True crime podcasts are basically a way of life in the 21st Century. They’re bloody (not even sorry for the pun) awesome and dangerously addictive. We mean the type that makes you unashamedly cancel your weekend plans so you can binge an entire series because nobody wants to be left on a god damn cliffhanger. Yeah, you’re about to become that person.
If you’ve already trawled your way through the mighty true-crime podcast that all others are now measured against (we’re looking at you Serial) and you’re asking yourself what could ever go beyond one of the greatest podcast ever, we have you covered.
Jump on the true-crime bandwagon, tune-in and start bingeing, here are all the true crime podcasts you need to listen to.
It was 1995. That was the year Melissa Moore learned that her father was a serial killer. From here, her life spiralled into constant doubt. She was very much like her father, they shared intelligence and charisma… so could she be a psychopath too? Happy Face isn’t just about the cat and mouse game Moore’s father played with detectives and the media after committing brutal crimes — it’s also about the legacy he left as a father.
In March 2018 the car of Sarah and Jennifer Hart (both white) and their six adopted children (all black) was found smashed on the rocks below a Californian highway in an apparent murder-suicide. Friends considered them the perfect blended family, so what lead the parents to drive off a cliff? Broken Harts brings you more than 30 hitherto unheard interviews as they attempt to answer that question.
Monster: The Zodiac Killer
If S-Town was the true crime podcast of 2017 and Teacher's Pet was the podcast of 2018 well, Monster: The Zodiac Killer is already fast becoming your true crime binge of 2019. The Hell and Gone team actually brought you season one a while back but this next bout tackles the story of one of the most famous serial killers in history (the Zodiac killer, if you hadn't already guessed). In the 60s, a faceless fugitive attacked and killed five people in San Francisco and while the murderer went about his gruesome work, he regularly taunted police and the media. Through an exhaustive search, there were over 2,500 Zodiac suspects but none strong enough to make an arrest ie. the killer has never been identified.
If you haven’t yet popped this podcast, you’ve no doubt caught this one on the fly stirring up a serious case on the news. The Australian’s national chief correspondent Hedley Thomas is digging through a cold case that is 36 years old and bringing to light some new evidence that can throw a spanner in the works. The Teacher's Pet is giving us insight into the disappearance of Lyn Dawson and whether or not her husband Chris murdered her.
Enter: Wrong Skin. It's the true crime podcast brought to you by the same people who created Phoebe's Fall (oh yeah, she's listed below). It tales the heavy story of Julie, a young girl promised to a much older man (we’re talking someone three times her age). She ultimately defies Indigenous tradition and falls in love with a Richard—someone she’s forbidden to be with due to the kinship rules of her community. Shock: Julie and Richard disappear. Julie’s body is found. Richard is never seen again. Evidence is lacking, as is the number of witnesses. In a year-long investigation, Baker investigates the tragic story of these two forbidden lovers. It’s been donned an investigation into one of the most suspicious deaths in the Aussie outback and boy, are you in for it.
We know you’re well across one of the greatest true crime podcasts to hit our phones but we’re shouting out Serial to hail season three of the golden grail. Unlike previous seasons the next stretch of audio-magic will focus on Cleveland’s criminal justice system and will follow a number of different cases. What makes this next phase of Serial super exciting is the ridiculous amount of access the producers were granted; recordings from courtrooms, judges’ chambers and attorney offices. The team spent an entire year inside the criminal courts in Cleveland so listeners will get to hear everything that happens on the inside.
It’s been dubbed the ‘new Serial’ and we can 100% vouch for that claim. Dirty John is by the LA Times and Wondery and is the gripping new podcast wrapped in bizarre love and deceit. A story about a man with a history of relationships so abusive and just downright eugh, he gets nicknamed Dirty John. It builds from Dirty John meeting an Orange County interior designer called Debra Newell Stewart online and as you would expect, things take a pretty dark and disturbing downfall from there.
