Best True Crime and Money-Related Podcast Episodes
May 21, 2018 11:09 AM   Subscribe

My husband and are about to spend 16 hours in the car over two days. We are looking for engaging podcast episodes about true crime or money.

I know there are GREAT podcasts out there, but I'm not looking for your favorite podcast, I'm looking for your favorite specific standalone episodes. I've heard great things about My Favorite Murder -- what episodes are best? And, bonus, we both love people talking about money and bad money decisions, so we'd love to hear podcast episode recommendations on that topic as well.
posted by kate blank to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Last Podcast on the Left is decent. The somewhat recent Jonestown episodes were really great.
posted by CoinOp at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2018

One of my favorite episodes of Criminal covers both crime AND money: a bank robber who gets away with it and then turns himself in. I also like this episode about K-9 officers and this one about venus flytrap poaching.
posted by assenav at 11:17 AM on May 21, 2018

Criminal, absolutely.
posted by ancient star at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2018

In the Dark podcast is a true crime but with discrete seasons/stories. Season 1 is 9 episodes and about the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in 1989. My wife and I binged it on a similarly long car ride last year. They have just started a season 2 about a totally different crime/story "Curtis Flowers" who "has been tried six times for the same crime."
posted by Captain_Science at 11:35 AM on May 21, 2018

Imaginary Worlds, episode 39: Economics of Thrones and Starships
“Whether you're running the seven kingdoms of Westeros or flying to Mars — you have to figure out how to pay for everything.”
posted by D.Billy at 11:40 AM on May 21, 2018

Not a standalone episode, but a standalone season -- does that count? If yes, Crimetown.

Or how about a standalone story that's four episodes? If yes, Reply All's "On the Inside" which is eps. 64-67. (The eps are around 30 minutes each.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:40 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Atlanta Monster (about a series of murdered and missing African-American boys and young men in the 80s) and Slow Burn (about Watergate) are both very good true crime podcasts, but they are heavily serialized, so don't really lend themselves to your "best episodes" criterion. I guess start with Episode 1 of each and see if they grab you for a longer listen.

I've been listening to a lot of Last Podcast on the Left, and it can be very good and very funny, but also pretty offensive at times - it's humor about mostly gruesome murder, so it's easy to cross the line. I just listened to their two parter on Jon-Benet Ramsay and it was pretty interesting and insightful, but it's pretty rough, given the unpleasant subject matter.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:46 AM on May 21, 2018

Not sure if by standalone you also mean short but if an 8hr audiobook is acceptable, Catch Me If You Can is a great story.
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:48 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

My Favorite Murder is awesome. You can start anywhere, but they do cross-reference to previous podcasts in 'Corrections Corner', which is a bit like listening to a conversation you don't know anything about. But they're funny and perceptive and I've listened to them all - apart from the live shows, which aren't worth listening to, imo.
posted by essexjan at 11:57 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Criminal : Episodes 10,15, 23, 40,42,64,66,70,80. In the Dark, Missing and Murdered, and Accused are multi-episode seasons that cover a case and they are really, really good. Thinking Sideways does some unsolved murder episodes: Texarkana Moonlight Murders, Isdal Woman, The Monster with 21 Faces, Dr. Bogle and Mrs. Chandler, Lord Lucan, The Murders of Mark Morris. Reply All: Episodes 64-67. And if you need a laugh, True Crime Obsessed is basically MST3K for true crime documentaries. Hosts watch the documentaries and talk about bonkers that stuff is (you don't have to have seen the documentaries first to understand or enjoy the episodes). Stuff You Missed in History Class has a "crimes" section in their archive, too.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2018

Criminal episode 51. (Link has a description containing spoilers, I'd try to avoid reading.)
posted by jeather at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Planet Money 590: The Planet Money Gym, about the economics of the gym business, where everyone's selling a product that they want you to buy, but never use.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sword and Scale can be really hit-or-miss, but there have been a few I thought were great.

Episode 89 - Interview with thief/burgler that helped take down a pedophile
Episode 70 (the first story. for the love of God do not listen to the second story) - Bombing of Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino
Episode 49 - DeeDee and Gypsy Blancharde, previously discussed here

All of Crimetown is great, but if you want a single episode, I recommend the bonus episode Buddy Cianci ... The Musical
posted by lindseyg at 12:20 PM on May 21, 2018

Casefile is popular in the true crime community. It’s just one guy telling a story and he most often covers serial/mass killers or domestic/family murders (especially in the host’s native Australia). That’s said, the one episode that stands out in my memory was the North Hollywood Shootout (Case 18)—maybe because I’m from CA but never heard that story, I was totally enthralled. He also did a huge 5-parter on the recently-captured East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker (BEFORE the guy was caught)...could be good for a long road trip, but it’s pretty depressing and terrifying.

Seconding Last Podcast but it’s not for the faint of heart or easily offended. As someone noted above, the JonBenet ep is real rough but actually one of my favorites.

I love My Favorite Murder and have listened to every episode; it’s really hard to pick a suggestion to start with, but I will say to start in the first 25 episodes or so, skip the minisodes, and skip the live shows. I like them all but I like those less. Also you might want to skip the first 15-20 minutes to any episode because a lot of people find the preamble chatter boring, but I always listen because I appreciate the hosts’ personalities and getting to know them more.

