I have a confession. I’m a true crime addict. In other news, I have become obsessed with true crime podcasts (in addition to watching every Dateline ever made, of course.) Yes, I am aware it’s weird, and I’m aware I may have a problem.
Them: How do you deal with the stress of being a mom?
Me: murder podcasts
— Meredith (@PerfectPending) January 18, 2019
My true crime obsession began years ago.
I wanted to go into forensic psychology in fact. I have my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I was fascinated by the mind of killers. Oof. I know that makes me sound weird. But, there is something about studying what drives people to do the things they do that I can’t stop learning about. My husband thinks I’m a legit weirdo.
I can’t stand a horror film that’s totally fake, but give me true crime – and I’m ALL over it. Makes no sense I know.
I’m at my most predictable when I say I’m going to get some work done after kids go to bed but binge watch murder shows instead.
— Meredith (@PerfectPending) September 17, 2019
A few years ago, my true crime podcast obsession began with none other than Serial.
My friend was telling me if I really loved true crime, I had to check out this podcast. I had never listened to a podcast in my life. But, I. Was. Hooked. On the story of Serial, but also on true crime podcasts.
The main reason I love true crime podcasts so much is because I can pop in my earbuds and do other things while I listen. I can go on walks, fold laundry, ignore my kids. You get the picture. But, my favorite time to listen is while I’m cooking dinner because it’s a task I LOATHE, but I cook almost every night.
I rage clean while listening to murder podcasts because if we are being honest the two seem related.
— Meredith (@PerfectPending) February 25, 2020
But, I promise I’m like you – just a normal person with a tiny obsession with murder.
Over and over again, people ask me for recommendations for true crime podcasts to listen to, and I’ve been wanting to make a list FOREVER. Then I thought, well, I might as well make a blog post. Yes, this blog post has nothing to do with parenting, and is a tad bit off topic, but I want a place where I can update my ongoing obsession with true crime podcasts and keep a list that other people can refer to for their own true crime obsessions.
So, without further ado – here are the BEST true crime podcasts I’ve actually listened to, with a tiny review of each one and why I liked it.
True Crime Podcasts That Are A Series (meaning every season covers one crime with multiple episodes)
Serial (Season 1)- If you have never listened to a true crime podcast, I’d definitely start with this one. The story telling is fantastic (think investigative journalism), and the story itself is gripping. You’ll come away from it wanting to know everything you can about this case. And you’ll go back and forth constantly about whether or not the killer is actually guilty.
S- Town – Season One is one of the first podcasts I listened to after Serial. It’s the crazy story of a small Alabama town that one man hates, so he asks a journalist to look into a murder there, but then it has so many twists and turns, and dives deep into one man’s life in that town, and you’ll be captivated for sure.
Cold – The story of Susan Powell who was killed by her husband Josh Powell. There is a TON of audio you didn’t see in the news, and these people were just – weird. Even though you know the husband did it, it’s one you don’t want to miss.
To Live And Die In LA – Something about this one just gripped me from the beginning and I binged listened in just a few days. It’s about the disappearance of an aspiring model in LA.
Culpable – I will think about this one for a long time. Presumed a suicide, the death of a young man left me with more questions than answers, and there were AT LEAST two people in the small apartment where he died.
Counter Clock – Produced by the same producer of Crime Junkie, I found this story intriguing, but kind of a slow moving podcast. A 20 year old cold case that remains unsolved.
22 Hours – You probably remember this story from 2015. The story of a DC family and their housekeeper who were held captive for 22 hours and then burned in their own home in the DC Area.
Urge To Kill – The story of a man who seemingly out of nowhere decided to commit murder when he was faced with an easy opportunity one night while working as a security guard. Turns out he had the urge to kill for a long time.
Bear Brook – Four bodies found in the same wooded area in New Hampshire, and delves into the lesser known case of a serial killer that was committing his crimes over 20 years ago.
Root Of Evil – The Hodel family tells a gripping story of why they believe their grandfather murdered the Black Dahlia. Was hard to listen to at times due to the graphic nature of the story, but they make a compelling case.
Broken Harts – One of those stories that never leaves you. Two women drive their family of adopted children off a cliff and everyone is left wondering what was going on behind closed doors.
Your Own Backyard – A riveting case about a 20 year old mystery surrounding a missing girl named Kristin Smart and a “creepy” college classmate who was the last one seen with her. There are still new developments happening in this case including a recent search of the suspect’s home uncovering “items of interest.”
Down The Hill – This one is compelling because the killer has never been caught even though police have both photos and audio of the man who killed two young teenagers.
Finding Cleo – Heartbreaking story of a young Native American Cree girl who was adopted by a white family, and ran away and ended up missing. It’s thought she was trying to make it back home to her biological family and her tribe.
In the Dark – Season one is about every parent’s worst nightmare a disappearance of a little boy. Season two is about the conviction of a black man who most likely is innocent of murder. Both are equally gripping.
Up And Vanished – The wildly popular first season of this podcast led the host to a TV show. He has a gift for telling a story in real time as he’s trying to figure it out himself. The story of the murder of a teacher in a small GA town is a gripping case of whodunit. Season 2 is pretty good (it’s a different case), too, but start with season 1.
