It’s no secret that the true-crime podcasts have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. From Serial to My Favorite Murder, we’re hooked on the twists and turns and unbelievably real plots these podcasts dish up. So whether you’re looking for your next true crime binge-listen, or you’re just diving in to the genre and you don’t know where to start, look no further than this post.
We’re sharing our ultimate list of the best binge-worthy true crime podcasts. Buckle up, things are about to get unbelievable!
(NOTE: Podcasts are listed in no particular order.)
Serial earns it’s spot on any true-crime podcast list as it’s the widely accepted to be the podcast that started the world’s collective obsession. The unravelling of the story surrounding the murder of Hae Min Lee and the eventual arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder had us on the edge of our seats, waiting to hear what happened next.
As Serial first launched in 2014, there have been many more true-crime tales that have pushed the genre forward, and arguably deliver a better listening experience. However, Serial deserves its place on this list for all it did for the podcast industry, and if you’re just diving in to the true-crime genre, Serial is the place to start.
Similar to Serial, S-Town is another hugely popular true crime podcast. Which is not all that surprising considering it’s a spinoff from Serial and the ever-popular This American Life. Host Brian Reed has been put on a case by John, an Alabaman man who wants to investigate the son of a wealthy family who brags that he has gotten away with murder.
But the investigation is only part of the story, as Brian learns more about John, and uncovers the mysteries of one man’s life. There’s also a hunt for hidden treasure thrown in the mix.
S-Town is controversial for many reasons, but it’s also a big name when it comes to true crime podcasts, although not your typical case.
3. Death in Ice Valley
Death in Ice Valley has all the markings of a great mystery…a badly burned body of a woman, with all the labels of her clothes cut out, and seemingly random objects found around her body, and even a suitcase of disguises! Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy pick up where the police left off in this 50 year old case to see if they can piece together the mystery of the “Isdal woman”.
Using both modern technology and human memory, they attempt to discover who she really was, and answer the bigger question, was she a spy?
If you love true crime, then Unraveled has a couple of incredible seasons for your binge-listening pleasure. The first season will have you hooked, as it unravels the complex mystery of The Long Island Serial Killer.
But each season delivers an exceptionally told true tale. Hosts Billy Jensen and Alexis Linkletter are expert journalists, and along with excellent narration, this podcast presents a winning combo. And with four fascinating seasons, and a fifth on the way, Unraveled will dominate your podcast listening for a long time coming.⠀
5. Queen of the Con
Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress is such a fascinating listen! Mair Smyth came into the life of reality TV producer Johnathan Walton as an angel, promising salvation and friendship in a time of need. Not only a regular angel, one wrapped up in beauty and glamor — and the added drama of family in Ireland fighting her over a whopping $25 million inheritance.
But then things unravel as Johnathan accidentally learns the truth about the woman who has become his best friend: she’s actually an international con artist! And what a con! As Johnathan is not her only victim! In fact, she’s left a wake from Los Angeles to Belfast to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars! The fact that this story is told from the perspective of someone who was swept up in the con makes this one a true crime must-listen!
6. To Live and Die In LA
To Live and Die in LA offers a unique spin on the true-crime podcast. As you’re listening to the episodes, the story unfolds in almost “real-time”.
Season one tells the story of an aspiring actress who vanished from her Hollywood apartment. Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss was asked to help the family get answers. And they find them…sometimes at great personal risk.
Season two covers the disappearance of 20-year-old college student named Elaine Park. As you’ll soon discover, there are many twists and turns in this mystery…and everyone is a suspect! While the subject matter is heavy, this podcast offers expert story-telling which will draw you in and keep you hooked.
7. The Lazarus Heist
“Almost a perfect crime.” That’s the way The Lazarus Heist is described. And that makes it a near-perfect podcast! Hosted by Geoff White and Jean Lee, The Lazarus Heist covers the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures. Which then escalates to the hacking ring attempting to steal a billion dollars.
We discover the players, the motives, and those caught in the cyber crossfire. In one corner, the investigators who blame North Korea. In the other, Pyongyang who denies involvement. If you love an intricate unravel, this podcast is for you!
8. The Spy Affair
The Spy Affair introduces us to a charismatic Russian woman, who arrives in the US on a mission to improve relations between the two countries. But she is soon rubbing shoulders with all sorts of connected people, which garners her the interest of the FBI.
This podcast features interviews with all the key players, and will draw you in right from the first episode. And you’ll be completely drawn in to discovering what is really going on!
9. My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is a firm favorite for all true-crime aficionados! Hosted by lifelong true crime fans Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, this podcast doesn’t cover one particular true-crime tale. Rather, Karen and Georgia share all kinds of true-crime stories. These range from their “favorites” from the history books, or home-town ones told to them by their family, friends, and even fans.
While the subject matter is obviously dark, Karen and Georgia’s personalities inject plenty of humor, and you’ll feel like you’re having conversations with your own best friends.
10. Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen and High Rollers
If you love true crime without the blood and gore, then the two seasons from Chameleon will be right up your alley. Season One: Hollywood Con Queen delves into the bizarre scam in which “someone” lured Hollywood hopefuls with promises of their big break to Indonesia. I’d say you could guess the rest…but you really can’t!
Season Two: High Rollers unravels all the details of the story of a two-year FBI undercover investigation that went bust. A thoroughly researched, thoroughly engrossing true-crime standout!
