Looking for a podcast to listen to this winter? These true crime series are guaranteed to keep you hooked for hours on end.
With the dark evenings here to stay for a while and the weather outside growing ever colder, now’s the perfect time to dig into a new true crime podcast. The only problem? With so many new series being released all the time, it can be hard to know where to start – especially when you’re trying to sort the exploitative takes from the thoughtful and well-researched ones.
That’s where this list comes in. With our collective obsession with true crime podcasts showing no signs of ending, we’ve put together this edit of the ones which have really captured our attention, thanks to their detailed research and gripping storytelling.
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From the genre-defining brilliance of Serial to the detailed investigative style of the new podcast Smoke Screen, there’s something for everyone on this list.
So, whether you’re looking to find out more about some of history’s most infamous crimes, are fascinated by the stories of fraudsters and scammers or want to learn about the process behind a criminal investigation, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests.
The best true crime podcasts to listen to in 2021
This intimate and nuanced look at the death of a young woman in 1996 is as compelling as it is heartbreaking. At the heart of Bonaparte lies Anne Champion – a successful Manhattan attorney who returns to her hometown intent on getting answers about the death of her childhood friend Laura Van Whye, who was found unconscious on the side of the road by a truck driver.
Alongside the series’ host – former lawyer and journalist Jason Stavers – Champion starts by recounting her memories of Van Whye, before the pair go on to unpick the mystery surrounding her death. But the story doesn’t stop there. Indeed, as the series description reads: “What begins as a story about a possible homicide, evolves into an examination of the ways in which the ambiguity surrounding Laura’s death has fragmented her family and community into rival factions.”
Listen to Bonaparte now
Suspect is one of those podcasts that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. Hosted by Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson, the series revolves around the 2008 murder of 24-year-old computer programmer Arpana Jinaga, who was found dead after a Halloween party at a quiet Seattle apartment complex, and the complex investigation that followed.
Over the course of nine episodes, Shaer and Benson return to the scene of the crime to uncover what really happened, speaking to people who attended the party along the way.
Described as a series “about cutting-edge science and mislaid justice, race and policing, and the kinds of weighty choices that cops and prosecutors make every day,” this isn’t one to miss.
Listen to Suspect now
Killer Book Club
This eight-part series, hosted by documentary maker Gillian Pachter, revolves around the case of Peter Farquhar – the novelist and retired English teacher whose former lover Benjamin Field was found guilty of murdering him in 2019.
As those who followed the case will no doubt know, those details are just the tip of an iceberg that involved gaslighting, poisoning and deception – and this new podcast dives deep into all of this and more.
Created with the help of Farquhar’s former pupil James Goss, Killer Book Club utilises “traditional investigative tools” and the writings of those at the heart of the story to unpick a case which demonstrates, as the synopsis highlights, “how often truth can be stranger than fiction”.
Listen to Killer Book Club now
This investigative podcast series from Auddy, released in conjunction with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, relays the kind of dark, mysterious and twisted story that makes the true crime genre so great.
The eight-part series takes a closer look at the “shadowy world” of spies and smugglers who worked within southern Africa’s tobacco market in the 2010s, and revolves around the real-life characters that set up an “extensive spy network” with the help of a massive tobacco company.
The result of over a year’s worth of research and investigation by the Bureau’s journalists, Smoke Screen is a story of epic proportions.
Listen to Smoke Screen now
Disappearances With Sarah Turney
This new true crime podcast from Spotify and Parcast sees its host Sarah Turney take a closer look at some of the most well-documented missing persons cases in history.
Unlike most true crime hosts, Turney knows her subject matter all too well – her sister, Alissa, disappeared in 2001, and the case was only solved after Turney shared its details on social media two decades later (her father has since been charged with Alissa’s murder and is currently on trial) – and this gives her a unique perspective through which to explore both the details of each case and the impact these disappearances have on the people left behind.
In the first episode, Turney tells the story of Etan Patz – a six-year-old boy who was abducted on the way to the bus stop, and whose disappearance helped launch the US’ missing children movement.
