Friday, May 7, 2021

True Crime And Beyond: Podcasts

Image courtesy of Staff Photographer, Anna

Welcome to the second part of our true crime series! You can catch up with the series here.

Today we would like to introduce some of our favorite podcasts dealing with true crime, but we wanted to make sure you get some fresh names and insights. So while we’re all fans of the classics like Serial, My Favorite Murder and others of that kind, we wanted to highlight some lesser-known and more specific podcasts in this piece. So if you’re not new to the subject, you will hopefully appreciate this little list we put together. However, if you are new to the true crime genre, these names are a great place to start!

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Image courtesy of ‘Crime Junkie’

Conny: Crime Junkie

Platform: Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher

Ongoing, new episodes every Monday

Two women talking about true crime might not be a new format, but it is still a format that I listen to with great passion. Crime Junkie manages to condense complex cases in about 40 minutes — sometimes they are split up into two episodes — but they are always informative and easy to follow. Crime Junkie is the kind of podcast I go to when I want to catch up on a case or get a brief overlook, because like stated before, it is limited and not as detailed as podcasts covering one single case in a couple of episodes. It is hosted by Ashley Flowers and Britt (no last name). Ashley is involved in an organization called Crime Stoppers, which is why the show — next to all information and theories about certain true crime cases — also has advice, resources and shows tell-tale signs of things like domestic abuse, toxic relationships or what to do in case a loved one goes missing. While this type of information makes me a bit uneasy sometimes, it’s also helpful and probably the reason some people even listen to true crime podcasts in the first place, to avoid getting into dangerous situations.

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Just recently, the podcast covered the case of serial killer Robert William Pickton and the case of the missing women of Vancouver’s East Side. It was one of the most well-condensed and summarized versions of this case that I’ve encountered to date. What I enjoy about Crime Junkie is the fact that there’s not much banter or discussion whilst the hosts are laying down the facts, but they usually hold this until after all the information is conveyed, making it more fun to come up with your own theories and ideas.

I’m going to be honest and say this podcast isn’t for everyone. There are certainly some parts of it that I don’t enjoy, but all in all the positive outweighs the negative. I appreciate specifically that these two women connect over their shared interests and are evidently connected with a long friendship, making the atmosphere and mood enjoyable. Furthermore, they have the “comic relief” part some true crime podcasts are lacking perfectly covered with their “Pruppet Of The Month” segment, where they take a couple of minutes talking about all the good boys and girls (a.k.a. dogs) in the world.

Image courtesy of ‘Cults’

Emelie: Cults

Platform: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher

Ongoing, new episodes every Tuesday

If you’re like me and find it fascinating how a person could ever be lured into joining a cult, this is definitely a podcast for you! Cults is part of the Parcast Network and is hosted by Vanessa Richardson and Greg Polcyn. Each cult they look into is usually split into two episodes; part one is generally about the figurehead or figureheads in the cases where a cult was lead by multiple people, and part two describes the cult itself.

In my opinion, part of what makes this podcast so good is how they break down all the known elements. Hosts Vanessa and Greg talk a lot about the psychology behind the leaders and their followers, what tactics were used in the rise to power, and how they managed to get people to stay in the cult despite obviously horrendous conditions in a lot of the cases. A bit of a warning though — this podcast is probably not for the faint of heart. The descriptions of what went on in some of the cults have had me gasping and probably making a fool of myself in public. I appreciate that they do keep that information in there since I feel like there might be a feeling of glossing over a story or purposefully keeping facts out if they didn’t.

With 110 episodes currently available, and new episodes dropping every Tuesday, the show has covered a lot of different cults, from Heaven’s Gate to Raëlism. I am not up to date myself, and I am greatly enjoying getting to know more about cults I already knew about, as well as learning about cults I had never heard about before.

Image courtesy of ‘Dr. Death’

Amanda: Dr. Death

Platform: Every major listening platform.

