In the world of podcasts, true crime is the crown jewel of genres. Nothing hooks listeners quite like a mystery, especially one that actually happened.
Serial Season 1 is the most-discussed crime podcast in history; the story and style with how it was told back in 2014 inspired hundreds of storytellers. Serial led to the success of S-Town, another podcast by the same producers.
If you’re like millions of other listeners and true crime is your jam, here are five other must-binge podcasts:
Whether you are just being introduced to the true crime genre, or are an investigative story aficionado, Atlanta Monster will have you hooked from the first episode. The story is a deep-dive into a notorious string of killings and disappearances in Atlanta in the late 1970s and early 1980s – the Atlanta Child Murders.
Documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsay hosts the podcast, taking the listener back in time to understand why something that happened almost 40 years ago still haunts the local community. There are many unanswered questions from the original investigation in the late ‘70s, and Lindsay does a remarkable job of examining all sides without providing an opinion that sways the listener.
There’s another reason this podcast tops the list; the story isn’t just an investigation of a criminal act, but a close and rather unbiased look at the impact society and race play when people go missing.
Dirty John, hosted by Christopher Goffard of the LA Times, looks at human psychology – specifically, the nature of relationships.
The story focuses on the life and “exploits” of John Meehan. Goffard first came across Meehan when police were investigating a possible murder in Newport Beach, CA, leading Goffard to discover a web of abuse and manipulation.
Horrifyingly delightful. Of all the podcasts on this must-binge list, Sword & Scale is probably the most fitting for this genre. Each episode looks at the dark side of human nature – investigating the who, what, when, where, and why of the most horrific murder and rape cases in recent memory.
The podcast gives the listener a chance to hear all sides of the story, even the criminal’s. It is not for the faint of heart, however, as it discusses chilling and sensitive topics.
The podcast’s tagline is, “The worst monsters are real,” and just one or two episodes remind the listener that no crime is too brutal, and no victim is too pure.
In the Dark is one of my favorites because it delves into how a crime was investigated. Each season features one unexplained crime – hosted by investigative reporter Madeleine Baran – and focuses more on the law/order and criminal justice system surrounding it.
The newest season asks how the same suspect can be on trial six times for a quadruple murder. Baran not only interviews witnesses to recount the crime, but also looks at the individuals within the criminal justice system that have led to such a dysfunctional case.
Highly recommended to fans of investigative true crime stories, but not so much for those only interested in learning about the criminal act, crime, and victim.
Not a fan of stories about murder and rape? Looking for something less grisly?
Try Swindled, a podcast that provides tons of detail and insight into some of the wildest white-collar crimes in recent history. Fraud, bribery, insider trading – the list goes on. The podcast seeks to inform the listener about corporate injustices and does so in a very engaging manner.