21 Gripping, Intense and Funny True Crime Podcasts You Won’t Be Able To Stop Listening To in 2021!
The next best thing to an audiobook is a Podcast and if you’re into true crime, or you’re just starting to get into the genre, then I’ve got some great True Crime Podcast recommendations for you!
From the downright bizarre crimes, comedic takes, and some serious investigative journalism, here are my 21* best true crime podcasts for you to binge listen to in 2021.
(*I’ve now added two more podcasts to this True Crime Mix – 22 + 23).
1 | Evil By Design by CBC
Be prepared for triggers in this podcast which delves into the sinister life of ‘Canada’s Jeffrey Epstein’. Covering nearly a decade in investigative journalism, Timothy Sawa of CBC sheds light on Peter Nygard – a man with a fast-fashion empire and a history of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking accusations to his name.
Sawa interviews victims, enablers and even one of Nygard’s sons in a story that spans decades. It’s shocking, fascinating and disturbing. I came away from listening to it wondering how on earth he managed to get away with his crimes for so long. But then he had money, lots of it, to influence and manipulate his victims and his helpers.
2 | My Favourite Murder (MFM)
My Favorite Murder will be your favourite true crime podcast to binge listen to! The duo of Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have been true crime pod-casters for a while now. Each week they provide a true-crime mini-episode and a full-length episode covering serial killers, murders, survival stories and the downright unusual true crimes.
Told in comedic style, for the most part you’ll have a good chuckle with these two women; they feel like your friends and agony aunts. I was lucky enough to see them live in London, so if you get a chance, make sure you book asap as they sell out quickly.
I would recommend listening to all, starting with Ep. 1, but these have to be some of my highlights:
- Episode 123: Live at Vicar Street in Dublin (Billy in his bowl made me laugh out loud)
- Episode 33: What About Mimi? (specifically the Jennifer Morey survival story)
- Episode 222: That’s How Water Works (love the incredible Juliane Koepcke plane crash and jungle survival story)
3 | The Teacher’s Pet by The Australian
The Teacher’s Pet* covers the unsolved mystery of the disappearance of Lyn Dawson – devoted wife and mother to two daughters.
For nearly 36 years, police in Sydney’s northern beaches did not look for her, indeed family members and friends either did nothing about Lyn’s sudden disappearance or they were completely ignored by the police. But over the years their unease at Lyn’s whereabouts leads investigative journalist Hedley Thomas to delve into Lyn’s life. He looks into her football star husband Chris Dawson’s behaviour, as well as his twin brother, the possibility of police corruption and the disturbing revelations of inappropriate teacher-student relationships at the local schools.
You are left feeling sad for Lyn and her family and hoping she will finally get justice when this true-crime case finally goes to trial.
*Note: you cannot currently listen to this Podcast if you live in Australia as the case is waiting to go to court.
4 | Bowraville by The Australian
The Australian presents yet another great bit of investigative journalism. This time, it’s journalist Dan Box and the unsolved serial killings in Bowraville.
What is really unsettling, is for 25 years no one has been charged for the deaths of three children in Bowraville (a 4-year-old girl, and two 16 years old kids), but from the start, one man’s name has always cropped up, and he has never been convicted for it.
This podcast looks into New South Wales police’s inability to deal with a serial killer, a town divided by race, and a lack of care to find justice for these children who were all Aboriginal.
5 | The Guardian: The Long Read – True Crime Episodes
If you’re looking for some mini-episodes on true crime, your first thought probably doesn’t jump to The Guardian newspaper.
However, I actually came across The Long Read podcast when I was looking for some none tabloid articles to read – you know, proper journalism – and to my surprise, I found some really interesting true episodes that cover crimes I have never heard of.
Here are just some of the true crime episodes from The Long Read:
- Episode 26 Mar 2021: Hunting the men who kill women: Mexico’s femicide detective
- Episode 27 Jan 2021: From the archive: Why did two parents murder their adopted child
- Episode 12 Feb 2021: One drug dealer, two corrupt cops and a risky FBI sting
6 | West Cork – an Audible Original
Audible are starting to produce some very good true crime podcasts and West Cork is no exception.
Just before Christmas 1996, the body of French television producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was discovered on the edge of her holiday home in the town of Shull in West Cork, Ireland – her killer has never been brought to justice.
This podcast, delivered by documentarian, Jennifer Forde, and investigative journalist, Sam Bungey, takes you through what happened to Sophie, interviews with the prime suspect (a bizarre man) and the effect the murder has had on this West Cork community.
