The Best True Crime Podcasts To Listen To And Feel Like A Real Detective

Photo: iTunes
30 Best True Crime Podcasts Of All Time: Old + New In 2021

Resisting a good true crime story is hard. Doesn't your hair stand on end when you hear the details of a horrible murder? It's horrifying what people can do to others — but for some reason, we can't get enough. It's almost like an addiction that always leaves you wanting more.

For a long time, true crime has been my guilty pleasure. I would watch episodes of the latest of cold cases on Investigation Discovery and wouldn't tell a soul. Watching crime cases was not considered popular or even normal.

Luckily for me, things have changed since then. The hit podcast series Serial broke open new doors for the genre and now there are a lot of great true crime podcasts.

Not only is it great for a real adrenaline rush, but it turns out you can also learn a lot of useful things from it.

According to research in the inaugural issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science, by understanding why an individual decides to kill, a woman can learn the warning signs to watch for in a jealous lover or stranger.

That means that listening to a podcast is not only entertaining, but it could help you if, goodness forbid, you were actually in that scenario.

You would know which kind of man you should seriously avoid and what steps to take to make sure you and your family are safe.

By listening to the hilarious comedy duo of My Favorite Murder, you can learn what other survivors did in order to escape their captors. It’s a great survival tactic!

Every detail said in Criminals can help you find a pattern of psychotic behavior. It’s as informative as it is gut-wrenching.

RELATED: The Best True Crime Documentaries You Won’t Be Able To Look Away From

But there's a whole sea of podcasts out there, and some are way better than others. We picked out the best that will definitely get you your crime fix.

And if you're new to the crime scene, we have a few picks to ease you into the dark world of criminals and cannibals. This isn’t for the faint of heart!

Whether it's true grizzly details of unsolved cases or empowering stories of survival, we got you covered with the best true crime podcasts that will have your heart racing!

List of 35 Best True Crime Podcasts And Where To Listen

1. Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories

Unsolved Murders is a drama podcast that puts an old-school radio spin on mysteries of real cold cases and unsolved murders. They have dramatizations of the cases with actors and actresses act out these murder scenarios.

It's extremely entertaining to listen to, and I can really visualize each case happening. The hosts Carter Roy and Wendy MacKenzie give a background of each case and a very detailed description.

A new episode comes out every Tuesday.

Where to listen: Spotify or iTunes

2. Sword and Scale

Host Mike Boudet brings his experience in audio engineering to use for the show. The audio quality is outstandingly good, as he is immersing you in the story, giving you a good look at every detail.

Sword and Scale will leave you feeling paranoid with its gripping details and original audio of the criminal underworld, crime stories, and missing persons cases. A lot of effort and research is put into each episode.

Listening to this will prove that sometimes "monsters" are a lot closer than you think.

Where to listen: Spotify or iTunes

3. Lore

Lore is both an award-winning and critically-acclaimed podcast created by Aaron Mahnke, a supernatural thriller author. The style is often compared to a campfire way of telling a series of stories in one episode that all have a common theme.

It's not a real crime thriller, but it tells documented historical events and folkloric tales about the human experience of horror. If you're new to crime podcast, I'd give this a try.

They release a new episode every two weeks on Mondays.

Where to listen: Spotify or iTunes

4. My Favorite Murder

OK, so this podcast isn't the best when it comes to factual information, but in its defense, it's supposed to be comedic and improvisational. Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark choose a murder or survivor story to talk about during the show — and they usually end up talking about what's happening in their personal lives, too.

This is my second recommendation if you're newly stepping into true crime. Their comedy makes the grizzly details a little easier to swallow.

Where to listen: Spotify or iTunes

5. The Mind of a Murderer

Dr. Michelle Ward is a renowned criminal psychologist and trial consultant. Each episode is jam-packed with her one-on-one interview with real murderers.

She takes an in-depth look at the killer's psyche, figuring out why these killers kill. It will definitely have your heart racing.

Where to listen: iTunes

6. Criminal

If it's related to criminal activity, this show has it covered. The stories range from the wrongly accused to bloodthirsty killers.

The host is Phoebe Judge, a reporter who won both Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards.

If you need to get your crime fix this is the number one show that will do it.

Where to listen: Spotify or iTunes

7. Serial

Serial was the first podcast to win a Peabody Award in 2015 and has been extremely popular ever since. So popular that it was ranked number one on iTunes.

Serial is hosted by Sarah Koenig, an American journalist narrating nonfictional stories with a lot of detail. It follows the golden rule of making a great story as told by Koenig: it includes justice, love, truth, and death.

Where to listen: iTunes

RELATED: The Most Terrifying Unsolved Murders In Every State

8. Stranglers

This podcast specifically focuses on the murders in Boston caused by a killer named the Strangler. It details the investigation in Massachusetts, and even after catching the killer, there are still doubts if they've got the right man.

Stranglers is full of real interviews with suspects, reporters that were originally on the case, and it features plenty of research.

Host Portland Helmich has a strong background in media from working with the TV network Oxygen and writing for magazines.

Where to listen: iTunes

9. Sinisterhood

Dallas comedians Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney started Sinisterstood in May 2018 to share with the world their love of the weird and woeful.

