True Crime is something I’ve been into since childhood, which I know is weird… but I promise I’m not a psychopath. I started watching Unsolved Mysteries around 8 or 9 years old and I believe that jump started my interests in mysteries and true crime. Around the same time, I became obsessed with Nancy Drew books, the crem de la crem of junior fiction mystery and crime solving. (Sidebar- I blogged many times about my love for Nancy Drew and even wrote a few book reviews. You should check them out because they’re awesome.) As I got older, I read several true crime novels and started getting into true crime documentaries.
Being interested in True Crime is becoming more and more socially acceptable, which in turn allows for more readily available content. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite True Crime documentaries and podcasts!
1. Mommy Dead and Dearest (HBO) – Whoa. Guys. This documentary is bananas. Munchausen by proxy, fraud, secret romance, and murder. GET ON THIS. (After you watch the doc, go listen to Sword and Scale podcast episode 49)
2. Amanda Knox (Netflix Original) – In 2007 Amanda Knox was an American student living in Italy. She came home from a night out to find her roommate’s door locked and blood in the bathroom. Amanda was very publically put on trial and convicted for the murder of her roommate. After several more trials, she’s now free and living in the United States, but many still believe she’s guilty. This documentary is awesome and has tons of great interviews with Amanda and the Italian police and prosecutors.
3. The People vs. O.J. Simpson (FX, now available on Netflix) – This miniseries was an interesting look into a case we all know about. When the trial was taking place I was old enough to know what was going on, but too young to fully understand the implications of the murders and trial. I appreciate how this documentary humanizes the attorneys involved in this trial.
4. Making a Murderer (Netflix Original) – Everyone has been talking about Making a Murder (especially lately due to some updates in the case) and with good reason. This series implies that Steven Avery, once wrongfully accused and imprisoned for a rape he did not commit, may be currently serving time for a murder he didn’t commit. While I’m not sure if he’s innocent, there’s DEFINITELY lots of small-town police corruption.
5. Who Took Johnny (Youtube) – This doc is super nuts due to the outrageousness of this case. Johnny Gosch was abducted in the 80’s while on his paper route. His mother, and many others, believe he was taken by a sex ring being covered up by prominent politicians.
6. The Keepers (Netflix Original) – I JUST finished this one. The Keepers is a docu series about the abduction and murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a young nun and teacher in Boston, as well as the abuse suffered by numerous teen girls by a priest at the same school. I can’t stop talking about this series! It’s SO interesting and frustrating and unbelievable.
1. Criminal – Criminal is uploaded bi-weekly and it’s the most interesting of all the podcasts I’m going to mention today. Criminal is hosted by journalist Phoebe Judge who takes a different look at crime. She’s podcasted about forensic divers, faking your death, identity theft, body farms, etc. Real interesting stuff!
2. Up and Vanished – Up and Vanished, hosted by Payne Lindsey, is an in-depth look into the disappearance of Tara Grimsted, a young teacher and beauty queen from Ocilla, Ga. While the disappearance took place a decade ago, this case has had real-time developments happening all year!
3. In The Dark – In the Dark is the first true crime podcast (other than Serial) that I really got into. Season 1 of this show focused on the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota. This case went unsolved up until VERY recently, most likely due to law enforcement’s mishandling of the case. Season 2 is currently in production and I’m sure it’ll be just as compelling.
4. My Favorite Murder – My Favorite Murder is a weekly podcast hosted by comedians and writers, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Killgaref. Each episode they discuss 2 different murders (or “I survived” stories). This podcast is slightly more lighthearted than the rest I’m listing today. These girls are both really funny!
5. True Crime Garage – True Crime Garage is probably the most well-researched of all the podcasts listed. Nic and the Captain discuss a different death/disappearance/crime every week… and they drink beer in a garage.