Since the premier of Serial, the world of true crime podcasts has forever been changed. Suddenly, people who never cared for crime stories are tuning in and across the country and new podcasts are emerging with their own creepy twists.
With so many options, how can you know which ones are the best? We’re here to help. We’ve narrowed it down to 18 podcasts that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
My Favorite Murder
When it hit the scene in 2016, no one was quite sure what to make of the newbie in the true crime podcast community, especially the humorous tone these two ladies pride themselves on. But since then, the show has broken download records, sparked an enthusiastic “murderino” fanbase, and sold out a nationwide tour. Lifelong lovers of true crime, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark share their favorite tales of murder and mayhem and, above all, keep it comical.
Criminal is a bit different than your average crime podcast. This podcast gained its fame utilizing the same suspenseful storytelling that got the Serial fanbase hooked. But instead working step-by-step through the crime, Criminal walks alongside the people involved. Listeners follow the stories of people who have done wrong, been wronged, and those who were caught somewhere in between.
Casefile, which proclaims that “fact is scarier than fiction”, is noted by fans for its impeccable research and storytelling of each case. Based in Australia, the host who calls himself “anonymous” creates an aura filled equally with suspense and a sense of respect for the victims and their families. He doesn’t linger on the gruesome and gory details and moves through each episode with a sturdy, confident pace. Addictive, original and informative: You’ll find it all here.
Real Crime Profile
Former FBI profiler Jim Clemente, criminal behavioral analyst Laura Richards, and casting director for CBS’s Criminal Minds Lisa Zambetti team up to profile real criminal cases. You’ll hear insights on everything from the renowned Steven Avery Making a Murderer case to the O.J. Simpson trial, and so much more. They offer unique, straight-forward perspectives on cases both famous and not.
Truth and Justice
Truth and Justice is known as being the one of the few podcasts where listeners can actively participate with their thoughts and theories. Host Bob Ruff examines a new case each season, working step by step, using known and new evidence and the thoughts of listeners through each case. You can use a phone number and email to contact the team with your theories on the podcast’s website. Truth and Justice is in the midst of Season 5. Bob reopened a 24-year-old unsolved case of the vicious murders of three eight-year-old boys in 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Dedicated to investigating unsolved missing persons cases from across the globe, Thin Air is beloved for its narrative-driven stories, primary source interviews and hands-on investigative work. It blends detailed journalist reporting with genuine story-telling to create an all-encompassing listening experience.
Women lived in fear of the infamous Boston Strangler stalking their city from June 1952 to January 1964. During these months, he committed 13 known murders. These crimes include violent sexual assaults and strange stagings of the victims’ bodies. After a massive investigation erupted, Albert DeSalvo confessed to the crimes and went to prison. After being sentenced to life in prison, questions about his guilt began to spring up. This original 12-part weekly documentary podcast features never before heard voices, interviews with suspects, extensive original research and new conversations with the families of the victims. Host Portland Helmich takes listeners through every facet of this bizarre and unnerving case.
Host Dan Zupansky interviews a new author each week who has written about some of the most astounding killers of all time. Together, Zupansky and the writer work through the behind-the-scenes research and their inspiration for writing the story, all for your entertainment. Ever wondered how reality can be twisted to create thrilling fiction? Tune in to find out. In the past, our host has spoken with writers such as Kate Winkler Dawson, Diane Lake, Al Carlisle, William Phelps, and many, many more.
Despite having no formal training, hosts Devin, Joe and Steve meet up every week to piece together unsolved mysteries. Pure curiosity is what drives them. They’ll tackle weird noises, bizarre websites, and grisly suicides that look an awful lot like murders with an open, yet skeptical approach. In each hour-long episode, their goal is to provide an introduction to each unsolved mystery then allow the listener, if interested, to dig deeper. So if you’re looking to find a new mystery obsession, let this podcast lead the way.
Starting with the crime itself, then working through the investigation, trial, and ultimately, the verdict, Undisclosed looks into the wrongful convictions of the U.S. criminal justice system. Together, the team of Rabia Chaudry, Colin Miller and Susan Simpson uncover new evidence that never made it to court and try to determine if the accused party is truly guilty. Their debut investigation covered The State vs. Adnan Syed. Currently in progress is the case of The State vs. Joey Watkins.
The Vanished aims to put forgotten missing persons back in the public focus and give their story more weight. The hosts turn each case into far more than just a face and a name. Listeners call it well-researched and exciting. The Vanished is also lauded for its empathy towards family members and friends of the victims. It’s renowned for its riveting storytelling, but more importantly, for the increased potential for these cases to be solved by making people more aware.
Someone Knows Something
In 1964, Charles Moore and Henry Dee, two black teenagers, were found dead in the Mississippi River. Although it was clear that the Ku Klux Klan had been involved, the case was quickly dropped, and charges were never brought. In the podcast’s debut cold case, host David Ridgen teams up with a victim’s brother, Thomas Moore, as they return to Mississippi 40 years later to uncover the truth, confront the Klansmen involved, and seek justice. Two previous seasons follow different, equally compelling cases.
Up and Vanished
What happened to Tara Grinstead? Up and Vanished investigates the unsolved disappearance of former George Beauty Queen and high school teacher, Tara Grinstead. She vanished 11 years ago without a trace. Her case file became the largest in Georgia history. Host Payne Lindsay, a documentarian and amateur investigator, examines old evidence while uncovering new information through in-person interviews and fresh investigative strategies. He brings listeners along with him as he tries to answer the case’s many questions.
In the Dark
In Season 1, reporter Madeleine Baran investigates the 27-year-old case of the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota. She reveals how law enforcement at the time mishandled perhaps one of the most notorious child abductions in the country. Jacob’s case ignited fears which led to the “stranger danger” idea and national sex-offender registries. Season 2 in currently in production.
Long time friends Aaron and Justin discuss famed theories and share their opinions on unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries and true crime. If you’re looking to dip your toe into true crime podcasts, Generation Why is a good place to start. They’re casual and fun. Don’t expect anything ground-breaking, but these guys work with all types of cases and offer a well-rounded approach. New to crime podcasting? Start here.
The hosts: two journalists from well-respected newspapers. The topics: in-depth analysis of murder cases with questionable verdicts. In Season 1, the podcast pieced together the case of Elizabeth Andes who was found murdered in her apartment in Ohio in 1978. In a matter of hours, police and prosecutors closed the case. However, one serious question remained: Was the right guy imprisoned or did the killer walk free? Season 2 investigates the murder of 54-year-old Retha Welch and the man who was convicted, then acquitted years later. Now, the case has been reopened.
Hollywood and Crime
In Los Angeles, January 1947, the body of a star-struck young woman named Elizabeth Short was discovered, severed at the waist. From this moment forward, she would forever be remembered as the Black Dahlia. Her case remains one of the most infamous unsolved cases in the world. But what few people realize is that dozens of women died by similar circumstances in Los Angeles around the same time. Podcast host Tracy Pattin investigates these gruesome reports, uncovers new evidence, and proposes fresh ideas for these long-forgotten cases.
How could this list be complete without the one that started it all? Over the course of a season, Serial runs an in-depth investigation into an unsolved case. Original investigation, in-person interviews, sensitive, but forward investigative techniques are all that brought this podcast it’s fame. Season 1 blew the true crime podcast scene away and brought in an entirely new audience of listeners. Season 2 had a similar effect, and Season 3 in currently underway with the expected release date in early 2018.
Featured photo via My Favorite Murder