This podcast is gripping and you’ll binge-listen to it in no time. If you’re not with Audible, you can join now and get your first 3 months for just £0.99p
7 | Evil Has A Name – and Audible Original
I was first made aware of the Golden State Killer after listening to one of My Favorite Murder episodes, and then a follow-up episode they did when, after more than 40 years, the law finally caught up with him.
Intrigued to know more about this case, which is still live and awaiting trial, Evil Has A Name details Paul Holes’ investigation to get justice for the victims of rape and murder. Another binge-worthy listen that is horrifying and fascinating.
8 | The Doodler
The Doodler Podcast is brand new, having recently launched and aims to solve the cold case of a ‘ruthless serial killer’ who terrorised the San Francisco LGBTQ+ community between 1974 and 1975.
The Doodler would draw sketches of his victims before murdering them, but he has never been caught due to police incompetence, a scared public and frightened victims who feared being outed to family and employers if they tried to help.
Fingers crossed they face the full force of the law soon!
9 | Tenfold More Wicked
Another podcast I have recently started listening to is Tenfold More Wicked, and already I’m loving Kate Winkler Dawson’s mix of creepy true crime narrative and investigative journalism. This is a podcast that explores historical true crime and delves into the killers and the lives of their victims.
You can start listening to the first two series now (All That is Wicked & The Body Snatcher) and Season 3, Murder in the Court soon.
10 | The Murder Squad
From the man who helped bring the Golden State Killer to justice and the investigative journalist who brought you Unraveled (see number 11), is The Murder Squad.
Paul Holes and Billy Jensen present to you unsolved murders and invite you to help solve them. This podcast is very different because instead of just detailing these crimes and presenting a narrative they are highlighting how many crimes have not been solved, whether through police neglect or dead ends in the investigations.
No crime is too big or too small, and internet sleuths are actively encouraged to help. The tone to this true crime series is quite different – as Holes provides his years of experience with the police force and why these cases may have gone cold and Jensen asking difficult questions to get to the bottom of them.
Comedy gold element: each episode they both say what positives happened to them that week and Holes always ends up talking about what annoyed him instead.
11 | Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer
Is the Long Island Serial Killer real or a myth made up by the police to throw people off their scent?
Corruption, sex parties, and a cover-up by Suffolk County Police Department – Billy Jensen and Alexis Linkletter try to shed light on why 11 dead body bodies were dumped in Long Island, how witnesses were silenced and the police chief, James Burke blocked the FBI from getting involved.
12 | Dark as Hell: A True Crime Podcast
Dark As Hell is relatively new amongst the true crime podcasts. This one-woman show, hosted by Maggie Burgess, explores mysterious stories, disappearances and true crime theories that arise along the way.
But even though this podcast was started in 2020, there are already 37 episodes to binge-listen to and you’ll love Burgess’ dry sense of humour.
13 | Power: The Maxwells
I binged the crap out of this Podcast!
I was only 7 years old when Robert Maxwell was reported missing and then pronounced dead, but I can remember my parents buying the newspaper and reading about the demise of this British Newspaper tycoon in the news.
Maxwell was ambitious, corrupt, a bully, a liar, and possibly even a spy. This podcast looks into Robert Maxwell’s rise and fall, the conspiracy theories surrounding his death and the influence he may have had on his troubled youngest daughter, Ghislaine.
Highlights: I couldn’t stop laughing when journalist, Ian Hislop of Private Eye, recounted their court case where the magazine was being sued by Maxwell, and how they got their own back on him.
14 | Broken: Seeking Justice
If you’ve watched the Netflix documentary, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, then follow it up with Julie K. Brown’s exposé on him, Broken.
Season one takes a dive into Epstein’s past, how he became rich, the elite company he kept and his victims. In season two, we hear more about bringing this case to justice and more about his enabler, Ghislaine Maxwell.
15 | Unheard: The Fred and Rose West Tapes
Journalist Howard Sounes revisits his recordings of interviews undertaken back in 1994-95, when the infamous Fred & Rose West were arrested for the murders of at least 12 women and girls who they buried in their house and garden.
Although some of the tapes are not clear (Sounes does tell you what is said when this occurs), it is a fascinating insight into tabloid journalism in the 90s, and also a disappointing reflection on how some of the so-called journalistic methods employed then have not really changed today.
I think Sounes, who admits he was after the front-page story and wanting to profit from writing a book about it, is troubling in himself. He wanted to tell the story of this gruesome couple but did not think about the victims at the time, or the way he went about manipulating friends and relatives to get his scoop.
However, in this podcast, he focuses his story on the victims, albeit 25+ years too late. There are new interviews with lodgers who lived at 25 Cromwell Street and with some of the victims family members – those who looked for their missing relatives and those that did not.
