Real Life

11 podcasts to listen to if you're obsessed with true crime stories

If you've binge-watched the documentaries, it's time to start on the podcasts...

By Kate Wagner
The very best true crime podcasts

So you've trawled through the best crime documentaries on Netflix and now there's a huge true crime hole in your evenings.

We feel you.

Nothing can cater to morbid fascination like true crime. The fact that average, every day people can just snap and murder, torture or kidnap is as terrifying as sociopaths who plot and plan their crimes in minute detail.

We've found the best true crime podcasts, like Serial, Dirty John, Sword and Scale, and Up and Vanished to fill the void.

Podcasts like Making a Murderer

Dirty John

The latest addition to the annals of true crime podcasts, Dirty John, created by the LA Times, follows what happens when Deborah, a successful interior designer falls in love with the handsome, charismatic John. The new couple's relationship is perfect, except for one thing; Deborah's family really hates John. With the melodrama of The Bold And The Beautiful and the bone-chilling thrill of The Fall, Dirty John is addictive to say the least.

Serial

If you're into true crime and you haven't heard this, you're in for a world of joy. Based on the murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee in 1999 and the subsequent arrest of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, this is the holy grail of investigative journalism as well as podcasts.

It's so good in fact, that it raised enough questions about Adnan's arrest for his lawyers to launch an appeal this year.

Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee at prom.
Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee at prom.

Actual Innocence

If it's the 'did they do it' aspect of Making a Murderer and Serial that pique your interest, this is the podcast for you.

Each episode is a new exonerated person and the story of their injustice, shining a light on the massive flaws in the legal system.

Investigative podcasts

Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?

This eight-part series investigates the unsolved murder of 24-year-old Alberta William in 1989. The indigenous Canadian woman was found dead along the Highway of Tears in British Columbia, but police never found her killer.

A retired cop claims to know who did it, so why didn't he ever say anything? The smooth, dulcet Canadian tones make this an easy listen you could finish in less than a week.

Up & Vanished

This investigative podcast explores what happened to Georgia beauty queen and high school teacher, Tara Grinstead when she suddenly disappeared 11 years ago.

This one is an absolute ripper that leaves you questioning everything and it will make you wary of everyone around you if you're listening on public transport.

Australian true crime podcasts

Phoebe's Fall

Melbourne woman Phoebe Handsjuk was found dead at a St Kilda apartment building after plunging feet first down a garbage chute. Coroner Peter White determined she had fed herself in the chute while drunk and under the influence of sleeping drug Stilnox.

However, Phoebe's family found that hard to swallow - there were no fingerprints at the top of the hatch and Phoebe's jeans were found around her knees.

This six-part podcast is the engaging and terrifying result of a six-month Fairfax investigation into the 24-year-old's mysterious death.

Phoebe Handsjuk and Rachel Antonio
Phoebe Handsjuk and Rachel Antonio

Searching for Rachel Antonio

This podcast, produced by the Courier Mail, explores why 16-year-old Rachel Antonio vanished in 1998. Rachel was dropped off at the local cinema in Bowen on Anzac Day and never came home.

In the wake of her disappearance, police found a makeshift diary documenting an intense relationship with a handsome older lifeguard, Robert Hytch who became the prime suspect in the case.

It's a gripping series featuring never before heard audio and video of police interviews with Robert, who was acquitted of the crime, and the true blue Aussie accents to keep you hooked from start to finish.

Podcasts that cover a little bit of everything

48 Hours

Once you get past the generic American newsreader narration, this is a goodie. It's produced by the award-winning team at CBS and it investigates tricky criminal cases as well as human drama.

Their success is thanks in part to the high production quality, but boy do they choose gripping stories. It covers everything from domestic violence to deranged killing sprees and the effects on those left behind.

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Sword and Scale

This narrator cops a lot of flack for being too opinionated in his telling of the wide ranging crimes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Because the topics covered are so varied it can be a bit hit and miss, but you can easily jump on to the next episode if you aren't interested.

Reveal

Reveal has all the bells and whistles of Serial with each episode unpacking occasions of injustice, power abuse, and crime.

It's an easy, informative listen and you get to scroll through the episodes to choose what tickles your fancy in whatever order you want.

A little extra

Crime Town

The secret behind a good podcast is how engaging the narrators and guests are - it's easy to lose your audience when there aren't pretty pictures flashing up in front of you.

The broad accents of the Rhode Island mafia mean that you're enthralled from start to finish as the hosts explore the organised crime and corruption that infect Providence.

"This is a story of alliances and betrayals, of heists and stings, of crooked cops and honest mobsters—a story where it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys."

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Snapped

Overwhelmingly, the perpetrators of violent crimes are men. But what about women who kill?

Based on the TV series of the same name, Snapped digs deeper into the stories of women accused of murder and what drove them there.

So what are you waiting for? Get listening!