True crime podcasts are well on the rise in Oz-land and there’s a very good reason why. They’re bloody (not even sorry for the pun) awesome and dangerously addictive. We mean the type that makes you unashamedly cancel your brunch 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 be beyond one of the greatest poddy’s ever, we have you covered.
Jump on the true-crime bandwagon, tune-in and start binging, here are 13 true crime podcasts you need to listen to STAT. Soz if you’re as obsessed as us and you’re already across these beauts.
It’s been dubbed the ‘new Serial’ and we can 100% vouch for that claim (being the true crime experts that we are). Dirty John is by the LA Times and Wondery and is the gripping new poddy wrapped in bizarre love and deceit. A story about a man with a history of relationships so abusive and just down right 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’. We may or may not be part of this #MFM following. Who knows. Duh, we absolutely are.
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 #procrastipodcast.
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.
We’ll be honest here, the scare-factor is relatively low with this one. But we reckon it’s best not to bunker down and binge this bad boy in the complete dark. Just a minor suggestion. TRACE is the ABC’s debut true crime podcast and tells of the unsolved murder of Maria James, a Melbourne-based mum of two who was stabbed behind her bookshop in the 80s. Be sure to steer clear of the news because there are a number of spoilers out there as the investigation continues IRL and we all know that spoilers suck. Period.
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. Season Two is also just around the corner.
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.
Let’s be honest, we can’t really put together a list like this and leave out the OG podcast that kickstarted it all from This American Life. We’re just putting this here to give you a friendly reminder that if you haven’t already plugged yourself in and gone down the Serial track, this is your final warning. Otherwise, we can’t be friends.
Prefer podcasts about health and wellbeing? Walk this way.
Hosted by freelance filmmaker Payne Lindsey (of Up and Vanished fame), Atlanta Monster sets out to investigate the horrific Atlanta child murders that took place between 1979 and 1981. Prime suspect Wayne Williams was convicted of two of the gruesome crimes and sentenced to life in prison, though he maintained his innocence. Turns out Williams was found to be responsible for at least 23 of the other murders, thought he was never charged for them—intrigued AF aren’t you? Now it’s time for you to subscribe, dig deep and uncover the truth.
This one puts the spotlight on some of the most weird, 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.
Image credit: Up and Vanished