When I was a kid growing up in the 80s, one of my all time favorite shows was Unsolved Mysteries. Nothing terrified me more than that intro music & Robert Stack’s voice. My dad introduced me to horror movies at a very young age & I had seen every Freddy Kruger, Halloween movie up until that time & never had nightmares, but Unsolved Mysteries never failed to creep me out.
From there, my true crime obsession moved onto Court TV, Dateline, 20/20, Forensic Files, true crime books & documentaries. I loved Ann Rule & “The Stranger Beside Me” was one of my all time favorite true crime books. I found it fascinating this woman worked with Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers.
Two years ago, I started a new job where I no longer had to deal with clients face to face. Every one around me has headphones & listens to music while they work. So I tried music & loaded up Evil Husband’s super awesome 90s ultimate play list & found myself desperately trying to stop myself from singing along. No one wants to hear me singing Third Eye Blind or Barenaked Ladies. Then I discovered the wonderful world of podcasts.
There are so many podcasts. Every one has one apparently. From Z list celebrities on reality tv to NPR, there is a podcast for everyone & everything. Naturally, I gravitated to true crime podcasts. The majority of the recommendations I came across were the most popular true crime podcasts like, My Favorite Murder & True Crime Garage. And I kept seeing the same ones mentioned over & over again. So I tried listening to some. And they just weren’t my cup o’tea. I have never been able to settle on the reasons why either.
So I started listening to random true crime podcasts. And the trick to podcasts that I learned? Never judge a podcast based on the first episode. Some are a little green in the beginning, but they get much, much better. So I am going to list my favorite true crime podcasts that maybe don’t get mentioned as often as some of the more popular ones. And a few have blown up in popularity since I started listening.
My top 5 favorite true crime. These are in no particular order as they are all equally awesome in their own way.
- Crime Junkie. So Crime Junkie was the first random podcast I gave a try. And I am obsessed. Hosted by Ashley Flowers & co-host Brit Prawat, this podcast is a mix of storytelling & discussion. They focus on both solved & unsolved cases of murder & missing persons. They like to cover underreported unsolved murders & missing persons as well to bring more awareness to the case. Interviews with the family members of some of these cases provide additional perspective & information. New episodes are released every Monday.
- True Crime All The Time (TCATT). TCATT was the second podcast I binged after I was all caught up on Crime Junkie. TCATT is hosted by Mike Ferguson & Mike “Gibby” Gibson. TCATT goes a lot more indepth in their coverage of cases in their hour long podcast. They give a lot of background on the killer’s childhood & life, which I find completes the whole picture. They focus on solved cases & cover some of the “big ones” like Ed Kemper & Jeffrey Dahmer. There is a lot more discussion & off the wall banter then Crime Junkie, but I enjoy the break from the often heinous crimes they are covering. They also have an unsolved version of their podcast, appropriately titled “True Crime All The Time Unsolved.” I rotate back & forth between the two. They also did a fantastic job covering one of the most infamous cases here in Michigan, the Oakland County Child Killer. New episodes of both podcasts are released every Monday.
- In The Dark. I loved this podcast & became so engrossed in these cases. In The Dark is an investigative true crime podcast so it is a mix of story & interviews, similar to the Serial podcast. There are currently only 2 seasons and I am impatiently waiting for more. The first season focuses on the Jacob Wetterling case, a boy that went missing in 1989. The most interesting part of this season is while they were researching & investigating prior to the podcast release, Jacob Wetterling’s remains were found. The second season focuses on Curtis Flowers, a man that has been tried 6 times for the same crime. It is by far one of the most infuriating cases I have ever listened to. They are currently adding updated episodes on this case as the Supreme Court in November 2018 agreed to hear arguments on his case.
- Small Town Murder. This podcast will not be for everyone. If you have a dark sense of humor, you will like it. If not, don’t bother. Two comedians, James Pietragallo & Jimmie Whisman host this podcast that focuses on murders in the smallest of the small towns across the U.S. It is dark & it is funny. They make fun of small towns, the people in them & the perpretators. But never the victims. It is comedy & true crime done tastefully. And this was the first true crime podcast that made me laugh out loud. My brother & I enjoy this podcast so much, for Christmas I got a Small Town Murder t-shirt from him & I gave him monthly Patreon donations to the podcast (and TCATT too.) They also have a live tour, Shut Up & Give Me Murder, that my brother went to. Princess Unicorn had a cheer competition that day, so I was unable to go along. But next time they are in Detroit, I am going. They also have another podcast, Crime in Sports, which is about, obviously, crime in sports. I have not listened to this one… yet.
- Court Junkie. This podcast focuses on the court proceedings & trial aspect of the cases Jillian covers. Jillian covers lesser known court cases & interviews the people involved. I love her Court Junkie Briefs where she talks with prosecutors or defense attorneys covering various topics like trying cases with no body or how to choose expert witnesses for a defense. If you love Law & Order type stuff, Court Junkie is right up your alley.
Honorable Mentions. I really enjoyed these podcasts, but I haven’t fully binged all episodes or are only one season. I have been binging them slowly in between my favorites.
- Swindled. I came across this podcast because of Crime Junkie. Crime Junkie did an episode on the Dalkon Shield with the permission of the Swindled podcast. So, naturally, I had to check it out. Swindled focuses on white collar crime. This is a narrative storytelling format with audio from news broadcasts peppered in. These are stories of bank robberies, corruption & straight up corporate greed. And some of these episodes will make you mad.
- Dark Poutine. A very Canadian true crime podcast. A little bit of Canadian humor, discussion & storytelling about true crime in Canada. Be sure you’ve got your “double double” while listening.
- Hell and Gone. There is only season of this podcast & covers the murder of Rebekah Gould. Investigative reporter, Catherine Townsend, returns to her hometown in Arkansas to try to find her killer.
- Already Gone. So I am very partial to this podcast because Nina Innstead covers crimes that take place in Michigan. Some I am familiar with, others I have never heard of. And because some of these crimes happen a little too close to home, I get creeped out listening.
- Real Crime Profile. This podcast is hosted by a former FBI profiler, a former criminal behavior analyst from the Scotland Yard, & the casting director of Criminal Minds. The first season covers “Making a Murderer” documentary. Later episodes cover everything from O.J. Simpson to Charles Manson to Mindhunter and beyond. I could listen to Laura Richards from the Scotland Yard talk all day. But it is a fascinating insight from actual law enforcement officers to hear their professional opinions on infamous cases in history.
- Small Town Dicks. If you are okay with listening to Lisa Simpson talk about true crime, this is the podcast for you. Hosted by Yeardley Smith (aka the voice of Lisa Simpson) & Zibby Allen, the pair interview officers Dan & Dave, who happen to be identical twin brothers, about the cases they worked on. Dan investigates violent crimes, while Dave investigates sex crimes & child abuse. The format is interview style, but mostly it is law enforcement telling their perspective of the cases they actively worked. The second episode was intense & by far one of the craziest episodes I’ve listened to out of them all.
Have fun binging fellow crime junkies!! If you truly enjoy these podcasts, please give them some love on social media or consider joining their Patreon so they can continue bringing us great content!