Limited (six main parts with an extra four updates and one Q&A)

The Dr. Death podcast talks about the horrific outcomes of surgeries performed by Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas area neurosurgeon. While we only hear about the specifics of a few cases, it is made clear that a total of 33 patients (yes, you read that correctly!) were either killed or significantly injured after undergoing surgery performed by Duntsch in only two years. Throughout the episodes, we hear about the near-complete failure of the medical system to protect these patients, especially one hospital in particular. We are walked through the introduction of Duntsch, some of his time at the University of Tennessee, parts of his personal life, and his ultimate downfall — all of which are in great, accurate detail.

Those details are what made this podcast so incredible for me. We got to hear about exactly what went down in these surgeries that we otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. Our host, Laura Beil, talks with multiple surgeons, including Dr. Henderson, a neurosurgeon that was called in to attempt to repair some of the damage done to one of the patients; we hear from some of the victims themselves, as well as audio from the initial interview with police and phone calls between Duntsch and his father.

At times the details of this podcast will make your blood boil and at others, it will absolutely break your heart. It will make you question the safety precautions put in place to protect patients, and I think that’s partially the point. This podcast shines a light on an unprecedented travesty that affected the lives of countless people and makes it glaringly obvious that changes are needed.

Image courtesy of ‘Confronting O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman’

Mandi: Confronting: O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman

Platform: Every major listening platform.

Limited, 13 episodes

Confronting: O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman is an emotional journey from start to finish. If you’re like me and grew up knowing the case —  or thinking you knew the case — then this podcast is perfect for you. To hear about the case from a family member who was so deeply embroiled in it is heartbreaking.

Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman’s younger sister, tells the tale of how her family found out about Ron’s murder, going through the trial, experiencing the media, and the aftermath of the not guilty verdict. Kim has found ways to cope with her loss — she’s become a victims’ rights advocate, something she discusses in the podcast that has helped her come to terms with her grief. Kim interviews key players from the trial Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, the prosecutors who fought for justice for the families of the victims. Kim also discusses the most important part of all of this — how loved Ron was. She interviews friends of his, an ex-girlfriend, and her father, who breaks down multiple times over the podcast and makes you feel the pain right along with him.

The murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman have been woven into the culture of this country, but we have only ever seen a fraction of what went on behind the scenes. Kim Goldman gives voice to the victims of this heinous crime, all while keeping a cold demeanor towards “The Killer”, the name she’s given to O.J. This is an important podcast to listen to for anyone who is a true crime aficionado because it truly digs deep into the horror the families face afterwards. Kim Goldman is funny, honest, and heartbreaking throughout, but in every word she utters, you can feel the love she has for Ron, and she won’t rest until “The Killer” is finally caught.

Adrienne: Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad

Platform: Every major listening platform

Ongoing, new episodes every Sunday

Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad is an unique true crime podcast hosted by crime writer turned citizens investigator Billy Jensen and retired investigator Paul Holes. Every week the duo tackles an unsolved case and with each episode there’s an assignment for those that want to help solve it. Jensen has said multiple times the reason he focuses on unsolved and cold cases is that he “hates the guy that got away with it.” The passion Billy Jensen and Paul Holes have to bringing justice for the victims of their cases can’t be topped. You learn so much from an investigator’s point of view with Paul Holes’ experience as a homicide detective and Billy Jensen’s experience solving crimes himself.

Muriel: In the Dark

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited, two seasons

In the Dark is a podcast produced by APM Records and hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran. Each season focuses on a different case. The first season was about the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling in 1989, which was an unsolved case for nearly 20 years. The second season focuses on the convicted murderer Curtis Flowers who faced trials six times so far and who won each one of his appeals. In the Dark mixes narration of the case and investigation and interviews with experts, family, and temoins. What is interesting in this podcast is that it focuses on both cases on the investigation and what possibly went wrong during it.

