Best True Crime Podcasts (not Serial or S-Town) (2020)

When Serial (a podcast from the creators of This American Life) came out in 2014, audiences across all demographics were immediately hooked on the audio investigation of Hae Min Lee's 1999 murder. While criminal storytelling is not necessarily new, Serial was groundbreaking in that listeners could join the criminal investigation via a podcast format. Since Serial, True Crime podcasts have become our ultimate obsession. From the clues to the conspiracies, these podcasts draw us into the real life stories of scandal, corruption, evil and innocence.

There are two typical types of True Crime podcasts: those that are ‘episodic’ and those that are ‘serialized’ (no pun intended). In an episodic format, each episode will tell a different crime-related story. So, you can start at any episode and get in your true crime fix (Suggested: Criminal - Episode #112 “The Mail”). Serialized formats tell a story over multiple episodes. These are great for a plane or car ride when you can binge on multiple episodes at one time or, when you wish to hear a longer more complex story (Suggested: “To Live and Die in LA”).

For those that love a good Dateline murder mystery, or heck, just want to hear a gripping tale, you can access some of the most captivating true crime and wrongful conviction stories via these fantastic podcasts.

Check out the below or start listening to this curated True Crime Playlist where you can sample the best episodes from the below list.

Bear Brook

by PRX

22m

average length

17

episodes

Two barrels, four bodies, and an enigmatic killer. The cold case that changed the way murders will be investigated forever.

Conviction

by Gimlet

25m

average length

26

episodes

When John Quinney was ten years old, he took the stand to testify against his own father. He had come to believe that his dad Melvin was the murderous leader of a satanic cult. It would be decades before John would learn that his family was just one of many swept up in a panic that gripped America in the 1980s—one in which hundreds of people were accused of taking part in underground satanic cults that sacrificed infants and sexually abused children. By the time the panic had subsided, scores of people were in prison, convicted on little to no evidence—people like John's father. Conviction: American Panic takes you inside one of the darkest and most bizarre chapters of American history. This series contains descriptions of adult subject matter, including details of sexual abuse and trauma. It may not be suitable for everyone, discretion is advised.

Dirty John

by iwonder@wondery.com

18m

average length

31

episodes

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.

Dr. Death

by Wondery

13m

average length

67

episodes

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.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 the system failed to protect them. Which begs the question: who - or what - is that system meant to protect?From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is a story about a charming surgeon, 33 patients and a spineless system. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

by Wondery

22m

average length

16

episodes

Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes.From Wondery, the podcast team that brought you Dr. Death, Spotlight asks: Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control?Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game. 

Happy Face

by iHeartRadio

7m

average length

25

episodes

For Melissa Moore, 1995 was a nightmare. That’s the year the teenager learned her father, Keith Hunter Jesperson, was a serial killer. It’s also the year Melissa Moore’s doubt spiral began: When you look like your father, and you share his intelligence and charisma, how do you know you’re not a psychopath, too? Happy Face is the story of Keith Hunter Jesperson, his brutal crimes, and the cat and mouse game he played with detectives and the media. But it’s also the story of the horrific legacy he gifted his children. Join Melissa Moore as she investigates her father’s crimes, reckons with the past, and wades through her darkest fears as she hunts for a better future.

Joe Exotic: Tiger King

by Wondery

26m

average length

14

episodes

Joe Exotic devoted his life to raising and breeding lions, tigers, and other exotic animals at his Oklahoma zoo. He croons ballads, shoots guns, and puts it all on YouTube. But he’s also made a lot of enemies. And the biggest of all is the owner of a big cat sanctuary in Florida named Carole Baskin. The feud between Joe Exotic and Carole gets messy, vicious, and outrageous -- until both of them are pushed far beyond their limits. From Wondery, comes: ‘Joe Exotic: Tiger King.’ Episodes come out Tuesdays.This series was previously released as the second season of "Over My Dead Body." But on this feed, we'll also be releasing never-before-aired, exclusive interviews and details with some of the most fascinating characters in this saga.

Man In The Window: The Golden State Killer

by Wondery

19m

average length

23

episodes

In Man in the Window, Paige St. John, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter has uncovered never before revealed details about the man who would eventually become one of California's most deadly serial killers. From Wondery and the L.A. Times comes a new series that traces his path of devastation through his victims' eyes.

Monster: DC Sniper

by iHeartRadio & Tenderfoot TV

40m

average length

21

episodes

From iHeartRadio and TenderfootTV, ‘Monster: DC Sniper’ reinvestigates the beltway sniper attacks. This true crime podcast places the listener in Montgomery County, Maryland on October 2nd, 2002 when an unidentified sniper began randomly killing people going about their daily lives. Host Tony Harris traces what investigators, journalists and the public learned from the first shot until the last and ultimately asks the question: Does the person convicted of these crimes ever deserve a second chance?

Murder in Pilot Mountain: A 40 Year Mystery

by Nexstar Media

16m

average length

6

episodes

On August 26, 1980, 14-year-old Ronda Blaylock disappeared shortly after leaving her high school. In the days to follow, her family and friends searched for her in the area of her hometown in Rural Hall, North Carolina, hoping to bring her home alive. Shockingly, Ronda’s partially clothed body was found three days later in a town called Pilot Mountain, with deputies saying she’d been raped and brutally stabbed to death. As an appalled community wrapped their minds around the vicious crime, detectives released information on a suspect. The killer, however, remained at large. More than three decades later, a group of seasoned detectives took over the case. Together, they re-examined old evidence, submitted new evidence and reinvented how the case was investigated. Nearly 40 years after her death, all roads led to a 62-year-old man, who was living mere miles away from the sheriffs office. This is Murder in Pilot Mountain: A 40-year Mystery. 