Listen to Disappearances with Sarah Turney now
The Lazarus Heist
Led by journalists Jean Lee and Geoff White, this incredible podcast from the BBC World Service takes listeners on a journey around the world, from a series of cyber-attacks that hit Sony Pictures, to a $1bn dollar raid on Bangladesh’s national bank, to the North Korean hackers who were suspected to be behind them both.
In short, it’s a wild ride – and with just 10 episodes to speed through, it’s the perfect listen for a rainy weekend afternoon.
Listen to The Lazarus Heist now
International Infamy With Ashley Flowers
This true crime podcast from Spotify and Parcast sees Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers dive into 15 high-profile crimes from 15 different countries across the world.
Shining a light on the cultural details which make each case unique, the podcast takes listeners from the streets of 19th century London to 1990’s Mexico City as Flowers breaks down all the twists and turns at the heart of some of the world’s most infamous cases.
Listen to International Infamy With Ashleigh Flowers now
Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder delves into the case and investigations surrounding the unsolved 1987 murder of the Welsh private detective, who was found lying in the car park of a south London pub having been struck repeatedly in the head with an axe.
The podcast, which was even mentioned on the most recent season of Line Of Duty, is hosted by author Peter Jukes and Morgan’s brother, Alistair, and explores some of the links to institutionalised corruption that have since been associated with the case.
Listen to Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder now
Who Killed Emma?
Led by journalist Sam Poling, this eight-part podcast series is the product of four years of investigation into the brutal killing of 27-year-old Emma Caldwell.
From the events surrounding her death to the police investigation and the suspects it identified, this podcast guides listeners through the journey to uncover Emma’s true killer, until, in the penultimate episode, Poling confronts her prime suspect with the evidence she has collected.
Listen to Who Killed Emma? now
Death Of A Starlet
If you’re looking for a short and snappy podcast you can listen to over the weekend, then Wondery’s Death Of A Starlet could be just what you’re looking for.
The six-part series tells the story of Dorothy Stratten, a Playboy Playmate who was found dead at just 20 years old. She was beloved by three “ambitious men” – Hugh Hefner, Peter Bogdonovich and Paul Snider – one of whom was to blame for her eventual murder.
In Death Of A Starlet, co-hosts Tracy Pattin and Josh Lucas dive into Stratten’s tragic story – and explore how her Hollywood dreams led to her death.
Listen to Death Of A Starlet now
What Happened To Annie?
This multi-award winning podcast from Sky News’ StoryCast series investigates the mysterious life and death of Annie Borjesson, a Swedish musician who was found dead on Prestwick Beach in Scotland back in 2005.
Although authorities at the time concluded that Borjesson had died of suicide, her family had several doubts about what had happened – and this six-part series dives into what might have happened to Annie instead.
As the podcast’s official synopsis asks: “Why had Annie been found along with her passport? Why didn’t Annie board her flight at Prestwick airport?”
Listen to What Happened To Annie? now
A podcast dedicated to dissecting the criminal cases “that shock, intrigue and scare us the most,” Bad People is a true crime podcast with a twist.
Co-hosted by criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw and self-confessed true crime fan comedian Sofie Hagen, Bad People not only explores a different case every episode, it also takes a closer look at the science and analysis behind the crimes, as to avoid speculation and sensationalising the events.
Indeed, as Shaw previously told Stylist: “It’s really important to me not to sensationalise these things. But we can indulge our fascination while also learning about how we can better talk about understanding these issues and, ultimately, prevent them from happening in the future.”
Listen to Bad People now
This podcast by My Dad Wrote A Porno host Alice Levine and comedian and former political advisor Matt Forde sees the pair dive into three modern-day British scandals that sent shockwaves across the globe, starting with the Salisbury Poisonings.
Alongside looking at the facts and reactions which shaped each scandal, British Scandal sees the pair look closer at the “ordinary human stories” at the heart of each case, and whether or not the scandal led to any real or meaningful change.
