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The Spring Collection: Best Narrative True Crime Podcasts
Each season we release our favorite narrative true crime podcasts. There are hundreds of different podcasts in this space. The five podcasts below are our picks for the Spring. Enjoy!
It’s easy to forget that all crimes don’t end in a gruesome murder. With the variety of true crime podcasts available to listeners that cover crimes like missing persons, serial killers, and crimes of passion; we can lose focus on some of the worst criminals out there in the real world. The white-collar criminals. The rich politicians and business people who use their power to advance themselves while ruining others. In the truest sense of the phrase, Swindled keeps it real. If you like the show “American Greed”, then you’ve just found your new favorite podcast
Check out the podcast review and our favorite episode here
Hosts Emily and Alisha present their podcast in a fantastic narrative form and do a great job of incorporating authors, psychologists, detectives, and other special guests along the way. There are a variety of two parter episodes, which include case discussions with authors, victim advocate interviews, and other types of pods. Recently, they shared a 90-minute episode that covered 3 different unsolved cases that all happened around bodies of water. Of course, that was to help kick off the summer and is one of the best true crime podcasts.
Check out the podcast review and our favorite episode here
Going West is a no non-sense podcast hosted by Daphne and Heath. Each week this duo dissects and discusses a new case in under an hour. My favorite aspect of listening to true crime podcasts is the variety of stories than you open yourself up to. You can easily break down this category to sub-genres like serial killers, missing persons, unsolved crimes, etc.
Check out the podcast review and our favorite episode here
We love independent podcasts, and They Walk Among Us is one of the best true crime podcasts available today. The awards are numerous, including mentions from the vulture and a Lovie Award. The couple recently released their first book as well. All of the cases this duo explores are based in the UK. Lovers of true crime will be instantly addicted. If you These may sound like fighting words, but They Walk Among Us is one of the best-researched pods out there. The details that Ben provides are always fascinating and add to the allure of the case being covered. They cover some of the most disturbing and graphic cases I’ve heard on any podcast and probably why its a top podcast.
Check out the podcast review and our favorite episode here
In the late ’80s, there was a popular television show called Unsolved Mysteries. And if you were a true crime fan back in the stone age then you are aware it was the holy grail. Although the show had a heavy dose of 80’s overproduction and corniness, the stories were interesting and captivating. Trace Evidence is one of the favorite podcasts of r/truecrimepodcasts.
The reason for all of my 80’s true crime television nostalgia? Trace Evidence strictly focuses on unsolved mysteries. Episodes vary from chilling murders to mysterious disappearances. Trace Evidence does a great job of keeping the listener on their toes as you likely will not know many of the cases reviewed. Check out our favorite episode and podcast review here.
Do you have know a great comedy true crime? Do you have a podcast? Drop us a note to be considered for either True Crime Tuesday or our Summer picks! Check out our entire library of true crime comedy podcasts here.
New True Crime Podcasts in May
Each month we review dozens of new podcasts from both independent and large studios. In May, we identified four podcasts we love. Check out Counter Clock, That’s Messed Up, Morbidology and Confronting Columbine.
Delia’s year-long investigation into the infamous Pelley family massacre in Lakeville, Indiana includes never-before-heard interviews from people closest to the victims and the initial police investigation. After reviewing more than 6,000 court documents, depositions, transcripts, and photographs, Delia has traveled from Northern Indiana to South Florida following leads that connect unsolved crimes in the Sunshine state to the Pelley family.
Each week, comedians and amateur detectives Liza Treyger and Kara Klenk break down episodes of Law & Order: SVU, deep dive into the true crimes they’re based on, and interview on-screen talent, ranging from big stars to joggers who find the body. These are their stories. Dun dun!
Morbidology is a weekly true crime podcast created and hosted by Emily G. Thompson, author of many true crime books. Using investigative research combined with primary audio including 911 calls, interviews and trial testimony, Morbidology takes an in-depth look at some of the world’s most heinous murders.
The events of April 20th, 1999 shaped our nation and altered the American narrative. One of America’s deadliest school shootings took place in a small town in Colorado, leaving thirteen dead and another twenty-one severely injured. And it was all broadcast over national tv for the nation to see
Do you love true crime podcasts? Check out our list curated for investigative, narrative and comedy true crime podcasts.
Let us know what you think. If you want Podfluence to feature or review a podcast, drop us a note at Chris@podfluence.co.
Behind the Noise
Whether you love it or hate it, Crime Junkie is the largest true-crime podcast in the United States. The pod was launched in December 2017 out of a garage in Indiana by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat. Each week the duo covers a new case. Love it or hate it, Crime Junkie represents any independent podcaster’s dream. Fast forward four years later, and their studio, Audio Chuck, is responsible for five of the top ten true crime podcasts.
What’s so great about them? They emulate the four key ways any podcaster should focus on growing their podcast.
Audience Engagement: In every episode, Ashley and Brit give a minor update on their lives, share personal experiences and stories about their following. By doing so, they create a community.
Consistency: A new episode drops every week. Sounds simple, but never missing a deadline is easier than it sounds.
