We love true crime here at Marie Claire, but there are some things a Lifetime movie cannot capture. Podcasts are the new frontier of the genre, allowing listeners to go deep on cases, form their own theories, and occasionally even help out the investigators in real-time. The best true crime podcasts are ones that say something about society while providing an intriguing narrative, and those are the kind we've listed here.
Sure, if you're not in the mood to go down a path most often dark, there are plenty of other kinds of podcasts. Learn more about your favorite artists with music podcasts, or learn something new (besides that TikTok dance you spent three hours on) with an educational episode. And you might as well take advantage of the private listening experience your headphones offer to listen to a no-holds-barred sex podcast, right?
Regardless of your listening preference, we're all friends here, and by friends, I mean lovers of true crime. Allow us to present: Our 50 picks of the best true crime podcasts currently available. There's plenty to binge-listen to on your next long road trip or train ride or just, you know, Sunday.
A small town in Texas gets a taste of crime when a popular 16-year-old goes missing the night before Thanksgiving. For two years, no one in the tight-knit community knows what happened to him until his remains are found suddenly. Award-winning journalist Skip Hollandsworth gets down to what happened and why everyone in Canadian, Texas seems to be a suspect.
You might need to sleep with the lights on after listening to this one. Ashley Flowers, one of the two hosts on Crime Junkie, digs deep into the most bizarre true crime occurrences ever. Whether it's a girl who was pronounced dead after falling down the stairs only to wake up an hour later speaking an entirely different language later to a ghost-ridden ranch, Supernatural has it all.
If you're into listening to true crime podcasts, then you're probably cool with all levels of horrifying things. You know, like ghosts, haunted houses, cursed woods, possessed children, etc. So it's no wonder why we're obsessed with this podcast that takes inspiration from creepy real-life events and turns them into goosebump-worthy fictional stories. (They even turn the tales into animated YouTube videos!)
Fifty years ago, in a number of small New England towns, four different young girls went missing over a series of years. All of them last seen just miles away from the others. But that's not the craziest part, for not one arrest has been made since it happened. That is until host and true crime author, M. William Phelps, gets a phone call that sets an investigation in motion.
Murder and paranormal stories? In one podcast? In the wise words of Ms. Hannah Montana, "It's the best of both worlds!" Hosted by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz, the two friends discuss weekly out-of-this-world crazy occurrences that are so outrageous there's no way it can be real...or can it? This pod has been downloaded over 80 million times and counting.
Two University of Texas students cover the 2005 murder of Jennifer Cave in this limited series podcast. The 21-year-old went out one night and disappeared—and then her body was found at The Orange Tree, a condo complex near the university. This story takes such a crazy turn you'll find yourself binging all the episodes in one day.
The ability to control someone's mind seems like something of a superhero comic book, and for most the part, it is, but not always. Host Michelle Shephard looks into one of the biggest conspiracies of all time, Project MKULTRA. Many believe that the CIA produced several mind control experiments between the 1950s and '60s and never really stopped.
Bet you never knew that legendary actor Woody Harrelson's father was a hitman. Yup. The actor's father, Charles, is the subject in this 10-episode podcast by Jason Cavanagh as he tries to separate the true-crime fan fiction from the truth. There are interviews from the Harrelson family on what they think happened, why Charles claimed to have been involved in the JFK assassination, and tons of other eye-opening stuff.
You're going to want to hold onto your hat for this one 'cause things get out of control—and quick. An FBI agent retells his first job going undercover in an outlaw motorcycle gang and the bizarre discoveries found from years and years of his double life. We're talking a full-out war because of what this guy found. It's only a matter of time before this podcast gets turned into a Hollywood movie.
A licensed private investigator telling tales of white-collar criminals who kill? Sign us up! The new podcast has a couple of episodes under its belt, such as a con man with a bad rapt sheet pretending to be Clark Rockefeller, and we can't wait for some more episodes to drop soon.
Conspiracy theorists, rise! It's our time to shine. Hosts Molly Brandenburg and Carter Roy go deep into the world's most talked-about conspiracy theories, like did Edgar Allen Poe really die from alcohol poisoning to the belief the Bush family had something to do with John F. Kennedy's assassination. (Crazy!) Prepare to have your mind blown.
It would be a travesty not to shout out RedHanded. It's the perfect balance between comedy, banter, and true crime storytelling from British hosts Hannah and Suruthi. They tackle everything from serial killers to some incredibly creepy hauntings—so basically, you'll never be bored again.
Think you've heard every murder mystery story there is? Meet Invisible Choir. The hosts tell stories that you've never heard of in the crime junkie universe, complete with crazy amounts of details that will have you getting goosebumps all over. It gets intense at times, but that's just one of the hooks.
We all know crime can happen anywhere, but what about national parks? Yep, those too. Host Delia D'Ambra dives into the most horrific and mysterious events, from homicides to missing person cases, that have taken place on some of America's most famous lands. After a couple listens, you might rethink your thoughts on camping.
El Paso journalist Mónica Ortiz Uribe looks at the border city of Ciudad Juárez, where hundreds of women have gone missing since the '90s and later found dead. When discovered, their bodies were carved with strange symbols, leading people to believe its not just the work of serial killer, but perhaps a Satanic cult.
