Podcasts & Books

15 Of The Best True Crime Podcasts To Keep You Up At Night

By Morgan Reardon
18th May 2021

a silhouette of a man amongst trees in a forest.

It’s official, we’re straight up obsessed with true crime. And for the real super sleuths among us, there never is enough true crime podcasts out there.

Which is why we're always on the hunt for the most shocking, keep-you-up-at-night series to plug into while you're on your morning walk, at the gym, cooking dinner, or going to sleep (you do you).

Need some newbies to download? We’ve got you sorted with the best true crime podcasts worth listening to today. 

The Apology Line

If you could call a number and say you’re sorry, and no one would know…what would you apologise for? For 15 years, you could call a number in Manhattan and do just that. Allan Bridge posted flyers around New York City for people to call his Apology Line, which provided a chance for them to come clean, ranging from infidelity to murder. Going by the pseudonym Mr. Apology, he created a modern-day confessional; however, Allan was ultimately undone after getting too involved in his callers’ lives, including trying to stop a serial killer. Hosted by his widow Marissa, she will take listeners through his journey which builds from thousands of hours of taped phone calls. Get chills right here.

Canary: The Washington Post Investigates

Just when you think you know where this true crime podcast is going, it flips everything on its head—meaning it’s freaking fantastic and you need to plug in immediately. In this seven-part investigative series from The Washington Post, you’ll follow journalist Amy Brittain who after covering a sexual assault case in the District of Columbia in 2018, sparks a chain reaction of shocking revelations that leads her to an old sexual assualt crime involving a prominent high court judge. Over the course of the series you’ll hear the intertwining stories of two women, separated by decades but united by a shared refusal to stay silent. Binge your way through it here.


 In MANslaughter, investigative reporter Molly Peterson explores the case of veteran cop LaVerne Stordock, who was shot dead in Wisconsin in the 1970s by his then wife Suzanne Brandon. Despite admitting to the murder, Brandon only spent three nights in jail and walked away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in inheritance money. Why? Peterson, and Stordock’s niece Dorothy Marcic are determined to find out in this chilling podcast.

The Night Driver

While we don’t like to play favourites, The Teacher’s Pet has to be one of the greatest podcasts of all time. Teaming up once again with The Australian, award-winning journalist Hedley Thomas is back with The Night Driver—and yes, it will chill you to your core. The podcast will follow the story of Janine Vaughan who was abducted one rain-soaked night in Bathurst nearly 20 years ago and was never seen again. To this day, her disappearence and suspected murder has not been solved and her family are desperate for answers. Thomas will once again turn detective as he explores the flawed police investigation riddled with corruption, the potential suspects (including a former cop) and how Vaughan’s murder tore a regional town apart.  

The Doodler

From The San Francisco Chronicle comes The Doodler, a new podcast following the still-unnamed serial killer that terrorised the gay community in San Francisco in the ‘70s, nearly five decades ago. Hosted by Pulitzer-prize nominated reporter Kevin Fagan of The San Francisco Chronicle and investigative reporter Michael Taylor, the series aims to re-investigate the case, speaking with a wide variety of guests tied directly or indirectly to the case, hoping that these conversations will lead to the eventual identification and capture of The Doodler. Listen to it here. 

The Nurse

This new, Aussie true crime podcast will shock you to your core. It follows the ongoing investigations into a paediatric nurse in a quiet Tasmanian town, who has spent over 20 years working with children. Loved by his friends and family, trusted by the community and seen as a father figure to many, what nobody realised was that this nurse was actually hiding a dark and disturbing secret. That is until journalist Camille Bianchi received a phone call that sparked this very podcast. Determined to discover the truth from this very tangled chain of events, Bianchi provides a platform for assault survivors who are bravely sharing their story for the first time.

Dr Death Season 2

From the team at Wondery comes the highly anticipated second season of Dr. Death. This time, journalist and host Laura Beil uncovers the case of “doctor” Farid Fata, who in 2013 was regarded as one of the best oncologists in Michigan. Between his prestigious education and years of experience, Fata was everything you could want in a doctor. But he was not who he appeared to be. In fact, rather than saving lives, he was taking them. In each ep you’ll hear from patients who survived his wrath to the families of victims who weren’t so lucky. And yes you’ll constantly shake your head throughout the eps and think—how did he get away with it for so long? Beil will show you exactly how in this shocking new podcast.

