Court Is In Session
Trial 4 is a hard hitting, emotionally stirring series and one that brings to light some of the issues inherent with the American justice system. If you’ve finished streaming this on Netflix, you may be looking for something similar to watch. So where do you start?
Well, fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle of having to try and find something similar with our top 10 picks for alternate viewing.
To keep things simple for skim-readers we’ve added what similarities these have.
Of course for all the shows we’ve reviewed, we’ve also added a handy link so you can check out our full thoughts on that series and see if it’s something you want to invest your time with.
So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming Trial 4.
When They See Us
Similarities – Racial Inequality & True Story
Split across four feature-length episodes, When They See Us is a brutal, sobering look at racial inequality within the American Justice system.
Coerced into admitting to a rape they didn’t commit, five black teenagers are pinned down for the rape and severe assault of a white jogger running through Central Park at night. With their stories failing to add up and the police under pressure to make an arrest, they coerce all the teenagers, some of which under the legal age, into admitting to the crime and hurriedly put them on trial.
It’s a shocking, emotionally stirring mini-series but an essential watch for sure.
The Central Park Five
Similarities – Documentary
While not a show per-se, naturally it would only be right to follow up recommending 2019’s incredible mini-series When They See Us with the true story behind the case that shocked America.
Created by legendary documentary creator, Ken Burns, The Central Park Five examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
Shocking, thought provoking and emotionally stirring – this is a really powerful documentary.
Similarities – Racial Inequality & Protests
Culturally relevant and stylishly presented, Seven Seconds is an interesting and absorbing crime drama. The thought provoking racial undertones play heavily into the series’ moody plot but at a little over 10 hours, Seven Seconds does take its time getting to the meat of the story.
The story begins with a policeman, Peter Jablonski, hitting a 15 year old African-American black teenager, Brendan Butler.
Convinced this could fuel another race-related riot like those seen in Ferguson and Charlotte, the men cover up the crime scene and hope for the best.
With a narrative focus shifting between different sets of people, Seven Seconds examines all angles of this case and does so with some gripping feature-length episodes and a sobering finale. This is another very good show.
TIME: Kalief Browder Story
Similarities – Racial Inequality & Story
Following on from the success of Making A Murderer several years earlier, The Kalief Browder story is a shocking, heart wrenching tragedy depicting the corruption and failure of the American Justice System. Kalief Browder was convicted with no evidence and an unreliable witness.
Starting with a brief overview of the way police in The Bronx operate and Kalief’s family history, the 6 episodes chronicle the life of Kalief who defiantly stood up against a corrupt system and paid a heavy price for it. From solitary confinement to multiple beatings and suicide attempts, TIME asks bigger questions around the validity of the justice system and whether serious reform needs to happen.
Out of all the choices on this list, TIME is the one that bears the most similarities.
The Confession Tapes
Similarities – Documentary
This true crime documentary sheds light on the darker side of law enforcement. With an unbiased approach to each story and interviews with people on both sides of the law, each story is presented in a fair and thought provoking manner.
Each case leans heavily on real life footage capturing shocking coerced confessions in interview rooms and scrutinizes the manner in which each is gained.
The cases are shrouded in enough mystery to cast doubts about the validity in which they’re gained and the episodic cases (with the exception of the two part opener) are wrapped up in a tidy 45 minutes.
Similarities – Fighting The System
The story of an innocent black man being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit is a troubling tale that’s all too common in the United States. What happens then when that same innocent man becomes a lawyer and fights to overturn a corrupt decision? Step forward ABC’s latest crime drama For Life.
Loosely based on the true story of Isaac Wright Jr., For Life is a 13 episode drama that interweaves prison politics with one man’s crusade (Aaron Wallace) to fight injustice, one case at a time in the court-room. With a second season green-lit and lots of unresolved talking points, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Wallace making it the perfect series to dive into right now.
Making A Murderer
Similarities – Questionable Case & Corrupt Police
The Granddaddy of them all; Making A Murderer made serious waves in the true crime documentary scene when it dropped on Netflix in 2015. The emotional outpouring of support and contradiction toward this serialized documentary essentially paved the way for a new line of questions to be directed toward the police force.
While the documentary does noticeably omit some important details surrounding the case, it undeniably shows the level of corruption within certain parts of the police force.
Filmed over a 10-year period, that corruption weighs heavy on the shoulders of Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.
Similarities – Documentary & Police Force
Much like last year’s hard-hitting Netflix documentary series Shot In The Dark, Flint Town is an unflinching look at the hardships facing a police force at breaking point.
Taking place in Flint Town nestled in the state of Michigan, this 8 part documentary follows the lives of police officers hit hard by funding cuts that have seen their police force shrink substantially, struggling to tackle rising crime rates.
A different flavour for sure, this cop-centric documentary is no less hard hitting and certainly worth a watch.
The Last Defence
Similarities – Documentary
Episodic documentary The Last Defence is an emotional and in-depth docu-series that looks at death row cases and exposes flaws in the US justice system. The cases are shocking, incredibly raw and certainly do well to raise some serious questions about what happened.
The first season, clocking in at 7 episodes, is essentially split into two separate cases so there’s plenty of material to chew through. Predictably this is skewed in favour of the defence for a lot of the run-time, but there’s enough weight to the arguments to look past this.
American Crime Story: The People VS O.J. Simpson
Similarities – True Story
Is O.J. Simpson a murderer? It’s a question that’s plagued the minds of people since the infamous case occurred back in 1994 and it’s something that continues to be a big talking point today.
American Crime Story’s first season is a dramatized recreation of that infamous case, playing out as a courtroom drama with solid acting and some tightly refined camera work.
The tense and dramatic way this case unfolds is something that’s really endearing and partly the reason it works as well as it does.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show picks to pick up when you’re finished with Trial 4
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!