Updated on March 2, 2017
Five True Crime Podcasts You’re Going To Love
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I’ve been a podcast listener for years. Back in the days before children, King Dad and I used to load our iPods with a variety of podcasts before embarking on long road trips. The road trips of our youth were filled with loud music, but the road trips of our child-free late twenties were filled with educational podcasts. Nowadays the soundtrack of our road trips are peppered with lullaby renditions of the classics (Queen, Journey, Tragically Hip, etc.), The Heir asking if we’ve arrived and why we have to stop at red lights, and children’s tears. Oh parenthood! Though I don’t spend our family drives listening to podcasts anymore, I do still get my fill of podcasts whenever I can. Because my podcast listening time is fairly limited, I don’t waste my time listening to podcasts that aren’t completely of interest to me. Which podcasts are my absolute favourites? Here they are!
I’m sure there are a lot of amazing podcasts out there, but when I’m whipping up dinner in the kitchen while King Dad plays with the kids, I’m giving my inner detective some much needed true crime mystery binge time. If my post about Netflix crime dramas is any indication, I have “thing” for investigative crime mysteries. In fact, I spent a great deal of my early twenties obsessed with true crime novels. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every single novel Anne Rule had written up to 2004. I find true crime novels absolutely captivating, but I never seem to find the time to sit down with a book anymore. Enter the true crime podcast. Whether it’s an unsolved mystery, a well known serial killer, or an obscure case that never made headlines, I’m down with it. I realize true crime podcasts aren’t for everyone, but they are totally for me. I even listen to them late at night when everyone else in the house is sleeping, and yes, I quickly check that all the doors are locked in the house after a particularly scary episode. Enough about my love of true crime, let’s get to the podcasts already! Without further ado, here are my top five true crime podcasts.
1. Serial. I’m pretty sure almost everyone has at least heard of the Serial podcast. It made serious headlines in 2014. This first season of this podcast investigates the conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of Hae Min Lee back in 1999. If you haven’t listened to this podcast, it’s a great true crime podcast to start with. It covers a single case over twelve episodes and raises some interesting questions about the investigation, trial, and ultimate conviction of Adnan. Did Adnan really do it? I don’t have an answer for that, but listen to season one of Serial and then tell me what you think about it. There are two seasons of Serial, and I have to admit that I have not enjoyed the second season and haven’t bothered finishing it.
2. Undisclosed. Before you start the first season of Undisclosed, you need to listen to the first season of Serial. They really do go hand in hand. Once again, Undisclosed covers the conviction of Adnan Syed. (What can I say? It’s a really interesting case.) However, Undisclosed is NOT at all the same as Serial. The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, so right off the bat you know that each episode is going to be framed from the opinion that Adnan Syed is innocent. The podcast is run by three lawyers, and although it can be heavy at times, they do an excellent job of explaining all the legal jargon so the listener doesn’t miss a thing. With season one of Undisclosed, there are addenda episodes after each regular episode. These addenda episodes are not optional and really serve as complete episodes in their own right. I would recommend listening to a regular episode and following that with the relevant addendum episode before moving on to the next regular episode. Undisclosed goes into details about Adnan’s case that Serial doesn’t even come close to addressing, so if you liked Serial, you’re going to love Undisclosed.
The second season of Undisclosed is also excellent. That season covers the case against Joey Watkins who was convicted of murder in the state of Georgia. I’ll admit that the first few episodes made it sound like this case was full of high school drama, but once you get into the season, it’s actually really great! With season two, the addenda episodes and totally optional and don’t cover important material that’s relevant to the case at hand. I skipped them completely and don’t feel like I missed anything. The third season of Undisclosed is now underway, and it’s on my podcast feed to listen to soon.
3. Generation Why. Unlike the two true crime podcast series above, Generation Why covers a new case in every episode. It was actually Maman Loup’s Den that got me hooked on Generation Why! We were chatting about our mutual love of true crime, and we got to talking about the Jon Benet Ramsay case (we’d both seen the ad for Dr. Phil’s special on the case). She suggested that I listen to Generation Why’s podcast on Jon Benet Ramsay and then we could debrief together (we often debrief about the Generation Why podcasts). I was immediately hooked. I love the way Aaron and Justin cover cases. They never really get into the gory details of things (which is fine with me), but they do delve right into the police reports, the witness testimony, and the confessions (when there are such things). There are even a couple “paranormal event” episodes that are really interesting to listen to. Covering unsolved cases, missing persons, “famous” trials, international cases that made headlines, and even bizarre crimes from over a century ago, Generation Why has something for every type of true crime buff.
4. Someone Knows Something. This podcast is a CBC podcast (that’s the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and it’s wonderful! There’s nothing like a little homegrown podcasting to satisfy your true crime curiosity. In each season of SKS, David Ridgin covers just one case. Unlike the other podcasts I love, SKS delves into mysterious disappearances in an effort to uncover new information or evidence about a cold case in Canada. The first season covers the disappearance of Adrien McNaughton who was just five years old at the time of his disappearance back in 1972. This season is truly haunting. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like to spend 40+ years not knowing what happened to your son or brother. SKS handles this cold case with great care and compassion. The second season of SKS covers the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard who went missing in 1998 shortly after her engagement on live tv. I haven’t finished this season yet, but each episode uncovers a little more information and a little more detail about Sheryl’s life and disappearance.
5. Casefile. The Casefile podcast is the latest addition to my podcast feed and I’m loving it. Like Generation Why, Casefile deals with a different case in each episode, but unlike Generation Why, Casefile has one host who remains anonymous. The host of Casefile is Australian, so many of the cases happened in Australia and New Zealand. This makes Casefile unlike any of the other true crime podcasts I listen to as almost every single case is brand new to me. There are some really strange and unique stories and plenty of unsolved cases (which for some reason I find especially intriguing). I often find my spine tingling and the hairs on my arms standing up at the end of Casefile episodes. They’re just that good! Fair warning that this particular podcast does get into quite a bit of detail about the crimes involved in each case. It is definitely not for everyone. Those episodes that some might find particularly disturbing have a warning at the beginning so you can decide if it’s one you want to listen to. It will take a few episodes to really get into as the host’s voice can be a little monotone at first, but he gets his groove going after the first few cases and I find the quality of the audio improves a lot from there.
There you have it! Those are my top five true crime podcasts and I think you’re going to love them! Do you have a true crime podcast you think I should listen to? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for more excellent podcasts to try out.