I’m asked for recommendations all the time for the best true crime podcasts. Why? Because ever since “Serial“ debuted in 2014, I have been hooked. I listen to true crime podcasts constantly, although, I’ve had to pause around my son after he repeated the word “body bag” back to me in the car. Note taken.
Why is true crime so popular?
The true crime genre continues to grow and grow, specifically among women. According to a 2010 study, about 70% of Amazon reviews on true crime books were by women. It’s suggested this may be because, as women, we want to learn from crimes that have occurred. Could something we read or hear help us in the future, if we find ourselves in a similar situation?
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember the victims. The podcast “Voices For Justice” makes this its mission.
My other suggestions for the best true crime podcasts
- “Dateline” – The popular, long-running show has a podcast. It’s literally the show you see on tv, but just the audio. “Dateline” is really one of the O.G.’s of true crime storytelling, so I’m not going to go on and on here. It’s iconic, and so is reporter Keith Morrison. Also, there are about 14 million episodes available (haha), so have at it.
- “The Thing About Pam“ – This is actually a “Dateline” podcast and I looked forward to each episode rolling out. You will not believe the story of Pam Hupp. It’s a must-listen and the story is turning into a limited series starring Renée Zellweger.
- “20/20“ – I love the way this show is done now. There is not really a reporter speaking – it’s mostly the people involved or touched by the crime who do the talking. Like “Dateline”, this is the actual show, only just the audio.
- “Over My Dead Body” – Remember during lockdown when everyone was watching “Tiger King”? Well, the podcast came first. Season 2 of “Over My Dead Body” is all things Joe Exotic, but check out Season 1 for a completely different tale.
- “Dr. Death“ – There are three seasons and they are all good, but I like 1 & 3 the best. The first season is the unbelievable story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, which is now a series starring Joshua Jackson.
- “Dirty John” – This is now a show as well, but listen to the podcast because the story is told by the key people involved. It’s a con and a killing in one.
- “It Was Simple: The Betty Broderick Murders“ – This is always in my top recommendations when people ask. This story is different in that the killer is a woman, a mom, and there are some women out there who actually defend what she did.
- “Death of a Starlet” – Playboy, Chippendales dancers, and murder. I normally don’t like true crime podcasts featuring actors instead of the real life people, but this one is done so well. Plus, actor Josh Lucas is one of the main hosts. Swoon.
- “To Live and Die in L.A.“ – This may be the podcast I text back and forth with my friends about the most. There are two seasons out. Listen to both.
- “Bad Bad Thing” – I’m not going to lie: this one is a lot, but I was captivated. There is a ton of audio from one of women at the center of the story. It’s a love triangle, but unlike anything you’ve heard.
- “False Idol“ – Season 2 follows the rise and fall of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. I listened to all seven episodes and I’m still not sure what to think about what happened.
- “Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.” – If you’re not a football person, that does not matter. This podcast is done incredibly well. Why? It comes from The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team – the same team that broke one of the biggest stories ever: the abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. “Gladiator” is a deep dive into the life and death of footballer Aaron Hernandez.
- “Criminology” – There are many episodes available about various crimes, but begin with the ones done in 2018 about The Golden State Killer. In the middle of the podcasters recording these episodes, there was a huge break in the case. Host Mike Ferguson also does a different pod I like called “True Crime All the Time“. Plus, he’s from Miamisburg, Ohio, where I used to live. Respect.
True Crime Of A Different Kind
Want something a bit lighter? You got it.
- “The Dropout“ – I am obsessed with all things Elizabeth Holmes. This is the story of the downfall of the woman said to be the next Steve Jobs. Is she a con woman or more of a victim? You can be the judge.
- “The Shrink Next Door“ – Therapists are supposed to help, right? Not in this case. This story is so eye-opening, it’s now a series with Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.
- “This is Actually Happening“ – This is a great podcast featuring a range of stories from a car accident that wasn’t really an accident, to a woman raised in a cult. There are so many stories and they are all told by the people they happened to. No interviews, just testimonials. I love how this podcast is done. Chilling.
- “Chameleon“ – Anything involving a con, I’m in. Season 1 of this show begins in Hollywood and does not disappoint.
- “Something Was Wrong“ – This pod is about con artists and matters of the heart. There are 10 seasons, but Season 1 sticks with me.
What are your favorite podcasts?