Basically, it’s a podcast for anyone who loves a bit of drama, or, as Levine herself put it in her recent interview with Stylist, “the kind of person who does their own Sherlocking, has an interest in moments in history and society, and wants a way of diving into these stranger-than-fiction stories.”
Listen to British Scandal now
Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen
Described as the “incredible true story of one of the longest and strangest cons in history,” Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen is a 10-part podcast series hosted by two long-time journalists, Josh Dean and Vanessa Grigoariadis, who embark on an “obsessive quest” to figure out who or what is behind a scam which has been plaguing Hollywood for the past six years.
We’d try to explain it, but the official synopsis does it best: “For the past 6 years, someone – or some group – has been terrorizing a certain class of Hollywood workers. Strivers – day players and physical trainers and make-up artists and security guards – receive a phone call or email offering the job of a lifetime. A key role in a major film or TV show. This offer comes from a powerful woman – one of the biggest producers or studio executives in the industry. All these strivers have to do is get on a plane, for Jakarta, immediately.
“But when they land, there is no producer. There is no movie. It’s all a fraud.”
Unlike some true crime podcasts, this series tracks the team’s investigation into the case in real-time, as they uncover new leads and try to paint a picture of the Con Queen at the heart of the scam.
Listen to Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen now
Following her release from prison and ahead of Netflix’s new true crime series Inventing Anna, interest in Anna Delvey’s crimes – which saw the young woman claim to be a German socialite and scam numerous high-flyers into funding her lavish lifestyle – is once again on the rise.
And that’s what makes Fake Heiress – a six-art podcast series by journalist Vicky Baker and screenwriter Chloe Moss – such a fascinating listen. The podcast, which dives deep into Delvey’s story and how her crimes came to light, is a mixture of styles, featuring documentary-style reporting and dramatised scenes based on court and press coverage.
Whether or not you’re planning on watching Delvey’s story play out on screen later this year, Fake Heiress is a must-listen.
Listen to Fake Heiress now
In The Dark
If you haven’t listened to In The Dark yet, now’s the time to get to it. The popular podcast, which started with an investigation into the infamous disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, is a firm favourite among true crime fans for its rigorous, journalistic reporting which is delivered in a non-sensationalist and transparent way.
It’s also known for its real-world impact: as a result of the show’s second investigation into the case of Curtis Flowers, a Mississippi man who was tried six times for a crime he probably didn’t commit, and the pattern of misconduct the podcast unveiled, Flowers’ most recent conviction was overturned, and he has since had charges against him dropped.
In the show’s most recent limited series, the host Madeleine Baran has been reporting on the development of Covid-19 in the Mississippi Delta, from life inside the area’s Parchman prison to the reality faced by doctors and nurses at the Greenwood Leflore Hospital.
Listen to In The Dark now
Stolen: The Search For Jermain
From journalist Connie Walker, the host of the acclaimed true crime podcast Missing And Murdered: Finding Cleo, comes another missing person series, Stolen: The Search For Jermain.
Walker has made it her life’s work to tell the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women (she is Cree from Okanese First Nation in Canada), and this series sees her continue this work by diving into the case of Jermain Charlo, who went missing from Missoula, Montana in 2018.
After two years of investigative work the police on Charlo’s case believe they are close to finding out what happened to her, and this podcast goes inside that investigation – tracking down leads and taking part in search parties – while also examining what it means to be an Indigenous woman in America.
Listen to Stolen: The Search For Jermain now
Welcome To Your Fantasy
Welcome To Your Fantasy is a new podcast from Spotify which takes a closer look at the world of “greed, corruption and murder” behind the shining success of the Chippendales – the male dancers who sold the promise of women’s liberation “for the price of a few dollars in a g-string”.
Through 60+ interviews and across eight episodes, host and historian Natalia Petrzela tells the story of the two men behind the Chippendales brand, exploring how they transformed a seedy nightclub into a global phenomenon which hid a multitude of “lethal” back office dealings and shady truths.
The podcast promises to expose “one of the great, sordid, unexamined stories in American culture” – and we can’t wait to get listening.