This Canadian podcast works alongside family members of victims to investigate cold cases. Now in its sixth season, this time the show looks into the disappearance of Donald Izzett Jr., who's been missing for 25 years. The last time his mother heard from him was when her son called crying, asking for money while on a road trip. Before she could respond, the call went dead, and she never heard from him again. You'll feel like you're a part of the investigation.
Told over seven episodes, The Officer's Wife looks at the death of Jessica Boynton, found inside a locked closet with a gunshot wound to her head. Underneath her body, police discovered the service weapon belonging to her husband police officer Matthew Boynton. This murder changed one small town forever.
One of the most well-researched podcasts out there, Morbidology is the ultimate choice for listeners who want all the details. This weekly podcast hosted by Emily G. Thompson takes hour-long looks featuring audio from the 911 calls, trial testimonies, and interviews of the same of the world's most famous cases.
In this limited series podcast based on the bestselling book, Lost Girls, the Suffolk County Police department uncovered ten bodies inside the gated Long Island community of Oak Beach while searching for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert. You may think you know this tale, but the new interviews from family members, police officers, government workers involved in the tragedy shed a whole new light.
Hear from the world's most known middleman, a 911 phone operator. Each episode, you'll hear from two different 911 calls from around the world: one message relating to the world of crime, and one that will for sure make you smile.
Listeners who enjoy the nitty, gritty details of true crime will devour Obscura: A True Crime Podcast. While the details at times talked about in the episodes can render an appetite nonexistent, host Justin S. Drown knows how to tell a story with the utmost compassion.
Calling all true crime newbies—this is the podcast for you to dip your toe into the scary (but always interesting) pool of true crime. The hosts, Aaron and Justin, have been around since 2012 and have the episode log to prove it, with over 360 episodes to listen from.
We're all about the details when it comes to true crime, and that's why we can't stop listening to Criminology. Most of the episodes focus on cold cases as the hosts zero on the many different pieces of evidence that could lead to cracking the case.
Morbid: A True Crime Podcast is filled with the funny banter between two best friends, Ash and Alaina, as they tackle a new case every week. After just one episode, you'll feel like you're a part of their friend group.
There's a certain kind of relief that comes with knowing the person(s) who did the crime is behind bars. But what if they aren't? Court Junkie looks at the criminal justice system and its role in true crime, from cases of arresting the wrong person to an "accident" being a murder investigation in disguise.
What's particularly compelling about Once Upon a Crime is that each month dives deep on one underlying theme. Past topics have explored murders that inspired famous songs to children who killed their parents. Highly fascinating and extremely addictive.
This podcast tells the story of a murder from the perspective of the family members of the victims involved. It offers a look into how they, too, are victims in the crime, telling a narrative not often heard. It's highly compelling.
True Crime Chronicles teams up with newsrooms in numerous cities to explore the cold cases that haunt towns across the country. Episodes range from six missing women in a small town in Ohio to a case featuring a suspect who is still on the run.
From the same people who brought us Dirty John and Dr. Death, bring us the six-part series The Dating Game Killer. In 1978, Rodney Alcala won a date on the TV show The Dating Game. Little did the people know that he was actually a prolific serial killer on the run, posing as many different people on the way. It's as crazy as it seems.
Ah yes, the best way to wake up: a tale of murder. This under 10-minutes podcast has a new episode every single day (yes!), and tells the tale of murder, abduction, cult, etc. that happened on that day in true crime history. It's uber interesting and never dull.
Mens Rea is a fancy way of saying "guilty mind," so naturally, this bi-monthly podcasts focuses in on crimes! The twist? The crimes took place in Ireland and the United Kingdom and looks at the court cases that followed each crime.
Unsolved cases are a true crime lovers foe. We want answers! Trace Evidence takes an unsolved investigation each week, looks at the evidence, and then dives into the theories surrounding the case. It's highly informational and reminds me it's never easy figuring out who is to blame.
If you're into a little chitter-chat before getting down to the gritty details of a case you haven't heard before, then add Killer Queens to your queue. The two hosts, Tori and Tyrella, are sisters who like to report on the latest cases but with their own kind of charm. Get ready for a lot of '90s references (always a good thing) and a cuss word or too.
Crime Junkie, one of the most popular and well-known shows of the genre, even has a fan in psychologist Dr. Amanda Vicary, who specializes in crime analysis for a living and loves to listen to a good true-crime Spotify podcast in her downtime. She lists as a favorite Crime Junkie, which deep-dives into one crime per episode. The creators have even hinted at plans to turn the podcast into a drama series.
Another of Vicary's favorites, Serial Killers covers one person per episode who is a—you guessed it—serial killer, digging deep into their motivations, what they said or didn't say about their crimes, and what we'll never really know about what went down.
A retired FBI agent interviews other retired FBI agents on their most high-profile cases to help the public understand a little bit more about one of the United States' most secretive organizations. Interviews range from agents who worked on cases in the foreign and domestic terrorism department to those who dealt with mobsters.