Leverage Following: Brit and Ashley focused solely on Crime Junkie for a few years. They have since launched multiple other shows. Their following is the first to hear of the podcast and subscribe before the podcast officially launches. This is an example of Network Effect at its best.
Engaging Content: They are some of the best storytellers in the business.
What will happen next? I see two different paths for AudioChuck. The first would be to sell to a larger studio like Amazon or Spotify. I see any crime junkie fan paying a subscription fee to either of those platforms. The second would be to continue to produce content while vertically integrating. The great thing about podcasts is that you do not need a distribution channel to reach fans. Maybe we will see AudioChuck launch an ad service arm and move into other Mediums.
P.S. I also think RedHanded will follow a similar path in the year to come.
The CASE: Episode 5 Podcast Review
Five episodes down and three to go. For those who are Minifans, Kirk finally flashes some of the mannerisms you’ve come to love. For those new to Kirk, prepare for some great sarcasm and insight.
The “interrogation” primarily takes place in a hotel conference center. Kevin is scheduled to clear his name by taking a polygraph test. An independent examiner arrived to administer the test. Leading up to the test Kevin was excited, sending many messages across social media. Kirk and Steve flew down from Boston to talk with Kevin after the test. Big lead up…
Kevin ended up smoking meth the night before and decided to take heroin to calm down. Sounds normal right? This is a much different life than I live so I am not making fun of Kevin in anyway. But it’s a bit suspicious he decides to get high the night before and takes a downer before the test. Which results in Kevin falling asleep during the test, three separate times.
Although Kirk is reasonably frustrated, he tries to salvage the interview with Kevin. While they engage in casual conversation, Kevin talks about his past relationships. Kirk catches him in a lie multiple times. He does an excellent job of not calling out Kevin, but instead talks to the listener (great editing). At times I found myself swearing at Kevin in frustration for the lies and his constant self-pity party. This is one of the best interviews I have heard in any true crime podcast.
Kevin emerges as the undisputed prime suspect. You can’t believe a word he says and the evidence is mounting.
I came across an excellent character map on Reddit by user r/jentlyjackjones
If you are not already subscribed, check out the case sub-reddit to talk with other fans of the podcast. Full map is here.
The Case, Episode Four: April & Kevin
With the release of episode four of The Case, we have reached the halfway point of this series, and Kirk and Steve are in the thick of it. Although the first season of The Case is focused on the disappearance of Jennifer Fay, that’s not the only case that Kirk is exploring. What’s become apparent throughout the first half of this season is that the Jennifer Fay case is merely a starting point that is leading us down a dark path of the underbelly of our society.
Episode Four of the Case brings us back to Walhalla, South Carolina, where Kirk and Steve explore the mysterious deaths of April Norton Jones and Kevin Kyle Craig. At first sight, it seems that both deaths were drug related. But as Kirk mentions early in episode four, anyone with a brain could have looked at the coroner’s report for April to see that this was more than just a simple drug overdose.
To this point, The Case has done a tremendous job in providing the listener with the appropriate background in all the players. Kirk paints the picture of what life looks like in these drug riddled communities and how it affects the actions of the members of those communities. The majority of the episode is spent examining the lives of April and Kevin, and interviewing their family members and friends for their view on what may have led to their passing. Interestingly enough, both parties seem to lead back to one person…but we’ll leave that for Kirk and Steve to share.
Let us know what you think of The Case so far and stay tuned for our weekly reviews!
Stay Away From Matthew MaGill
Every once in a while you come across someone in your world that seems larger than life. Whether it’s someone you’ve passed on the train, or in a bar, or simply just out walking your dog. These are people that seem so unbelievable or enigmatic that you almost have to question everything that they tell you. This is exactly how the people of a small town located on the Florida-Georgia line felt when a man by the name of Matthew MaGill arrived in their town
Stay Away From Matthew MaGill is a new investigative true crime podcast brought to you from the team at Pineapple Street Media. You may be familiar with Pineapple Street Media through some of their outstanding podcasts like Missing Richard Simmons, Heaven’s Gate, The Catch and Kill Podcast, and a variety of others. Pineapple Street has mad a name for themselves as a podcasting powerhouse with twelve of their shows reaching #1 on the Apple podcast charts. With Stay Away From Matthew MaGill potentially making it thirteen podcasts reaching #1.
Now you are probably asking yourself who is this Matthew MaGill character and why should I care. We’ll get to Mathew in a moment, but to better understand this story we have to know about the person that led us to this story, host Eric Mennel. Eric is an award winning journalist and podcast producer, whose work has appeared on This American Life, NPR, and tons of other shows. Around five years ago one of Eric’s friends told him about this mysterious old man who had passed away alone and in the woods. The rumors surrounding Matthew were wild – was he an F1 driver? A male model? Or was he just hiding from something?