Sounes ever so slightly, redeems himself, by including tapes of the investigating police officer telling him off for including misleading information in his articles, and the same DI revealing he leaked false information and had Sounes tailed.
16 | Who The Hell Is Hamish? by The Australian
Who The Hell is Hamish? will have you gripped from the start, in what is another great true crime podcast from The Australian.
Greg Bearup uncovers the lies and devastating deception carried out by Hamish Watson – a serial conman, who would befriend and then manipulate his victims into investing in his ponzi scheme, taking and spending their millions.
For decades, Hamish evaded the authorities in the US, Britain, Hong Kong, Canada and of course Australia. He immersed himself in his victims’ lives – posing as friend, father, confident, lover, triathlete, a wounded soul that needed to be loved. But it was all lies, just so he could get his hands on their money.
This podcast is truly fascinating, it’s bewildering how these people gave them his money but then he was good at his con and had been doing it for many years. A total binge-worthy listen.
17 | Redhanded
This award winning podcast has been going since 2017.
And you might be thinking, well, I’ve already got a handful of true crime podcast series to listen to, a lot of them cover the same crimes, a lot of them have the same gimmicks … however, this UK duo of Maguire and Bala deliver a true crime podcast with a Brit style.
Note: their podcast does start off with not so great sound quality, but improves with each episode and experience.
18 | Down The Hill: The Delphi Murders
Down The Hill podcast covers the case of Abigail Williams and Liberty German’s murders, 4 years ago in Delphi, Indiana.
It’s upsetting and creepy – their killer is still unknown and all the police have is a grainy video image of their suspect and audio of him telling the girls to “go down the hill”, taken by Libby.
The podcast highlights the struggle of Delphi to come to terms with what has happened, and how hard it has been for the police to catch the killer.
19 | The Clown and The Candyman
The Clown and the Candyman is a seriously messed up story that links two of America’s serial killers and their connection to a 1970s sex trafficking network that included police, civil servants, and politicians.
This is far from a true crime comedy podcast – it’s pretty disturbing.
20 | The Immaculate Deception
The Immaculate Deception covers the story of Jan Karbaat, a Dutch fertility doctor who operated out of his Rotterdam clinic. His role was to help desperate women conceive. The problem was, they thought they were getting a sperm donor of their choice.
This podcast uncovers fraud, malpractice, and unethical decisions made by Karbaat, and other clinics across the globe, which would affect hundreds of women and their children who were conceived by these deceitful methods.
21 | Intrigue
Intrigue is a Podcast that sheds light on political and historical true crimes, explored through their mini-series.
So far, they have 4 out:
- Murder in The Lucky Holiday Hotel (covers the story of a British man in China, sex and the lavish lifestyle of China’s elite and how their politics truly operate)
- The Ratline (“a story of life, love and denial and a curious death” – as well as lies, The Ratline that allowed Nazis a new life abroad and family deception. Love a Nazi hunter story)
- Tunnel 29 (an amazing story of courage in eastern occupied Germany during the cold war, and the tunnel that helped people escape to the west)
- Mayday (The mysterious death of James Le Mesurier, The White Helmets, their rescue mission in Syria and the bizarre conspiracies surrounding them and their founder’s death)
Definitely give this Podcast a listen!
*22 | True Gay Crime Podcast
This true-crime podcast, hosted by Patrick Marano, was recommended to me by another true-crime podcast (I think it was MFM?), and it’s brilliant.
I have nearly listened to all of the episodes, which cover crime in the LGBTQ+ community committed by or to them, What is really good about this podcast is the host, Patrick Marano. He’s funny, honest, and does not hold back on what he thinks of the true-crime stories and the criminals he covers.
Some of these crimes you will have heard of before but Patrick, being from the LGBTQ+ community, provides a whole other perspective on these true gay crimes, which let’s be honest you won’t get from a straight person. It’s really refreshing and insightful and Patrick is a great storyteller.
*23 | British Scandal Podcast
This podcast is fastly becoming my new favourite true crime podcast. Hosted by the comedic duo, Alice Levine (My Dad Wrote a Porno Podcast) and Matt Forde (Rock ‘n’ Roll Football show), they retell the stories of some of the most notorious British Scandals.
I loved Season 4 – which is all about Nick Leeson and the millions he stole from Barings Bank, but Season 6 – The Canoe Con, has to be the funniest just for the interview with Superintendent Tony Hutchinson who just takes the mick out of John Darwin.
It’s just annoying that, unless you are signed up to the Wondery network, you have to wait for another week after each episode is released to listen to it.