Listen to Welcome To Your Fantasy now
Hunting Ghislaine is a podcast which gives listeners a closer look at the life of Ghislaine Maxwell, the former partner of the convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein who was arrested by the FBI last year after almost a year spent on the run.
Led by investigative reporter John Sweeney, the podcast investigates Maxwell’s journey from her childhood as the daughter of infamous British media tycoon Robert Maxwell to a figure accused of some of the world’s most heinous crimes. Packed full of shocking revelations and unnerving truths, Hunting Ghislaine is a must-listen for anyone looking to learn more about Maxwell’s haunting past.
Listen to Hunting Ghislaine now
Casefile Presents: The Vanishing Of Vivienne Cameron
Based on the case which captivated Casefile listeners worldwife, Casefile Presents: The Vanishing Of Vivienne Cameron dives deeper into what is known as ‘the Phillip Island Murder’ – a case which saw the murder of 23-year-old Beth Barnard and the disappearance of Vivienne Cameron, who was later accused of Barnard’s murder.
Presented by writer Vikki Petraitis, co-author of a book which investigated inconsistencies in the case, this podcast dives deeper into the victims, forensics and stories of that night on Phillip Island to try and understand what really happened.
Listed to Casefile Presents: The Vanishing Of Vivienne Cameron now
Girl Taken takes listeners on a journey into the dark heart of the migrant crisis.
BBC journalist Sue Mitchell and former soldier Rob Lawrie thought they were dealing with the heartbreaking but fairly straightforward story of an Afghan father and his motherless four-year-old daughter as they struggled to get to the UK from Calais. But the following four years saw Sue and Rob fall into a web of lies and life-altering, mind changing events.
This true crime podcast is a 10-part series, involving closed borders and broken promises, for the truth and to find a little girl.
Listen to Girl Taken now
From the podcast network behind the hugely popular Crime Junkie, Park Predators is a new true crime series dedicated to exploring the most horrific and mystifying true crime events which have unravelled in the national parks and forests around the United States and Canada.
Hosted by Delia D’Ambra, the series focuses on a mixture of solved and unsolved cases, exploring how the crimes changed the areas where they occurred.
Listen to Park Predators now
Criminal’s premise may seem quite simple – it describes itself as a podcast which tells the stories of people “who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle” – but the way it dives into the cases it highlights and explores the smallest of details is anything but.
Thanks to the series’ investigative vigour, you’re sure to learn something new with every single episode – and the critical way it approaches true crime offers a refreshing perspective on the genre.
Listen to Criminal now
Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions
Listen up, Making a Murderer fans: the lawyers featured in the Netflix series have released a podcast.
Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin may have represented Brendan Dassey – the subject of Making A Murderer, but their podcast focuses on 12 other stories of false convictions, including a Brooklyn teen who falsely confessed to killing his own mother, and an innocent New Zealander who was wrongly imprisoned for rape and murder.
Speaking about the podcast, Nirider said: “We bring you inside the fight to exonerate these innocent people.”
Listen to Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions now
Hosted by father and daughter duo Geoffrey and Molly Wansell, Blood Ties is a weekly true crime podcast which aims to expose the truth surrounding some of the world’s grisliest crimes. Tackling everything from the real Peaky Blinders to the Ted Bundy murders, the Wansell’s unpack and dispel myths surrounding some of the world’s biggest cases.
Thanks to Geoffrey’s expertise (his latest book, Pure Evil, looks into the minds of some of the world’s most notorious criminals and serial killers) and Molly’s inquisitive nature, Blood Ties is a true crime podcast you’ll love to binge.
Listen to Blood Ties now
The Teacher’s Pet
Hosted by Australian journalist Hedley Thomas, The Teacher’s Pet is an investigation into the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson, wife of rugby league player Chris Dawson. Throughout the 14-part series, Thomas digs deep into the 36-year-old unsolved cold case, uncovering new pieces of evidence which have changed the direction of the case and brought new hope that Dawson’s disappearance will finally be solved.
