 1958 he realised his fantasies when he set off on the outlaw trail with his schoolgirl lover, 14-year-old Caril Fugate, like a latter day Bonnie and Clyde. In his wake he left 11 motiveless murders until he was finally cornered, captured, and executed in the electric chair.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#6 - Richard Speck - The Nurse Killer

8.00

Season 2 - Episode 5

In July 1966 alcoholic ex-marine Richard Speck woke up in Chicago after a night on the town and heard a radio report which sickened him. Eight nurses had been raped and slaughtered in their home. When the police arrived to arrest him, Speck claimed that he had no knowledge of the crime, and he stuck to this story throughout his trial and imprisonment to a sentence of 400 to 1,000 years.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#7 - Richard Ramirez - The Night Stalker

8.00

Season 2 - Episode 18

During a two year rampage, a sadistic serial killer broke into the homes of families throughout California. He raped, mutilated and tortured more than 25 victims in one of the most vicious sprees in US criminal history. When Richard Ramirez was arrested on 25th August 1985 a bizarre story involving Satanism and cult worship began to emerge, and the killer seem to exercise an extraordinary hold over many people who attended his trial.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#8 - Wayne Williams - The Atlanta Killer

8.00

Season 2 - Episode 23

Experience has taught the Atlanta police department to expect about eight child murders a year - usually within families and usually quickly solved. But in 1979 they realised that they were dealing with a serial killer who preyed on young black children aged between 7 and 14. Before the nightmare was ended with the arrest of 23-year-old Wayne Williams in May 1981, there had been 28 victims, and a national manhunt was in progress.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#9 - John Dillinger - Public Enemy No. 1

7.80

Season 1 - Episode 6

In the world of gangsters, he was notorious, ruthless, a man destined to become a legend. He turned to crime out of boredom and soon found it was too addictive to give up. He blazed a trail across the States, robbing banks with a violent and authoritative ease.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 5 votes.

#10 - John Christie of Rillington Place

7.75

Season 1 - Episode 21

He had an obsession with disinfecting his flat. When he moved out, four bodies were discovered there and two more in the garden. When arrested it became horrifically clear that he had also killed a mother and child in 1949 - a crime for which another man had already been hanged.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 4 votes.

#11 - The Black Panther
7.75
Season 1 - Episode 22

When the kidnapping of a 17-year-old girl was linked to the brutal murder of three British subpostmasters the police knew they were dealing with a ruthless and callous killer. For the girl, the abduction ended in unimaginable horror. For the police it would take another eleven months and a chance encounter before the ‘Black Panther’ was eventually cornered.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 4 votes.

#12 - The Hammersmith Murders
7.67
Season 1 - Episode 24

Despite a massive police operation, he seemed to anticipate their every move. He loved to taunt and mock the detectives and killed with impunity. Eventually, he was trapped by bluff, but never caught. To this day no one has been charged.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 3 votes.

#13 - The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
7.63
Season 1 - Episode 1

It was a crime that shattered America. A case so improbable that nobody ever dreamed it could happen. Despite a ransom being paid, after 72 days the body of American legend Charles Lindbergh’s kidnapped baby son, was found murdered. A German carpenter was tried, sentenced and sent to the electric chair, but to this day it is not known if he acted alone…

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 8 votes.

#14 - Al Capone
7.60
Season 1 - Episode 3

On St Valentine’s Day 1929, the brutal massacre of six gangsters in a Chicago warehouse signalled the emergence of Al ‘Scarface’ Capone as the undisputed Godfather of crime. He was vain, violent and notoriously ruthless. A man who won ultimate respect by exacting total fear.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 5 votes.

#15 - The Green Beret Killings
7.00
Season 1 - Episode 9

American army doctor Jeffrey MacDonald seemed to have everything going for him, good looks, charm, a commission in the Green Berets, a pretty wife and two daughters. Then one night his wife and children were horrifically murdered. Had it not been for the determination of one person - his father-in-law - justice might never have been done.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 3 votes.

#16 - The Bamber Family Murders
7.00
Season 2 - Episode 8

After a desperate phone call appealing for help police raced to a remote farmhouse in Essex, to stop a hysterical young woman running amok with a loaded hunting rifle. They arrived to find her and her family dead, in an apparently straightforward mass shooting followed by suicide. But not everyone was satisfied with his verdict, and several months later the dead girl’s step brother was arrested and charged with carrying out what had almost become the perfect murder.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#17 - Hitler and the Nuremberg Trials
7.00
Season 2 - Episode 9

Hitler and his Nazi party dominated Germany for only 12 years. But during that short period they not only brought about a World War in which tens of millions of troops and civilians died, but were responsible for a cold-blooded policy of mass extermination directed against the Jews and other racial groups which the Nazis considered subhuman in which many more millions were slaughtered. When the Nazis had finally been defeated, the victorious alliance against them took the unprecedented step of putting their surviving leaders on trial at Nuremberg for ‘Crimes against Humanity’.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#18 - The Assassination of Martin Luther King
7.00
Season 2 - Episode 12

The last 1950s and 1960s were a time of turmoil in America as the Civil Rights movement fought against racial segregation. Its leader was the charismatic preacher Martin Luther King Jr, and his assassination in April 1968 allegedly by a lone gunman James Earl Ray, gave rise to endless conspiracy theories as to who had funded him to do so.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 1 votes.

#19 - Defeo and Benson - Inheritance Killers
7.00
Season 3 - Episode 9

None

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 2 votes.

#20 - Mark Chapman and the Killing of John Lennon
6.50
Season 3 - Episode 1

One man’s obsessive adoration of the world’s greatest rock star led to a transposition of personality and the death of John Lennon.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Great Crimes and Trials from 2 votes.

Last updated: dec 06, 2020

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