The true-crime genre has exploded onto the podcast scene; prepare for your jaw to hit the floor.

True crime is having a moment. TV is catering for this lustily, with the recent airing of White House Farm, two series of Dirty John and Des (if you’ve missed any of those, rectify that now). Podcasts also lend themselves very well to the true-crime craze, and listeners are lapping them up.

But what on earth is it that draws us to these grisly tales? Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll was quoted in The Daily Telegraph saying: ‘As humans, we want to understand the darker side of our nature. True-crime stories allow us to explore that in a safe way, from a safe distance.’

Meanwhile, writing in The New York Times last year, Kate Tuttle explained our interest in the genre thus: ‘[We like] seeing the truth of the world laid bare — all its potential for violence and suffering, but also the wild leaps of survival, the close calls that turned out OK. At the most basic level, true crime satisfies that little-kid desire to see beneath the surface of everything.’

Here, we’ve tracked down nine of the best true-crime podcasts available now.

Casefile




This multi-award-winning Australian true-crime podcast first aired in 2016. To add to its inevitable eeriness, the host remains anonymous to this day. The series delves into solved or cold murder cases that are mainly from Australia, but sometimes from the UK and US, too.


The Serial Killer Podcast




This show, which airs every week, currently has 17 million downloads. Forensic examination of serial killers and their backgrounds, childhood, motives and development is the order of the day here. The compelling tones of the 37-year-old, Norwegian host, Thomas Wiborg-Thune, lend the podcast a familiar Scandi Noir vibe.


Redhanded




A shared love of the true-crime genre inspired pals Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala to create this podcast three years ago. Since then, the series has won several plaudits – including a Silver British Podcast Award – and spawned a range of merchandise. Listeners love the informal and contemporary style of the self-proclaimed ‘Spooky Bitches’.


Serial




Now in its third successful series, Serial tells one true story over the course of a season. This time, the action is in a courtroom in Cleveland, Ohio, and was recorded over the course of a year. It tells ‘the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases’. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial is brought to us by the creators of the wildly popular This American Life and has won every major podcast award going.


They Walk Among Us




Presented by a husband and wife team (who live in Northamptonshire with five cats), They Walk Among Us is a British crime podcast that began in 2016. It focuses, chillingly, on ‘the crimes that are close to home, the criminal that sleeps beside you, lives next door, or delivers your newspaper’. In its fifth season, They Walk Among Us has received copious praise. The Guardian calls it ‘a cult hit’.


Killer Instinct




Through this weekly podcast, host Savannah Brymer not only sheds light on horrific crimes but also attempts to bring justice to the families who’ve been bereaved by them. Savannah’s nose for an interesting case combined with her empathy make this a riveting listen.


Dirty John




Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the LA Times, this is the gobsmacking podcast that gave rise to two amazing TV series of the same name on Netflix. In six episodes, this meticulously researched show tells the story of Debra Newall, a successful interior designer, and the suave conman John Meehan, who decimated her life and that of her family.


Someone Knows Something




Someone Knows Something is a podcast created by the award-winning Canadian filmmaker and writer, David Ridgen, whose passion is hard-hitting investigative stories. Each of the six seasons uses family members, witnesses and leads both new and old to dig for the truth about a single US cold case. When choosing which cases to tackle, Ridgen says he asks himself the following factors questions: is there a passionate family member who is willing to confront those dark areas; are there law enforcement officers, either current or retired willing to help; is there a viable suspect or suspects; can SKS make a difference; and how do I feel about the case in my gut?


Morbidology




Using investigative research as well as recordings of 911 calls, interviews and trial testimony, the Morbidology podcast examines some of the world’s most horrific murders. The weekly podcast is created and hosted by Emily G. Thompson, whose books include Unsolved Child Murders, Cults Uncovered and co-author of Unsolved Murders: True Crime Cases Uncovered. She’s so into true crime that she has made an entire career out of it…

By Becky Ladenburg
October 2020

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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