The Best Podcasts for True Crime Fans
By Nicole Mastrogiannis
April 12, 2019
This is for all of the armchair detectives out there, or just anyone fascinated by true crime. From some of America's most famous unsolved murders, to some ongoing investigations, journalists and fans alike are getting behind the mic to take a closer look at all of these crimes and any details that may have been missed.
The launch of "Serial" in 2014 had America captivated as Sarah Koenig took a close look into the case against Adnan Syed and the murder of high school student Hae Min Lee in Baltimore. Did he do it? Did he not? The answer is still unknown. But, there is more out there beyond "Serial," and if you haven't discovered some of these podcasts yet, allow us to fill you in. You can tune in to all of these on iHeartRadio.
Hosted by StoryCoprs' Jasmyn Belcher Morris, "Hit Man" tells the story of Lawrence Horn, a famous Motown Records producer, who hired a hitman to kill his family. Horn had worked with iconic artists like The Supremes, The Temptations and The Jackson 5, but in 1990 was laid off from Motown Records and then spiraled into debt. The murderous producer saw the solution to his problems in his son's $1.7 million trust fund, and three years later hired a hitman to kill his wife, son and family friend. The podcast also takes a look at Horn's hired hitman, James Perry, who was a former street preacher, and used the book Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors to carry out the kill. The book has been referred to as one of the most dangerous books in America.
Hosted by director, documentary filmmaker and podcast creator Payne Lindsey, the first season of "Monster" ("Atlanta Monster") took an in-depth look at the Atlanta Child Murders that took place between 1979 and 1981, which claimed the lives of 25 victims. This year saw the release of season two, which focuses on one of the most notorious unsolved killing sprees: The Zodiac Killer. This mysterious murderer was active over the span of the 1960s and 1970s with 5 confirmed deaths, 2 injured victims, and possibly 20–28 total victims dead (this person has claimed the number is higher). Following the letters (some of which contained cryptograms) sent to the press, the world still wonders the true identity of The Zodiac Killer.
"Up and Vanished"
Hosted by Payne Lindsey ("Monster"), this podcast shines the spotlight on true unsolved stories, giving them exposure to hopefully put all of the pieces together. Season 1 focused on the the disappearance of Georgia high school teacher and former pageant queen Tara Grinstead; missing since 2005, and fourteen years later, and the case remains the largest case file in Georgia history. The latest season, Season 2, tells the story of a young mother named Kristal Reisinger from a remote mountain town in Colorado, who disappeared in July 2016.
If you've ever had surgery, your worst fear is something going wrong, either during or after the procedure — going under the knife, you put your full trust in the doctor holding the scalpel. Hosted by Laura Beil, "Dr. Death" takes a look at Dallas, Texas neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch (nicknamed Dr. Death) who was convicted of various crimes and gross malpractice after several of his patients died from complications from surgery he performed on them.
Despite the title, this podcast is not about Elvis or the King of Rock's beloved Graceland. "Disgraceland" is actually a true crime podcast about musicians getting away with murder, and their bad behavior. With two seasons under its belt, and now Season 3 currently underway, the show delves into some of the darker corners of the music industry. Did Jerry Lee Lewis get away with murdering his fifth wife? How did Sid Vicious and Sam Cooke really die? These topics and more are all explored in "Disgraceland."
"To Live and Die in L.A."
Buckle up, because this will have you on the edge of your seat with the amount of twists and turns in this tragic story. "To Live and Die in L.A." is a riveting piece of investigative journalism with the goal of trying to find out what really happened to 25-year-old aspiring actress Adea Shabani — a case that is still unsolved. Hosted by journalist Neil Strauss, the podcast takes a deep dive into the disappearance of Shabani after she goes missing from her apartment complex hear Hollywood's Walk of Fame in February 2018, as he uncovers the truth in real time during each episode.
"Root of Evil"
If you watched TNT's mini-series I Am the Night, starring India Eisley and Chris Pine, then you're already a little familiar with the story of Fauna Hodel, her family, and how they are connected to one of America's most famous unsolved murders: The Black Dahlia Murder, which took place in Los Angeles in 1947. Hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile, the daughters of Fauna Hodel, the women help tell the story of their mother, her journey to find her birth mother (Tamar Hodel), Tamar's story, as well as Fauna's grandfather, Dr. George Hodel who is suspected of being The Black Dahlia's (real name Elizabeth Short) murderer. Many of of the Hodel family members are interviewed and unearth many family secrets over eight episodes.
Hosted by journalist Christopher Goffard, and created by Wondery and Los Angeles Times, "Dirty John" investigates the life of con man John Meehan and his relationship with business woman Debra Newell, as well as her family. The two met via a dating website, and the podcast explores themes of manipulation, abuse, and more. In the first six weeks of the podcast's launch (October 2017), it was downloaded over 10 million times, and recently inspired Bravo to create a show starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana. More recent episodes of the podcast take a look behind the scenes of the TV series.
Created by the producers of "Serial" and "This American Life," and hosted by Brian Reed, "S-Town" is an investigative podcast that tells the story of a man named John B. McLemore, who asked Reed to look into an alleged murder in the Alabama town he resides in: Woodstock (a town which McLemore claims to hate). The podcast contains many interviews with McLemore, as well as other people in Woodstock to try and find out the truth.
If you're a fan of "Serial," and have been following the case of Adnan Syed specifically, you'll want to give "Undisclosed" a listen. The podcast takes a look at cases believed to be possible wrongful convictions, especially based on evidence that was never brought into the courtroom. Now in its third season, and co-hosted by Syed's family friend Rabia Chaudry, the podcast is taking a deep dive into the murder of Hae Min Lee and the case against Adnan Syed, who is currently still in prison.
"True Crime Garage"
Every week, hosts Nic and The Captain sit in a garage with a beer (or two) and talk about all things true crime. The two friends kick off each episode by filling the listener in on a crime in particular, then taking a deep dive into their beer and all the details of the case. They've discussed everything from 2012's Slender Man stabbings to the infamous Son of Sam murders in the 1970s. So, grab an ice cold one (or a root beer if you're under 21), and tune in.
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