Home Podcasts 35 Greatest True Crime Podcasts To Hear To Proper Now For 2021

35 Greatest True Crime Podcasts To Hear To Proper Now For 2021

Last Updated: June 28th, 2021

True Crime continues to dominate the zeitgeist. HBO Max, Netflix, and every other streaming service are flush with documentaries and series with true crime bents. Then there’s the world of podcasting. There are hundreds of podcasts that focus on true crime in one way or another. You can choose from a one-off mini-series about a single case presented by a bona fide journalist with real investigative rigor. Or you can indulge the armchair experts, who just love the genre and like re-telling the stories of serial killers, mysteries, and all things true crime. Then there are the comedians chopping it up for laughs (and sometimes serious groans).

This is all to say, that finding a good podcast to devote your precious listening time to can be tough. There’s just so much to wade through. The 35 picks below offer a wide range of choices. Some of these are a little bit older mini-series while others are long-running shows that go in a lot of different directions. Whatever true crime path you’re looking for, you should be able to find something that fits!

CelebriTragic

Unpops Network

The Podcast:

Hosts Kari Martin and Adam Tod Brown take deep dives into tragic celebrity tales with this pod. The show takes its time covering the life and death of figures like Anna Nicole Smith and Whitney Houston but also peppers in one-off episodes about tragedies like the death of Dimebag Daryl. Where the show really rises above is in the excellent research put into the series, alongside a deep empathy from both Martin and Brown.

This is never about wallowing in someone’s tragic life. Instead, it’s about understanding why their lives ended up filled with all that tragedy.

Where To Start:

Jump in with episode one of the Anna Nicole Smith series. It’s an enlightening look at the star’s beginnings and sets up the whole vibe of the show nicely.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

The Shrink Next Door

Wondery

The Podcast:

This follow-up to Dirty John and Dr. Death is a wild pod. Journalist Joe Nocera tells the story of the titular shrink next door, Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, who seemingly took over one of his patient’s lives (and wealth) in the 1980s. The story is so wild, it’s been turned into an Apple+ miniseries with Paul Rudd (playing the malfeasant doctor) and Will Farrel (playing his victim).

There’s good buzz around the show, so now really would be the time to catch up on this podcast. Unless you don’t want the upcoming series spoiled.

Where To Start:

While it’s best to start from the beginning of the mini-series, you can jump around a bit. We started with My Dinner With Ike to get a sense of the show and the wildness of this story.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

The Lazarus Heist

BBC

The Podcast:

It’s hard to know where to begin with this podcast. There are a lot of stories being told and they all center around cyber-related crimes, terror, money, slavery, and heists. And then all of that is built around North Korea, its secretive regime, and its cyber-attack policy towards the western powers. All that only really scratches the surface of this very active true crime story about cyber thieves attempting to pull off a billion-dollar heist.

Where To Start:

You can truly pick and choose any episode without losing the thread. We’d recommend starting with Cyber Slaves to get a taste of the intensity of the show.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

Park Predators

Park Predators

The Podcast:

There’s an interesting conceit to this pod in that it’s about grisly murders that take place in state and national parks (or outdoor recreation spots in general). It’s sort of like the great outdoors meets true crime scene investigation with host Delia D’Ambra telling a stand-alone story in each episode.

Where To Start:

With two seasons worth of shows to listen to, you can jump in with any episode that piques your interest. We’d say start with The Unknown about the disappearance of National Park Service ranger Paul Fugate in Chiricahua National Park down in Arizona.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

The Piketon Massacre

The Piketon Massacre

The Podcast:

The Piketon Massacre was one of the biggest murder stories in Ohio’s modern history. The pod follows the ongoing investigation and now the trail of the Wagner family and their assault on and murder of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio.

Where To Start:

You really need to start all the way back at episode one to get the full story.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

The Devil Within

Cavalry

The Podcast:

This new show looks into the brutal murder of Betty Ann Sullivan by her own teenage son. The show is still unfolding this ridiculous and terrifying story of how a young boy got involved with the occult and ended up murdering his own mother before taking his own life. The pod also dives into how that event shook the small New Jersey community (Jefferson) that had to deal with the fallout and is still doing so, almost 30 years later.

