Serial and Making a Murder started a true crime craze. If you’re a fan of either, I recommend all of the following podcasts. They can be found on any podcast app or the Apple Ap store.
Forewarning: it becomes an obsession.
10. Unsolved Mysteries
I was hesitant to put this on the list, but decided my personal preferences shouldn’t matter. This podcast features some iconic unsolved murder mysteries such as the Somerton Man, The Zodiac Killer and The Black Dahlia. The show uses voice actors and music from the era of the murder. It’s similar to an old-timey radio show. It is very staged, in which the two hosts ask each other questions that they know the answers too already. That being said, it still is very thorough and detailed. The substance is there and the murders are very intriguing. I, personally, am not a fan of the podcast style, I feel that their technique is more geared toward children than adults (but obviously the subject matter is not). Some fans may like it better however, as they are trying to put the listener in the era and scene; to make it seem more real. Either way, the crimes they feature are very high profile and very intriguing.
9. In The Dark
In the Dark is a one case per season podcast that focuses on the high profile disappearances. Season one centers around the 1989 abduction and murder of eleven year old Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota. Wetterling’s case went unsolved for 27 years. This podcast picks up right after the confession of his killer in September 2016, and examines the entire case from start to finish. It features one host who breaks down the investigation and where it went wrong. It’s a very intriguing cold case (of which only 1% are ever solved) and it’s expertly researched. They are currently working on season 2, which will feature a new case.
8. The Vanished
The Vanished takes a slightly different approach to true crime podcasting. First of all, this podcast focuses solely on disappearances. Secondly, it tries to only profile cases that aren’t that popular. Thirdly, instead of one host explaining the case as they have researched it, each episode centers around an interview with a family member or close friend of the disappeared person/persons. The advantage of this is getting a first hand, in-depth look at the case, but the problem is that obviously the interviewee may be biased. The host, however, always tries to stick to the facts, even if the interviewee doesn’t.
7. The Trail Went Cold
Similar to the above, The Trail Went Cold focuses on little known cold cases. Each week it trades off between full episodes and mini episodes, so cases that don’t have much evidence or information, and therefore wouldn’t fill up a full hour, can still be highlighted and get the exposure that could solve their case. The host is an avid fan of Unsolved Mysteries and wrote for Listverse.com (one of my favorites!). It’s refreshing to find a podcast that chooses to profile little known cases, and it’s still just as interesting as the rest.
6. Up and Vanished
Up and Vanished has became something of its own beast. Long story short, Up and Vanished centers around the unsolved disappearance of schoolteacher and ex-beauty queen Tara Grinstead in 2005. This case perplexed a small town in Georgia for over a decade. Payne Lindsey traveled to Ocilla, Georgia, and began his investigation in 2016. The first episode was published August of 2016, and they only meant to run for one season. After episode 12 aired in February, it seemed like the story was coming to a close. Suddenly, at the end of February, the Ocilla police announced they had arrested someone for the murder of Tara Grinstead. From there, the story got wilder. Many people have credited the podcast for helping solve this case. It’s a wild ride that’s far from over!
Casefile is an Australian production, but they cover international cases. It started out with 20-30 minute episodes and now has expanded to hour long two-parters. It’s a very clean cut, organized and easy to follow podcast, considering it’s only one host, who is well researched and prepared. The script is clearly prewritten, instead of a more conversational podcast, but that’s what makes it so easy to follow. They feature a lot of Australian cases I was unfamiliar with. I highly recommend this podcast if you want to expand on your international cases.
4. Thinking Sideways
Thinking Sideways has three hosts, and it’s a very conversational podcast; they don’t know where the cases will take them. They don’t focus on only crime however, they will focus on any mystery, whether it be cryptography, aliens or a mysterious location. The three hosts take turns researching a topic and presenting it to the other hosts (who are aware of the topic and given time to research themselves). It leads to very interesting conversation and theories about each mystery, from three distinct perspectives. This podcast is not only for fans of true crime, but unsolved mysteries in general.
3. True Crime Garage
The race was tight for second, but I put True Crime Garage in third only because it sometimes lacks the seriousness of the other two (which I’m sure some people prefer). They also feature a new beer on each episode and give it a “garage rating” which is fun. However, True Crime Garage is one of the best researched true crime podcasts out there. Most of their cases go on to last 3 or 4 hours, broken up into a few hour episodes. They go super in-depth with each case (even more so than some documentaries on the same case). This podcast is for hardcore true crime fans who want to hear every detail of each case. Though I could do without some of the side comments (and I still don’t know what “jib” is?), I highly recommend this podcast. Check out their three part investigation of of The West Memphis Three (episodes 40-42).
2. Sword and Scale
Sword and Scale is probably the most famous true crime podcast on this list. They produce serious, in-depth investigations on international crimes, many times with interviews or audio clips. They don’t just discuss crimes, but also topics surrounding crime, such as the judicial system or the death penalty. They also often feature true crime authors.
1. Generation Why
Ah, Generation Why, my favorite true crime podcast. These two guys, Aaron and Justin, are generally pretty serious (though they occasionally crack a joke or two). However, they also produce super in-depth analyses of each crime they investigate. They don’t bullshit around- they get right into the details; a hardcore analysis of whichever crime they are explaining. Once all the facts have been discussed, they toss around theories. I suppose what they do is not necessarily different than other podcasts on this list, but they do it in such an intelligent, comprehensive, no-bullshit investigation on each case, it’s impossible to stop listening.
Though it starts as a true crime podcast, it doesn’t end that way.It spans the topics of murder, clocks, and treasure. This podcast, though controversial, it’s a beautifully executed and wonderfully told story of an american life.