It’s official, we’re straight up obsessed with true crime podcasts. And for the real super sleuths among us, there never is enough of the best 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 inspo when it comes to the best true crime podcasts? We've got you.
Read on for the absolute best true crime podcasts worth listening to right now.
We’re going to go ahead and call this the OG of true crime podcasts. Hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig, Serial follows the 1999 murder of American high-school student Hae Min Lee. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Koenig sorts through thousands of documents and interviews with Adnan to try to get to the bottom of the case.
Fast forward to now, Serial has confirmed a whole new episode is set to drop; off the back of a US judge ordering the release of Syed who has now spent over 20 years in jail. Things are about to get juicy.
The Teacher's Trial
If you got into The Teacher's Pet podcast by The Australian some years ago, you've probably noticed it's been removed from the web, and for good reason too. The initial podcast sparked renewed interest in the missing persons case of Lynette Dawson, former wife of Chris Dawson who had been accused of murdering her. Now, its removal was triggered by a subsequent court case whereby The Crown alleged Dawson killed his wife and disposed of her body, so as not to interfere with a fair trial and all. Now, enter The Teacher's Trial, another podcast from Hedley Thomas and the journalists at The Australian following the events in the trial of Chris Dawson—who has quite literally just been found guilty of murdering Lynette Dawson in 1982. Catch up on all the details here.
Who Killed Daphne?
When a car bomb kills Daphne Caruana Galizia on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta, the hunt for her killers exposes secrets with consequences that go far beyond its shores. In the aftermath of her death an international team of journalists comes together to continue her work. Along the way, they start to uncover clues that might lead to her killers. From Wondery, comes a new story about power, corruption and one woman’s fight for the truth. Hosted by investigative reporter Stephen Grey. This story is also unravelling in the news right now, so best to jump on it stat. Listen to it here.
Bloodguilt: The Many Deaths Of Richard Dorrough
Presented by Walkley Award-winning journalists Dan Box (Bowraville, The Queen & Zak Grieve) and Kate Wild (Four Corners, The Chaser’s War on Everything, Revelation), Bloodguilt tells the story of ex-navy sailor Richard Dorrough. A number of questions are yet to be answered following his suicide at a public gun range in Perth in 2014. Days after his death, his fiancée received a parcel from him in the post. It contained a note from Dorrough that said,“I did kill three times”, but there are no names, no dates, nothing to identify his victims. Pretty freaky, huh?
It gets even more suss when you find out that Dorrough was previously being investigated regarding the 1997 disappearance of 21-year-old Kimberley woman, Sara-Lee Davey, who went missing after going to the Broome Wharf with Dorrough. He was also later charged with the 1998 murder of 29 year old Sydney woman, Rachael Campbell, but was acquitted at trial in 2010. Listen to it here.
Should Be Alive
Should Be Alive investigates the 2019 murder of a transgender teenage girl named Nikki Kuhnhausen in Vancouver, Washington. In this true crime podcast, host Ashlet Korslien explores issues facing trans people and highlights an increasing number of acts of violence against the trans community. Super interesting and informative, you’ll also love this one because it’s from the team that brought you the award-winning investigative true crime podcasts The Yellow Car and Urge To Kill. Listen to it here.
Final Days On Earth
In season two of this cracking true crime podcast you probably haven’t heard about yet, we’re taken through the disappearance of Jennifer Harris from Bonham, Texas on Mother’s Day, 2002. On the final night of Jennifer’s known whereabouts, she left the house to visit a mate but in the coming days after, the when, how and why her car was left abandoned on the side of the road remained in the air. Listen to it here.
Australian True Crime
Easily one of the best true crime podcasts in Australia, Australian True Crime is like a never ending anthology of the good stuff. Australia’s suburbs are home to some of the most mysterious and disturbing true crime cases in the world. With the brains of Meshel Laurie (bonafide true crime enthusiast) and Emily Webb (true crime author), episodes probe investigators, perpetrators, writers and victims to find out the truth. Listen to it here.
