Here’s the thing about being a true crime junkie: Despite the endless sea of new podcasts being released on a weekly and monthly basis, it’s never enough. You’ve probably already exhausted the many lists recommending the best true crime podcasts of all time. But it couldn’t quench your insatiable thirst for more murder, unsolved cases, and investigations into the criminal justice system.
Luckily there’s certainly no shortage of new and recent true crime podcasts that provide more hours of binge-worthy listens. But with such a vast onslaught of true crime to potentially sink your teeth into, it can be overwhelming to sift through everything for quality assurance.
That’s where we come in. We dove headfirst into that pile of gruesome content for you to compile a definitive list of the best new and most recent true crime podcasts to satisfy your binge needs.
Now, “new” and “recent” are relative terms when it comes to podcasts. Unlike movies and TV, the only really effective promotion for newcomers is word of mouth — and even die-hard podcast listeners come to new releases on their own time. So our stipulation for what counts as a “new” addition to the true crime genre is flexible, needing only to be published anytime from 2019 to 2020.
Some early 2019 entries are already pretty well-known, critically-acclaimed podcasts. But many other podcasts just came out, and a few recommendations are even still in the process of releasing new episodes and telling their stories.
1. Selena: A Star Dies in Texas
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Those who want the real, even more dramatic story behind the 1997 classic film.
What it’s about: Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s tragic end came right at the cusp of her meteoric rise, a tale immortalized by a young Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 film Selena. But that movie, and her stardom, only captures a sliver of what was lost on the fatal day when a close friend and fan shot the 23-year-old girl dead. While the Vault Studio’s podcast is only on its third episode as of this article’s publication, we can already definitively say it’s one of the best recent additions to the genre. With gripping audio from the day and interviews with friends and family, it paints a more detailed and immediate picture of the person behind this infamous case of superstardom that should have been.
2. Shrink Next Door
Why it’s great or who it’s for: A compelling yet relatively quaint true crime story that puts the power dynamic of therapy on trial.
What it’s about: There’s a reason why therapists must swear an oath to do no harm to their patients. In the wrong hands (and in very rare cases), this powerful relationship can put vulnerable people under the control of skilled manipulators. The unbelievable story of a wealthy New Yorker and his clout-chasing therapist is one such example. Journalist Joe Nocera contributes a first-hand account of his journey to discovering what was really happening in the Hamptons vacation house next to his, raising questions about who’s really in control when you go to the absolute worst person possible while seeking help.
Why it’s great or who it’s for: A gut-wrenching reminder of the struggle for survival, answers, and basic personhood that black Americans face.
What it’s about: As yet another viral video of a black man’s senseless killing launches an overdue criminal investigation, Shapearl Wells’ Somebody dives into the complicated, conflicting, and sickening realities of grieving a loved one killed by a nation’s broken systems. Her son Courtney Wells was found shot outside a Chicago police station, and the explanation for how it happened proves inconsistent at best. As a mother tirelessly investigating her own son’s death, Wells also captures the exasperation of having to justify the worth of his life to the public — the double-edged sword of forcing people to care so you can get answers. The story is heart-wrenchingly personal yet culturally resonant. It’s a must-listen for all who don’t face the lived experience of this ever-present fear and threat.
4. Dating Game Killer
Why it’s great or who it’s for: The serial killer junkie who thought they’d exhausted all the deep-dives into America’s worst monsters.
What it’s about: For true crime obsessives, it’s hard to come by any prolific American serial killer that hasn’t been covered to death (excuse the pun). But with Rodney Alcala, the serial murder of countless young women and girls across the country, it becomes evident that there’s no shortage of monsters left to unmask. Most chillingly, despite being caught and imprisoned various times for his crimes, Alcala still got onto a popular ’70s dating show, winning the affections of the female contestants by using the same charm that beguiled his victims. From the folks who brought you Dirty John and Dr. Death, Wondery once again tells the gripping true crime tale of a psychopath who leaves a trail of bodies in the wake of his insatiable ego.
5. The Thing About Pam
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Dateline comfort food, complete with a sickening murder narrated by the dulcet tones of Keith Morrison.
What it’s about: At this point you know you can trust Dateline to tell one helluva true crime tale. Keith Morrison pulls out all the stops for the case of Betsy Faria, a brutal 2011 murder at first pinned on her husband Russ. Tellingly, the case against Russ relied almost entirely on the testimony of Betsy’s friend: Pam. But there’s just something about Pam… The saga that unfolds doesn’t only put said “friend” on trial, but also the police who seem to have ignored the lies standing right in front of them.
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Rigorous local reporting with widespread national significance, Dig reveals a shocking truth about exactly how our systems let rapists get away without consequence.
What it’s about: We’ve heard it before: It’s hard to get a rapist convicted. But something uniquely strange is happening to the cases reported in Louisville, Kentucky, where a “success” rate is covering up a massive failure of the criminal justice system. Reporter Eleanor Klibanoff takes listeners on the infuriating journey to understand why, showing an underexamined flaw with wide-sweeping consequences for victims across the country. While a summary of Dig can sound too logistical to be interesting, superb storytelling and gutting personal accounts from survivors render these injustices impossible to turn away from. If you have even a passing interest in the issues brought to light by the Me Too movement, this is an essential (if enraging) podcast listen.
7. The Clearing
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Following the journey of an oft-overlooked victim of serial killers, the daughter of a murderer struggles to uncover just how big of a monster her father really was.
