A round up of the most disturbing, morbid, dynamic, and obsession-worthy true crime podcasts!
While I've always been interested in true crime stories, this has become a full-blown obsession lately. I'm not sure if it's the preponderance of true crime stories at every turn (see: The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, Making a Murderer, Amanda Knox, etc.), or if it's just this time of year that gets my interest piqued in the dark and dreary, but it's gotten to the point that I end up forcing myself to seek out lighter, fluffier, non-true crime stories just to keep myself in check. For me, the more morbid, the spookier, the scarier, the more disturbing and twisted, the better. I don't know what that says about me, but it is what it is. I've rounded up some of my favorite true crime podcasts of late. Some are super dark (Casefile gives me nightmares), some are disturbing in their lightness and joviality in discussing such horrible subject matter (looking at you Last Podcast) and some are just truly mesmerizing in that can't get enough style (Serial). In no particular order, here's what I'm digging lately in the true crime genre.
Accused: When Elizabeth Andes was found murdered in her Ohio apartment in 1978, police and prosecutors decided within hours it was an open-and-shut case. Two juries disagreed. The Cincinnati Enquirer investigates: Was the right guy charged, or did a killer walk free?
It's the new podcast obsession sweeping the nation. This story follows the unsolved murder of Beth Andes, a young woman who was brutally murdered in her apartment in 1978. Her then-boyfriend was charged and later acquitted, and no other suspects were ever charged. The podcast investigates who else could have been responsible for the murder and what happens when you are accused.
Casefile: Fact is scarier than fiction. Casefile, a true crime podcast. Each episode explores a new case. The shocking, the terrifying, the strange, the unsolved.
This is by far the scariest of the bunch. Each episode follows a different case as the narrator tells the tale from start to finish. Eerie music and the narrator's deep and ominous voice coupled with truly horrifying crimes makes this one that will have you sleeping with the lights on.
Real Crime Profile: Jim Clemente, Laura Richards and Lisa Zambetti profile behavior from real criminal cases.
My friend Allie turned me into this months ago and it quickly became appointment listening each week. An all-star team of FBI profiler Jim Clemente and New Scotland Yard behavioral analyst Laura Richards makes this an insightful, engaging and often unsettling listen. They really go deep on each case they tackle (like just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about the OJ Simpson case, they manage to unearth even more details). Also I kind of have a crush on them. They've covered OJ, Steven Avery, Oscar Pistorious and most recently JonBenet Ramsey. They truly make a compelling case for each investigation.
My Favorite Murder: Ready yourself for a murder adventure hosted by two lifelong fans of true crime stories. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. Check your anxiety at the door, 'cause Karen & Georgia are dying to discuss death.
I recently learned about My Favorite Murder after reading about it on Cupcakes & Cashmere. First of all, is this not the most perfect title of a podcast, ever?! I love this lighter take on true crime wrap-ups. Georgia and Karen are hilarious and fun, and remind me of sitting around with friends, dishing dirty disgusting details, but somehow laughing through it.
Crime Writers On: The show is called Crime Writers On... and it all came together when we got some fellow writers together discuss the blockbuster podcast Serial. It's since morphed into a broader conversation about true crime, journalism, and pop culture.
This is a new one in my playlist. It's light and smart, and a nice change of perspective on well-known criminal cases. Yesterday I listened to the JonBenet wrap up, and found myself shaking my head in agreement throughout the episode.
Serial, season 1: A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death.
The holy grail of true crime podcasts and a must in any podcast starter pack. Like so many other people, this is the first podcast I ever listened to and I was not only hooked from the first few minutes, but it launched a full-blown podcast obsession. At the urging of a colleague, Podcast maven Sarah Koenig takes the listener on a dynamic investigation of Adnan Syed, a man convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend 18 years ago. But did he really do it?
Sword & Scale: Sword and Scale coverd the dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it. Everything from 911 calls to court testimony, interviews with victims and sometimes with perpetrators give listeners a 360 degree look at the entire story.
This is a new one in my podcast collection. Sword & Scale investigates real crimes in more of a documentary style, featuring interviews with those involved in the case, from victims to law enforcement.
In the Dark: Child abductions are rare crimes. And they're typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids and led to the nation's sex-offender registries.
Like Accused, this one is also on the hot list right now. It's incredibly well-produced and has that same Serial-esque quality that I love. It's a terrible, disturbing story and every parent's worst nightmare, but it's an interesting look into investigation protocols.
Last Podcast on the Left: Every week Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks explore the horrors of the world both imagined and real.
I found Last Podcast on the Left from My Favorite Murder as the hosts are big fans of the show and mention it often. I decided to give it a whirl...it's a totally different sort of podcast than all the others, though not so far off from MFM. It's a comedy first, true crime podcast second. If you are offended by comedians making fun of those departed and the crimes that put them there, then this is not for you. I'm still on the fence.
So there you have it. My not so short-winded attempt to bring you all of the true crime podcasts I'm digging lately. Do you like true crime? Any other podcasts to add to this list?