From cryptids like the Loveland Frog Man to viral sensations like "Dear David" to in-depth looks into murder cases like Aaron Hernandez, Sinisterhood really does it all.

Where to listen: iTunes, iHeartRadio

10. To Live and Die in LA

Host Neil Strauss helped the family of actress Adea Shabani look into what happened when she went missing from her Hollywood home.

Last seen in February of 2018, this podcast looks for answers about her disappearance.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

11. Atlanta Monster

In the late '70s and early '80s, over 25 Black boys and young adults were murdered or went missing. Wayne Bertram Williams was arrested for the horrific crimes, but was he truly guilty?

This podcast looks into the Atlanta Child Murders, as well as the man who may not have been behind them.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

12. The Thing About Pam

This six-episode series from Dateline looks at the murder of Betsy Faria. Stabbed over 50 times, her husband was arrested and charged for her murder. But the truth is far stranger than fiction — even for the Dateline team themselves.

This wild ride is a must-listen.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

13. Your Own Backyard

This docu-style podcast looks at the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart who was abducted on her college campus. The case seemed open and shut, but campus police and local law enforcement ensured this case remains unsolved to this day.

Thanks to Your Own Backyard, movement is finally happening and hopefully Smart and her family might soon have justice.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

14. That’s Messed Up

DUN DUN. Comedians Liza Treyger and Kara Klenk dive into episodes of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" to go over the "ripped from the headlines" crimes they are based on, and interview iconic actors and actresses from the episode.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

15. Crime Junkie

This weekly true-crime podcast is hosted by friends Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat. They go over the crime they are obsessed with every week with straightforward and thoughtful storytelling.

Crime Junkie's format — one host guiding the conversation while the other asks questions — makes it another ideal intro for true crime newbies.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

16. Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad

Investigative journalist Billy Jensen and retired detective Paul Holes come together to go over unsolved crimes and find answers.

The two call on listeners and web sleuths to help them find answers — with often amazing results.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

17. Morbid

Friends Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley pride themselves on accurate and well-researched information with a little humor to cut the darkness.

This conversational podcast is like drinks with your best friends — if your best friends are a couple of macabre weirdos (and don't we all wish?).

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

RELATED: 5 Gruesome Unsolved Murders That Armchair Detectives Still Try To Solve Today

18. Once Upon A Crime

Once Upon a Crime tells "the story behind the story" of true crime legends. If you like your true crime bedtime-story-style with a lot of research, join host Esther Ludlow every week with a new chilling case.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

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19. Root Of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia

The story of the Black Dahlia has been told a million times but this podcast looks deeper into one suspect, Dr. George Hodel, whose own son believed he is the one who killed Elizabeth Short.

The family dives into family secrets and new information about Hodel and why they think he did it.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

20. Cold

The murder of Susan Powell and her children is one of the most horrific crimes in recent memory, but host Dave Cawley takes listeners through the long, sad, strange journey that ended in a garage in Utah.

From family annihilator Josh Powell to his obsessive father Steve, this podcast unmasks a series of dark family secrets and the innocent victims who deserved better.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

21. Crime in Color

Crime in Color looks specifically at the often neglected people of color in the often very very white world of true crime — not just killers but also survivors and victims.

Where to listen: iTunes, Stitcher

22. Cases of Color

Cases of Color covers missing persons, unsolved cases, and cases with unanswered questions for people of color.

Host Randi Johnson uses his show to "bring to light to the stories that are often pushed to the side or left untold and uncared for."

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

23. Up and Vanished

Filmmaker and host Payne Lindsey investigates the disappearance of beauty queen and teacher Tara Grinstead.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

24. Someone Knows Something

Host David Ridgen examines cold cases with the help of victim’s families in the hopes of finding new leads, suspects — and answers to painful questions.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

25. Taken: The Podcast

Taken is an important look at the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the hopes of shedding light on the cases and finding answers.

Working with tribal communities, family members, and law enforcement, Eagle Vision looks for new information in forgotten and under-investigated cases.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

26. Crime Noir

Focusing on cases of missing black men, women, and children, Candice Gaines started Crime Noir to raise awareness of the lack of media coverage for these cases.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

27. The Apology Line

The Apology Line explores a phone number people could call in Manhattan in the '80s. People could call and tell their stories to "Mr. Apology."

This podcast looks at what happened to the anonymous Mr. Apology and discusses what happens to someone after listening to 15 years of sin in New York City.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

28. Wrongful Conviction

Based on the files of people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes and spent decades in prison, Wrongful Conviction tells the stories of people who faced years of consequences for crimes they didn't commit.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

29. Tenfold More Wicked

Tenfold More Wicked mixes campfire-style storytelling with investigative journalism. If you like history with your true crime, this podcast is definitely for you.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

30. Chicano Squad

In the 1980s, the Houston Police Department created an all-Latino task force to address growing violence in the Latino community.

Chicano Squad discusses the discrimination they faced, police violence, and the unsolved murders the haunt them to this day.

Where to listen: iTunes, Spotify

RELATED: Haunting True Stories & Important Lessons From 9 People Who Survived Attempted Murder

Jamille Jones has lived teaching English in Hiroshima, Japan for 2 years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.