There’s never been a better time to be a fan of true crime podcasts. But if you’ve found yourself depleting all your old favorites as you wait out the pandemic, we’re here to help you find your next obsession with a few of the best new true crime podcasts that we’ve been listening to lately!
Strange & Unexplained with Daisy Eagan
Hosted by Tony Award-winning actor and author Daisy Eagan, Strange & Unexplained takes listeners down all sorts of dark paths, from a family who begins receiving mysterious letters after moving into a new home to a cursed hotel to Bigfoot sightings. It isn’t all true crime, but there are enough murders and mysteries here to keep any true crime fan buzzing, and Eagan keeps the tone bouncing between eerie and humorous, making you chuckle even as you look over your shoulder.
It’s one thing to encounter a gripping true crime story retold by someone who is obsessed with the case but otherwise untouched by it. When the person investigating the story has a personal stake in it, however, that adds another layer of intensity. Such is the case with MANslaughter, in which accomplished author and playwright Dorothy Marcic adapts her acclaimed book, With One Shot, which examined the slaying of her uncle decades earlier. While his wife confessed to the crime, she got what Marcic believed was a shockingly light sentence, due to a series of secrets, cover-ups, and other twists and turns that are meticulously investigated in the episodes of MANslaughter.
The Apology Line
In 1980, New York artist Allan Bridge came up with a unique idea for a sort of collaborative art project. He set up an anonymous phone line where people could call in and “apologize their wrongs against people without jeopardizing themselves.” Going by the pseudonym Mr. Apology, Bridge recorded more than 1,000 hours of calls, with callers apologizing for everything from personal slights to infidelity to outright murder. In fact, one caller claimed to be a serial killer, and that caller shortly became Bridge’s obsession. Now his widow, Marissa Bridge, hosts The Apology Line podcast to tell what it was like to be on the sidelines of this strange experiment that turned chilling.
Related: The Best True Crime Podcasts of 2020
Welcome to Your Fantasy
One might expect an expose on the history of the Chippendales dancers—male exotic dancers who were a craze in the 1980s—to be sordid. There’s certainly the obligatory amount of sex, drugs, and illicit cash in this new podcast hosted by historian Natalia Petrzela, but what may be more surprising is that the history of the Chippendales also involves more than a little murder. In a historical podcast that veers between sensationalistic and human, funny and frightening, Petrzela introduces listeners to the larger-than-life world of the Chippendales—and the equally over-the-top people who populate it—and explores the dark corners of this glitzy story.
Sure, it debuted last year in the midst of the pandemic, but in case you missed it, Somebody is a wrenching investigative piece that speaks to our present moment in very real and intense ways. When Shapearl Wells’ son is found dead outside a Chicago police station, the official story doesn’t satisfy, kicking off an investigation that touches on the dramatic racial injustices that still plague our nation and that have galvanized society in the past year.
From Dateline and the team behind the hit podcast The Thing About Pam comes the unforgettable story of the disappearance and murder of J. J. Vallow, aged 7, and his sister Tylee Ryan, aged 16. Both were the children of Lori Vallow Daybell, who had recently married Chad Daybell just two weeks after the suspicious death of his wife. Lori’s previous husband had been killed by her brother, in what he claimed was self-defense. Further compounding this dark and bizarre mystery are the apocalyptic beliefs espoused by Daybell, which became the obsession of his new wife, and which may have led to the murders of her children, all of which is brought to light in this gripping new podcast.
How did a mom from the Midwest turn into an internet cult leader who left a trail of broken lives and even murder in her wake? That’s the focus of the first season of The Opportunist, which debuted in February of 2021. The series kicks off with the 2017 murder of Steve Mineo, and then traces the internet cult of which he was a member. It also covers the cult's leader, Sherry Shriner, who preached of alien “reptiles” and demons hiding amongst humanity and made money selling weapons that she claimed could protect her followers from them.
For those who like their cases a little on the colder side, this new podcast cracks open the untold story of “The Doodler,” a serial killer who stalked San Francisco’s gay community in the 1970s and was never caught, in spite of the fact that he may have claimed more victims than the Zodiac killer. So why did “The Doodler” walk free, and why haven’t we heard more about this “forgotten serial killer” over the years since? These are the questions that this new investigative podcast from the San Francisco Chronicle seeks to answer. While it’s only a few episodes in so far, we’re already hooked.
Related: 40+ Disturbing Serial Killers Who Will Keep You Up at Night
We tend to think of spies as something from the Cold War. However, in 2018, Maria Butina made headlines across the country and around the world when she was convicted of acting as a Russian agent within the United States, making inroads into political groups and the National Rifle Association as part of a ploy to do nothing less than affect the 2016 presidential election. But who was she, and how did she manage to get close to some of the richest and most powerful people in America? This new podcast from host Celia Aniskovich will seek to answer those very questions. Now is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor!
Related: Spy in the Bag: The Mysterious Death of Gareth Williams
Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer
Over a period of nearly two decades, a serial killer stalked Long Island, leaving the bodies of his victims along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. But who was he and why has the case remained unsolved for years? Could the killer have even been a member of law enforcement, using his connections and knowledge to hide his crimes and avoid detection? In this new podcast, hosts Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensen uncover the decades-old cold case, investigate allegations of police corruption, and try to get to the bottom of one of the most gruesome chapters in Long Island history.
Related: UPDATE: Investigators Release New Evidence in the Chilling, Years-Long Cold Case of the Long Island Serial Killer
Evil By Design
Peter Nygard is a millionaire fashion mogul who built a worldwide brand designing women’s clothing. He’s also been called “Canada’s Jeffrey Epstein,” accused of countless instances of rape, sex trafficking, and other heinous crimes. He currently sits in jail, awaiting extradition to the United States. Host Timothy Sawa spent nearly a decade investigating Nygard as a journalist at the CBC, and now he brings his considerable expertise to this podcast that examines the millionaire’s sordid history, the men and women who have accused him (including his own sons), and how the system allowed him to keep preying on them for so long.