True crime isn’t basic. It’s a way of life. From books to documentaries, the true crime genre has infiltrated every way we consume entertainment, including podcasts. As the best true crime podcasts show, the ears are one of the best ways to consume content about a chilling murder, a missing person’s report or a case that went cold. It’s no wonder why 40 percent of true crime tales focus on murder. From JonBenét Ramsey’s death in 1996 to the O.J. Simpson murder case in 1994, people have been obsessed with true crime stories for decades.
It’s only in recent years, as technology has evolved, that people have started to devour their true crime obsession through sound.. We all know about “Serial,” the Peabody award-winning podcast about an 18-year-old student in Baltimore who was mysteriously murdered in 1999. But what about these other true crime podcasts? For those true crime junkies out there, we rounded up the most binge-worthy podcasts to listen to while at home or on the go. From missing people cases to the murder mysteries even Agatha Christie couldn’t write, these are the best true crime podcasts you need to listen to immediately. Grab a snack because these stories are wild from start to finish.
“Serial” is the G.O.A.T. of true crime podcasts. When the series premiered in 2014, it became an instant fan favorite for its fascinating investigation into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore. Since then, podcast host Sarah Koenig has received a Peabody Award for her work, as well as released two of “Serial.” The second season focuses on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who was held for five years by the Taliban, and then charged with desertion, while season 3 follows the cases within the Justice Center Complex in the Cleveland area. Season 1, however, has been the most popular. In 2019, HBO even released a docuseries based on the season 1 murder, titled, The Case Against Adnan Syed, which peeled back more layers to the investigation of Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee’s ex-boyfriend who was charged with her murder.
Aside from “Serial,” “Crime Junkie” is perhaps the most well known true crime podcast. The series, which is hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, premiered in December 2017 and has more than 100 episodes. (Flowers was the host of a local Indianapolis radio station’s Murder Monday show, so you know she’s a pro at true crime.) Unlike “Serial,” each “Crime Junkie” episodes follows a different murder, missing person or crime. Once a month, there’s also a segment called the “Pruppet of the Month,” where Prawat tells stories about dogs who’ve been adopted as a pick-me-up.
“Sleuth,” which premiered in summer 2018, investigates the 2010 Southern California murder case involving Daniel Wozniak, who’s described in the podcast as a “real-life phantom of the opera.” The podcast follows the murder case, which alleges that Wozniak, a local theater actor, murdered two of his friends (one in the theater’s attic) before going on stage later that night. Hosted by Linda Sawyer, the podcast also investigates Wozniak’s girlfriend, Rachel Buffett, an actress and a Disneyland princess, who investigators believe was an accomplice to the murder.
“The Teacher’s Pet”
This Australian podcast follows the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson, the wife of a famous rugby player and a high school coach named Chris Dawson. The 16-episode series also investigates the misogynstic culture of Gold Coast Australia that created an environment where student-teacher relationships went unchecked. The podcast also interviews a then-16-year-old student of Chris’ who moved into his home after his wife vanished. Chris later married his former student and made her the stepbother to his young children, leading to speculation that he may have murdered his wife.
“Over My Dead Body”
This podcast chronicles the murder of Dan Markel, a Florida State University professor, who was shot to death in his car in 2014. Markel’s murder came amid a his divorce and custody dispute with his then-wife, Wendi Adelson, a wealthy attorney. The podcast follows the murder and how Adelson’s family, specifically her dentist brother, could’ve been involved in her ex-husband’s death. Though the FBI attempted to solve the murder with a sting operation, the case is still unsolved. The podcast provides updates on the investigation until as recent as 2019.