The popularity of true crime has been on the rise. From books like I’ll Be Gone In the Dark to TV shows like Making A Murderer, a lot of us have developed a morbid fascination with crime. But ever since 2014, a new medium for the genre have popped up: the podcast.
The Serial podcast introduced us to a different way to consume these stories of mystery and villainy. Other podcasts quickly joined the fray, and now we’re practically drowning in them. Not that we’re complaining about all of the choices, but it can be difficult deciding what to listen to next.
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Which is why, of course, we’ve put together a list. Here are 10 True Crime Podcasts You Should Be Listening To. Other than Serial, naturally.
“I’m Phoebe Judge and this is Criminal.” Listeners will no doubt find themselves mumbling that tagline to themselves upon getting hooked on this podcast. But the host’s voice isn’t the only attractive thing about the show. Unlike Serial, journalist and podcast host Phoebe Judge focuses on a different crime each episode and its focus is not investigative; rather, the podcast seeks to tell stories. Some are tragic, but there are those that are poignant or even funny.
Criminal currently has over 100 episodes and adds new stories every two weeks. For people who don’t want to start from the beginning, we recommend episode 100, “Ten Thousand Feet In the Air.” It’s one of Criminal’s few two-part episodes, and it’s definitely worth a listen.
9 My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is a true crime comedy podcast, which seems like an oxymoron. Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark acknowledge this, but make it clear that their intention is not to make murder funny. They’re just two people who enjoy true crime and decided to make a podcast out of telling each other about interesting murders they’d read up on or watched a show about. It just so happens that the two of them are quite funny together.
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The podcast is ongoing and updates weekly with new episodes and “minisodes,” in which fans (called Murderinos) write in about murders that happened in their hometowns. Like Criminal, each episode focuses on different cases, so potential listeners can start wherever they want. For a good place to start, we recommend episode 129, “Coincidence Island.”
8 The Teacher’s Pet
The focus of The Teacher’s Pet podcast is the disappearance of an Australian woman, Lynette Dawson, back in 1982. The host, The Australian’s Hedley Thomas, delves into this unsolved case, uncovering new evidence and trying to figure out why Lyn’s husband, Chris Dawson, was never indicted. It’s a heartbreaking and frustrating case to listen to, but well worth it. Thomas does an excellent job interviewing and researching, even when the incident happened over 30 years ago.
While the main show has come to an end, Thomas still occasionally uploads new episodes, whenever there is an update in the case. The last update was in December of last year, leaving the final episode count at 16.
7 Dr. Death
Dr. Death is as frightening as it sounds, but not for the reasons that people think. The title sounds like it might be some kind of horror movie, but the podcast is less scary in the “being chased by an ax murderer” kind of way and more scary in a “this could happen to anyone,” kind of way. The podcast focuses on Christopher Duntsch, a surgeon who maimed and on two occasions killed patients on the operating table. The stories of what he did to these people are honestly horrifying and the podcast is not recommended for the squeamish. But the frightening part is not what Duntsch did, but rather, how the medical community didn’t stop him.
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Wondry, the same podcast network responsible for Dirty John produced Dr. Death, so listeners can rest assured that this podcast is worth the time. And it’s only 10 episodes long, so we recommend giving it a try.
The concept for Casefile is a simple one. Each episode consists of an anonymous Australian host reading a very well-researched tale of murder. And that’s it. It’s the simplicity that makes this podcast so appealing and easy to listen to (well, as easy as descriptions of murder can be to listen to). While all of those serialized shows are exciting to listen to, sometimes it’s nice just getting the straight facts and finding out about some of the most infamous murderers and serial killers in history.
Casefile has released over 100 episodes, which means for those listeners wanting something they can binge for weeks on end, this show is perfect. The five-part series the creators did about the Golden State Killer is especially worth listening to. The first part is called, “Case 53: The East Area Rapist – 1976”.
5 Uncover: Escaping NXIVM
Cults are just as fascinating as serial killers in the world of true crime, and Uncover: Escaping NXIVM brings us into that world. The story focuses on a woman named Sarah Edmondson who managed to escape a cult masquerading as a self-help group. This is the same group that Smallville star Allison Mack had been a part of and led her to getting arrested for sex trafficking. The story is wild and hearing about how people, even celebrities, got roped into this is even crazier.
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The show is short with only 7 full episodes, but it tells a lot of story in those 7 episodes. There is also a season 2, but it focuses on an entirely different story–the deadly crash of Canadian Pacific Flight 21.
4 Someone Knows Something
Created by award-winning filmmaker David Ridgen, it’s really no wonder Someone Knows Something is so well-made. His narrations take listeners into the moment and his interviews with his main subjects feel intimate and personal. He doesn’t bother removing himself from the story and instead becomes the listeners’ eyes and ears throughout the investigation of these cold cases. Every season follows a different case, all of which are worth listening to.
So far, there are five seasons and each season is around 10 episodes long. All of the stories told in the podcast are worth listening to, but we particularly enjoyed the latest season. Ridgen looks into the rape and murder of Kerrie Ann Brown in 1986. The story itself is obviously terrible, but the moments in which we hear how this case has affected Brown’s family is incredibly heartbreaking.
3 Missing & Murdered
Missing & Murdered is another podcast from CBC Radio, which is responsible for producing Someone Knows Something. Like SKS, this podcast follows unsolved cases, but what sets Missing & Murdered apart is the subject matter. Host and investigative reporter Connie Walker shines a light on the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women through specific cases. And not only that, it informs the audience of Canada’s dark history regarding their relationship with the First Nations people, which is something we’re sure not a lot of people know about.
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The show only has 2 seasons, but both are worth listening to. These are stories of the types of people the system and society and even true crime stories leave behind. But both Alberta Williams and Cleo deserve to have their stories heard.
Sleuth separates itself from other true crime podcasts due to the fact that host and journalist Linda Sawyer takes her audience right into the courtroom. In the first few episodes, she outlines the story of the murder of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi by their friend Daniel Wozniak. She interviews lawyers involved in the case as well as friends and family, and while Wozniak is already on death row by the time the podcast begins, his ex-fiance is about to go on trial, and Sawyer takes us right into the action. It’s an interesting take on the true crime podcast, one that lets us listen to actual moments in court.
Season 1 of Sleuth has come to a close at the beginning of the year, leaving the episode count at 22. There is one episode that is 200 minutes long though, so it feels like it’s a bit more than that.
1 Pretend Radio: The Prophet
So Pretend Radio isn’t inherently a true crime podcast. The tagline is, “Stories about real people pretending to be someone else.” Some of the episodes are about true crime, others are more psychological in nature. But in season 3 of his show, host Javier Leiva decides to take a different approach and focuses the entire season on one topic: The Word of Faith Fellowship. The concept of religious cults is nothing new to true crime buffs, but what makes this podcast stand out is the fact that the host inadvertently becomes part of the story.
Each season is around 10 episodes long, but only the third focuses on The Word of Faith Fellowship. Still, the other seasons have some interesting stories that are also worth a listen.
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What are you must-listen true crime podcasts? Let us know in the comments!