Where To Start:

Paradise Lost is the best episode to start with. The podcast guest is the current mayor of Jefferson who was a rookie cop when the murder-suicide took place.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries

The Podcast:

Netflix bringing back Unsolved Mysteries in all its true crime and mysterious glory was a pretty big win for true crime fans. There’s also a companion pod that dives into even more unsolved mysteries that you can listen to when you get done binging the new show over on Netflix. Host Steve French follows the same format as the TV series with a very polished story-telling throughline with eye-witness testimony and that iconic Unsolved Mysteries music.

Where To Start:

You can jump in anywhere since each episode is stand-alone. It’s actually pretty easy to binge this one on autoplay too. If you just have to have a recommendation, start with The Haunting of Ball Cemetery for that classic Unsolved Mysteries vibe and story-telling.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

True Spies

True Spies

The Podcast:

This is a fascinating listen with real star power at the helm. Hosts Hayley Atwell (Marvel) and Vanessa Kirby (Mission Impossible) host interviews with the people who actually spy for a living. The show is very produced and unfolds like a narrative rather than Atwell or Kirby cutting up with a guest.

Where To Start:

The Boiling Frog is a good spot to jump in. Kirby builds a story around CIA spymaster Jack Devine and his work overthrowing the socialist-leaning regime that came to power in Chile in the 1970s. Like most of these episodes, it’s pretty harrowing.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

Dateline NBC

NBC

The Podcast:

Dateline has been in the true crime game for a very long time. This pod is classic episodes (and segments) from the show’s archive alongside new stories. The show balances out a bit of nostalgia with plenty of fresh material to hook you pretty quickly.

Where To Start:

While it’d be easy to say start with a new episode, you should really start with a Dateline Classic. The Devil and Bobbi Parker is a great classic Dateline that tells the story of an escaped prisoner and his hostage/possible collaborator while on the run.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

The Village

CBC

The Podcast:

Journalist Justin Ling’s podcast looks at how transgender women are “marginalized, overpoliced, and underprotected,” especially when it comes to sex work. The show focuses on stories of murdered trans women whose murders were not taken seriously by local authorities due to blatant anti-trans discrimination.

Where To Start:

Start with How Can You Not See This? The episode opens the series with a look into a string of disappearances from Toronto’s gay village.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox

Bear Brook

New Hampshire Public Radio

The Podcast:

Back in 1985, two bodies were discovered in Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire: An adult and a child. Then, two more bodies were found and it became clear that this was the work of a serial killer. Bear Brook cracks open the cold case files and dives into figuring out who the victims were and who killed them.

The show is a masterclass in investigative podcasting and grabs your attention from the very first moment.

Where To Start:

Start at episode one and work your way through the whole series. With each episode clocking in at around 45 minutes, it’ll be hard not to binge them all at once. There are also shorter “update” episodes that range in the 20 to 30-minute mark.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Beyond Bardstown: Lacombe

Vault

The Podcast:

There’s something rotten in America’s “Most Beautiful Small Town.” Five murders have rocked the small community of Bardstown, Kentucky since 2013. Hosts and investigative journalists Shay McAlister and Jessica Noll tear into the unsolved murders to figure out who might have committed them and why. Where the show really shines is in revealing Bardstown’s seedy underbelly, while maintaining compassion for its residents.

Where To Start:

Start with “The Most Beautiful Small Town in America.” Episode one is the only place to start this journey. Once you’ve binged the first season, start in on the second — with the mystery of Nanette Krentel in Lacome, Louisiana.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Dr. Death

Wondery

The Podcast:

If you earn the moniker “Dr. Death,” you’re probably a monster. Host Laura Beil investigates the story of Doctor Christopher Duntsch — a Dallas neurosurgeon who like doing back surgeries. We bet you know where this is going. Dr. Duntsch was all about getting rid of his patient’s back pain and billed himself as the best surgeon in Dallas. Problem was, 33 of his patients became his victims. Then, tragically, those victims found out there were very few repercussions for the doctor through the medical establishment. At least until other doctors started to take note and take Dr. Duntsch to task for his malfeasance. And that’s when things really start to go crazy in this story.

Where To Start:

This is a serialized podcast. You’re going to need to start at episode one and listen your way through the eight episodes — all of which are currently free on Apple Podcasts. Each episode clocks in at around 45 minutes, making this one the perfect work out or commute listen. Maybe just don’t listen to it right before major surgery.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

The Trail Went Cold

The Trail Went Cold

The Podcast:

Writer and host Robin Warder takes listeners down the ol’ Unsolved Mysteries path via The Trail Went Cold. Each episode of the podcast focuses in on a cold case with plenty of mystery wrapped around the crime. There isn’t really a supernatural element like Unsolved Mysteries but Warder more than makes up for that with the depth of reporting and how engagingly he tells these stories. It’s just good podcasting, all around.

