Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields just hit the Netflix top 10 — stream or skip?

Kevin Petroff in Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix's latest true crime docuseries Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields, is a big success. Nearly immediately after its release, it's rocketed up the charts, sitting right behind its current mega-hit, Wednesday

So, this is a situation where being No. 2 is basically not that bad — as Wednesday has been setting records. Crime Scene, if you're not familiar, focuses on histories of crime in specific regions. Previous seasons have focused on Times Square and the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Right now, the Netflix Top 10 TV Shows list has it ranked #2 in the U.S., and FlixPatrol shows its been there since Wednesday (Nov. 30), the day after it released. It's been No. 3 in the UK through that window, and No. 2 in Canada and Australia for the last two to three days.

What is Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields?

A three-part limited series on Netflix, Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields is the third season of Netflix's limited-run true crime shows directed by Joe Berlinger. Except this season is directed by Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Jessica Dimmock. 

It focuses on the titular Texas region tied to the disappearances and subsequent deaths of multiple girls. Calder Road, a region made up of the marshes and oil refineries, lies between Houston and Galveston, and has four unsolved murders that the series focuses on.

If The Texas Killing Fields were to have a protagonist, it would be Jim Miller, father of Laura Miller — one of the women whose remains were found in the area. He is still working to solve cases of missing women tied to this land when they're not being aided by the police.

As we meet Miller, we learn that he believes these cases would be solved if the cops were working them. The series also looks at the cases of Ellen Beason, where the was a suspect: Clyde Hedrick.

Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields reviews — what critics say

Crime Scene: The Killing Fields doesn't have a lot of reviews (it doesn't even have a Rotten Tomatoes score). That said, we have found observations from two reviews. 

At Decider, Joel Keller writes that the series offers "a somewhat novel approach," by not rushing to try and find a resolution. He also notes "It’s refreshingly devoid of reenactments, though, relying more on scenes of people like Ted Miller looking at the markings they left where they’re loved ones were found, and archival news footage."

Tim Miller in Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields: Limited Series

(Image credit: Netflix)

Ricky Valero at ReadySteadyCut, though, pointed out that while "The three episodes all have important things that add to the overall product, but this is another case where we see a series that could’ve been one big documentary. I don’t love how Netflix (and other streaming platforms) make things longer than they should be."

His review is still positive, though, writing "I’ve seen so many of these crime docuseries and still am in shock at how in awe each of them leaves me. Each series has similar beats in structure, but the family’s heartfelt testimony always guts me. If you are a fan of these crime series, you will eat these series up like I did and walk away, blown away by how long these murders went on. I highly recommend checking Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields out."

Outlook: Should you watch Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Field tonight?

So, based on the above, there's one strong reason to watch and one to skip. The Texas Killing Fields separates itself from the field by being less forced with its approach to telling the stories of crimes. Some reenactments may be good, but many just seem like unnecessary illustrations. And, of course, this is another Netflix property that's a bit more-padded than it needs to be. 

That said, Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields looks like another home-run for Netflix's true crime team. I'd watch (if you haven't already) if you're a fan.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.