What’s wrong with us? Just what is it that makes us cling like limpets to the dread and drama of true crime? And — it goes without saying — the more messed up, the better.
Could it be that in a year that still feels certifiably pretty rubbish and chaotic that we’re leaning into our true crime addiction even more? We concur that escapism has never been more necessary and appealing than right now.
Thankfully there are a lot of juicy podcasts to listen to this year so we can absorb all the gory, shocking and downright baffling real-life events on the go. From viral favourites towards the end of last year to podcasts following scintillating events happening in real-time and mystifying cold cases — here are all the best to sink your teeth into…
The names Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos should ring a bell, the former being the self-made female billionaire and former Silicon Valley high-flyer, the latter being her failed blood testing startup. As of this week, Holmes has been convicted on four charges of fraud, which makes the podcast (the most recent episode aired this week) featuring testimonies from former employees, investors and patients all the more compelling.
Conviction: The Disappearance of Nuseiba Hasan
Now this one is going to raise some arm hairs. Nuseiba Hasan is a 26-year-old woman who went missing back in 2006 (the last time she was seen alive). But here’s the extremely bizarre part: it took her family nine years to report her missing. The forthcoming second series of Gimlet’s Conviction podcast will explore the odd circumstances of her disappearance and why investigators suspect foul play, believing she may have been murdered.
If you weren’t one of the million-plus listeners gripped by the story of Kirat Assi last year, it’s your turn to be riveted by the twisted catfishing saga. British former radio DJ Assi was duped for around a decade by a handsome cardiologist named Bobby (or was it?), her life systematically ruined as she became the victim of a complex web of lies involving 60 invented characters. It’s seriously warped and there are twists at every turn.
This addictive, award-winning podcast sits at the intersection of music and true crime, namely deadly deeds involving musicians. Including murder, drugs and rock 'n' roll, so far it’s explored the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis’ dead fifth wife, a satanic Norwegian rock band and more. Next up, the podcast will be kicking off its ninth season with an episode all about Taylor Swift, detailing her history of stalkers — including how she uses "facial recognition software at her shows to recognise the creeps that were stalking her and keep them out".
When Anne Champion, a prominent Manhattan attorney, receives a phone call out of the blue, it compels her to return to her Iowa childhood home to piece together the events surrounding the death of her friend Laura Van Wyhe, who had died in truly horrific circumstances 25 years prior. The podcast explores how, in a case that spanned three states, there have been no arrests in over two decades, and how the 21-year-old new mother ended up on the side of a highway dying, 100 miles away from her home.
Last year, Jasmine Hartin, Canadian socialite and daughter-in-law of billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft, was standing on a dock in Belize with a top-ranking police officer when he was shot behind the ear with his own pistol. She claims it was a "terrible accident"; the officer’s family say the father of five was murdered. The Campside Media podcast will look into all the connections and events leading up to that point, the murmurs of drug taking since then and Hartin's eventual charge of manslaughter by negligence.
We Stay Looking
From the creative masterminds behind HBO hit series Insecure comes this unique satirical podcast using humour and comedy to highlight systemic racism and corruption within the media and the criminal justice system. Show host Rose Cranberry steers the investigations and famous voices such as New Girl’s Max Greenfield and Karrueche Tran play the figures in the cases. From missing eyewitnesses in high profile murder cases to babies disappearing from hospital nurseries — once you start, you can’t stop.