I have major, major love for true trime podcasts.
That isn’t a hot take. I realize everyone is riding the true crime wave these days. Still, I find people who love true crime and haven’t heard of some of my favorite podcasts, or haven’t heard of podcasts PERIOD, and I immediately feel like, “This is it. It’s why this person needs me in his or her life. I am here to educate them.”
Podcast evangelism. This is my calling.
If you love true crime and you haven’t tapped into podcasts yet, you are seriously missing out. There are several great ones, and they’ve covered some fascinating crimes that I’d never even heard of (and I’ve been seeking out true crime stories for years, so I consider myself pretty well-versed on the topic). Here are a few of my favorites:
1. My Favorite Murder
Episode to start with: 18. Investigateighteen Discovery. The story of Mary Vincent is incredible.
The magic of this podcast lies in the chemistry between the two hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. They’ve reached a level of podcast fame that seems to surprise even them. (This podcast produces some of the best memes out there. Karen and Georgia are HILARIOUS.) The idea of a true crime/comedy podcast feels like it shouldn’t work, but it does. Don’t let the genre mashup turn you off. They are completely respectful of the victims involved in the crimes they cover–the humor often comes in when they’re making fun of themselves or the perpetrators. I gave you an episode to start with up there, but really I’d recommend listening to this podcast in order just to keep up with all the inside jokes. (Btw, they say the f word a lot, in case that sort of thing bothers you.)
2. True Crime Garage
Episode to start with: 85. The Disappearance of Brandon Lawson. They do a really in-depth analyzation of the 911 call from that case (tl:dr Brandon Lawson basically disappeared off the face of the earth after making a mostly indecipherable 911 call, and no trace of him has ever been found) that I’ve never heard before, and it’s fascinating to listen to it and try to figure it out for yourself.
Like My Favorite Murder, True Crime Garage involves two hosts–Nic and The Captain. Nic generally provides the details of the crimes while The Captain provides (highly entertaining) commentary along the way. I love the banter between the hosts, and I think they do a really great job of researching the murders and laying out all the facts. They mostly cover one crime per episode, but sometimes they’ll do a 3- or 4-episode series for more complex cases.
3. Anything Payne Lindsey Does (specifically Atlanta Monster and Up and Vanished)
Episode to start with: Atlanta Monster and Up and Vanished should be listened to sequentially, because each episode builds on the next.
Whereas the first two podcasts on my list typically talk about 1-2 crimes per episode, Payne Lindsey creates podcasts that delve into one specific murder over multiple episodes. He performs really in-depth investigations, and I’m continually impressed by how much new information he is able to add to conversations about murders that took place years and years ago.
Atlanta Monster is his most recent podcast, and it focuses on Atlanta Child Killer case. If you enjoyed the first season of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, check this out. I’m on episode 9 right now and I seriously have to make myself stop listening sometimes just so I can accomplish other things in my life.
Up and Vanished (season one) focused on the disappearance of Tara Grinstead–and as he was wrapping up his podcast, this cold case actually ended up being solved. I’m not sure how much credit Payne gets for that, but I feel like the way he showed up and started asking questions reignited an investigation that had gone very, very cold. Season two of Up and Vanished focuses on the disappearance of Kristal Anne Reisinger, which is a case I know nothing about, so I can’t wait to hear Payne’s take on it.
Episode to start with: 54. Melinda and Clarence. But to be fair, you have to listen to episode 53, Melinda and Judy, in order to understand what’s going on in episode 54.
Criminal is one of my favorites because each episode is usually around 30 minutes (whereas the others I’ve mentioned here are at least an hour or longer) so it’s really easy to listen to a complete episode even if I don’t have much time. I also love it because it’s so different from a lot of the other podcasts out there–it’s not really about laying out every single detail of the crime so you know everything that happened. Criminal focuses more on the people involved, whether it’s the victim, the accused, or anyone else related to the story. It’s a very personal look at what happened from the people who actually lived through it, and it’s so well done.
Episode to start with: This is another one that you have to listen to in order, because each episode builds on the next.
Stranglers takes an in-depth look at The Boston Strangler, from the crimes attributed to him, to the suspects, to the man who finally confessed and was convicted. The Boston Strangler is one of those serial killers who I’ve obviously heard about many times, but I’d never read much about what he actually did. It was fascinating to hear all the details, and I was surprised to learn of the questions surrounding the identity of the killer.
Honorable Mentions: Accused and Dr. Death. Both of these focus on one crime, told over a series of episodes, and once I started them, I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. Also- Missing Maura Murray. The Maura Murray case is probably my most favorite case of all time. It fascinates me.
And of course, I have a few on my “To Listen” list that I haven’t even started yet (because I’m obsessed with Atlanta Monster and I can’t find room in my podcast life for anything but that right now) like Dirty John and In the Dark.
What are your favorites? I am always looking for new ones!