Did you hear the news? Bowe Bergdahl, the subject of Sarah Koenig‘s investigation in Serial Season 2, will plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the Associated Press reports. Bergdahl’s whole strange tale has polarized audiences and left many so confused that some of us were almost glad to see the second chapter of Serial end—almost. The latest developments have kinda brought our Serial obsession back, and now were yearning for more true crime stories as riveting as the mysterious murder of Hae Min Lee in Serial Season 1.
Serial changed the landscape of podcast culture (podcast listenership in the U.S. has doubled since 2008, in partial part to the criminal podcast brought to us by the minds behind This American Life), and while it might be one of the best true crime podcasts, it’s certainly not alone in the genre.
So to feed your addiction, we’ve rounded up 20 of our true crime favorites. Whether it’s current headline-making crimes you’re into, or deep dives into chilling cold cases, we promise these shows will help fill the podcast-shaped hole in your heart.
If you’re into Serial, you'll appreciate Criminal's episodic take on a new new-crime case. Host Phoebe Judge has a similar presentation style to Serial's Sarah Koenig, and each show is just as addictive. The episodes are a little short but perfect for quick commutes to and from work.
Someone Knows Something
Like Serial, Someone Knows Something follows one case over multiple episodes. The first season the program is taking a deep dive into the disappearance of a five-year-old boy in eastern Ontario back in 1972.
Season 1 of Unsolved is a seven-part podcast investigating the murder of 14-year-old John Zera, who was mysteriously killed back in 1976. Host and reporter Gina Barton digs through old evidence and speaks with people originally involved with trying to solve the case.
Each week, Generation Why gives a play-by-play rundown of a case picked by either the listeners or hosts Aaron and Justin. An episode could cover some unsolved mystery or dig into a conspiracy theory surrounding a closed case.
Sword and Scale
Sword and Scale tells stories of murder, rape, kidnapping, and more serious crimes, and looks at how the justice system deals with them.
A little different from your typical true-crime podcast, in each episode the host Dan Zupansky talks to authors of true-crime novels. This definitely isn't as well-produced as shows like Criminal and Serial, but the stories are fascinating.
Finding Tammy Jo
Chilling is really the only word you can use to describe Finding Tammy Jo, a podcast series about the murder of a girl in upstate New York who went unidentified for more than three decades.
We were hooked after one episode of Actual Innocence—which is frustrating because only five have been produced so far and they're all damn addictive. Each follows a person who served time for a crime they did not commit and was later exonerated, which makes for fascinating, heartbreaking audio. Actual Innocence doesn't have the same production quality as Serial, but it's worth listening to regardless.
True Crime Garage
Garage covers a new case each week; it could be a horror story that's current headline news or a discussion about infamous serial killers or cold cases. The podcast is laid-back and conversational, and not quite as gripping as some others such as Actual Innocence.
Missing was selected as one of iTunes' best podcasts a few years back and looks into how and why people disappear and what life's like when you're on the run. Host and crime writer Tim Weaver is easy to listen to—the British accent probably helps—and brilliantly picks out the most fascinating aspects of how people vanish in the 21st century.
Produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Reveal reveals injustice, power abuse, and crime. It's an easy, interesting listen and is produced with all the bells and whistles of Serial.
The first season features a retired detective and his true stories from 23 years on the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Homicide Division. We recommend listening to the "Mighty Ike" episode if you're not sure where to start.
Truth and Justice with Bob Ruff
Podcaster Bob Ruff actually looked into Hae Min Lee’s case after Serial brought so much attention to the murder. However, earlier episodes cover other aspects of the law and themes such as crime and justice.
The Mind of a Murderer
Each episode is narrated by criminal psychologist and trial consultant Dr. Michelle Ward. Ward actually talks face-to-face with six violent murderers, relying on her expertise as a trial consultant to look into each killer's psyche and find out what actually drives people to kill. It's compelling, to say the least.
Made in Sweden
Made in Sweden looks into the true story behind the novel The Father, which is about three brothers who grew up to become Sweden's most notorious criminals. Cohost Stefan Thunberg is their brother, which makes the series even more interesting.
CrimeFeed covers the most shocking true-crime stories exclusively. Unlike in a lot of other true-crime podcasts, most of the content is current; however, the program will occasionally look into cold cases. CrimeFeed more or less covers only information that's been circulated in the news and doesn't dive deeply into crimes or editorialize them in the same way such podcasts as Serial and the Mind of a Murderer do.
True Detective: Truth Squad
If you were a super fan of "True Detective" on TV or are just now getting to know the show, you definitely need to know about this series. Weekly shows analyzed all of the clues and plot developments on the show and are still up for posterity, so you can feed your "True Detective" addiction (even though the TV program is gone).
Thinking Sideways investigates things we simply don't have the answer to—such as missing-people reports, suspicious deaths, or old mysteries that were just never solved—to try and reach a conclusion.
Casefile is an Australian podcast that digs into a different case during each hour-long episode. Murders and violent crimes are the most covered topics.
The award-winning team at CBS News's "48 Hours" is behind this in-depth podcast covering tricky criminal cases and human drama. Production quality is stellar, and the team always selects gripping criminal stories.