Most true crime podcasts hardly ever get audio from the people themselves who were convicted in the case. In Criminal Perspective, hosts Chris Duett and Andrew Dodge have a combined 20 years behind them of dealing with some dangerous criminals. This makes them the perfect people to interview some of the craziest real-life villains out there. From a one-on-one chat with the 'Selfie Killer' to heartbreaking discussions with survivors, it's everything a crime lover could want to listen to and more.
A podcast that covers true crime in small midwestern towns? Sign us up! Host James Wolner is a one-person show and the brains behind Dakota Spotlight. The second season of the podcast just finished and told the story of the tragic murders of a banker and his wife, who lived in North Dakota. Wolner's voice itself will reel you in, but you'll end up staying for the story itself.
Best friends and improve queens from Dallas, Christie Wallace, and Heather McKinney, chat all things sinister in this funny and well-researched podcast. McKinney is a corporate lawyer, so her small blurbs of background legal information are totally helpful when it comes to understanding a case. Not all episodes cover murder mysteries despite the title; some of their best ones highlight the theory of the Mandela Effect to the Kennedy Family Curse.
Two female criminologists focus on a new case each week involving women who were wrongfully convicted as they give their expert opinion on how the criminal justice system wronged those accused. Dr. Sacks and Dr. Shlosberg guide you through the cases with ease and make it seem like you're apart of their group.
Major scandals are like a trainwreck: You can’t really look away. Whether it’s a celebrity, a politician, or an entire corporation brought down by errors, lies, crimes, and misbehavior, scandal is as American as apple pie. This podcast from Wondery goes deep on some of the biggest ones to ever make headlines—the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Iran Contra Affair, steroid use among athletes—exploring why they happened and who took the fall.
Swindled takes a closer look at white-collar crimes, con artists, corporate villains, and all-around terrible events that happen to good people. Topics range from a coal mining freak accident that isn't what it seems to a woman who faked her husband death after 9/11 to become famous. The anonymous host is "a concerned citizen" like the rest of us when it comes to seeking out justice—one who wants you to know the truth.
Nothing gets our blood pumping (besides coffee) like talking about creepy things. Hosts Whitney and Dani talk everything from true crime to paranormal activity on Creepy Caffeine, and discuss their favorites, stories, movies, and books about them. They even have a GoodReads account, so you can always be in the loop on what has been giving them goosebumps.
The hosts of True Crime Garage are two brothers from Columbus, Ohio who keep things casual when it comes to discussing crime. Each episode begins with the brothers cracking open a cold one as they dive into infamous cases like JonBenet Ramsey to the Malibu Creek Murders, taking a more in-depth look at the famous cases you thought you knew.
Crime in Sports is exactly what you think it is: a podcast about crime in the sports world. Two comedians, James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman look at athletes who were known for winning, but somehow ended up losing big time to the law.
Crime never takes the day off, so neither should your podcast. Meet Today in True Crime, a daily podcast that looks back at true crime events from that day in history. The episodes are only 20 minutes, so it's great if you have a quick commute.
True Crime Fan Club has been a staple of the genre since it launched in 2016. Host Lanie Hobbs and her small team of researchers and producers give listeners a glimpse into some of history's most evil minds.
DIE-ALOGUE: a true crime conversation is a weekly true crime podcast in which host Rebekah Sebastian interviews "fascinating people connected to true crime in unique ways." Rebekah and her guests dig deep and try to get to the heart of the "why" that drives true crimes.
Small Town Dicks is the podcast for anyone fascinated with the biggest crimes that go down in the smallest of towns. Now in its sixth season, Small Town Dicks brings listeners a captivating case from Small Town, USA in every episode, complete with interviews with the detectives who broke the case, the suspects, 911 call audio, and more. Identical twin detectives Dan and Dave anchor the show, which is hosted by actress Yeardley Smith.
We love these guys! Billy Jensen is an investigative journalist, Paul Holes is a retired investigator, and together they are Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad. In each episode, the pair attempts to solve cold cases using everything from brand new tech to old fashioned know-how. And listeners play an important role here, calling in to offer their own tips and theories along the way. You can be an investigator, too!
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are the two hilarious women behind this hit podcast with a major cult following (fans call themselves "Murderinos"). Each episode, they select a different real-life murder and chat about the circumstances around it, ranging from the mega-famous cases to the ones you’ve never heard about before. Also, they are very funny, so if you aren’t okay with irreverence around serious topics, you might want to skip this one.
Hosted by an anonymous Australian, this gloomy podcast goes over in excruciatingly researched detail the play-by-plays of murder cases. I once listened to it while driving alone at night and had to immediately call my mom and have her talk about cats just so I didn’t feel like I was going to get axed myself—that’s how scary it is.
One of the lovelier podcasts in the true crime genre, Criminal takes an almost Radiolab approach to the cases it presents each episode, looking at not just the crimes themselves but the motivations, cultural workings, and almost poetic undercurrents present in each one. It’s a surprising and addictive listen, and with years of back catalog, there’s much to explore.
Host Robin Warder picks a new missing person each episode and talks about their lives, their last known whereabouts, and where….the trail went cold. It’s basically that classic, long-running television show Unsolved Mysteries, but for your ears.
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