What are the best in-depth investigative podcasts?
April 28, 2019 4:36 PM   Subscribe

In search of more podcasts in this format: in-depth research, story told over entire season/many episodes, professionally produced.

I'm sorry, I know there are tons of podcast recommendation questions and I apologise if this has been asked already! I did a search but couldn't seem to find this exact question.

(Also, does anyone know what the search term is for this type of podcast?)

Most of the podcasts of this format seem to be true-crime (which I do like) but open to any topic. Some that I have enjoyed include:

- Death in Ice Valley
- Bear Brook
- Slow Burn
- Caliphate
- CBC Uncover
- The Drop Out
- In the Dark
- Teacher's Pet
- Wrong Skin

Please let me know if you have any favourites in this format. Thanks so much!
posted by Pademelon to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
posted by puppet du sock at 4:40 PM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Uncertain Hour
To some degree, Embedded
posted by crazy with stars at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Headlong: Surviving Y2K
Uncover: Escaping NXIVM
Over My Dead Body
Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.
Heaven's Gate (from Glynn Washington from Snap Judgement)
Missing Richard Simmons
Someone Knows Something (from CBC)
posted by vespabelle at 4:52 PM on April 28, 2019

Dr. Death
posted by raccoon409 at 4:59 PM on April 28, 2019

The Habitat (maybe)
posted by raccoon409 at 5:01 PM on April 28, 2019

The Dream
posted by raccoon409 at 5:02 PM on April 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

Wondery does this well. They have a lot of shows: https://wondery.com/shows/. Business Wars, Legal Wars, Dirty John, and Dr Death are some of my favorites
posted by majikstreet at 5:20 PM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

On the podcast “You Must Remember This”, I completely enjoyed the series they did on the Manson Family.
posted by lyssabee at 5:42 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just binged "Who The Hell Is Hamish?" about an Australian con man, produced by an Australian journalist. Also I was blown away by "Believed" which was made by Michigan Public Radio about the Larry Nassar scandal -- hard to listen to if you have a rough time with stories of sexual abuse but really powerful reporting. "The Dream" also by Michigan Public Radio talks about the rise of multi-level marketing organizations. "The RFK Tapes," about the assassination of RFK, was similar to Slow Burn.

+1 on the recommendation for "You Must Remember This" on the Manson Family.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:00 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Aaron Mahnke, of "Lore" and "Cabinet of Curiosities" podcasts, has a podcast (currently between seasons following its first season) called Unobscured. The first season was a deep dive into the history and context of the Salem Witch Trials, which included some excellent interviews with experts on the matter, and covered the significant political, religious, and financial circumstances of the trials which affected the disposition of those charged with witchcraft. Very good stuff, and Mahnke has a good voice to, even if he has a couple recurring rhetorical flourishes that make me want to slap him once an episode or so.

> in-depth research, story told over entire season/many episodes, professionally produced.

Check, check, check.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:09 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding The Habitat from Gimlet; I think it fits. It's about a cycle of the HI-SEAS research station in Hawaii, in which volunteers are isolated in a small station to study their interactions, with an eye to discovering how to build and manage astronaut crews for a potential manned mission to Mars. The crew can communicate infrequently, with high delay, with the outside world, and can't leave their habitat without donning spacesuits and so on.

From Radiotopia, there's a feed called Showcase which runs short series. I haven't listened to it before the current series, "Spacebridge," about an effort during the late-stage cold-war to open communication between ordinary Americans and ordinary [Soviet] Russian people using satellite communication. Here's the Showcase page, and if you look at the archives, you'll probably find some other things worth a listen.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:17 PM on April 28, 2019

If you can tolerate a more amateur production, there's Longball Presents, which is mostly single-episode presentations, but commonly-enough does multi-part presentations if the material supports it, of odd bits of history. The host is a fan of true-crime, so much of it comes from that arena. The presenter (usually but not always Mitch or his wife Rose) has done the research and presents to a guest or two, and it's not terribly serious, but is sometimes a bit heavy.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:21 PM on April 28, 2019

Someone Knows Something
posted by lakeroon at 8:59 PM on April 28, 2019

Someone I know with good taste told me that the new CBC podcast "Sanctioned: The Arrest of a Telecom Giant" about the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver is really good. It apparently goes into the alleged international sanctions breaches and the aftermath of the arrest.

