There’s nothing quite like the thrill of attempting to crack the code of an unsolved crime be it murder or theft. But when it comes to crime stories, the truth is best place to start, which is why true crime podcasts based on the cold hard facts are the most fascinating to listen to.
And while you can get your true crime fix with podcasts like Serial and Dr. Death, nothing compares to watching a murder mystery, wrongful conviction, or bank heist unfold before your very eyes. If you’re brave enough to handle the truth, consider adding these true crime podcast shows to your list of favorites podcast to listen to.
1. Sword and Scale
Sword and Scale is a bi-weekly American podcast exploring nonfiction stories of true crime. The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the dark side of humanity and human nature. The stories delve into the worst of the worst and include murder, rape, dismemberment, and cannibalism.
Sword and Scale is consistently grinding out episode after episode of unsettling murder and mayhem. For Mike (host of the show), it’s all about passion — not just for true crime, but in creating a narrative that leaves a lasting imprint on his listeners. No crime is too brutal and no victim is too pure. The worst monsters are real.
2. Crime Junkie
Crime Junkie is a weekly podcast dedicated to giving you a true crime fix. Every Monday, Ashley Flowers will tell you about whatever crime she’s been obsessing over that week in a way that sounds like you’re sitting around talking crime with your best friends. The storytelling is straightforward and free of rabbit holes so the cases stay suspenseful and are easy to follow.
Crime Junkie was named one of the best true crime podcasts of 2018 by Rolling Stone. As of June 2019, the podcast has released 85 amazing episodes. If you can never get enough true crime… Congratulations, you’re a Crime Junkie! You’ve found your people.
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3. The Generation Why Podcast
The Generation Why Podcast is a weekly true crime podcast, hosted by Justin and Aaron. Its first episode was released in 2012 and pioneered the true crime genre in the podcasting world. Two friends, Aaron & Justin, break down theories and give their opinions on unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, and conspiracies.
The podcast cover cases that are interesting and not overdone, and they present the facts in an unbiased manner. It’s refreshing to listen to a podcast that isn’t just trying to push a particular agenda. A review by one of the listeners says this – “I love the hosts. The cases are fascinating. These guys knock it out of the park every episode”.
4. My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is a weekly true crime comedy podcast hosted by American comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Weekly episodes regularly land within iTunes’ Top 10 Comedy Podcast chart. The podcast has 19 million monthly downloads.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have a hard and fast rule: “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” The hilarious duo has quickly become household names, as they candidly share their thoughts on their “favorite” murders in history.
5. Over My Dead Body
Already love Dirty John and Dr. Death? Then get ready to get obsessed with the latest offering from the same team: Over My Dead Body. In its first season, host Matthew Shaer explores a murder case following the divorce of two attractive attorneys, Dan and Wendi.
Dan and Wendi are two good-looking attorneys whose wedding is featured in the New York Times. But when this “perfect” couple falls apart, it leads to a bad breakup, a worse divorce, and a murder case involving a menagerie of high-priced lawyers and unexpected co-conspirators.
6. Up And Vanished
Up and Vanished is an investigative true crime podcast hosted by Atlanta filmmaker Payne Lindsey. In Season 1, Payne tackles his first cold case story, the unsolved disappearance of Georgia high school teacher and former pageant queen, Tara Grinstead. The 11-year-old case remains the largest case file in Georgia history and is still unfolding.
Season 2 focuses on the disappearance of young mother Kristal Reisinger from a remote mountain town in Colorado. Up and Vanished aims to tell compelling, true stories and give these cases the exposure they deserve. The episodes of Season 1 was aired in 2016, with the story unraveling weekly. Once you’re hooked on that one, you’ll want to tune in to season two.
7. To Live And Die In LA
The show, called To Live and Die in LA, follows Strauss’s real-life, real-time investigation into the case of aspiring actress and model Adea Shabani, who disappeared from her Hollywood apartment just days before her 26th birthday. People just can’t get enough true crime, and the real-time investigation by Strauss and the Shabani family’s private investigator Jayden Brant offered listeners a twist on the popular-yet-grim genre.
Featuring a mix of Hollywood glamor and grisly details, you’ll be hooked in the first episode. To Live and Die in LA has garnered over 15 million downloads to date, Tenderfoot said. Twelve million of those downloads took place in the first 60 days of the show’s debut, helping it quickly reach No. 1 on the Apple Podcasts charts.
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8. Casefile True Crime
Fact is scarier than fiction. Casefile True Crime is a weekly (sometimes fortnightly) true crime-themed podcast that first aired in Australia in January 2016 and hosted by an Australian man who remains anonymous. The series deals with solved or cold criminal cases, often related to well-known murders and serial crimes.
Unlike a number of similar podcasts, the series is scripted and narrative, relying primarily on original police or mass-media documents, eyewitness accounts, and interview or public announcement recordings. Larger and more-complex cases have received multiple-week serialized broadcasts, and case updates to previously aired cases are also provided from time to time.
9. The Last Podcast on the Left
The Last Podcast on the Left is a weekly podcast featuring comedian and podcast host Ben Kissel, podcast producer, and researcher Marcus Parks, and comedian and actor Henry Zebrowski (who joined in the third episode), all of whom are longtime friends. Released each Friday, the episodes are generally one hour in length, with the hosts exploring the horrors of the world both imagined and real.
If you prefer podcasts with a different topic each episode, rather than serial podcasts that cover one or two stories per season, try “The Last Podcast on the Left.” One of the longest-running true crime podcasts in the mix, its hosts discuss everything from killers to cults, to demons, to just plain creepy stuff we can’t explain.
10. Dirty John
Having worked as a crime reporter and novelist, Christopher Goffard has experience with the darker elements of humanity and a knack for storytelling. Both of those qualities are on display in Dirty John, a six-episode series (and accompanying written feature) in which Goffard tells the story of Debra Newell, a 59-year old interior designer who meets a man named John Meehan on a dating site.
Meehan comes on strong, but Newell falls for him, even as her daughters suspect something is off. Goffard interviews Newell and her family, among others, constructing a multifaceted narrative that may surprise listeners. It helps that Goffard has a measured, professional voice, making Dirty John feel at times like an audiobook.