9 True Crime Podcasts That’ll Be Your Obsession This Fall and Winter
The popularity of true crime podcasts has exploded in the past couple of years, and that means more choices than ever when it comes to trying to find the next My Favorite Murder (though truly, what can ever compare?).
In recent months, some of the genre’s biggest titles have released compelling new seasons, and an even bigger crop of newbies have arrived on the scene. We’ve sorted through some of the most noteworthy new true crime podcasts to pick nine that’ll become your obsession over the next couple of months. But remember — it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of your own mental health while binging the often dark subject matter.
1. Up and Vanished, Season 2: One of the most popular true crime podcast angles is an unsolved murder or disappearance. In 2016 and 2017, season 1 of Up and Vanished covered the 2005 disappearance of Georgian school teacher Tara Grinstead. Season 2, which debuted in August, focuses on the case of 29-year-old Kristal Anne Reisinger, who vanished from Crestone, Colorado, in 2016, and has not been seen since. Like the most successful podcasts of its kind, Up and Vanished makes for a compelling and compassionate listen due to its delicate and thorough handling of the details, often involving the victim’s family and closest friends.
2. Uncover: Escaping NXIVM: NXIVM, the self-help program that allegedly operated as a pyramid scheme — and which some of its ex members call a cult — gained widespread notoriety in the spring of 2018 when Smallville actress Allison Mack and co-founder Keith Raniere were arrested on sex-trafficking charges related to the organization. This podcast takes an investigative look at the group, featuring insider insight from one woman who fought to get out.
3. Serial, Season 3: WBEZ’s Serial is largely credited with kicking off the true crime podcast trend back in 2014. While its second season didn’t make nearly as great an impact, season 3 feels like a return to form with its impressive investigative journalism. The new episodes cover one year inside a typical American courthouse in Cleveland, to paint a heartbreaking, often frustrating portrait of the justice system at work.
4. Last Seen: If you find yourself in need of a break from the darkness that surrounds many of the death-focused true crime podcasts, WBUR and The Boston Globe‘s Last Seen will be a breath of fresh — but still addictive — air. It covers the most valuable (and still unsolved) art heist in history, when 13 pieces of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. The production is top-notch, the storytelling is superb, and its episodic breakdown will keep you hooked to see if they find out who did it.
5. Teacher’s Pet: This cold-case Australian podcast became a worldwide hit recently, and looks at the unsolved 1982 murder of Lyn Dawson. Although two separate coroner’s inquests determined Dawson was murdered, her body has never been found and no charges have ever been brought against the only suspect, her then-husband Chris Dawson. Prominent Aussie paper The Australian investigates the case with new eyes.
6. Sleuth: This new iHeartRadio podcast, like many others in the genre, looks at a potentially unsolved crime, but this one is different in that it was released while legal proceedings related to the crime were happening in real time. In it, crime journalist and host Linda Sawyer revisits the murder of college students Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi in 2010. While convicted killer Daniel Wozniak has been on death row for the murders since 2016, his ex-fiancée, Rachel Buffett — whose involvement was unclear — only went to trial earlier this year.
7. Dr. Death: This one may not be an easy listen for anyone squeamish about medical stuff. If you’re able to *not* cringe into a million pieces, you’ll be absolutely riveted by the real-life horror story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon who botched more than 30 spinal surgeries — and how such a spree was able to happen in the first place.
8. Happy Face: Keith Hunter Jesperson is a serial killer who was known as the “Happy Face Killer” during his murderous reign on America’s west coast in the 1990s, and Happy Face is not just his story, but his family’s, as told by his daughter, Melissa Moore. In this unique and very personal take on the genre, Moore investigates her father’s crimes for herself, reckoning with the past as she tries to look to the future.
9. Charm City: This addition to the genre, from the team behind the New York Times‘ popular daily news podcast The Daily, tackles the murder of a Baltimore teenager known as Nook, who was shot to death by a police officer a year after Freddie Gray’s killing. The five-part series is a difficult but important look at the family’s suffering as they seek the truth from the city, exposing corruption and the prevalent systemic troubles the community consistently faces.
Do you have a favorite true crime or investigative podcast? Let us know @BritandCo.
(photo via Tenderfoot TV)