Each December I bring to you the best true crime podcasts to debut over the past year. And each year, this becomes a larger task (I find myself ‘researching’ while carrying out my holiday tasks and wondering if I’m the only one who hangs lights and signs Christmas cards to the soothing stories of murder, lies and deceit). The genre is ever-growing with no signs of slowing down. And as a lover of crime and mystery, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Last year I shared mostly new shows but included some of my favorite veteran podcasts I couldn’t help but rave over. For 2018, I strictly stuck to just shows that have come out in the past year with very few exceptions, otherwise this list would never end! Check out my top picks for 2018 true crime podcasts.
This Texas based podcast highlights murders from the Lone Star State. Each episode focuses on a different murder from a different Texan town. The two Southern hosts start the show out with a rundown of the town the crime is located in (like another favorite of mine, Small Town Murder). They follow the timeline from crime to sentencing when applicable. Then they end with a good news story to remind everyone that not every story is a tragedy. These hosts are very respectful to both the victims and their listeners, including trigger warnings when necessary. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and with everything from the Texarkana Slayer to the Axe Murderer of Lerado, I’d say that includes their true crime.
This interesting new ‘Serial style’ podcast focuses on one important New Hampshire cold case. When bodies were found in a barrel in the woods in 1985 and then again in the same uninhabited area in 2000, it would ultimately change the way detectives use DNA in future investigations. This six part series does a great job of examining the sequence of events that would span the next 30 years and lead to convicting a dangerous serial killer. This show is totally binge-worthy. In fact I listened to the whole thing in a couple days. I just had to know what was next! For a story filled with lies, false identities, surprises and murder look no further than Bear Brook.
Like the name of this show may give away, Beyond Bizarre covers the most extraordinary cases in true crime. A single host examines peculiar circumstances of unusual deaths, crimes and unexplained occurrences. Each episode is about 20-30 minutes long and covers an individual stories, so no need to listen in order. The research is so good here I learned new information from every episode; even on the stories I’ve heard before. Remember these are not your typical murders and robberies. Listener discretion is somewhat advised if you are not one for shocking details. For a look at the wildest stories out there be sure to check this podcast out.
Criminology takes a ‘deep dive’ into notorious criminal cases that are too large to cover in just one sitting. And this year was a big one for the show as they released their second season covering the Golden State Killer case almost simultaneously with the arrest of prime suspect James Joseph Deangelo (check out Podcasts that Cover the Golden State Killer for more). Season 3 is a four part look into serial killer Ted Bundy and his outrageous crimes. Then their most recent season is a bit different, focusing not just on one case but instead the cases that are being solved via DNA and forensic geneology. I find this new crime fighting technique absolutely fascinating. If you’re like me, you will need to check out all the new material from Mike and Morf this year.
Each week, two charming Southern hosts cover murders, missing persons and more in this enticing true crime podcast. Expect these ladies to be lively, well researched and very respectful to victims. Here, the episodes are non-sequential, but they put stories together in ‘themes’ like Dark Water that featured cruise ship disappearances and Back in Crime (cold cases). Listening to episodes in groups is kind of a fun way to focus on a single dark topic at once. Honestly, this show actually started back in 2017, but I didn’t discover it until this year and I love it so much I had to bend the rules here. I know you will love these two as much as I do.
Disgraceland is a great new true crime podcast that is a bit unique. It tells the stories of infamous musicians and the crimes they either committed or become surrounded by. Celebrity status often comes with living above or below the law. It could be arson, murder, drugs or maybe all three. With this show, you never know what to expect. The host mixes upbeat music with jaw dropping stories you can’t believe you haven’t heard before (the whole story, anyway). In short, I enjoy this unique approach to true crime because most of these tales aren’t shared in other shows and they are every bit as fascinating.
Evidence Locker is a well researched show that covers criminals you may not have heard of, but I guarantee these murders are just as interesting as the ones that make headlines. Each 45 minute episode covers a different case from a different country so start wherever appeals to you most. Choose anything from a German cannibal cafe, to a Japanese serial killer named Beast with a Human Face. The host of the show does a great job of being respectful yet ominous. This is a no-frills kind of podcast. There is no comedy, chit-chatting or advertising with this show, just good old fashioned true crime!