The Dating Game Killer – A bizarre story of a serial killer that you may have never heard of. And, yes, he appeared on a TV show dating game.
Hell And Gone – Both seasons are worth listening to. Season one investigates the mysterious death of a popular college girl and season two is about the mysterious death of a 16 year old girl that dies while attending a party.
The Clearing – A woman in her 40’s finally has it confirmed that her father was a serial killer during her childhood. She’s the one who finally called a detective and told them her suspicions she had for a long time.
Happy Face – Told from the perspective of a grown woman that realized her father was a serial killer when she was a teenager.
Dr. Death – Inadvertently about murder this is a story of a doctor in Texas who was botching brain and spine surgeries. It will make you look at the medical system in a whole new way. And delves deep into why he refused to stop doing surgeries even though he clearly didn’t know what he was doing.
Someone Knows Something – Has five seasons and the host joins victims families as they track down leads on their cold cases. Each season is a different victim. I only listened to the first season and it was good.
The Teacher’s Pet – The Australian story of an unsolved murder of a wife most likely murdered by her husband who got away with it.
Over My Dead body – Not my favorite, but might just be because I already knew the story. Story of a bad divorce of two attorneys that leads to murder.
Motive For Murder – A new podcast as of May of 2020 and I’m only two episodes in, but it’s got me hooked. Done by Dateline and it’s about trying to link two murders in Houston, TX.
The Orange Tree – This one is SHOCKING. I still don’t know who is really to blame for this murder that happened near the University of Texas campus.
The Officer’s Wife – This one was just weird. Husband is was a police officer and the wife’s death was ruled a suicide, but the way her body was found was bizarro.
True Crime Podcasts That Offer A New Story Each Week (listed in order of favorites)
Crime Junkie – I’m religious about this one. Told by two childhood best friends that are also true crime obsessed, and their tagline is Be weird. Be Rude. Stay Alive. It’s totally like having a convo about murder with your own best friend. Their cases they share typically remain unsolved.
Casefile – I was obsessed with this one for a while, and could not get enough. The host of this podcast is Australian and he covers many cases I had never heard of as well as famous serial killer cases. I’d recommend starting with his episodes on the East Area Rapist (AKA – Golden State Killer) which I found particular gripping. I couldn’t sleep for a week after that story.
Small Town Dicks – The hosts are two women, but their recurring guests are two twin brothers that are both detectives. They change the names in the stories of the crimes they re-tell because they are real cases the two cop brothers worked. Very fascinating if you like the police perspective. Usually it’s about murder, but also has other crime story cases as well.
Dateline – Love Dateline? Well this one is literally just a replaying of the dateline episodes, but good for a quick listen when you have 45 minutes of free time. Or if you miss an episode of Dateline.
Gone Cold – Stories on cold cases in Texas. A little slow moving for me at times, but I found the host’s voice comforting, and enjoyed his story telling. Probably because I’m from Texas, too.
The Minds of Madness – Good story telling, and captivating deep voice to listen to. I go back to this one when I can’t find another one that I want to listen to. He does a lot of research.
Insomniac – The premise of this one is to look into lesser known serial killers. I found the format of this one interesting at first because the host does a lot of self reflection on why he gets so invested in these cases – because they keep him up at night.
Criminal – Doesn’t just cover murder, covers all kinds of crime. Interesting when you want a quick listen.
Park Predators – Covers a new crime story each week that took place in or near a national park. Since my family has visited many of these parks, it’s interesting to hear some of these stories that I never knew about.
Dr. Phil Podcast – If you can get past how annoying Dr. Phil is (sorry – I’m not a fan) you’ll like the stories he covers. And I will admit that he’s usually spot on in his assessments of the guilty. He does a really in depth look at the Lori Vallow case that had me hooked even when I knew the story inside and out. He has annoying ads for his wife’s skincare line in every episode though. Be ready to use that fast forward button.
Finding your favorite true crime podcasts is a labor of love (or weirdness.)
There are a few true crime podcasts that other people love that I just couldn’t get into. Like True Crime Obsessed which lots of people LOVE but the format of laughing about the true crime stories was off putting to me. The hosts ARE funny though. My Favorite Murder is another podcast that others love that I just didn’t. It’s also hosted by comedians. So maybe that’s just not my thing.
And other true crime podcasts you may just not like the voices of the hosts, or their personalities. Sword and Scale is a good example of one that I just didn’t like the guy from the beginning. And it’s a wildly popular podcast but there is some controversy surrounding him. Google it.
My hope is though that you will pin, or save this blog post and come back to it because I’m not going to be stopping my obsession with true crime podcasts anytime soon.
My goal in making this post is to be able to keep it updated as I listen and can write a little review for each one. There is definitely a “style” to podcasts and what you might like, I might not and vice versa. But, the ones I’ve listed above are ones that get my stamp of approval.
I’m a true crime junkie. I don’t see my obsession going away anytime soon, so when I find another one I love, you can count on me to update my list so you can come back and find a new podcast anytime you’re ready to get your true crime podcast fix.
And if you want a complete list of all the true crime podcasts listed under the True Crime genre on Apple Podcasts go here. But, you better let me know if you find a good one that I HAVE to listen to.