Four True Crime Podcasts You Need to Listen to in 2019

Serial, the true crime podcast that first followed the case of Adnan Syed, turned the true crime genre on its head. Not only was the series wildly popular, forcing audiences to debate the merits of the state’s case and Syed’s guilt, but it completely changed the genre. Today there are hundreds of podcasters dedicated to bringing light to the world’s most notorious and sometimes long-forgotten crimes. From cold cases to prosecutorial misconduct, true crime podcasts run the gamut. So, which shows should you be listening to this year?

Happy Face (2018)

Happy Face is a podcast that takes on the notorious case of Keith Hunter Jesperson. Through the early 1990s, Jesperson murdered eight women, often traversing the United States, and crossing state lines to go undetected. Jesperson, known as the smiley face killer, also took investigators on a wild ride with letters and taunts. While Jesperson’s crimes were horrendous, what makes this podcast genuinely unique is the perspective from which it is told.

Jesperson’s daughter, Melissa Moore was just a teenager when she found out her father was leading a double life. The podcast not only explores Jesperson’s crimes but the impact they had on his victims and his family, including his children. Moore approaches the story from a place of intimate knowledge, but she never lets that dissuade her from sharing the often-gruesome details of her father’s unspeakable crimes. The close connection to the murderer makes this podcast a must-listen.

Happy Face was released in 12 parts between September and December 2018. All 12 episodes are currently available on podcasting apps.

Over My Dead Body (2019)

Matthew Shaer, by way of Wondery, attempts to tell the story of Daniel Markel and Wendi Adelson. The show, which premiered on Valentine’s Day 2019, follows the murder of Daniel Markel, a lawyer, and law professor. The story has twists and turns and a myriad of surprising elements that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats.

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Markel, a lawyer, fell in love with Wendi, also a lawyer. The pair married in a lavish ceremony and began their life together. The cracks, however, did not take long to surface after Markel accepted a tenured teaching position in Tallahassee. Adelson, hating life in Tallahassee, left Daniel and divorce proceedings were initiated. That should be the end of the story, but overbearing families, child custody battles and extra-marital affrais all come into play in this sordid tale.

Shaer does an excellent job of crafting suspense in a story that has more angles than you could ever imagine. The store is told over six parts, with Shaer narrating.Each episode includes interviews and statements from family and friends.

In The Dark (2016-present)

In The Dark, the recipient of a Peabody Award is,an investigative podcast that turns the magnifying glass inward. While each season focuses on an unsolved crime, the host, Madeleine Baran uses her investigative journalism background to take a look at the investigation of each crime. Most recently Baran is tackling the case of Curtis Flowers. Flowers has been tried six times over 21 years for the same crime.

Flowers has appealed his case repeatedly, but the prosecution continues to try the case. He has appealed, won and been retried six times for a haunting quadruple homicide. Baran attempts to figure out exactly how this happened, and whether or not the investigation actually found the guilty party, or if Flowers was railroaded.

Generation Why (2012-present)

One of the earliest true crime podcasts, Generation Why hosts, Justin and Aaron offer listeners a peek inside some of the most horrendous crimes and conspiracies in history. The format of Generation Why makes it easy for new listeners to pick up quickly, as each episode follows a different case.

Justin and Aaron spend the first half of the show combing through the clues and court documents associated with the case of the week. The second hralf of the show is dedicated to opinions and theories in a talk radio format.

Generation Why, first released in 2012, helped to pioneer the true crime genre. While they never delve into the nitty-gritty of a case due to time constraints, they offer listeners enough information to go out and craft their own theories and opinions. The team has everything from high profile cases such as the disappearance of Maura Murray to crimes that have long since been forgotten.