Missing Dead or Alive: Is the Netflix show based on real cases?

This new and popular Netflix show has fans wondering if the cases are inspired by real events

missing dead or alive
(Image credit: NETFLIX)

A new true crime show on Netflix has fans wondering if the cases explored in the series are based on real events... here's what we know about Missing: Dead or Alive. 

Let's face it: true crime series, fictional or not, never cease to gain explosive popularity overnight. Just look at successful shows like All About Pam (starring our fave, Renée Zellweger), The Girl From Plainville, and The Dropout. They all are shows based on real crimes, making the stories that much more intriguing. 

The brand new four-part docuseries Missing: Dead or Alive, which just aired on Netflix on May 10, follows that same formula - taking true crime to the next level by giving deep dives into the lives of investigators and officers who are on four separate missing persons cases.

Despite the grisly subject manner, the show poises itself as an addicting watch, with four separate cases that get highlighted for each episode - but is the subject matter true? Here's what we know about Missing: Dead or Alive. 

Is 'Missing: Dead or Alive' based on real cases?

Since Missing: Dead or Alive is a true crime series, yes, all of these cases are real. Every story follows a band of police and investigators who are out to search for the truth on missing persons cases in South Carolina. 

The cases of missing persons span a wide range of people, from a 10-year-old girl to a mom of an Iraq war veteran. 

During the series, we are introduced to a group of real investigators who worked on these cases, including Vicki Rains, who was a cop for 22 years, JP Smith, who has been in law enforcement for 40, and Heidi Jackson, who oversees the Missing Persons Unit. This show follows those officers as they, "urgently search for individuals who’ve disappeared under troubling circumstances," says Netflix's official synopsis.

missing dead or alive

(Image credit: NETFLIX)

At the beginning of episode 1, Netflix highlights some chilling statistics about missing persons cases, saying that 1,500 people go missing in America every day - and the first 24 to 48 hours are the most important timeline in the investigation.

The series also uniquely gives viewers a sense of the life of a private investigator, and what keeps them going in the often stressful situations they have to face in their careers. "That’s what keeps me up at night – the need to find the person. When I think things look bad, we just need to keep an open mind. We should always keep hope," officer Vicki Rains says in the series.

Although there will be no new episodes released on Netflix, seeing as it's a limited docu-series, it's still worth watching if you're a true crime junkie. 

Madeline Merinuk
US Lifestyle News Writer

Madeline Merinuk is woman&home's US lifestyle news writer, covering celebrity, entertainment, fashion, and beauty news.

She graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in Journalism from Hofstra University, winning multiple student journalism awards, including a National Hearst Award, during her time there. After graduating, she worked at today.com, the digital site for the Today Show, where she wrote pop culture news and interviewed big-name personalities like Emily Ratajkowski, Haley Lu Richardson, Emma Corrin, and more.

Her personal interests, in no particular order, are: cheese, Joni Mitchell, reading, hot yoga, traveling, having multiple chapsticks in every handbag at all times, and dancing to ABBA songs as if she were in the Mamma Mia movies.