Unsure where to start your descent into the madness of true crime podcasts? Or are you looking to satiate your thirst for more bone chilling tales?
Whether you’re new to the party, or a longtime admirer, we have 15 of the best true crime podcasts for your enjoyment.
Internet sleuths and amateur investigative journalists alike revel in true crime. From podcasts, to film, and literature. The true crime genre of nonfiction work is well in its prime.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re interested in the investigative process, or if you just enjoy the thrill. True crime podcasts are simply an addictive media sensation.
The Best True Crime Podcasts
For those that are new to the podcast medium, or true crime world, we wanted to offer our guidance. So, before you spend hours testing out different shows, take a look at our breakdown of 15 of the best true crime podcasts.
As one of the earliest true crime podcasts, Serial richly deserves the title of “an audio game changer.” After catapulting to success in 2014, the Peabody Award winning podcast remains as prominent as ever.
Taking its name from the radio and television serials, the podcast covers a single case or concept over the course of each season. With Serial’s top notch crew of investigative journalists, the podcast dives deep into both the crimes and the investigative process.
And as each episode descends deeper down into a rabbit hole, it becomes enthralling. Few stones are left unturned. By the end of each season, you’ll feel like an expert on each case.
If you enjoy long form true crime podcasts, then Serial is a must.
2. My Favorite Murder
Care for a few laughs with your murder? Because that’s exactly what Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are serving up on My Favorite Murder.
Beginning in 2016, Kilgariff and Hardstark set forth to create a podcast that combines true crime and comedy. But don’t let their comedic stylings throw you off My Favorite Murder is full of grotesque retellings of despicable crimes.
If anything, the comedy keeps you grounded while listening to the horrific events of each episode.
But the duo on My Favorite Murder has done more than crack a few jokes while detailing shocking tales. With their first episode, “My Firstest Murder”, the pair took on the case of the Golden State Killer. And with the help of the late author Michelle McNamara’s work on the subject, they extensively cover the events that lead to the killer’s arrest.
3. Dr. Death
What happens when a system that is designed to save lives, and comfort people when they’re at their most vulnerable, fails? Who ultimately pays the price for medical malpractice?
True crime podcast Dr. Death seeks to answer these questions. Or at the very least it seeks to shine a light on the egregious crimes lurking within the medical world.
Throughout each season, Dr. Death sheds light on medical maleficence, covering one case in depth.
The show’s popularity has grown to reach impressive heights as one of the best true crime podcasts. With NBC’s Peacock creating a show by the same name covering the crimes of Christopher Duntsch from season 1 of Dr. Death.
From the genesis of true crime podcasts comes Criminal, a genre defining thrill ride through the horrors of criminal intent. Because crime doesn’t just have perpetrators and victims, Criminal takes on a unique angle by interviewing those “caught in the middle” as well.
Instead of taking a sensationalist, or exploitative, approach to true crime, the Criminal production team goes a different route. By securing interviews and focusing on those actually involved in each crime, they’re able to respectfully discuss these cases.
After many years of perfecting their process, Criminal has become an award winning true crime podcast. And the crew even takes their show on the road. So, you can catch the show live in a city near you.
5. Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad
When an investigative journalist, and retired cold case investigator combine forces to not only discuss unsolved cases together, you expect results. And thanks to Paul Holes, Billy Jensen, and a listener, the cold case podcast helped solve a 40 year old mystery.
Originally Paul Holes and Billy Jensen gained notoriety because of their efforts towards solving the Golden State Killer case. After appearing on My Favorite Murder, and assisting in the completion of Michelle McNamara, the pair created Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad.
Part of what separates The Murder Squad from other true crime podcasts is the investigative prowess. But Jensen and Holes don’t solely rely on their own knowledge base, they invite their listeners to share their own personal knowledge of the crimes.
If you want to take part in the crime fighting process then tune into The Murder Squad.
6. Someone Knows Something
Oftentimes when a crime takes place, and the leads come up cold, we think that someone has to know something. And the aptly named true crime podcast Someone Knows Something takes that to heart.
When Someone Knows Something came to fruition, it was David Ridgens first foray into podcasts. However, he’s able to put his investigative filmmaking skills to work with his podcast.
Not only is this Ridgens first podcast, it’s also Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s first true crime podcast. But, you’d never know; Ridgen’s approach is both professional and respectful.
Check out Someone Knows Something if you enjoy a podcast series that consistently leaves you wanting more.
7. The Last Podcast on the Left
Is it true what they say, that reality is stranger than fiction? Well, the hosts of The Last Podcast on the Left could help us answer that question.
By covering any and all aspects of the morose and macabre, listeners get a wide variety of darkness. Enough to “satisfy your bloodlust”. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say the podcast lives up to its namesake, the 1972 exploitation film, The Last House on the Left.
With a penchant for irreverence and shocking tales, the crew at The Last Podcast on the Left, remains one of a kind.
So if you’re a fan of horror in any and all forms, from serial killers to horror, then it’s the perfect true crime podcast for you.
8. Up and Vanished
Back in 2016 true crime podcasts were only beginning to flourish. And Up and Vanished began by taking an in-depth look at the cold case of Tara Grinstead.
Due to the sudden renewal of interest in the case, investigators were able to make two arrests in 2017.
But the brains behind Up and Vanished didn’t stop there. With two seasons under their belt, and a third underway, this unsolved murders podcast isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Because of extensive research and journalistic integrity, Up and Vanished won a Webby award in 2017. Some listeners even claim the case is responsible for solving the murder of Tara Grinstead.
