You’ve finished S-Town and Serial, now what should you listen to? What are the best true crime, or non-fiction suspense podcasts out there? Both are questions probably everyone who’s recently finished S-Town or Serial has asked a friend or Google. Serialized true crime podcasts have taken the popularity of podcast to a new level, however only the marquee S-Town and Serial have become household names.
That may be changing, however. At the time of this writing, we have a new true crime entry to the leaderboard: Up and Vanished.
There have to be other excellent true crime podcasts, right? Here’s a roundup of other true crime podcasts that vary on the popularity spectrum. Before the comments start rolling in, this list is in no particular order in terms of rankings, just broken up by format.
1. Up and Vanished
The next big thing. Up and Vanished narratively follows the largest case file in Georgia’s history. The podcast documents and analyzes the 11-year old missing person case of Tara Grinstead, a high school teacher, and former beauty queen. If you need a quick fix to satiate your S-Town and Serial needs, binge Up and Vanished now.
Crimetown is probably the most similar to Serial in terms of both narrative storyline and quality. Produced by the same team behind HBO’s The Jinx, each season follows a different crime in a new city. The first season takes place in Providence, Rhode Island where organized crime is present throughout the town.
If you enjoyed Serial and S-Town not only because of the subject matter but also because of the top-notch production value, Criminal should be next on your queue. Not only does the podcast take deep dives into the specific crimes, it looks to understand the people behind the crimes whether they’re guilty or innocent.
4. Sword and Scale
Sword and Scale is an episodic look into some of the most gruesome and harrowing crimes to have taken place. Not for the feint of heart, this podcast goes into the crimes, trials, missing person cases, and more through their 90+ episodes.
Detective is coined as the “behind-the-yellow-tape” story of real crimes happening throughout the US. Told by an actual detective, Rod Demery, these gripping tales have grown a large community of armchair detectives looking to solve the case.
6. In the Dark
Though In The Dark has finished season 1 and is working on season 2, now is a good as time as ever to listen if you haven’t had the chance. Season 1 documents and analyzes the child abduction of Jacob Wetterling and the consequences of the case. Gross mishandling of the case by law enforcement led to sensationalized fear around child kidnappings and ultimately the sex-offender registries.
Casefile offers the perfect (though sometimes unsolved) resolution for Serial and S-Town fans. Since each episode is self-contained, fans can find their fix one bite at a time rather than feel compelled to binge through convenient cliff-hangers.
8. Life of the Law
Life of the Law is part true crime, part 99 Percent Invisible. The podcast doesn’t just discuss actual crimes but also takes a look at how policy and law came to be and how the effects of these rules have trickled down throughout our society.
Breakdown is in the midst of their third season and is probably the best candidate for the “diamond in the rough” award of true crime podcasts. Though who know about it, know, it’s good. Breakdown is produced by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, billed as the largest newsroom in the south. Their access to historical media and understanding the story behind the crime is unparalleled.
Undisclosed to a different route to the podcast game than others. After seeing the success of Serial, they decided to create the unofficial spin-off, further following the case of Adnan Syed. From there, subsequent seasons have followed the cases of Joey Watkins and Freddie Gray.
11. Court Junkie
Where other true crime podcasts often follow the specifics of the crime itself, Court Junkie focuses on the judicial aspect. Whether is specific documents, witnesses, or even the trial itself, host Jillian LP wants to further shed light on the imbalance of the judicial process can be.
12. Missing and Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams
Missing and Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams is about, well, the unsolved cold case of Alberta Williams, an indigenous woman murdered in the late 80s in British Columbia. The 8-part series wrapped up in December 2016, so file this away for when you’re looking to binge a new real crime case.
13. Mystery Show
What Happened to Mystery Show? deserves its own true crime podcast. Winner of iTunes’ best new podcast of 2015, Mystery Show was surprisingly cut late last year. Though there are no more new episodes, they were able to complete a full season and storyline.
14. Real Crime Profile
Another sub-section of true crime genre, Real Crime Profile looks into the people and behaviors behind the crimes. Hosted by a former FBI profiler, criminal behavioral analyst, and the casting director of the show, Criminal Minds, Real Crime Profile goes behind the scenes of some of the most notorious crimes.
15. Crime Writers On
What’s unique about Crime Writers On is that they’re not trying to be the next Serial or even replicating the format. Crime Writers On is a panel of investigators, true crime authors, and other guests providing their thoughts and commentary on other true crime events. Sure, they’ll talk about the Adnan Syed case and Serial, but they’ll also discuss recent crimes and refreshers and famous crimes.
16. Actual Innocence
Actual Innocence is an episodic podcast documenting the sad cases of people incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Each episode goes into a different story chronicling the errors in the justice system that led the wrongful conviction.
Death, taxes, and NPR producing great stuff. Embedded is another NPR product that does a deep dive into specific news stories. The stories they tell are incredibly insightful and thought-provoking on topics that usually are under-reported and often uncomfortable to learn about.
18. Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff
Truth & Justice is another unofficial Serial spinoff. Like Batman, host Bob Ruff is adamant about one thing: justice. As a former fire chief, he uses his extensive experience to really get to the bottom of the case, to understand it’s core. The unique differentiator between this podcast and others of the like is the crowdsourcing model. He knows intent listeners and the Reddit/forum community can unearth new clues about the case, and he incorporates these into his analysis.