Where To Start:

Each episode is a stand-alone. Our recommendation is to start with the most recent episode. This will give the best POV on the show and its vibe. From there, you can jump around.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Last Podcast On The Left

The Last Podcast Network

The Podcast:

The Last Podcast on the Left blends true crime, paranormal, and comedy into one delicious smoothie of madness. Hosts Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski play the straight man, enthusiast, and wild card respectively as they retell some of the craziest stories humanity has encountered. Each episode is banter and riff-heavy as they talk serial killers, sex cults, crimes of passion, close encounters, ghosts, and the straight-up odd. It’s a refreshing way to parse the true crime world by taking it seriously enough to tell a great story but not so seriously that you can’t have a good laugh.

Where To Start:

If you’re looking for a solid entry point, we recommend starting with episodes 269 and 270 titled Kurt Cobain Part I and Part II. It’s deep dive into the death/suicide/maybe-murder of the Nirvana frontman.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox

Criminal

Criminal

The Podcast:

Criminal is one of the best podcasts out there regardless of genre. Each episode is expertly researched and presented in a straightforward, no-nonsense way. It’s spell-binding story-telling at its best. And it drives deep into the heart of the human stories behind the headlines and police reports.

Where To Start:

You can start from the beginning or start at the most recent episode. You’ll get hooked either way.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

S-Town

NPR

The Podcast:

S-Town is a spin-off of the insanely popular Serial — which sort of felt like all anyone could talk about as 2014 turned into 2015. This iteration finds This American Life producer Brian Reed heading to Alabama to do some true crime digging at the behest of one John B McLemore, a resident of “Shittown.” After someone ends up dead, “the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.” Add in some southern gothic characters and Spanish moss and you have yourself a must listen.

Where To Start:

This is a serialized story, so start with Chapter One. And good luck not binge-listening to the whole thing.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Crimetown

Gimlet

The Podcast:

The minds behind HBO’s hit The Jinx conceived of the brilliant Crimetown as their follow-up. The podcast’s first season follows the life of a Providence, Rhode Island prosecutor as he fights organized crime, becomes mayor, and has his soul whittled away by the realities of America’s criminal underworld.

Where To Start:

This is a fully serialized story, start with Chapter One so you get a proper introduction to the whole affair.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Pretty Scary

Unpops Network

The Podcast:

Comedy and true crime have a dynamic relationship. It’s hard to say why. Maybe it’s because we need to laugh to quell the terror. Whatever it is, it works and Pretty Scary — part of the Unpops podcast network — hits the perfect mark of being both terrifyingly apt and hilarious. Co-hosts Adam Tod Brown and Caitlin Cutt cover everything from owl murders to flesh-eating diseases with a nice dose of don’t-give-a-fuck-oh-shit-I’m-terrified vigor. It’s a great one-hour listen any day of the week.

Where To Start:

How to Die in a Corn Silo is a solid point to jump in. The episode looks at the all-to-common deaths of people in corn silos and it’s pretty terrifying.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher

True Crime Garage

True Crime Garage

The Podcast:

The premise of True Crime Garage is pretty simple: Two friends sit in their garage, drink beer, and talk true crime. Every week Nic and The Captain delve into new true crime stories that span the ages. They offer a fresh and well-researched perspective into old and new stories, unsolved mysteries, and plenty of craft beer.

Where To Start:

We recommend hitting their 100th episode first. The guys go over their Top Ten Unsolved Cases. The episode offers a solid glimpse into their personalities and the show.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

My Favorite Murder

My Favorite Murder

The Podcast:

Comedians Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff host this lovingly rambling examination of true crime stories from the American mythos. My Favorite Murder’s often silly and always gripping coverage of grisly crimes has spawned a close-knit community of Murderinos who send in hometown murders which get covered on mini-episodes and posted up on the show’s blog.

Where To Start:

You can really jump around anywhere in the episode list. But if you have to have a recommendation, Episode 60: Jazz It Up is a great benchmark of the series.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale

The Podcast:

Sword and Scale is no laughing matter. Each episode is a deep dive into a darkly fascinating crime, it’s always well-researched and often comes with great interview subjects to bolster the episode’s validity. It’s a comprehensive look at some incomprehensible crimes, cover-ups, and some conspiracies that turned out to be more than just theories.

