True Crime Podcasts
True crime is a non-fiction literary genre that involves actual crimes and the actions of real people. The genre is explored in numerous movies, TV shows, documentaries, books, audiobooks, and podcasts. A podcast is a digital audio file that a user can download to a personal device.
With most true crime podcasts, the author, or team of authors focuses on telling the story of unsolved murders, crimes, or mysterious missing person cases. Often, the murders are the work of serial killers. At other times, authors re-examine the evidence in high-profile murder cases such as O.J. Simpson and Jon-Benet Ramsey.
For the most part, the true-crime genre is just like any other. However, the popularity of delivering true crime stories via podcasts has grown considerably during the past five years. There are literally hundreds of stories that investigate everything from urban legends like Bigfoot to cold cases and more. Uniquely, the format draws listeners in, allows them to develop their own theories. In some cases, listeners get involved in helping to solve the crime Listeners become engaged in online discussion forums, social media groups, message boards, and more. They offer up their own theories about what may have happened. Also, they contribute their own research, track down data and information, help make connections, and more.
List of the Best True Crime Podcasts
The following is a list of the best true crime podcasts.
Bear Brook is a story about how amateur investigators and new forensic techniques help solve a 30-year old cold case. It begins when a group of kids finds a barrel hidden in the woods. Inside the barrel were two decomposed bodies. Visit the Bear Brook website for episodes, case timelines, transcripts, and more.
Larry Nassar, an Olympic gymnastics doctor, abused hundreds of girls over a span of 20 years? The audio series takes an inside look at how a team of women tirelessly pursued and won a sexual abuse conviction against the doctor.
Listen to Believed on Apple Podcasts.
Criminal is an award-winning podcast about true crime. It involves stories about real people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. The Criminal podcast launched in January 2014, and new episodes come out twice a month, always on Fridays. The show is part of the Radiotopia network from PRX.
It is one of the most recommended and most popular podcasts in the world and has been featured in “Best of” lists in Time, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, and Wired.
Visit the website for information about the show, its creators, the schedule, episodes, and more.
Dirty John is a story about a woman named Debra Newell who meets a man named John Meehan. On the surface, John appears to have it all together. He’s good-looking, successful, and driven. However, Debra’s family and friends don’t like him. Turns out, their hunch about him was right. John turns out to be a con artist and master manipulator.
The Dirty John podcast is hosted by L.A. Times newspaper reporter Christopher Goffard.
Download Dirty John on Apple Podcasts.
In The Dark
Produced by American Public Media (APM), in The Dark is a true-crime podcast that focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling. Hosted by Madeleine Baran and other reports, the first season looks at the abduction and the sheriff investigating the case. Apple Podcasts.
Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo
CBC news investigative reporter Connie Walker joins the effort to find out what happened to Cleo.
My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is the hit true-crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and sparked an enthusiastic, interactive “Murderino” fan base who come out in droves for their sold-out worldwide tours.
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. The show has multiple seasons, following one story during the course of a season. The first season, called the Alibi, was popular enough to become a Netflix documentary and is a great example of why true crime podcasts are so fascinating. Episode by episode, the show follows the events surrounding the disappearance of a popular high school girl. Several weeks later, the police arrest her classmate Adnan Syed for her murder.
Serial won a number of awards, so if you’re looking for a place to start, this is a good bet.
Undisclosed is a podcast about a group of people who investigate wrongful convictions. The trio takes an in-depth look at everything including the crime, investigation, trial, verdict, and more. Ultimately, they seek to uncover new evidence and overturn the conviction.
Visit the office website for information on current and past seasons. Also, you’ll find case files, cast updates, and more.
Up and Vanished
Payne Lindsey produces a true-crime documentary about unsolved missing person case from Ocilla, Georgia. A high school teacher disappears in October 2005.
Where to Get Podcasts
- Apple – Apply offers a catalog of millions of podcasts, from the biggest celebrities to unknown independents. If you’re a true crime junkie, Apple is one of the best places to get your fix.
- Audible – Audible has a library of more than 60,000 audio casts and is growing rapidly.
- Google – Google has a wide variety in a number of popular categories including news and politics, sports & recreation, self-help, education, and many more.
- Pandora – Pandora has a wide variety of categories including daily news, music, business, comedy, and more.
- Stitcher – Stitcher supports podcasters, listeners, and advertisers. With a network of top-ranked original shows and a deep library of content filled with every genre imaginable.
- RadioPublic – RadioPublic helps podcasters succeed with tools for marketing, promotion, monetizaton, and more.