Murder In The Rain

by Murder In The Rain

63m

average length

37

episodes

With a mutual fascination for true crime, Emily and Alisha have taken it upon themselves to explore the depravity that holds a special place in the Pacific Northwest. Murder in the Rain examines the brutality, history, and humanity of these notorious murders. With the help of authors, psychologists, detectives, victim's families, and their producer Josh, Murder in the Rain brings an understanding as to who the victims were while investigating the killer's origins and motives. For images and videos of all the key players, visit us at murderintherain.com. Subscribe, talk crime, and enjoy the ride!Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/murder-in-the-rain/donations

Over My Dead Body

by Wondery

20m

average length

64

episodes

We all have limits. And some people who are pushed beyond those limits will do unspeakable things.In “Tally,” season One of OVER MY DEAD BODY, Dan and Wendi are two good-looking attorneys whose wedding is featured in the New York Times. But when this “perfect” couple falls apart, it leads to a bad breakup, a worse divorce, and a murder case involving a menagerie of high-priced lawyers and unexpected co-conspirators. Reported by Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson, and hosted by Matthew Shaer.Our season 2 story has moved! You can now find it with the show title Joe Exotic: Tiger King on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you're listening right now. LINK - wondery.fm/JoeExoticTK

Headlong: Running from COPS

by Topic / Pineapple Street Media / Dan Taberski

30m

average length

9

episodes

Dan Taberski and the team behind Missing Richard Simmons investigate COPS — the longest running reality show in TV history — and its cultural impact on policing in America. Our story begins with the footage of a routine arrest behind a church in Georgia...

Serial

by This American Life

3m

average length

38

episodes

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings.

The Teacher's Pet

by The Australian

16m

average length

19

episodes

Lyn and Chris Dawson appear to have the perfect marriage. He's a star footballer and popular high school teacher. She's a devoted wife and mother. They share a beautiful home above Sydney's northern beaches. But when Lyn goes missing, dark secrets are buried. This is no fairytale, but a sordid story of strangely close twin brothers, teenage student lovers, and probable murder. The Australian's Hedley Thomas digs deep into a cold case which has been unsolved for 36 years, uncovering startling new evidence.

The Dropout

by ABC News

23m

average length

12

episodes

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world's youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as "the next Steve Jobs" find herself facing criminal charges -- to which she pleaded not guilty -- and up to 20 years in jail? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize healthcare, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way? ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners on a journey that includes a three-year-long investigation. You'll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes, and those at the center of this story.

To Live and Die in LA

by Tenderfoot TV & Cadence 13

26m

average length

28

episodes

In Feb 2018, an aspiring actress vanished from her Hollywood apartment. Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss was asked to help the family get answers. Together, they found them...sometimes at great personal risk. For the first time in a serial podcast, go inside a gripping multi-state investigation as it unfolds from the moment of the disappearance to each twist and turn in the case. Stay not only more informed than the news, but listen as the official story is dismantled with in-the-moment first-hand reporting with the leading figures in the investigation. The new #1 podcast from the team behind Up & Vanished and Atlanta Monster.

Crime Junkie

by audiochuck

41m

average length

235

episodes

If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.

Criminal

by hello@thisiscriminal.com

26m

average length

150

episodes

Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We are a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Dateline NBC

by NBC News

56m

average length

216

episodes

Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

Lore

by Aaron Mahnke and Grim & Mild

36m

average length

147

episodes

Lore is a bi-weekly podcast (as well as a TV show and book series) about dark historical tales. Each episode explores the mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

by Exactly Right

61m

average length

415

episodes

Lifelong fans of true crime stories Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark tell each other their favorite tales of murder and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans.

The Truth About True Crime with Amanda Knox

by SundanceTV

34m

average length

39

episodes

In 1986, the body of affluent, beautiful, 18-year-old Jennifer Levin was found dead in Central Park. Her killer: Robert Chambers, a tall, handsome prep from the Upper East Side. He claimed she attempted to rape him and her death was an accident. Join host Amanda Knox as she deconstructs the stories behind the victim-blaming, privilege and media sensationalism that surrounded this murder and trial, as seen in the SundanceTV docu-series The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park. The views, information or opinions expressed during this podcast are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of AMC Networks and its employees.

The Vanished Podcast

by thevanishedpodcast@gmail.com Wondery

52m

average length

238

episodes

The Vanished is a true crime podcast that explores the stories of those who have gone missing. The Vanished goes beyond conventional news reports to take a deep dive into the story of a different missing person each week. Host Marissa Jones brings you exclusive interviews with family members, friends, law enforcement and experts. What will The Vanished uncover next?

Wrongful Conviction Podcasts

by Lava for Good Podcasts | PRX

53m

average length

344

episodes

Wrongful Conviction Podcasts share the stories of men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. Some of them had even been sentenced to death. These are stories about tragedy, triumph, unequal justice and actual innocence.