What it’s about: A new entry into a recent and growing sub-genre of true crime podcasts, The Clearing captures the personal reckoning of a serial killer’s family member. Host Josh Dean works alongside April, the daughter of Edward Wayne Edwards. She actually directly led to his capture for various murders years ago, but remains haunted by his yet uncovered crimes. Resurfacing the trauma of life with her abusive father, April hunts for potential clues buried in her childhood memories. On top of all that, she confronts the popular online conspiracy theory that pins nearly every major unsolved murder in America — from the Zodiac killings to JonBenét Ramsey — on her father. It’s a podcast story that’s as much about April’s strength as it is about her father’s villainy.
8. Man in the Window
Why it’s great or who it’s for: You’ve probably heard the story of the Golden State Killer before, but never like this.
What it’s about: While the Golden State Killer case is an almost overdone staple of true crime at this point, the investigative reporting of Los Angeles Times journalist Paige St. John breaths new life into the notorious California murderer. She does this by focusing on the victims’ points of view, putting listeners in their terrifying shoes rather than mythologizing the monstrous man who cut their lives short. This one’s especially a must-listen for those familiar with Los Angeles, as the expert storytelling brings a sense of immediacy to these brutal killings that happened in our own backyards.
9. To Live and Die in LA
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Lovers of of-the-moment investigations into recent missing person cold cases.
What it’s about: Another particularly poignant Los Angeles true crime story, Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss seeks to find answers for the 2018 murder of an aspiring actress in Hollywood. From the same folks who brought you Up & Vanished, it can sometimes eke into the territory of feeling exploitative of the grieving families for the sake of drama when the investigation surfaces new revelations. But all-in-all it’s a gripping listen, and Strauss does a better job than most of being respectful toward the missing girl and her distraught family.
10. Over My Dead Body: Tally
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Who can resist what starts out as a love story and ends in a homicide?
What it’s about: Another true crime hit from Wondery, the seven-part story begins with wealthy attorneys Dan and Wendi getting their picture-perfect wedding into the New York Times. We all know picturesque marriages are almost always hiding something, but what unravels from the pair’s eventual divorce is beyond compare. Host and reporter Matthew Shaer dives into the plot twists and complicated fallout of two families left in shambles, and the haunting question of what you’d do for love. (Note: Originally, this was only Season 1 of Over My Dead Body, but has since been turned into a stand-alone with other seasons — like Joe Exotic: Tiger King — broken out into their own separate feeds.)
11. Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders
Why it’s great or who it’s for: A thoroughly reported investigation into an infamous double murder, made eerier by social media footage of the perpetrator captured by one of the victims.
What it’s about: A few years ago, the murder of two teenage friends Abby and Libby in Delphi, Indiana gained notoriety because of a Snapchat video one of them took. By all appearances, it seems to be of their killer, right before he murdered them. The podcast’s namesake comes from the infamous audio clip the police released, with the man instructing the girls to go “down the hill.” Despite all this bone-chilling evidence, though, the murderer remains at large. CNN reporters Barbara MacDonald and Drew Iden go deep on the case, with extended interviews from those closest to the open case — from family members to friends and investigators. Even if you’ve heard it covered before, their on-the-ground reporting in Delphi provides a real sense of the small town that never recovered from the tragedy, making the widespread belief that the murder is a local even more unsettling.
12. Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein
Why it’s great or who it’s for The factual deep-dive into Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes that you needed to make some sense of it all.
What it’s about: OK so an investigation from ABC News’ Mark Remillard will never satisfy the (understandably) widespread belief that turned “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” into a rallying cry. But Truth and Lies does a thorough, fact-based, gripping breakdown of how Jeffrey Epstein became an influential financier, how he built his sickening empire of sex-trafficked underage girls, the criminally suspicious sweetheart deal he was given by prosecutors during his first trial, then finally how he was put behind bars. With accounts from survivors, lawyers, authorities, and workers in Epstein’s orbit, it brings both clarity and the personal trauma he left in his wake into sharp relief.
13. The Officer’s Wife
Why it’s great or who it’s for: What at first seems like a typical (if still horrifying) true crime tale of a marriage gone awry surprises with a jaw-dropping twist.
What it’s about: Another recent contribution from Vault Studios, this is all about the case of Jessica Boynton. Wife to a police officer named Matthew in Georgia, she was found with a gunshot wound to the head from his service weapon, which he claims was self-inflicted. But both physical evidence and a very undeniable witness suggest otherwise. We won’t spoil anything here, but rest assured that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill case of a husband accused of murdering his wife.
14. Joe Exotic: Tiger King
Why it’s great or who it’s for: For all you cool cats and kittens who cannot get enough of the bizarre world revealed by Netflix’s Tiger King documentary.
What it’s about: Releasing before Netflix turned Joe Exotic into a household name, the podcast from reporter Justin Long goes more in-depth than the documentary dared to. We’ve already compiled a list of the biggest reveals from the podcast that the show omitted, but if you’re still hankering for details and can’t get those lingering questions out of your head, this is the listen for you.
15. Motive for Murder
Why it’s great or who it’s for: Another case of murder from Dateline that promises twists and turns that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
What it’s about: While only two episodes have been released at the time of this article’s publication, we’re already hooked on Dateline‘s latest contribution to the true crime podcast landscape. This time, host Josh Mankiewicz digs into two different murders in Houston. He uncovers not only the curious details but also hints at a confounding reason behind them that we can’t wait to find out more about.