Run Bambi, Run
This new Apple TV+ Original podcast investigates the real life story of Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek, a stunning 21-year-old Milwaukee police officer who was dubiously convicted of killing her new husband's ex-wife, before braving a daring escape as part of a years-long quest to clear her name. Okay, let us explain.
Run Bambi, Run tales the infamous 1980s Playboy Bunny turned cop turned murderer and yes, you will absolutely fly through this one. If you've never heard this one, Laurie was basically a tabloid fixation and a feminist cause célèbre after she escaped prison. This story has been dubbed the 'most glamourus murder case of the 1980s' so plug yourself in, you're in for a goodie.
Up And Vanished
When it comes to true crime podcasts you’re often left hanging at the end of the series, with no resolution. That’s not the case with Up And Vanished and its host Payne Lindsey who’s first season helped to solve the 12-year-old cold case of Tara Grinstead. Which is exactly why UL reader Jenna wanted it added to our best true crime podcasts list. She says,“Payne Lindsey has the best voice and does so much work”—we couldn’t agree more. There’s two more epic seasons to binge. Season two looks into the case of missing single mum Kristal Anne Reisinger, who disappeared in 2016 when she was just 29. And most recently, season three tracks the disappearance of Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a 20-year-old indigenous woman who went missing from the Blackfeet Nation Indian Reservation in 2017.
What started in 2016 as a one-person side project has grown into an award-winning podcast that includes teams based across multiple continents. In each episode Casefile deep dives into the circumstances, investigations and trials of both solved and unsolved cases from all over the world. From prolific murder trials to relevativly unknown cases, the annoymous narrator leaves no stone unturned in his storytelling. With most eps lasting between one to two hours, this one gets our vote as the best podcast for road trips. Urban List reader Kate says the narrator, “doesn’t input his opinion in the story, he just states the facts”. And like many of you have revealed, a good voice is a key ingredient for an excellent podcast and Casefile certainly delivers.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the dark web, this true crime podcast is for you. Darknet Diaries tackles everything from hackers, breaches and shadow government activity to hacktivism, cybercrime, and all the things that dwell on the hidden parts of the network. Created by Jack Rhysider, a veteran of the security world, he gained his professional knowledge of security by working in a Security Operations Center for a Fortune 500 company—a place where threats are detected and stopped. During that time he was exposed to hundreds of client’s networks ranging from schools to governments and banks giving him a unique perspective on darknet crimes. Urban List reader Lila adds, “He tells you how people pull off these huge crimes” and explains the tech side “in a simple way”.
Urban List reader Ollie explains Dark Poutine is, “a Canadian true crime podcast with great format and details, and a sprinkling of humour in it”. Each episode will chronicle a shocking crime that has taken place in Canada and trust us when we say some of them will straight up terrify you. There’s the death of Tim McLean, a 22-year-old baker who was on a bus when a fellow passenger stabbed, beheaded and cannibalised him while horrified passengers looked on—just one year later, the killer was found not guilty. Or there’s the case of teenager Hilary Bonnell who has been missing since 2009, and despite an extensive search has never been found… that is until recently when her cousin was arrested for sex crimes and revealed he might hold the clue to finding her. This podcast will have you hooked from the get go.
The Night Driver
From The Australian and award-winning journalist Hedley Thomas, The Night Driver will chill you to your core. The podcast follows 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 (who also created the now infamous The Teacher's Pet) 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. Urban List reader Sophia says this podcast kept her on the edge of her seat.
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. Urban Lister Ben says investigative work behind this podcast made it a must-listen for him.
This 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, you'l follow Robson on her relentless, seven-year mission for the redemption and justice of victims around the globe. Urban List reader Georgia revealed she "devoured the series in just two days".
The Dating Game Killer
According Urban List lover Major, this true crime podcast is so eerie you might need to sleep with the ligths on. The story goes like this: In 1987 Rodney Alcala won a date on a reality TV show, The Dating Game. While he charmed everyone, 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 and Stephen Lang 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.
After more podcasts? Check out our round up of the best newbies dropping on airwaves this month.