Fatal Voyage is a 12-part documentary style podcast that uncovers the mysterious death of actress Natalie Wood. The show meticulously walks through events leading up to and after the fatal incident that is still under scrutiny today. Fame, secrets and conspiracies abound in this tragic tale. The host Dylan Howard respectfully pays homage to the one of a kind person Natalie was and stops at nothing to get to the truth she and her loved ones deserve. Listen to this show for an in dept look at one of Hollywood’s most perplexing murder mysteries.
This special production from the Boston Globe covers the expedited rise and dramatic fall of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. He rose to the top of game quickly, then was charged with murder and eventually met with tragedy. This six part series takes a deep dive into both Aaron’s individual history as well as how the game (and business) of football impacts its players–both physically and emotionally. This story is as heartbreaking as it is fascinating. It will have you reeling with emotion, meanwhile questioning society’s norms. One of my favorite shows of the year, I highly recommend Gladiator.
*Bonus Show: Dr. Death
Another great podcast from Wondery is Dr. Death. This multi part series follows the shocking medical career of Dr. Christopher Duntsch who left dozens of patients injured and some even dead after botched operations and little regard for their well being. A medical-based criminal is not someone you hear about every day, and after listening to this show you will hope you never run into one in your lifetime.
As you may have guessed, Hoax focuses on stories of con artists, swindlers, thieves and liars who almost got away with their conniving crimes. Some of these accounts are older (think 20th century) but most of them come from the last 15 or 20 years. For some reason that makes them extra compelling to me. The smooth talking host incorporates actual news coverage and haunting music to keep the story and energy going. Be careful listening to too many of episodes in one sitting. The audacious acts of these perpetrators will have you second guessing everyone around you.
Two young hosts tackle not just true crime, but all of life’s mysteries on Mile Higher. Each episode has an entirely different topic, from UFOs and parallel universes to serial killers and unsolved murders. Naturally, this show is right up my macabre alley. These episodes tend to be a little longer (around 2-3 hours). They pack them full of information along with some sub-topics in the beginning. This show is entertaining, well researched, and explores all avenues of whatever they are looking into. It is a fun way to learn more about the oddities of life.
Missing & Murdered is a show that originally started in 2017. However their second season came out this year and it is one you must listen to. Host Connie Walker travels to Saskatchewan to uncover the story of a missing sister and a family who continues their search for her. As part of Canada’s ‘integration’ programs of the 1970s, Cleo was one of many young Cree children to be taken from their homes and adopted out to various white families. Unfortunately, her original family was never informed on her whereabouts and went decades without knowing her fate. That is, until the CBC got involved. Follow this incredible journey full of shaky leads, hope and emotion as the host pursues the hunt for a missing girl that seems all but impossible. This really is one of the best true crime stories of 2018. I highly recommend it.
This podcast brings together two of my favorite things: mysteries and lists. The host does a great job with this unique approach. Each episode shares the top 10 cases of that episode’s theme. The theme varies from types of crime, locations, missing persons, etc. However they are always unsolved and left open ended. Much like my lists here, the host shares a brief summary of each top case including any highlights and possible updates. Each summary is brief and to the point with no time wasting in between. Watch yourself on binging too many episodes at once, though. Too many mysteries at once will have your head spinning.
One Eye Open is another great true crime podcast to come out of the UK, although the single host shares tales from all over. Stephy uses her soothing voice and perfect English accent to counteract the shocking stories shared. She tends to stick to particularly grotesque cases. These jaw dropping tales are too chilling to make up. Many of them are lesser known and not often heard about in other shows. Episodes average around 30 minutes and are in no particular order. No matter where you choose to start, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Red Handed is a UK based true crime podcast that covers more than just your typical murder/crime story (of course these things are often involved. too). Hosts Hannah and Suruthi discuss everything from serial killers to witchcraft to unsolved mysteries with a different topic every episode. They are witty and love to turn on their English charm as they share shocking details about true events of intrigue and awe. Although they are somewhat lighthearted, they always show respect to victims and family members involved in the cases. This show is one of the few on this list that did not start in 2018, but I like it so much I wanted to share with you here. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
This is one of my favorite new podcasts coming from across the pond this year. Two hosts cover stories of murder, heists, criminals, and mysteries from the United Kingdom. These are newer crimes for the most part, with some as recent as the 2000’s. Although there are a few cold cases thrown in here and there. The hosts include some light laughter and chit chat yet they are always very respectful to victims of the crimes. Seeing Red will also give you a chance to learn about UK landmarks and history (something I personally love) as well as their most intriguing true crime.