Where To Start:

We recommend trying episode 86 which reexamines the Heaven’s Gate cult on the 20th anniversary of their (spoiler alert) mass suicide.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Serial Killers

Spotify

The Podcast:

Hosts Greg Polcyn and Vanessa Richardson decided to take a different route with Serial Killers. Instead of chatting about a case, they tell a straight story by narratively voicing segments and characters. It makes for an audiobook-like experience and helps to raise the stakes of each story.

Where To Start:

Start with episode five titled “The Vampire Of Dusseldorf.” The two-parter tells the story of Peter Kürten who went on a murder spree in 1929 and drank the blood of some of his victims.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Generation Why

Wondery

The Podcast:

Generation Why is an insanely addictive podcast. Two buddies, Aaron and Justin, spend around an hour recounting various crimes of the past and present. Each episode is well-researched and presented though banter that’s educational without making you feel like you’re in school.

Where To Start:

A starting point is episode 229 about the Belcher Islands Massacre when an Inuit man read the bible for the first time and decided he and his buddy were Jesus and God, respectively. As the episode title suggests, it doesn’t end well.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

True Crime Historian

True Crime Historian

The Podcast:

Richard O Jones is a great true crime narrator. His podcast, True Crime Historian, takes a look at some of the most gripping crimes of the past and brings them back to life in the present. Jones’ retelling of big cases from the past and those that have long been forgotten offer a glimpse into the minds behind the madness, the way cases were investigated and possibly solved, and why they were important back then while still resonating to this day.

Where To Start:

Each one is about an hour and covers one story — so you don’t have to worry about jumping in at any point. Our recommendation is to find a story that piques your interest and start there.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Casefile True Crime

Casefile

The Podcast:

Casefile True Crime is one of the most engaging podcasts out there right now. Maybe it’s the Anonymous host’s Australian accent helping us listen more and more. The true crime stories are truly stellar here. The production value is high, the stories are amazingly researched, and the narration pulls you right into the madness of it all.

Where To Start:

There is a couple of multi-episode series in the mix. The three episode arc about Jonestown is a great place to dive in and get a sense of the quality of this pod.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Most Notorious!

Most Notorious

The Podcast:

Most Notorious is another chance to take a sprawling dive into the crimes that have shook us and shaped us throughout history. Host Erik Rivenes has been obsessed with solving crimes for as long as he remembers and that enthusiasm makes this podcast shine. Rivenes often invites experts on to talk about their books which cover whichever crime is being highlighted in the episode, providing a very deep take on the subject. It’s conversational, engaging, and chilling.

Where To Start:

We suggest the episode titled “1897 Chicago’s Sausage Vat Murder.” Simply because who doesn’t want to know what’s up with that story immediately??? Spoiler alert, it’s grisly.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo

CBC

The Podcast:

Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada (and Mexico) are the most at risk of being raped and murdered daily. The numbers are off the charts. With so little reporting in the mainstream media, podcasting has picked up the slack to tell the stories of women and children who otherwise would be forgotten forever. The story of Cleo Nicotine Semaganis, who was taken from her family in the 1960s to be “re-educated” in a boarding school, is a chilling portrayal of how colonial powers destroy Indigenous lives and, then, refuse to come to a reckoning, even today.

Where To Start:

Missing and Murdered is another pod where it’s essential to start from episode one and work your way to the finale.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

The Last Days of August

Audible

The Podcast:

The Last Days of August hits that perfect sweet spot of the true crime podcast’s ability to report and entertain. It takes a story you think you know and upends it into something so much more. With Jon Ronson at the helm, the podcast never drifts into speculation or hearsay. It stays locked in on the mysterious suicide of adult actress August Ames and never sensationalizes for dramatic effect. This is a story that sticks to the facts because, well, the facts are interesting enough.

Ronson and co-producer Lina Misitzis tackle the story of porn star August Ames’ untimely death with a grace and precision that touches on how we ostracize porn actors and use social media while making the story painfully human.

Where To Start:

You really need to start this one from episode one and listen through.

