Baby Reindeer and 4 other gripping Netflix shows based on a true story

Baby Reindeer is all Netflix subscribers can talk about after binging through the seven episodes. Here are four other great shows based on real events.
Baby Reindeer. Ed Miller/Netflix.
Baby Reindeer. Ed Miller/Netflix. /

There's no shortage of gripping drama shows on Netflix; between the streamer's original series and titles it licenses each month, subscribers don't have to look far to become totally engrossed in a new story. And when those stories turn out to be true stories, another layer of emotion is added to the already-compelling narrative. It's easy to understand why writers and showrunners go after real events for the basis of their shows, while sometimes the writer constructs a story based on their own life, making their work all the more special.

When Netflix fans found out that Baby Reindeer, the Scottish dark comedy that took the world by storm when it debuted on April 11, was based on the creator and star's real life, people could hardly believe it. Each episode digs into the story of Donny Dunn (a fictionalized version of creator/star Richard Gadd) as he's stalked by a woman named Martha Scott. Gadd's vulnerability to shine a light on these traumatic parts of his life is incredibly inspiring and is part of the reason Baby Reindeer resonates with so many viewers.

If you're looking for great TV shows based on true stories, I've got you! Here are five of the best streaming on Netflix, including Baby Reindeer.

Baby Reindeer. Ed Miller/Netflix. /

Baby Reindeer

  • Release Date: April 11, 2024
  • Creator: Richard Gadd
  • Starring: Richard Gadd, Jessica Gunning, Nava Mau, Tom Goodman-Hill, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Nina Sosanya
  • Episode Count: 7

Baby Reindeer follows a Scottish twentysomething living in London who develops a close relationship with a woman who starts frequenting the bar he works at. Though he is apparently not interested in her romantically, there's a part of him who feels bad for her, and another part of him who feels lonely, so he pursues a friendship with her. But when he blurs the lines between flirting and friendship, she latches on to him and forms an unhealthy obsession that turns dangerous.

The series has its comedic moments, but mostly it's a very real look at someone trying to heal, which, yes, means there are incredibly emotional parts as well. Without giving major spoilers away, I will give this one a trigger warning for sexual assault. Though Baby Reindeer is an incredible story, it's important to know that it doesn't shy away from real-life issues that might upset or scar viewers.

Baby Reindeer still holds the #1 spot on Netflix's top 10 shows, and it's not surprising that fans are already calling for the show to be nominated (or even win) Emmy Awards during this year's ceremony in September.

Watch Baby Reindeer on Netflix



  • Release Date: Oct. 1, 2021
  • Creator: Molly Smith Metzler
  • Starring: Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Andie MacDowell, Anika Noni Rose, Billy Burke, Tracy Vilar
  • Episode Count: 10

Another emotional series on Netflix is Maid, loosely based on the memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. The Netflix Original follows a young woman named Alex, who after leaving an abusive relationship must learn how to fend for herself as a single mother raising a toddler. Choosing to leave her ex-boyfriend and move into a shelter is incredibly courageous, but that's only step one. Alex then finds a job as a maid and we watch her journey of finding her identity all while just trying to stay afloat.

Like Baby Reindeer, Maid is incredibly moving, with great performances and a gripping storyline that keeps you guessing throughout the 10 episodes. Maid received critical acclaim when it came out in 2021 and was nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.

Watch Maid on Netflix

Inventing Anna. (L to R) Julia Garner as Anna Delvery, Saamer Usmani as Chase Sikorski in episode 102 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Aaron Epstein/Netflix © 2021 /

Inventing Anna

  • Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
  • Creator: Shonda Rhimes
  • Starring: Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Arian Moayed, Katie Lowes, Alexis Floyd, Laverne Cox, Anders Holm
  • Episode Count: 9

Based on the wild story of real-life scammer Anna Sorokin, star Julia Garner was absolutely iconic in the starring role of Inventing Anna. The miniseries was based on The Cut's article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People," which exposed the cunning schemer for her crimes. It follows a journalist named Vivian Kent who writes a story on Anna Sorokin (who goes by the name Anna Delvey) as she awaits her trial.

Throughout the series, we learn where Anna came from and how she became one of New York's most popular socialites — without actually having any money to her name.

As each episode peels back the layers of how far Anna went for wealth and power, it becomes increasingly harder to believe how this all actually happened in real life. Inventing Anna was nominated for three Emmy Awards, along with one Golden Globe Award.

Watch Inventing Anna on Netflix

Crown Season 6
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The Crown

  • Release Date: Nov. 4, 2016
  • Creator: Peter Morgan
  • Starring: Olivia Colman, Jonathan Pryce, Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Vanessa Kirby, Elizabeth Debicki, Emma Corrin, Dominic West, Josh O'Connor, Gillian Anderson, Olivia Williams, Emerald Fennell
  • Episode Count: 60

Spanning nearly six decades following the Royal Family, it's no surprise that The Crown is a staple for Netflix and will go down as one of their best TV shows ever. Beginning with the life of Queen Elizabeth II after her marriage and ending with the death of Princess Diana and the marriage between Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles, if you're a fan of the British Monarchy (or just of history in general) you'd be remiss if you don't watch The Crown.

Though a dramatization of true events, The Crown is very delicate in the way it depicts these real people and their political maneuvering, personal lives, and unavoidable conflicts. The Netflix drama remained a favorite at award shows throughout its six seasons, winning an impressive 21 Emmy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards during its run.

Watch The Crown on Netflix

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MINDHUNTER - Patrick Harbron/Netflix /


  • Release Date: Oct. 13, 2017
  • Creator: Joe Penhall
  • Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross, Stacey Roca, Cotter Smith
  • Episode Count: 19

Last but not least is a short-lived crime thriller series that absolutely captivated Netflix viewers when it premiered in 2017. Mindhunter is based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, following FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench. The partners investigate crimes by interviewing serial killers to get a closer glimpse into the mind of a murderer. What makes someone commit a crime so horrible? That's what the two main characters of Mindhunter are determined to answer.

Although fans of the series were hoping for a third season, it looks like it'll likely never happen. Executive Producer David Fincher has spoken about the show's future many times, and while many are still holding out hope for another installment, we have no reason to believe that'll be a reality. Despite this, there's no reason to not watch the first two seasons if you haven't already. They're riveting, with strong performances and fascinating character studies of both the serial killers and the FBI agents who investigate them.

Mindhunter was nominated for two Emmy Awards during its run.

Watch Mindhunter on Netflix

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