11. Dr. Death Season 3
Another true-crime stand-out from Wondery is Dr Death. While both the first season, covering the shocking reign of Dr. Duntsch, and season two, featuring Dr. Fata, it’s the third season of Dr. Death that really had us hooked!
Season 3 brings us Dr. Paolo Macchiarini and his story of trust, betrayal, and miracles. It’s a crazy story, with so many unbelievable twists and turns. And with interviews from those right at the center of the mayhem, you’ll become so invested as it all comes to a shocking head!
An apartment complex hosts a big Halloween party with themed rooms and costumed partygoers. By the end of the night one of the party’s hosts is murdered. And the partygoers are the main suspects in the eyes of the police: was it the guy in the devil mask, the guy dressed as Jesus, the bank robber, the construction worker?
Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson return to the scene of the crime to uncover what happened, and speak with everyone about a party that still haunts them a decade later….
If you love unravelling mysteries and putting the clues together, you’ll love Suspect!
13. Shadow of Truth
As their description says, “It’s one of the most haunting murder cases you’ll ever hear about.” In a small town in Israel, Tair Rada was only 13-years-old when her body was found inside a locked bathroom stall at her school. She was viciously murdered during a school day, and yet no one saw or heard a thing. The janitor was arrested, and eventually confessed, but this was far from being the end of it.
To find out how the story ends, check out Shadow of Truth.
14. Bed of Lies
Bed of Lies covers what would become one of biggest scandals in recent British history. What happens when you discover that the person you loved most in the world has been lying to you right from the very beginning? We follow journalist Cara McGoogan as she uncovers the mysteries surrounding a group of women who all seemed to have had the perfect relationship, until one day, their partner just vanishes. What begins as love stories quickly becomes a tale that is so engrossing, shocking and so brilliantly told, that you’ll be desperate to find out what on earth is going on!
Criminal is a unique take on the true-crime offering. This award-winning podcast that shares stories not just from the victim’s side but also from the side of those who’ve done the criminal acts. The iconic voice of Phoebe Judge helps to peel back all the layers of all that encompasses the definition of “criminal” and her stellar journalist skills mean that every story is incredibly well-told.
16. Who The Hell is Hamish?
Who The Hell is Hamish? follows the extraordinary life of a man born Hamish Watson, a surfer dude from Sydney – but who could morph into whatever you needed him to be. Hamish was sentenced to jail in early 2019 for swindling a handful of victims out of more than $7m. But this was really just the tip of the iceberg. This podcast sets out to discover how (the hell!) he was able to evade authorities around the world for so long and also…what became of all that money that he stole?
17. Over My Dead Body
Brought to us by the producers of the hugely popular Dirty John and Dr. Death, Over My Dead Body is another true-crime hit! And with three very different but equally intriguing seasons available, this is a great podcast to binge-listen.
Season 1 tells the story of once husband and wife, Dan and Wendi Markel, two high-powered lawyers who were madly in love…until they weren’t, and one of them was dead. Season 2, entitled “Joe Exotic,” shares the story of two people – Joe Exotic and animal activist, Carole Baskin – at war with one another, while both dealing with personal grief and sharing a love of exotic creatures. And season 3 shares the shocking story of a gunned down small town cop. He starts off a hero, but soon a dark past is uncovered.
For enthralling listens, Over My Dead does not disappoint!
18. The Missing Cryptoqueen
The Missing Cryptoqueen details the meteoric rise of Dr. Ruja Ignatova and the pseudo-cryptocurrency, OneCoin, dubbed “The Bitcoin Killer.” With her intelligence and charm, decked out in silk gowns, diamonds, and red lipstick, Dr. Ruja convinced thousands of people from all over the world to invest massive amounts of money into OneCoin, with the promise of making them millionaires, if not billionaires! And then Dr. Ruja disappeared… never to be seen again!
The podcast gives great insight into one of the biggest cons most people have never heard about and it’s a fascinating true tale!
19. Hunting Warhead
Hunting Warhead, hosted by Daemon Fairless, deals with an incredibly difficult subject matter as it seeks to find the answer to how do you take down a criminal network that’s hidden in the shadows? And how do you rescue child abuse victims who could be anywhere in the world? Through excellent writing and thorough reporting, this podcast follows the journalists and police on a global mission to expose the darkest corners of the internet. It’s shocking, gripping, and completely gut-wrenching, and it’s an important story for all of those reasons. It makes you so aware of all those heroes doing so much to protect our children from the devastating evil in the world.
20. In The Dark
In The Dark, hosted by Madeleine Baran with the support of a team of excellent reporters focuses on a murder case but looks at it from the standpoint of justice, rather than the crime. There are two seasons available, covering different cases, but both have been excellently written and produced.
Season 1 examined the serious mishandling by the police in the abduction of Jacob Wetterling and the ripple effect this had across America. Season 2 received a lot of buzz as it examines the heartbreaking case of Curtis Flowers, a man who was tried six times for the same crime. They’re both fascinating stories, and it’s incredibly interesting to see a true crime story told from this perspective.
And there you have it! Our ultimate list of true-crime podcasts that have had us on the edge of our seats as each new twist and turn was revealed. These are the stories that have stuck with us, made us cry out in shock and disbelief, and took us on a whirlwind of emotion.
So if you’re looking for your next true crime listen, you’ll find it on this list!
Do you love true crime podcasts? What podcasts are on your Ultimate List?