Image courtesy of ‘Cold’

Jules: COLD

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited, 18 episodes

On December 7, 2009, Susan Powell vanished into thin air, leaving behind her husband and two young sons. Her body has never been found. But this is just the beginning of one of the twistiest, heartbreaking, and fury-inducing true crime stories ever told. Susan’s husband Josh is an immediate suspect, but for procedural reasons he is never arrested, a mistake in judgement that will have tragic consequences for everyone involved. This story is well known nationally, but Cold is a deep dive, featuring interviews with many of the featured players, including the officers who worked the case back in 2009. Host Dave Cawley had been researching this case for three years before starting the podcast, and his knowledge and reporting skills elevate this podcast to another level. It’s engrossing, and if you’ve ever wondered why police investigations unfold the way they do, it is a must-listen. It’s also binge-able, with all 18 episodes available now.

Other recommendations by Mandi

22 Hours: An American Nightmare

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited

22 Hours: An American Nightmare is a limited series podcast discussing the horrific murders of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa. It is a multi-layered story, one where the truth never seems to be within one’s grasp. The hosts, local radio investigators in the Washington, DC area discuss what it was like being in the courtroom, interview friends and eyewitnesses, and discuss the various evidence that was found at the scene. Fair warning, if you are faint of heart, there are a few episodes that are particularly difficult to listen to, so please bear that in mind when starting this podcast. The hosts are good about warning the listeners, but they do go into details that are incredibly disturbing. The investigative work on this podcast is wonderfully thought out and worth a listen.

13 Alibis

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited

You are at a party in another state when a murder takes place, and yet, when you get home to New York City, you see your face plastered on the news as being a suspect in a murder that you couldn’t have possibly committed. That’s the fate that befalls Richard Rosario in the limited podcast series 13 Alibis. Rosario was arrested and convicted of a murder in 1996, and spends 20 years insisting he’s innocent. Dateline NBC and producer Dan Slepian chronicle this case and the twists and turns of Rosario’s story. Listening to this podcast, you will question the justice system and how it could have possibly committed such an injustice to a man with 13 alibis.

Man in the Window

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited

The Golden State Killer terrorized California in the 70s and 80s — known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker back then — he would go on to rape upwards of 50 women and murder 13 people during his reign of terror. Man in the Window, a Wondery podcast partnered with L.A. Times, gives a glimpse into this particularly heinous serial rapist and killer. They interview people who knew the alleged criminal, Joseph DeAngelo, and discuss his time on the police force. There is an episode, episode eight, that does a particularly wonderful job shedding light on the men that were affected during these crimes, the missing victims that are rarely discussed when the Golden State Killer is discussed. Man in the Window is a good dive into the world of the Golden State Killer and the man behind these gruesome murders, without forgetting who the victims were.

The Clearing

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited

The idea that someone close to you could be a murderer, let alone a serial killer, is probably something you’ve never even considered, but for April Balascio it became all too real when she started piecing together her life and the clues behind her father’s vagabond lifestyle. The Clearing tells the tale of the notorious serial killer, Edward Wayne Edwards, and his daughter’s attempt to bring some clarity and comfort to victims’ families. April, along with host Josh Dean, dig deep into the various crimes Edwards claims to have committed, along with others that share his M.O. to try to solve them, and possibly bring about some sort of justice for the families.

White Lies

Platform: Every major listening platform

Limited

At the height of the Civil Rights movement, three men were attacked leaving one man dead in Selma, Alabama. White Lies is an investigative podcast by NPR, that recalls the life and death of Reverend James Reeb. This podcast discusses the history of the Civil Rights movement and the tensions happening in Selma, and why after all these years this case has yet to officially be solved. The hosts interview eyewitnesses to the crime, find evidence pointing towards the possible perpetrators, discuss the atrocity of the trial that took place after the murder, and even interviews one of the men who attacked the reverend. If you’re like me and fascinated by historical events and true crime, this podcast is for you.

Conny
Conny
Conny joined her first fandom at the tender age of three and somehow never stopped finding new things to obsess about and love. Her current love is everything Marvel, especially two characters who tend to be frozen at one point or the other. From Drag Race to Harry Potter or musical theatre, as long as it makes her smile (or cry), it’s probably her thing.

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