Finally, one of my all-time favorites is Liar City. They have a bunch of Satanic Panic episodes that are super interesting, and I like the format of two chill guys, one telling the other a story, with some natural exchange but minimal chitchat. They also have one on Traci Lords’ rise in the adult film industry that I liked, and the one on Michael Jackson is fascinating too.

Enjoy and drive safe! Avoid rest stops ;)
posted by lovableiago at 12:51 PM on May 21, 2018

I also recommend Liar City, which seems to have stopped making new episodes, but there's plenty to enjoy.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:06 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I know Radiolab's editing style can grate on some, but the "Darkode" episode is really pretty fascinating. Cybercrime with bitcoin complications, and mom Inna Simone is the best.
posted by queensissy at 3:13 PM on May 21, 2018

Planet Money did a cool series a couple years ago about how a t-shirt is made, highlighting different aspects of our global economy. Other PM episodes I like
Libertarian Summer Camp
The Eddie Murphy Rule

Reply All has done some good crime episodes.
On the Inside (mentioned above)
Long Distance (2 episodes)

Criminal is fantastic. Particular episodes I like:
Melinda and Judy/Melinda and Clarence
In Plain Sight
Money Tree/The Checklist
posted by radioamy at 3:31 PM on May 21, 2018

This American Life's 'The Giant Pool of Money,' which explains the subprime mortgage crisis, is the single best money-related podcast episode that I can think of.
posted by googly at 5:44 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sword & Scale #92 covers serial killer Edmund Kemper, who is portrayed in 'mind hunters' on Netflix.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:11 PM on May 21, 2018

You Must Remember This did a season on the Manson Family, and it's my absolute favorite podcasting of all time-truly great exploration of the era and all the different angles of the case.
posted by LadyNibbler at 11:30 PM on May 21, 2018

This is sort of true crime-adjacent: the second season of First Day Back (6 episodes, about half an hour each) centers around a lady named Lucie who was recently released from prison. She had murdered her husband when she was blackout drunk. They go into the details of the crime, but mostly they look at Lucie and how she's reintegrating with her family and with society and how she and her family are coping with the enormity of what she did. It's pretty good and goes pretty quick.

Futility Closet might also be a fun one to check out. Not all of their podcast episodes are about crime, but when they are, it's always bonkers historical crime. Their most recent episode is about the Gardner art heist. Plus, they have lateral thinking puzzles!

There was a lovely Buzzfeed write up on My Favorite Murder recently. It's a good read, and they mention some of the more iconic episodes as well, so it might be a good place to pick out some MFM episodes.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:20 AM on May 22, 2018

I just want to nth Crimetown. The whole season was awesome and it covers so many different aspects of the history of crime and corruption in Providence, Rhode Island that each episode can almost feel like a stand alone.

Really great.
posted by brookeb at 8:56 AM on May 22, 2018

I have some suggestions!

True crime single-story podcasts

Phoebe's Fall:
An Australian podcast looking into the very strange death of Phoebe Handsjuk whose body was found at the bottom of a rubbish chute in an upscale apartment block. Did she climb in - either suicidal or under the influence of drugs - or was she put into the chute by another person? The podcast features interviews with Phoebe's family and friends as well as with some of those who responded to the incident.

Black Hands
Focuses on the infamous case of the 1994 Bain family murders in New Zealand. David Bain was convicted of the murders of his entire family; his defence was that his father, Robin, committed the murders and then killed himself. After gaining a high profile celebrity supporter and a lengthy appeal process, David was retried in 2009 and found not guilty. The Bain family was strange (to say the least) and the podcast is excellent.

Individual episodes

This American Life, Episode 492, Dr Gilmer and Mister Hyde
Dr Gilmer discovers, after taking a job in a country clinic, that he has replaced another Dr Gilmer - who is now in jail for killing his own father. He's surprised to learn how beloved the old Dr Gilmer was, and tries to get to the bottom of his seemingly inexplicable crime.

This American Life 352, The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
Not traditional definition of true crime but related and super interesting. In 1912 a four-year-old boy went missing in Louisiana; he was returned to his family eight months later. Or was he? His granddaughter investigated, and found the story was full of twists and heartbreak both old and new – especially when DNA makes a definitive answer possible.

Criminal, lots of good episodes linked above; one favourite is Money Tree and its sequel, The Checklist, about a woman whose identity is stolen when she's a child.

Thin Air - David Sneddon part one and part two
This podcast managed to change my mind on the case of David Sneddon, a language student who disappeared in China. His family are convinced he was abducted by North Korea to teach English language and culture. I was sceptical but the podcast makes a great case for it.

Casefile is all excellent. My favourites which, not being Australian, you might never have heard of, are:

The Family Court Murders
The Killer Couple
Peter Falconio
Tina Watson
The Lin Family
Beth Barnard
Chantelle and Leela McDougall and Tony Popic
posted by andraste at 7:56 PM on May 22, 2018

BBC: Death in Ice Valley, about the Isdal Woman previously on the blue.
posted by amf at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2018

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