You no longer have to wait for new episodes of Dateline or 48 Hours to get chilled to the bone! Now, murder stories are just a click away, and we’ve rounded up some of the best true crime podcasts so that you can get to listening ASAP. You’ve no doubt heard of our first choice, but the rest of these entries are just as intriguing… and, arguably, just as blood-curdling. The best part? You can stream all of these podcasts — both new and old — for free in 2018. And once you've made it through the list, don't worry. If you're itching to talk to like-minded, true crime-loving people, there's even a True Crime Podcasts reddit to continue the conversation.
We couldn’t not mention this wildly popular podcast from the producers of This American Life. Each Serial season digs into a different mystery: Season 1 tackled the 1999 murder of high schooler Hae Min Lee and Season 2 explored the case of Army deserter and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl.
The Serial producers also released this seven-episode podcast after a man named John B. McLemore asked them to look into a murder in his Alabama hometown. But in the midst of the S-Town investigation, someone else ended up dead…
My Favorite Murder
True crime superfans Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark trade their favorite stories of cold-blooded crime in the hit comedy podcast, but they also solicit murder tales from friends and fans. My Favorite Murder has the cheeky tagline, "Stay sexy. Don't get murdered." And that pretty much sets the tone for the series.
Where to Listen: iTunes (Free)
This podcast also features two friends talking about crime, but these guys take a more serious approach to the murders, mysteries, and conspiracies they discuss. Plus, there are nearly 180 episodes of Generation Why currently available for free on iTunes. (If you donate to their Patreon, you will receive premium episodes.) Season 5 of the podcast starts Feb. 10, 2018.
From the producer of Catfish and The Jinx comes Crimetown. Each episode exposes the crime-ridden underbelly of a different American city. The first episode dives into Providence, RI, where onetime mayor Buddy Cianci resigned twice because of felony convictions. It's a tale involving mob bosses, heists, and plenty of twists and turns.
Sword and Scale
“Be prepared to never sleep again” boasts the website for Sword and Scale, which delves into the criminal underworld and plunders the depths of human depravity in an immersive audio experience. From grisly murders and manslaughter to torture and mobsters, it may be hard to believe some of these stories are true, but the creators of the podcast say they only cover real cases.
The latest host of Investigation Discovery’s Detective podcast is Detective Rod Demery. After his mother became a murder victim and his brother a convicted murderer, Rod went into criminal justice and solved each of the 60-plus cases on which he was the lead detective. Each episode lasts an hour and dives into a different case.
Where to Listen: iTunes (Free)
Up and Vanished
The disappearance of beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead is a decade-old mystery that has become Georgia’s largest-ever case file, but Up and Vanished host Payne Lindsay is determined to get to the truth. Although the creators initially planned to produce only six episodes, the first season clocked out at over 24 episodes. In February 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested two suspects in association with Tara's murder. A brand new season of Up and Vanished will premiere in 2018 and feature a different true crime story.
When you’ve had enough doom and gloom, check out Actual Innocence, which tells the stories of people who were exonerated after serving time for crimes they didn’t commit. Each episode focuses on one individual's story.
If you've already listened to everything on this list, we have a brand new true crime podcast for you. West Cork follows the brutal 1996 killing of a French filmmaker named Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was found beaten to death in her nightgown. Although the series hasn't aired in full yet, it's been a long time in the making. Creators Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey spent three years conducting research and interviewing people about this horrific unsolved murder.
Where to Listen: Audible (Free through May 9, 2018)