The Best True Crime Podcasts of the Year So Far

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Photo-Illustration: Vulture

the true crime podcast universe is still expanding. We’re here to make it a little smaller and a little more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the remarkable and the exceptional. Each month, our team of enthusiasts and podcast specialists select their favourites.

Was I in a cult?

Yes, in retrospect, the guests of filmmaker Tyler Measom and comedian Liz Iacuzzi’s podcast were, at one time (or sometimes more), in a cult. Now that they are no longer in the grip of a cult, they talk about their experiences in hopes of helping others avoid what they went through. Arianna, who worked as a social media marketing assistant for a ‘Millionaire’s Club’, reflects on how easily she fell into what, in retrospect, was clearly a cult, with manipulation and demands for changes in behavior and allegiance , not regardless of the emotional and physical cost. Also hear Dan’s story of growing up and leaving Armstrongism (also known as the Worldwide Church of God) and what led him to another cult afterward, Roberta’s account of his time at LuLaRoe, and more. It may seem odd to call this podcast funny, but that’s an important part of it. Measom and Iacuzzi are generous and thoughtful in their interviews and know when to step in with levity and humor, even as their subjects soberly remind us that, in fact, none of us are immune to the lure of cults. —Chanel Dubofsky

Ridiculous crime

This new podcast hosted by Zaron Burnett and Elizabeth Dutton is a chewy little treat that promises to be “Still 99% Murder Free and 100% Ridiculous”. The overall vibe of the podcast is amused, with a healthy dose of empathy where appropriate, such as for the teenage criminal at the center of its first episode, “Forget It Jake, It’s Flavortown.” Although, yeah, it’s hilarious and unbelievable that a teenager abseiled into a dealership to steal Guy Fieri’s sweet ass and almost got away with it, what got him there and what happened to him since is a serious matter. I also love the riffs and sidebars of Dutton and Burnett as they contemplate the black market of stolen House of Mouse material and equally silly aspects of the human condition. Subscribe and listen while you’re commuting to work or anytime the terror of modern life becomes too much to bear. —Jenni Miller

last seen

In its first season, last seen focused on a singular case: the 30-year-old (and still unsolved) mystery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, in which two men dressed as cops got away with 13 valuable works of art from the revered Boston institution . For the second season, the WBUR-produced podcast continues its theme of missing treasures but expands into an anthology format, with each episode covering a different lost item (or idea). True crime still looms large: The first episode, “Murph,” covers familiar heist territory – this one at the New York Museum of Natural History – while the most recent episode, “Belly Up” , tells the story of an inebriated trio who break into a remote part of a national park and leave an endangered dead fish in their wake. Corn last seenThe new take on also provides more cheesy surprises that don’t include a judge and jury – like an episode explaining Freeports (which you might know from Christopher Nolan’s film Principle) and one exploring whether there is a ninth planet (which is not Pluto). Come for the original capers, stay for the cocktail-worthy anecdotes. —Amy Wilkinson

the line of fall,“Encyclopedia of the Unidentified”

This episode of “The Fall Line” is a fascinating insight into how your Web-sleuth sausage is made. Host, researcher and writer Laurah Norton interviews the creator of Unidentified Wiki, a website dedicated to unidentified (and formerly unidentified) victims of crime in the United States – an invaluable research tool that Norton herself uses for a book project I await with bated breath. Nick Wagler taught himself how to write and edit Wiki pages in high school, but once he turned to unsolved crimes, he found that Wikipedia was too brutal a tool for his needs. . Wagler and other users of the Encyclopedia of the Unidentified compile a dizzying array of information collected locally and nationally; Truly, the breadth and depth of the work they do is invaluable and goes beyond what ordinary people consider ‘web sleuthing’. This is a terrific and honestly moving interview about the real work ordinary people are doing to find the missing and murdered. —Jenni Miller

sticky beak

On February 16, 2022, Mark Vincent was arrested in Milford, Connecticut for possession of a stolen firearm. The missing person case of Mark’s 12-year-old daughter Doreen, who disappeared from her Wallingford home in 1989, was reclassified as a homicide in 2020, but to our knowledge there has not been movement otherwise. Now, with Vincent in custody, there’s reason to hope we’ll find out what happened to Doreen. Doreen’s story is full of dark corners begging to be enlightened, and at the end of the second season of sticky beak, Jessica Fritz Aguiar takes us into another corner of the mystery of his disappearance: the story of Mark’s second wife, Sharon, who lived with him and their two young children at the Wallingford home in June 1988. It is a deep and disturbing dive into Sharon’s story. past that elucidates, in some ways, her behavior after Doreen’s disappearance, but will also set your teeth on edge – in particular, Sharon’s last words to Doreen’s mother, Donna, urging her to never leave her daughter goodbye Mark. —Chanel Dubofsky

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