My Favourite Murder
Crime and comedy. Yep, My Favourite Murder is a double whammy and an absolute cracker of a podcast. This one steers on the lighter side of true crime listenings as Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark bring the laughs with some epic conversational play. These two legends recount one of their favourite murders per week, from recent and historic times (while maintaining all sensitivities) and have worked up a legion of fans who dub themselves ‘murderinos’.
The probability of getting hooked on this series about the botched investigation into the Bowraville murders is absolute. Narrated by The Australian’s crime reporter Dan Box (who has also just dropped a crime doco series called The Queen and Zak Grieve that you should most definitely jump on) over 6 episodes, Bowraville is the recount of three unsolved serial killings on the mid north coast of NSW. It was also the first podcast to ever win a Walkley, four of them actually (and that’s a pretty big deal so binge it now).
Quick shout-out to the Serial fans—if you like the format of said true crime podcast, Criminal is deserving of your next binge-fest. This one has the same kind of episodic-narration but host Phoebe Judge shares a number of real stories of people who have ‘done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle’. Plus, it’s netted with a heap of complexities which of course, makes it that much more addictive to listen to and makes it the ultimate procrastination podcast.
Casefile is a ripper podcast racking up the episodes already, with an anonymous narrator (seriously, no one knows a thing about this dude other than the obvious fact he’s a full-blown Aussie at heart) who tells of the shocking, the terrifying, the strange and the unsolved true crimes and includes all the details. Emphasis on allllll the details.
Someone Knows Something
Someone Knows Something, or as the real fans are coining it—SKS, expertly examines unsolved murders or missing-person cases. It is iconic for its awesome story-telling all driven by the award-winning film-maker and writer David Ridgen. Season one investigates the case of a boy who vanished in 1972 while on a fishing trip and despite an intensive search, he was never found.
Phoebe’s Fall is another Aussie series and details a major investigation by The Age newsroom from our sister-city of Melbourne. It dives deep into the death of Phoebe Handsjuk who was found at the bottom of a garbage chute in a luxury apartment building. The coroner ruled her death as a ‘tragic accident’ and the podcast raises some serious issues around the case.
Real Crime Profile
Unpacking the disturbing details from real criminal cases, Real Crime Profile exercises a different kind of twist on the true crime podcast craze. It’s the series where a former FBI profiler, a criminal behavioural analyst and Liza Zambetti (the casting director for CBS’ Criminal Minds) all get together and profile behaviour from actual events to examine the mind and method behind murder. Trust us, you’ll be devastated when you reach the final episode.
Sword And Scale
Uncovering the ugly underbelly of crime, Sword and Scale looks at true crime stories, high-profile trials, unsolved murders and missing persons cases. If you’re a sucker for production value, this one uses a heap of original audio including 911 tapes and news clips, plus (we have to admit) some pretty damn creepy music. Mike Boudet is the host and explores everything from fact to conspiracy within a pretty loose timeline (so expect some legends of 19th Century serial killers).
Accused is one of the latest links to the growing chain of addictive true crime podcasts. This series looks at the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Andes who was found murdered in her Ohio apartment in the late 70s. Naturally, police and prosecutors decided within hours it was a simple open-and-shut case but eventually, two jurors disagreed. This leaves the issue of whether the right guy was ever really charged.
Up And Vanished
So why is this one such a biggie? Because it literally helped solve a cold case. Up and Vanished is the investigative podcast that explores the 2005 unsolved disappearance of former beauty queen and high school teacher, Tara Grinstead. The host is Payne Lindsey, a film director turned amateur investigator who examines old case evidence and interviews a number of people of interest to Tara’s disappearance.
This one puts the spotlight on some of the weirdest, wacky and downright bonkers cults around the globe. Sit back and let the hosts get inside the minds of the leaders of these next level cults, and the members that chose to submit to their crazy ways. Control and power is ultimately the downfall for most of these leaders and what they’ll do to remain at the top of these societies is the kind of stuff you don’t even want to imagine. Cults will shock, interest and disturb you all at once. We love it.
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Image credit: Cults