Published April 14th, 2021
What makes true-crime mysteries so interesting? It’s the fact that something so twisted and dark is happening in the same world that we live in. Also, the fact that a crime so vile is possibly happening right now in the same place we live in is frightening yet sparks our curiosity. Now, you might be one of those people who just cannot get enough of hearing about true-crime stories. If you are, you might want to try listening to podcasts about the topics of closed and unsolved mysteries.
Whether you’re a criminology student, a psychologist, or just overall interested in such topics, this article is for you. People everywhere are starting to get curious about the world of crime, thus the overall success of documentaries and movies about true crime. This topic is overall appropriate for adults, despite the stereotypical idea that true-crime fanatics are dark and twisted people. With that, let’s list down ten of the best true crime podcasts there is that you may be able to enjoy.
Best True Crime Podcasts
On the top of our list is what Up and Vanished host, Payne Lindsey, has described as “the holy grail” of true-crime podcasts. This podcast series’ release was in late 2014. Serial was intended to be a spin-off of This American Life. This podcast mainly talks about different crimes worldwide, the flaws in investigating those crimes, and comparing the good guys and the bad guys. During the show’s release, Serial was able to gain multiple critics and haters on her podcasts. Nonetheless, there is no denying that Serial is a success and seems to be doing well independently.
Criminal was released months before Serial did, around nine months earlier. This podcast is one of the first most successful podcasts under this genre. The show’s hosts and producers make it a point to expand true-crime stories as much as possible and dig out any underlying dirt there may be. Expanding stories allows the audience to have a clearer understanding of the mechanics behind each crime. The primary factor that makes Criminal such a success is how the host, Phoebe Judge, can garner the audience’s attention and not let go until the end of the episode. Judge can hold the audience’s attention for that long as she makes it her job to be “perfectly present in the story”, as Patrick Hinds of True Crime Obsessed said.
3. Up and Vanished
This podcast has a slightly different beginning to its success story. It began when host, Payne Lindsey, discussed a cold case he found on Google during his 20s and funded his show with his grandmother’s cookie business. The show did start on a rough patch, but eventually, it became a hit. Up and Vanished started by Lindsey going through the town in Georgia where Tara Grinstead vanished in 2005. He brought the audience with him during his adventure to Georgia. At one point, he even crawled under a house with his microphone stuck to his body. That’s the type of dedication that brought this podcast to where it is today. Up and Vanished manage to shoot right up to the top of true-crime podcast ratings as Ryan Alexander Duke, the alleged killer of Grinstead, stepped forward and admitted his crimes. Duke later reveals that the reason for his confession was the podcast that prompted him to own up.
4. Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo
Missing & Murdered talks about the mystery behind the disappearance of Cleo Nicotine Semaganis in the 1970s. This event took part in the horrific program Sixties Scoop, otherwise known as the act of taking indigenous children from their families and placed in foster homes or adoption centers. Cleo, at the time, was taken along with her four siblings but was the only one not to come back. This series stands out as Walker discovers the truth about what happened to Cleo. CBC reporter and journalist Connie Walker take her audience along on her journey to finding out the details behind Cleo’s disappearance.
Believed focuses primarily on the criminal. This podcast, hosted by Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith, tells the story of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar. Nassar was known to be an abuser of girls and women for many years. This show manages to gather his victims to talk about the details behind the crimes he committed. Believed manages to climb to the top as one of the best true crime podcasts as it was able to give voice to over 150 women who were victims of Nassar’s ways. Wells and Smith also manage to go deep into explaining how Nassar was even able to get away with his crimes in the first place.
6. In the Dark
Launched in 2016, In the Dark managed to reach the legendary status of true-crime podcasts with their impact on the real world. What brought this podcast to the top during that time was the careful examination of the failure behind investigating Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance. The series also uncovers the details and ample evidence of the alleged crime of Curtis Flowers, who was told to have committed four murders. In the Dark is one of the most reliable podcasts for this specific genre, as the team behind In the Dark relies greatly on shreds of evidence and data analysis.
7. My Favorite Murder
Another fan-favorite is the podcast of Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. This podcast is different from the others as the hosts run the podcast in a different style. My Favorite Murder has a more fun approach in discussing true-crimes, which may seem a bit odd for others. Then again, it makes a perfect podcast for people who are die-hard fans of murder mysteries and true crimes as they feel they have someone they can relate to. Kilgraff and Hardstark give off the vibe of two best friends casually talking about murder mysteries in their podcasts.
8. Dirty John
Dirty John is a groundbreaking series that follows the life of Debra Newell and John Meehanis. Dirty John is the first to transfer from newspapers to podcasts, which eventually became a TV show later on. This podcast addresses domestic abuse and coercive control over others, allowing it to earn a lot of respect from audiences.
9. Bear Brook
The podcast, Bear Brook, goes behind the story of the four unidentified bodies found in two barrels in New Hampshire Park. Experts have been investigating this case for decades. Bear Brook goes deep into the details of an unknown serial killer who people have been curious to know about for a long time. This true-crime podcast led the police to arrest the Golden State Killer in April of 2018. Since then, the podcast has been solving dozens of cold cases, making it one of the most respected true crime podcasts.
In Undisclosed, Rabia Chaudry started a partnership with a team of bloggers to analyze the case against Adnan Syed. The unlikely trio behind this podcast explores different aspects of the case, including police corruption, reward money, and misconduct. While Serial has significantly contributed to unfolding Adnan Syed’s case, Undisclosed seemed to have contributed more. Undisclosed differs slightly as the podcast discusses the wrongful allegations made on innocent people to address corruption in society’s justice system.
True-crime is such a fascinating genre, isn’t it? Millions of mysteries worldwide are so alluring that people find movies, documentaries, and books that tell stories of actual crimes entertaining. True crime is a genre that people have mixed feelings about. Despite this, true crime has become a favorite of many people all over the world. It uncovers the dark side of the world, giving people a reality check on how hostile crimes can get. Unfortunately, there are just not enough platforms to explore more on true crimes and mysteries. Hopefully, with this list of the best true crime podcasts, you can now go deeper into crime stories and learn more about the different crimes in the world.
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About The Author
As a writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Reyes has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. It has been her passion to only deliver the truth and nothing but the truth.