The Beginner’s Guide to True Crime Podcasts

True crime is everywhere. It seems as if ever since the hit podcast Serial and Netflix series Making a Murderer, people have been fascinated with the nonfiction genre. True crime, in essence, studies real life crime, mostly in the form of murder. Though gruesome at times, it can be highly addicting, with consumers asking questions, wondering how someone could commit murder and, above all, why someone would do such a thing.

For those looking for the next Serial, it can be overwhelming with the high amount of true crime podcasts available today. So, here are some podcast recommendations for all of the truce crime fans out there.

With the topic of true crime, it should be mentioned that there is content in each of these podcasts that might be a trigger for some individuals. In many of the podcasts listed, there can be instances that might be too graphic and, just plainly, hard to listen to. Due to this, be extremely cautious around the subject and take care in choosing what you choose to hear.

My Favorite Murder // Weekly Minisodes on Mondays and Full Episodes on Thursdays // 131 Episodes // 30-40 minute Minisodes and 60-120 minute Full Episodes // Website

Taking a more relaxed approach to true crime, the comedy podcast, “My Favorite Murder,” is a great starting point for those who are just beginning to listen to true crime, as they don’t necessarily go too deep into the facts. Though it might be bothersome to those who would rather go in-depth into a story, the hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are charming and, just plainly, hilarious, making the podcast definitely worth the listen. Coming out with episodes every Tuesday and Thursday, Kilgariff and Hardstark tell stories about murders, both cold cases and solved cases alike, and produce a commentary on the case at hand. Not only that, but they also discuss their personal lives and share their love for the subject by recommending other true crime media, wanting to be interactive with the mass audience around the world. In fact, every other episode is a minisode, where they read emails from fans about their hometown murders. The community around the podcast as a whole is truly great and interacting with fellow “murderinos,” as fans are called, makes the entire experience worth the listen.

Where to Start: Episode 10 – “Murderous TENdencies,” Episode 23 – “Making a Twenty-Thirderer”

Where to Watch: Apple Podcasts 

Dirty John – Completed Mini-Series // 6 Episodes // 40-56 minutes // Website

This podcast just ended its six-week run but binging it is more than worth it. In collaboration with the LA Times, Dirty John tells the story of a woman who starts to date a mysterious man from a dating site. Though he appears to be the man of her dreams, her children are suspicious and immediately worried for their mother’s well being. What unfolds is a crazy, unpredictable true story that can be classified as an online dating horror story. In an attempt to not include spoilers, that’s all that can be said, but the series is, arguably, one of the best of the year with it captivating story-telling and, ultimately, unbelievable series of events.

Where to Watch: Apple Podcasts, LA Times, Wondery

Sword and Scale – Biweekly on Mondays // 101 Episodes // 60-75 minutes // Website

With its declaration at the beginning of each episode, “A show that reveals that the worst monsters are real,” Sword and Scale takes things to the next level by producing haunting true crime events that can shake anyone to the core. While each episode varies in content, one thing is certain: there are truly terrifying people in this world. With many instances of extremely serious subject matter, it can truly be a hard podcast to listen to; however, what makes Sword and Scale stand out is that it’s more than just a commentary-style podcast. It goes deep into the case of the episode by including evidence like 9-11 calls, interviews, press conferences and more, and the host Mike Boudet even sometimes holds his own personal interviews with those affected by the crime at hand. With each unique episode, you never know what you’re going to get, and you never know what kind of horrors are lurking through your everyday life.

Where to Start: Episodes 33 and 34

Where to Watch: Apple Podcasts, Sword and Scale Website

Stranglers – Completed Mini-Series // 12 Episodes // 50 minutes // Website

As another completed mini-series, Stranglers follows the Boston Strangler. Though the case is 55 years old, the case has never been fully solved. This podcast attempts a new investigation into the mysterious circumstances of the crimes of the infamous serial killer. It’s extremely easy to get addicted to the podcast, with its professional and sleek production and its intriguing interviews. Instead of only focusing on the suspects and the case itself, Stranglers also goes into the journalists who broke the case and the victims themselves. The new take on the familiar format is refreshing, despite the case’s old age.

Where to Watch: Apple Podcasts, Earwolf, Google Play, Stitcher

Honorable Mention: Lore – Biweekly on Mondays // 71 Episodes // 30 minutes // Website

Though not necessarily a “true crime” podcast, Lore still produces the same kind of fascinating stories that any true crime lover can listen to. Every episode, host Aaron Mahnke spins a tale of folklore with subjects ranging from creepy creatures to haunted houses to suspiciously dark unsolved murders from places around North America and Europe, but primarily around the New England area. (Fun fact: Boston is a frequent location and the podcast even mentions Emerson in Episode 55.) Lore has received tremendous praise for its beautiful writing by Mahnke and the haunting score that plays in the background, creating a wonderfully mesmerizing podcast. In fact, Lore is so popular that the show has its own anthology series, which is now available on Amazon Prime. The production is incredible from episode one and, so far, Lore doesn’t cease to impress.

Where to Start: “Episode 8: The Castle,” “Episode 27: On the Farm”

Where to Watch: Apple Podcasts, Google PlayLore Website

With the amount of true crime entertainment, it may be worrisome that creators haven’t run out of content. Nevertheless, the fascination is still apparent and ever-present. Whether listening during a long commute or doing errands or getting ready for the day, the podcast medium can be a great way to soothe that addiction for the true crime lovers out there.

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