With the subsequent murder trial currently taking place in Australia, there’s no better time to get acquainted with this mysterious case –there have been four update episodes since the original podcast’s conclusion back in August 2018, and the story is far from over.
We’ve probably all heard of Serial, a podcast presented by Sarah Koenig and produced by This American Life. Now in its third season, the iconic title offers plenty of content for the true crime newbie to explore –each season sees one true story unfold through a variety of twists and turns. The best part? The host doesn’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, too, so you’re following the story together over the course of the season.
While previous seasons focused on “extraordinary cases”, season 3’s look at a Cleveland courthouse is an “overarching account of an institution” – and it’s no less gripping because of it.
My Favourite Murder
You know that feeling you get when you fall in love with a series, only to find out it’s been cancelled or ended long ago, leaving you with a pitifully small handful of content? There’s no chance of that with My Favourite Murder.
The podcast, presented by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, started in 2016, and has captured the attention of audiences ever since –they’ve now uploaded an impressive 182 episodes, with a scattering of ‘minisodes’ and other specials inbetween.
Why’s it so popular? Probably because it’s a pretty unique combo – a true crime podcast that’s also funny. Each episode the true crime fans tell each other stories of their favourite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. The show even has a dedicated fan base who call themselves “Murderinos”.
All Killa No Filla
If you’re looking for something on the serial killer side, All Killa No Filla is the podcast for you. Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McClean share a unique passion –serial killers –and All Killa No Filla is their chance to share that passion with you.
With some harrowing stories and a bit of humour thrown in the mix, Fairburn and Pritchard-McClean use each episode to examine a different serial killer, from Jack the Ripper to Ted Bundy. It’s simultaneously dark, hilarious and terrifyingly engaging –just what the doctor ordered for those long, boring commutes.
You Must Remember This
Although You Must Remember This is not technically a true crime podcast –it explores the stories of old Hollywood –the season dedicated to Charles Manson is definitely worth a listen if you’re a fan of the genre.
If your interest has been peaked after watching Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, which tells the story of actress Sharon Tate’s murder at the hands of Manson’s followers, give this season a listen for more of the backstory and details of the brutal acts of violence that took place across Hollywood because of Manson.
Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood
Film star Natalie Wood’s death has never been explained, and is subject to intense speculation. Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood unpicks much of this speculation, and explores exactly what happened that day in 1981 when Wood disappeared from aboard a yacht and her body was found washed up ashore the following morning.
Despite her husband Robert Wagner’s claims that she accidentally fell overboard, there are still plenty of questions to be asked as investigative journalist and host Dylan Howard is joined by a team of investigators to try and work out what happened. And in the light of new evidence, it seems a much larger conspiracy may have been at play…
Started in 2016, Casefile deals with solved or cold criminal cases, often related to well-known murders and serial crimes, including the case of Britain’s Becky Watts. This is another series with plenty of content on offer –the most recent upload was the 119th case the podcast has looked at.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is the mystery of the shows host. Despite being hosted by the same Australia man since it’s beginning, his identity remains completely anonymous, adding to the mystery and creepiness of the true crime show.
A true crime podcast with a difference, Happy Face follows host Melissa Moore –daughter of serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson –as she navigates the reality of her father’s crimes and her own relationship with him and them.
In a series which is often deeply personal and raw, Moore questions the legacy of her father and explores her connection to what he did. Ultimately, Moore is haunted by the show’s summarising question: “When you look like your father, and you share his intelligence and charisma, how do you know you’re not a psychopath, too?”
Dr Death follows the true story of Christopher Duntsch, a Texas surgeon who was convicted of gross malpractice after many of his patients were left seriously injured –or even dead –after he assured them his surgeries would help them when nothing else would.
Presented by Laura Beil over 10 harrowing episodes, Dr Death explores the reality of a medical system that “failed to protect patients at every possible turn,” as she uncovers a terrifying story of what can happen when we place our trust in the hands of someone we shouldn’t.
Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo
Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo follows the case of Cleo, a young indigenous girl taken from her family when she was six years old and adopted in the U.S.. Although her family believe she was raped and murdered when trying to hitchhike home to Saskatchewan, the mystery of where Cleo ended up has never been solved –and that’s where Missing and Murdered picks up.
CBC news investigative reporter Connie Walker joins the search to find out what really happened to Cleo in a podcast series which is sometimes difficult – but worthwhile – to listen to.
The Last Podcast on the Left
Put The Last Podcast on the Left on shuffle and prepare for a journey through the world of cults, serial killers, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, ghosts and much, much more. And with over 350 episodes to binge on (some are over an hour long) you won’t be strapped for content when you’re craving a good scare.
What makes the show so great is the fact that you never know what you’re going to get – you only know it’s going to be something pretty horrifying and “guaranteed to satisfy your blood lust”. Delightful.
The premise is simple: Crime Junkie is simply a series of true crime stories for people who can’t get enough of true crime. With stories of murder, conspiracies, serial killers, missing people and more, each episode follows a different story (or stories) – each neatly labelled so you can pick and choose as you fancy.
Getting your true crime fix has truly never been easier.
RedHanded is a grisly crash course in all things horrifying –and we can’t get enough. Alongside the usual true crime stuff –serial killers, murderers etc –there’s some other topics of conversation which make this podcast unique, including stories of hauntings, possessions and other disturbing mysteries.
As the show surpasses it’s 100th episode there’s certainly a lot of content to get through (especially as some episodes are more than an hour long), but with Suruthi and Hannah as your hosts, you’ll be gobbling it up in no time. We’ll take it all, please.
Who the Hell is Hamish?
If you fancy your true crime a bit less blood-splattered, you might want to try out Who the Hell is Hamish? a podcast from the team behind The Teacher’s Pet. The podcast series documents the life of serial conman Hamish McLaren, who was sentenced to jail in early 2019 after he conned a handful of victims into funds amounting to more than $7m – but that was just a leaf out of his book of scams and trickery.
For decades, McLaren has duped victims across the world –and this is the whole story.
As pioneers of the true crime genre, The Generation Why Podcast team are experts when it comes to unsolved murders, conspiracy theories and everything inbetween. Since 2012 the two friends who host the podcast –Aaron and Justin –have been sharing their opinions and theories on the greatest unsolved cases and disappearances –and their ideas will certainly get you thinking.
At 40 years old, April Balascio’s life was turned upside down when something she’d feared for a long time was finally proved to be true: her Dad, Edward Wayne Edwards, was a murderer. The Clearing is a podcast which tracks the story of Balascio’s life ever since she picked up the phone and shared her suspicions with a detective back in 2009 –a choice which led to her father’s eventual arrest and convictions.
The Clearing sees host Josh Dean guide Balascio through her childhood and past to explore her father’s actions – and with new episodes being uploaded weekly, nows the time to jump on the bandwagon and join Balascio on her journey.
Unheard: The Fred & Rose West Tapes
Unheard: The Fred & Rose West Tapes gives a chilling insight into the grisly murders going on behind the scenes of the couple’s seemingly normal life. While at first the dismembered remains of one teenager – Heather West – were found underneath the couple’s garden patio, the police later discovered that the Wests had killed at least 12 women and girls.
Narrated by bestselling author and journalist Howard Sounes, this podcast looks back at his investigations into Fred and Rose West at the time of the revelations. During that time, Sounes recorded his interviews and reflections on cassette tape – and it’s these never-before-heard recordings, including interviews with close family members of Fred and Rose West, which form the basis of the podcast.
Break In The Case
Break In The Case is a true crime podcast with a difference. Unlike most of the podcasts in this genre which are hosted by journalists and former investigators, Break In The Case is a podcast written and produced by the New York City Police Department.
Following some of the world’s greatest detectives to three crime scenes, Break In The Case gives a unique insight into NYPD investigations and the people who conduct them.
Images: Imperative Entertainment & Vespucci/Wondery/Courtesy of podcasts
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