Listen Here:

Audible, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Southern Fried True Crime

Southern Fried True Crime

The Podcast:

Southern Fried True Crime takes the idea of true crime and zeroes it in on a region. Host Erica Kelley tells stories exclusively from America’s South. It’s a part Gothic nightmare and part classic true crime, filtered through Kelley’s excellent storytelling style. The podcast is all about Kelley telling a story in acts with a beginning, middle, and (not always satisfying) end. She’s able to draw you by sticking to the facts of the case because, put simply, facts are often far stranger than any fiction.

Where To Start:

Drop in at episode 33. The biggest reason here is not a shift in content but in quality. The recordings get crisp and clear at this point, making them a dream to listen to. Once you’re hooked, you can go back and give the earlier episodes a listen.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Small Town Dicks

Small Town Dicks

The Podcast:

Small Town Dicks is a hell of a unique show. For starters, hosts Yeardley Smith (yes, the voice of Lisa Simpson) and Zibby Allen work with actual detectives in planning and hosting each episode. Oh, and those detectives happen to be twins. It’s a cool crew that allows the show to bring on the actual detectives from the cases they explore, giving the show a sense of gravitas and realism rarely found in the true crime podcasting world.

Where To Start:

Episode 15 and 16 from season two are a great place to start. The two-parter walks the audience through a crime and a first-hand account, step-by-step of how the detective solved it.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Once Upon A Crime

Once Upon A Crime

The Podcast:

Esther Ludlow’s Once Upon A Crime is a fascinating listen that flies by. Ludlow’s voice draws you in and her storytelling directness keeps you tuned in. Each episode is a 30-minute (or so) stand-alone tome of tragedy and travesty. A nice ripple that Ludlow employs is using themes to explore true crime stories over multiple episodes, making it even easier to binge a couple of eps in a row.

Where To Start:

Ludlow’s “Bad Sports” themed run ended with episode 128: Ten Cent Beer Night. The episode tells the tale of a Cleveland baseball game that descended into chaos when the team decided to sell ten-cent beers to their fans. It’s a great introduction to the show.

Listen Here:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox

Man In The Window: The Golden State Killer

Los Angeles Times

The Podcast:

In the spring of 2018, the Golden State Killer — Joseph James DeAngelo — was captured. A random family DNA test finally led to the arrest of one of California’s most prolific and elusive serial killers after 44 years. Man In The Window from the LA Times and Wondery takes a deep dive into not only how DeAngelo was finally captured but how he carried out so many burglaries, rapes, and murders and what, if anything, we can do to stop people like him.

It’s a comprehensive investigation into a harrowing reign of terror that spanned decades.

Where To Start:

This is the sort of show that you have to listen to from episode one. That episode, “Phantom and the Fog“, opens the series with an investigation into a spat of brutal dog killings in a small California town that unknowingly at the time would lead to a brutal killing spree.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, CastBox

Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia

Root of Evil

The Podcast:

Root of Evil takes a two-pronged approach to the infamous murder of Elizabeth Short — later dubbed the Black Dahlia. The 70-plus-year-old cold case has led to endless theories but the most common is that a man named George Hodel was responsible for the brutal dismemberment. While the podcast does look into the case of the Black Dahlia the real focus is on Hodel and his family history — past, present, and future. Through Hodel’s great-granddaughters, we get a deep look into a disturbing man and his family.

This podcast is also a companion piece to the TNT show I Am the Night directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins and starring Chris Pine.

Where To Start:

Interestingly, you can kind of skip around with this series. While there is a sense of story building towards a climax, a good place to get a taste is with episode six, Supposin’ I Did Kill The Black Dahlia. The episode follows Steve Hodel, George Hodel’s son, as he looks into the piles of evidence against his father and reckons with his family’s unsavory history.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, CastBox

Reveal

Reveal

The Podcast:

Reveal isn’t a classic “true crime” show per se. It’s an investigative podcast that uses the classic tactics of investigative journalism to tackle issues affecting all us today. Through The Center for Investigative Reporting and in collaboration with The Washington Post, ProPublica, APM, The Marshall Project, and The Investigative Fund, Reveal looks at crimes that span everything from political corruption to suicide to silencing scientists over climate change to imprisoning migrant children. It’s a vast podcast that takes the time to tell stories right.

Where To Start:

We’d suggest starting with Sins of the Fathers. The episode investigates how the Catholic church in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska relocated sexually abusing priests from white, Asian, and black communities to Indian reservations to hide the abuse.

Of course, the abuse continued once the priests arrived in Indian Country. This can be a pretty tough listen.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, CastBox

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