Last week, NBC premiered Aquarius (and then posted the full season online), a gritty 1960s crime thriller in which a homicide detective (David Duchovny) finds himself involved in a missing persons case that will ultimately lead him to Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). The series isn’t great; it’s a mixed bag of procedural antics with Manson looming vaguely in the background. If you’re disappointed by the series and longing for a more realistic and intelligent look into the chilling life and crimes of Charles Manson — perhaps as a complement to the new, Manson-focused season of the film podcast You Must Remember This — here are the best books and movies to check out.
Widely considered the best and most thorough record of the Manson murders and trial, Helter Skelter provides an exhaustive account of one of the nation’s highest-profile criminal cases. In the true crime book, Bugliosi — the prosecutor in the Manson trial — provides a firsthand account of the case, from investigation to prosecution. Equally informative and chilling (the details are harrowing), Helter Skelter became a bestseller and a must-read.