For the third season, the podcast will investigate the disappearance of Ashley Loring Heavyrunner. One of countless indigenous women that have gone missing with so few ever gaining media attention. Up and Vanished hopes to shine light on the disappearance of Ashley, as well as raise awareness of missing indigenous women.
9. Southern Fried True Crime
After overindulging in an abundance of true crime media, Erica Kelley took it upon herself to create her own content. With in depth personal knowledge of popular formats and a genuine adoration for the genre, Kelley set forth to produce Southern Fried True Crime.
And for those wanting to explore backcountry horrors from corruption to murder, Southern Fried True Crime is the best podcast for you. Kelley makes it known that she is a fan-turned-content producer. Which means she tries her best to deliver content she would want to experience.
Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on the dark and scandalous tales of the deep south.
10. Park Predators
Are you an outdoor enthusiast looking for chilling tales to listen to around the campfire? Be careful what you wish for. Because you might wind up afraid to ever visit some of the most beautiful places in North America.
After coming on the scene in 2020, Park Predators has already made a name for itself. Being a true crime podcast covering cases that occur within state and national parks makes for a niche category. But the concept is intriguing. And the cases definitely make you think twice about solo camping.
Get ready to learn more about the dark secrets of North America’s most treasured lands.
One thing that makes the Casefile true crime podcast so enticing is that it’s shrouded in mysteries. Having an anonymous host is a novel and frankly wonderful concept.
Every week you tune in for new episodes. And for years you hear this man’s voice. Only to never know anything about him as he discusses some of the world’s most monstrous moments.
But the show itself doesn’t even need a gimmick. Having won several awards for their efforts, the team at Casefile know how to deliver an exciting narrative podcast.
Don’t miss out on the excitement and tune into Casefile next time you’re wanting a new podcast.
12. Morning Cup of Murder
With so many crime podcasts releasing episodes weekly, or bi-weekly, it can be difficult to bide your time when you’re hankering for more true crime. Luckily Morning Cup of Murder offers a fresh take on true crime podcasts.
Instead of periodically releasing episodes, this atypical true crime podcast releases an episode every single day. And each episode’s crime actually occurred on the day it gets uploaded.
So, if you’re ever curious about what heinous events took place on any particular day of the year, Morning Cup of Murder has the answers for you.
What better way to start your day than with murder on your mind? For the crew at Morning Cup of Murder the answer is that there isn’t one.
13. Crime in Sports
Sometimes the hometown heroes in sports are actually criminals in disguise – well, at least some of them try to hide it. But no matter what façade they put on for the crowds, James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman will dissect it on Crime in Sports.
Just because a person is a star athlete doesn’t mean they can’t end up on the wrong side of the law. Still, the amount of content in this niche subgenre of true crime is truly astounding.
But with the pressures of fame, wealth, and numerous head injuries, the sports world is a haven for crime. So, if you want to combine your love of sports and true crime, then put on an episode of Crime in Sports.
14. Once Upon a Crime
During the early days of true crime podcasts, creators couldn’t get episodes out fast enough. And Once Upon a Crime couldn’t have chosen a better time to debut.
But good timing isn’t all Once Upon a Crime has going for it. Aside from the timeliness, it’s truthfully one of the best true crime podcasts out there.
By covering details and intel that other podcasts avoid, Once Upon a Crime gives a one of a kind look into darkness.
If you’re wanting a new spin on an old case, or maybe a different angle, join Esther Ludlow in her exploration of compelling, and unsettling, crime stories.
15. Most Notorious!
If you’re a history buff with an appetite for the macabre then you have to check out Most Notorious! Join host, Erik Rivenes, as he sets forth to discuss history’s seedy underbelly.
From serial killers, to crooks, and bandits. Most Notorious! covers it all.
Each week will take you back in time to tragic events. Some cases might be all too familiar to you. While other cases might be unknown to you until Erik Rivenes dissects them. Either way you’re bound to learn a thing or two.
With the help of expert historian interviews, Rivenes pieces together the darker moments of history. And it gets pretty wild.
Why Listen to True Crime Podcasts?
One reason podcasts have grown in popularity is due to their ease of access.
Instead of having to wait until you’re home in front of the television, you can tune into a podcast whenever, wherever.
Out walking your dog? Listen to a podcast. Stuck on the train? Podcast. Long road trip ahead? You guessed it, you can listen to a podcast.
And in recent years it’s been nearly impossible to avoid hearing about the latest and greatest podcasts. From news coverage, pop culture gossip, and even ghost stories. Whatever your interests are, there’s a podcast that’s right for you.
But the genre that’s stealing the show is true crime.
It’s only natural to be curious, and want to piece together the jigsaw puzzle clues. In fact a fascination with the macabre is a major driving force throughout entertainment. Just ask any horror director.
With shows like Dateline, and Unsolved Mysteries, it’s no surprise there’s been such a high demand for true crime to expand into different mediums.
True Crime Podcasts: Signing Off!
With a recent rise in podcast listeners, it doesn’t appear that the hype will die down anytime soon. And there isn’t a better time to test out the waters of a new true crime podcast. Or revisit some of your old favorites.
Who knows, maybe you’ll help solve one of these cases one day.
How do you enjoy your true crime podcasts? With a bit of humor or are you a purist? Make sure you tell us about your favorite series in the comments!