I very recently have gotten into true crime podcasts.
The obsession is REAL, guys.
When I used to think of podcasts, I would think of something boring like Howard Stern or something (Lol!). Who knew that there are now podcasts for virtually EVERYTHING.
True crime, wellness, relationships, parenthood, meditation, comedians, technology, business, sports, religion, gaming, even podcasts for kids that do story-telling or science talk. EVERYTHING.
And here’s the thing: Podcasts are FREE!
You can listen to them using any podcast app you want. If you have an iPhone, I believe it even comes preinstalled with a podcast app.
I love to read and my favorite genre of books is hands down Mystery. The “who dun it” page turners. You know, the ones that force you to stay up until 2:30 am because you just have to read “a few more pages.”
I got myself an Audible subscription and have been listening to
And then there are my podcasts!
I have started binge-listening to podcasts throughout the day just as I do
Here are some True Crime podcasts I have listened to and totally recommend. I’ve included the description of each and then my thoughts after I finished them.
6 Binge-Worthy True Crime Podcasts You MUST Listen To
From the Serial Website:
A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.
My thoughts on Serial:
3.5 out of 5 Stars
This was my very first true crime podcast I listened to. Because of this, while I was listening to it, I thought it was the best, most captivating thing ever! But since listening to other true crime podcasts, I’ve learned this one is not my favorite.
My thoughts summed into one word?
Ok, here’s a few more words…
One thing I noticed was that throughout the entire thing, reporter and narrator Sarah Koenig, clearly has her mind made up on what she believes – whether the accused and sentenced Adnan Syed is guilty or not. I guess I could just feel it by the way she narrated and by the things she brought up throughout the podcast. She has numerous conversations with Syed, some of which are included in the podcast, and to me, she seemed very “on his side.” This, of course, can sway the entire podcast to lean towards proving his innocence, instead of just stating the facts and letting us as the listeners decide what we think, as seemingly most other true crime podcasts do.
That being said, I recommend giving Serial a listen, though. It’s definitely a popular, intriguing podcast that kept me wanting to hear the next episode throughout. However, I have not listened to season 2 or 3, and even though I may in the future, I did not feel the “OMG I can’t wait for the next season!” feeling.
From the Up and Vanished Website:
Season 1 of Up and Vanished explored the 2005 disappearance of beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead in Ocilla, Georgia. The cold case was the largest case file in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s history, with no arrests in 11 years. The podcast quickly drew attention, both in South Georgia and nationwide.
As the people of Ocilla began talking about the case again, new leads and stories emerged. In February 2017, the GBI arrested two suspects for Grinstead’s murder. Up and Vanished will continue to provide updates on this no-longer-cold case as the criminal trial proceeds in 2018.
Payne Lindsey, a filmmaker turned amateur investigator, hosts his first podcast, Up and Vanished.
My thoughts on Up and Vanished Season 1:
4.5 out of 5 stars
This one was really good! You can tell this was Lindsey’s very first podcast, particularly at the beginning of the season, because the sound and recording quality is not the best. But I promise you, keep listening! It gets better. This podcast had me back and forth on “who dun it?!” practically the entire time. New information keeps popping up literally while the podcast is being made, so the twists and turns will keep you bingeing on the mystery until the end!
3. Dirty John
From the Wondery/Dirty John Website:
Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.
My thoughts on Dirty John:
4 out of 5 stars
This one had me thinking, “Are you freaking kidding me, woman?” the entire time. (Sorry, Debra!) This John guy really took con artist to another level. And will have you Sherlock Holmes’ing everyone you even consider dating after listening to it! Eek!
This story actually has a brand new tv show called “Dirty John” that just started a couple weeks ago. I’m totally going to check it out to see how it looks on a screen vs in my head as I was listening to the podcast.
4. Dr. Death
From the Wondery/Dr Death Website:
We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system. Dr. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications. And all they had to protect them was a system ill-equipped to stop the madness. From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is about a medical system that failed to protect these patients at every possible turn. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.
My thoughts on Dr. Death:
4 out of 5 stars
I swear, while I was bingeing this podcast, my back would constantly get an uneasy feeling. It was as if my back was feeling the pain and madness this “doctor” inflicted on people. Think, “Mad Scientist.” That’s what this a**hole was! And the worst part was that he could (should) have been stopped long before 33 patients and their families suffered under his so-called care, including one of his own friends. It absolutely has me wondering who is the system meant to protect?
I’ll be sure to get second, third, and tenth opinions on doctors/surgeons from now on!
From the In the Dark Website
Season 1 – Child abductions are rare crimes. And they’re typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation’s sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving effectiveness and accountability.
Season 2 –Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the same crime. For 21 years, Flowers has maintained his innocence. He’s won appeal after appeal, but every time, the prosecutor just tries the case again. What does the evidence reveal? And how can the justice system ignore the prosecutor’s record and keep Flowers on death row?
My thoughts on In The Dark:
6 out of 5 stars (lol)
I. LOVED. This. Podcast.
I’ll be honest, when I first heard the voice of reporter Madeleine Baran, it almost turned me off the podcast. I sheepishly admit I judged a book by its cover and because her voice sounds like a high school 15-year-old, I totally thought this podcast was just some high school project or something. Come to find out, Baran has received a number of national awards for her reporting, and her reporting has led to the resignation of the archbishop (check out that crazy story HERE), opened our eyes to how “the system” failed and continues to fail in way too many places in the US, and brings light to the injustices of a Mississippi black man and his family against a white prosecutor (another failed system). You can read about her and her awesomeness HERE.
The In The Dark podcast is similar to other true crime podcasts in that it follows a story of an unsolved murder mystery. But it is very different than others because it exposes what happened, is happening, and didn’t happen around each crime and focuses more on justice and the ethics (or lack of) within the justice system.
This is absolutely my favorite true crime podcast and I have yet to listen to another that has topped this one!
I believe they are currently working on a season 3 and I am practically holding my breath waiting for it!
From the Atlanta Monster Website:
From the producers of Up and Vanished, Tenderfoot TV and HowStuffWorks present, ‘Atlanta Monster.’ This true crime podcast tells the story of one of the city’s darkest secrets, The Atlanta Child Murders. Nearly 40 years after these horrific crimes, many questions still remain. Host Payne Lindsey aims to find truth and provide closure, reexamining the disappearance and murder of over 25 African American children and young adults.
My thoughts on Atlanta Monster:
3 out of 5 stars
As it states, this podcast is done and narrated by the same guy who did Up and Vanished (one that I mentioned above).
I will say that I liked this one, but I don’t think it was as good as Season 1 of Up and Vanished. (Season 2 of Up and Vanished sucks and is boring as hell lol. I quit listening after about episode 4.) So I had high hopes for Atlanta Monster because I loved Up and Vanished Season 1. It’s not bad, but it wasn’t the best.
It seemed like most of the podcast was other people talking, not the host Lindsey. He pops in here and there, but to me, it just seemed like about 90% of it was either his interviewees speaking or old news clips.
Definitely worth a listen, though. It had me wondering “who dun it” for sure!
What podcasts have you listened to and recommend? Comment below!
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