Girl Taken

This 10-part podcast will have your head spinning as you think you’ve got your mind wrapped around the story, when really, you’re not even close. Girl Taken is narrated by BBC journalist Sue Mitchell and former soldier Rob Lawrie who tell, what at first, seems like a straight forward story. Back in 2015, Lawrie was working as a volunteer at the Calais refugee camps, where he was caught smuggling a four-year-old Afghan girl called Bru over the border to England in his van. Why? Because her widowed father Reza begged him to do it, to reunite Bru with relatives in Leeds. But when Lawrie was caught and faced criminal charges in a French court he soon learnt that what he believed to be the truth about Reza and Bru wasn’t even close. We don’t want to give anymore away, so go listen here.

Selena: A Star Dies In Texas

A murder is always shocking but when it happens in public, to one of America’s biggest rising stars—it makes headlines, and a gripping podcast. Twenty-five years ago, Selena Quintanilla-Perez was already a legend in the Tejano music world and on the verge of superstardom in the US. But in 1995, the singer's close friend Yolanda Saldívar pulled a gun from her purse and fired a single bullet at her. In the days, months and years that followed, one question lingers: why would someone who claimed to be the singer’s best friend, choose to end her life? This binge-worthy podcast features access to an extraordinary archive of rare and never-before-heard audio and tries to find the motive behind the shocking crime. FYI, J.LO also starred in a flick about the victim if you’re keen for even more background info. 

Chasing Charlie

If you were a fan of last year’s hit podcast Who The Hell Is Hamish?, then you’ll love Chasing Charlie. The seven-part podcast is narrated by all round bad boss private investigator Julia Robson who was approached with a seemingly routine case of a jilted lover. But the more Robson dug into the life of  a mysterious lothario called Charlie, the more she realised there was a seriously dark side to this man and that he was leaving a trail of broken hearts and shattered lives in his wake. From New Zealand and Australia to the UK and France, follow Robson on her relentless, seven-year mission for ​the redemption and justice of victims around the globe. Heads up—we devoured this series in a single sitting!

The Officer’s Wife

Go behind the police tape in this mysterious true crime case. It goes like this: in April 2016, hours after an argument with his wife Jessica, Griffin, Georgia police officer Matthew Boynton radios for assistance and reports hearing two gunshots coming from inside his home. Officers rush to the scene to find Jessica inside a locked closet, with an apparent gunshot wound to her head. Underneath her body, officers find her husband's service weapon. But this story of small-town romance gone wrong was far from over. The investigation into what really happened inside that closet and what happened next would captivate a small town and change the lives of one family forever. Catch all the drama here.

The Dating Game Killer

We cannot get enough of this new true crime podcast. The story goes like this: In 1987 Rodney Alcala won a date on a reality TV show, The Dating Game. While he charmed everyone, including his potential date, what no one knew was that he was a prolific serial killer in the middle of cross country murder spree. In this six-part series, co-hosts Tracy Pattin (Hollywood & Crime) and Stephen Lang (Avatar) take listeners on Alcala’s chilling journey, chronicling his crimes and how he managed to fool everyone around him—from his employers to prison psychiatrists and parole boards. Oh, and did we mention it’s from the creator of Dirty John, so you know it’s going to be epic. 

Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad

It's important to note that not all trume crime podcasts are created equal, and this one has serious credentials that put it right at the top of our must binge list. Retired cold case investigator Paul Holes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen dig deep in unsolved murders, unidentified remains and missing persons cases. Each ep you’ll get a front row seat as the duo attempt to solve crimes using everything from old-fashioned detective work to modern tech like DNA and social media geotargeting. Season two dropped this week so get streaming. 

Murder In Oregon

This true crime podcast begs a serious question—who really killed Michael Francke? We say really, because a low-level drug dealer by the name of Franke Gable was actually charged and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the murder of Oregon Department of Corrections director Francke in January 1989. But Francke’s own brother Kevin, along with Oregon reporter Phil Stanford, believe the wrong man is behind bars. They believe Francke was slain because he uncovered a trail of corruption in the prison system and someone wanted to shut him up for good. More than two decades since the murder the duo are determined to finally uncover the truth. This story is so wild no one could make it up. 

Detective Trapp

When LA Times reporter Christopher Goffard released a little-known podcast by the name of Dirty John last year, true crime buffs lost their collective minds. Well praise the podcast gods because Goffard is back with his latest offering. Detective Trapp goes like this—when a young woman’s body is found at a trash-sorting plant, investigator Julissa Trapp learns the murder may be linked to the disappearance of three other women around California. She embarks on a dark journey that brings her face to face with a man who takes, as Goffard says, ‘a little piece of her soul’.
After more podcasts? Check out our round up of the best newbies dropping on airwaves this month.
Image credit: Johannes Plenio

We’re dedicated to keeping our recommendations and content free. SUPPORT URBAN LIST

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like