As I’ve said before, Someone Knows Something sets the bar for the true crime genre. Each serialized season focuses on a cold case from the past. The host uses vivid imagery and recorded interviews to find resolutions to questions left unanswered. I included this one on the 2017 list making it one of very few that were too good to pass up for 2018 as well. Season 4 was released early this year. It focuses on the tragic tale of Wayne Greavette, who was murdered by a mailed explosive device sent by persons unknown. The next season, released in October, definitely lived up to expectations as well. One of the victim’s brothers along with the host, sets out on a quest for justice. The pursuit of the truth about the murder of Kerrie Brown is both riveting and heartbreaking. Be sure to keep up with the latest seasons of SKS.
Swindled is a unique podcast that features financially motivated crimes, the kinds committed by big corporations, con men, and crooks. This show mixes a single smooth talking narrator with actual audio from news reports at the time of the crime to help share how each story unfolds and keep things interesting. Each episode as around 45 minutes and covers an individual case, so listen in any order you please. These stories are warnings to not always trust what is on the surface. Consequently they may have you questioning your acquaintances a bit more. They also uncover the inequalities in the world that we don’t always like to admit are there. I urge you to check this one out for stories filled with intrigue and astonishment.
Teacher’s Pet is a multi-part series from The Australian. Host Hedley Thomas reviews the 35 year old case of Lynette Dawson. It is a ground breaking look at Lyn’s disappearance that ultimately leads to the recent arrest of the show’s number one suspect and Lyn’s husband; Chris Dawson. Thomas interviews those who new Lyn, the wife and mother who supposedly walked away from her life in 1985. This mind blowing story had my jaw dropping to the floor on multiple occasions. It is full of intrigue and totally binge-worthy. The Teacher’s Pet does such a good job of laying out the facts and connecting the dots that there is no wonder the police were able to make an arrest. Be sure not to miss this one.
As you may have guessed, Thunder Bay is a five part series that highlights criminal activity in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This show really covers it all–corrupt officials, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and extortion are just the beginning. The show also highlights how much racism plays a part in justice for indigenous people from Northern Canada. Listen to these 30-45 minute episodes in consecutive order. They unfold a web of criminal allegations
that are hard to believe initially. However the audio recordings and witness statements shared provide the proof. This is a newer show, debuting this past October. It is jam packed with drama and crime and should definitely not be skipped.
Take a wild ride with these two fun loving, outrageous hosts as they review a different true crime documentary show/movie in each episode of this podcast. Expect comedy, sass and lots of screeching as the very animated hosts point out the delusions, hypocrisy and poor acting of the documentary interviewees. At first I thought this show was going to be too much, but it quickly grew on me and had me literally laughing out loud. I can see why they have amassed quite a following at their live shows and meet ups. True Crime Obsessed is a nice refresher for true crime documentaries I have already seen as well as a good reference for which ones to watch and which ones to skip in the future. And with hosts so endearing, it’s hard to pass up this show.
And that does it! You have made it through my favorite true crime podcasts from 2018. I hope at least some of these are new to you and I can provide new avenues for you to get your fix of crime and murder. Feel free to come back to this list as many times as you need, use it as a reference when you can’t decide what to listen to next.
I want to give a shout out to the podcast hosts and creators. They put their blood, sweat and tears into these shows and I absolutely appreciate all the hard work, as do all your listeners.
What are your favorite true crime podcasts from 2018?
What did you think of my 2018 podcast list? Do you have any favorites true crime podcasts from the last year that I missed? If so, I want to know! Please leave a comment below with your feedback and/or suggestions. Or you can always email me directly. You are also welcome to contact me via Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to follow me on both for all the new content coming in 2019! Thanks so much for reading. Happy New Year everyone!