Eric does a fantastic job in Stay Away from Matthew MaGill of exploring every angle of this mystery by simply asking questions to those who knew Matthew. But there is a moment in the first episode of this podcast when everything changes. Eric is presented a box of Matthew MaGill’s belongings that represent the life of a man that no one knew well. The box was filled with artifacts from a man who lived an incredible life: from Broadway in the 1970’s, to a 747 hijacking, to a culture of drugs and fancy cars during the 1980’s.
Stay Away from Matthew MaGill is one of the best true crime podcasts released so far this year. Episodes range from 30-35 minutes making this a perfectly binge worthy podcast. As Eric delves deep into the life of the mysterious Matthew MaGill, he finds that his own life and Matthew’s life become intertwined. Check out Stay Away From Matthew MaGill on your favorite podcast platform or listen on the Audacy app!
Episode 3: Diana
Episode 3 of the case did not disappoint. Kirk went back to Brockton and introduced Diana Natalie. Also- I know the spelling may be off so be patient. Diana was a neighbor of Jennifer whose son was friends with Kevin. Kevin and Richie were friends growing up in Brockton. In Richie’s basement was Reena, a mentally handicapped woman Dianna chained up. All three were aware of Reena’s existence.
At this point Kevin remains the most likely suspect, however Diana is evil. Everyone Kirk interviewed with was afraid of her. Kevin, who was in his prime back when Jennifer disappeared is still terrified of Dianna. Besides having a human salve, could she also be a murderer? This does not seem far off. Kirk teases the idea of this theory. However , at the end of the episode we flip back to South Carolina. One of Kevin’s current friends just O.D. Or did he…as we come to find out, there may be witnesses who know what happened to Faith. Can’t wait for next week!
We created a character map as best as we could for everyone to help follow along. Kevin is the only person to connect both murders. However, could Jennifer have threatened Diana or Richie that she would tell the police about Reena?
Looking for the Todt Family
I remember the moment vividly. It was just after New Years’ in 2020, maybe the second week of January. I was on my daily commute which includes a Twitter scroll on public transportation so I don’t have to make eye contact with anyone first thing in the morning. That morning my feed was filled with stories about a Connecticut family that now lived in Florida who were unresponsive to their entire family. It seemed bizarre at first glance. A family with 3 small children and a dog were not responding to messages from their extended family in the Northeast, with seemingly no answers. Until a few days later, when the father, Tony Todt, was seen being taken out of their Florida home in cuffs.
Given my high level of interest in this case, I was excited and nervous as I pushed play on Looking for the Todt Family, a weekly true-crime podcast investigating the Todt family murders. Looking for the Todt Family is produced by The Day newspaper, a local newspaper based out of New London, Connecticut. This is primarily an investigative true-crime podcast that digs for answers beyond the national headlines that carried this story. It will become clear to listeners early on that some of the facts in this case just don’t add up and will constantly leave you asking “why?”
Looking for the Todt Family is a masterclass in investigative true crime podcasting, and it starts with its fantastic hosts. This is because listeners are being led through this investigation by true professionals. This podcast is hosted by Taylor Hartz and Sten Spinella who are both reporters at The Day. Taylor is a breaking news reporter and Sten covers government and politics for The Day. With their combination of experience and interest in the case, episodes are spent exploring case materials and interviewing family and friends associated with the Todt family, which allows the listener to understand all aspects of the case. As you can imagine, this is not easy information to deliver and both Taylor and Sten approach all facets of the case with the upmost respect. One of the most fascinating interviews over the course of the podcast is with Tony Todt’s father, Robert Todt, who has his own story that relates to this case in an interesting way.
In a year that has been flush with awesome new true-crime podcasts, Looking for the Todt Family easily stands out. Not only is the investigation and exploration from Taylor and Sten on point, but the narration and production value are also stand out aspects of this podcast. With episodes clocking in at around 45 minutes, this is one of the most binge-able podcasts of the new year. Looking for the Todt Family hits all aspects of a great investigative true-crime podcast and is quickly becoming one of the best podcasts of the new year.
Check out Looking for the Todt Family on Instagram and don’t forget to listen on your favorite podcasting platform.
The Case, Episode Two: Faith
After finishing the premiere episode of The Case, rumors already started swirling that it had the potential to be one of the best true crime podcasts of 2021. As I pushed play for the second episode my excitement and expectations for The Case grew. With high expectations and interest in the case, Episode Two of the Case delivered on all fronts.
As Kirk and his producer, Steve move forward on their investigation of the disappearance of Jennifer Fay, they find themselves traveling from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Kirk is led to South Carolina after he discovers there is a violent felon who lived in Jennifer Fay’s neighborhood that is connected to at least one other missing girl, Faith Roach. Faith went missing after last being seen on February 5th, 2019 in Walhalla, South Carolina.
Episode Two of the case focuses on Faith’s traumatic and troubled background. Through a variety of interviews and Facebook posts, Kirk uncovers more information than they ever bargained for. As The Case begins to rattle the foundation of the investigations of Jennifer Fay and Faith Roach, Kirk finds himself in the crosshairs of a troubling individual. Don’t miss the second episode of the best new true-crime podcast.
Make sure to listen to Episode One of The Case if you haven’t yet! Don’t forget to check out our review of Episode One.