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The Best True Crime Podcasts

Find the best true crime podcasts to give you shivers, scares and even a laugh or two.

true crime podcast

Ever since the massive success of “Serial,” true crime podcasts have been a staple of the medium. People love to listen to stories of murder and mayhem while they’re sitting in traffic, idly shopping or running on a treadmill at the gym.

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What is it about true crime that makes it so perfect for audio? Firstly, descriptions of blood and guts are much more tolerable than actual images. But also, there’s nothing that satisfies people quite like a good, old-fashioned scary story. Here are the best true crime podcasts that will give you shivers, scares and even a laugh or two.

Criminal

I’ve written about “Criminal” before, because it’s a great introduction to podcasting in general. Phoebe Judge’s expert reporting and hypnotizing voice will get anyone hooked onto this show about crimes, criminals and those who are affected by them. “Criminal” is about the crime stories that get lost between the cracks; the marginalia of true crime. Judge reports on crime stories that include curiosities like a superstar poodle, a woman who claimed to hear war secrets from ghosts, a bully who terrorized an entire town and the origin of the phrase “420.”

Recommended Episodes: Episode 85: The Manual, Episode 71: A Bump in the Night, Episode 66: Bully

Crime Writers On

“Crime Writers On” is one of the many podcasts inspired by “Serial” that have since come into their own. Hosts – and crime writers – Rebecca Lavoie, Kevin Flynn, Lara Bricker and Toby Ball come together weekly to discuss true crime podcasts, documentaries and pop culture. If something big is happening in the world of true crime, you can bet the Crime Writers are going to dissect it.

Recommended Episodes: Extra! The Golden State Killer Has Been Caught!, A Legal Victory for Serial’s Adnan Syed, Wild Wild Country

Detective

Garnsey Sloan covers the life and career of one retired law enforcement officer per season on Investigation Discovery’s podcast, “Detective.” Sloan’s extensive interviews explore what it takes to be a detective, and what sort of people wind up wearing the badge. Lt. Joe Kenda, Detective Garry McFadden and Detective Rod Demery have all had unbelievable lives, and they all have stories to tell.

Recommended Episodes: Episode 1 Murder in the First, Episode 2-01 Every Detective Starts as a Rookie, Episode 3-01 Blood

true crime podcast

In the Dark

“In the Dark,” hosted and reported by Madeleine Baran, is a haunting podcast that examines the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy named Jacob Wetterling, and the long legal fallout of that disappearance. “In the Dark” is not a podcast about mystery or the joys of amateur sleuthing. It’s a podcast about how unexplained tragedies and law enforcement errors can affect a community for a lifetime.

Recommended Episodes: Listen from beginning to end.

My Favorite Murder

The last time I wrote about “My Favorite Murder,” I was writing about it as a comedy podcast. That’s one of the main joys of this crossover hit: it’s either and it’s both. Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are wildly enthusiastic true crime fans, who chat about famous crimes as well as stories sent in by their listeners. These listener submissions, or “hometown murders,” as they call them, warrant their own mini episode every week and shed light on crimes that most people have never even heard of. “My Favorite Murder” isn’t just a podcast – it’s a community.

Recommended Episodes: 118 – Golden State Killer Caught!, 117 – Reality’s Canceled, 105 – Proclensity, 47 – Live at the Bell House, 35 – A Small Foreign Faction

Dirty John

“Dirty John” is one of the most gripping true crime podcasts ever, and it’s not even about a murder. Well, not really. Presented by the Los Angeles Times and hosted by investigative reporter Christopher Goffard, “Dirty John” tells the story of Debra Newell and her new boyfriend, John Meehan. When Debra’s daughters expect that John isn’t all that he seems, their lives go off the rails. Fast.

Recommended Episodes: Listen from beginning to end.

Generation Why

Justin Evans and Aaron Habel love to talk about crime, and on “Generation Why,” they analyze some of the most famous and chilling crimes in history. They are not only interested in who committed a crime and how, but in the motive behind the crime (in a nod to their title).

Recommended Episodes: Golden State Killer – Bonus, Circleville Letter Writer – 267, The Co-Ed Killer – 248, Dee Dee & Gypsy Blancharde – 234, Rabia Chaudry – 195

Undisclosed

Born in the wake of the first season of “Serial,” “Undisclosed” began as a deeper investigation into the case of Adnan Syed. Featuring one of the central figures from “Serial,” Rabia Chaudry, as one of its hosts, “Undisclosed” examines wrongful convictions and the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. All three of the hosts – Chaudry, Colin Miller and Susan Simpson – are attorneys.

Recommended Episodes: S1 Bonus Episode: Split Decision Parts 1 & 2

Do you have a favorite true crime podcast? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Looking for more podcast recommendations? Check out our articles on podcasts for road trips and how to find the perfect show for you

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