The newest season of Uncover about the suspected serial killer in the Toronto gay village is getting excellent reviews also.
posted by lookoutbelow at 9:04 PM on April 28, 2019

Seconding Showcase (I really liked their series on the Great God Depression) and Unobscured, both are very good. Also not mentioned yet - all crime-related, sorry - are:
Trace about the unsolved murder of a Melbourne bookstore owner.
Unravel another Australian series which has three seasons, with each season devoted to a different case.
Broken Harts, an in-depth investigation of the murder/suicide of the Hart family (two mums and 6 kids).
Conviction about a PI and his investigations into miscarriages of justice.
Happy Face about a woman who learned her father is a serial killer and the effects that's had on her.

On my to-listen list (which is ever-growing!) - mostly crime-related:
The Habitat
Phoebe's Fall
The District (also their previous one Gone Fishing is meant to be good)
Atlanta Monster

As far as search terms go, what you want is investigative journalism. Unfortunately that will bring up things which are not serialised over many episodes as well as the ones that are, but that is the overall genre you're after. Looking for that kind of thing netted me references not only to many of the ones mentioned here, but also The City (politics, corruption etc in 90s Chicago; haven't listened to it yet myself) and the New Yorker does a good round-up of 2018 highlights (including some you have listened to).

Thanks so much for this question, I now have about 10 other series to add to my list...aarrrgh! Seriously, a good problem to have.
posted by Athanassiel at 1:00 AM on April 29, 2019

+1 for The Dream, only 1 season at the moment but another one on the way.
+1 for Who the Hell is Hamish? Could not stop listening to this one
posted by latch24 at 2:03 AM on April 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

This Sounds Serious is pretty fantastic.
posted by newpotato at 3:24 AM on April 29, 2019

American Scandal and Cold fit the bill.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:48 AM on April 29, 2019

Last Seen.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:33 AM on April 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Assassination about the BBC about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Intrigue from the BBC. The first season, Murder at The Lucky Holiday Hotel is a bananas story about a rising political star in China. The second season, Ratline, is about a Jewish journalist whose family died in the Holocaust getting access to the letters of the Nazi who was in charge of Poland when his family died.

Mogul from Gimlet, about a hip hop producer who committed suicide.

Missing and Murdered, two seasons about missing and Murdered indigenous women. The first season is about a murder and the second season is about a girl who was adopted during the sixties scoop.

Bugle and the Passing Bell, about Canadians during WWII using recordings from the actual soldiers recorded 50 years ago.
posted by carolr at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2019

"John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life."
From This American Life and Serial.
posted by amf at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

BBC Radio Four's Who Killed Elsie Frost? – an account of the murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1965. Ten episodes, two-and-a-half hours. Very moving, and upsetting even 50 years on.
posted by MinPin at 2:25 PM on April 29, 2019

Scene on Radio recently did a season called "Seeing White" that was a great deep dive on the origins, history, and ongoing effects of the concepts of race and whiteness, mainly in the U.S. They talk to a lot of experts throughout the series who often themselves have done research and published work on the subject, which are collected in the bibliography for the show.

Seeing White
Seeing White bibliography
posted by coolname at 11:02 AM on April 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, thank you everyone for the recommendations! So happy to have added so many to my list. I started 'Who the hell is Hamish?' today and am already hooked! (Forgot to mention I had already listened to Dirty John and really liked it!)
posted by Pademelon at 5:14 PM on April 30, 2019

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