Top Five: Podcasts for People who love Serial

This was an insanely popular show a few years ago, at least in first season. Sarah Koenig and team never claimed to be a true crime podcast, instead they were more of an in depth story like This American Life. What drew people (including me) to the show was the Adnan Sayed story: all the intricacies of his case, the did-he-or-didn’t-he presentation, and the true crime element. Shows like Making a Murderer and 48 Hours are hugely popular, so it’s no wonder her second season with the military guy that went rogue and became an Al Qaeda POW didn’t go over so well. There were no interesting questions, nothing that felt like we needed to delve deeper…

But for those that still remember the fervour of season one Serial, here’s a few extra podcasts that might catch your eye.

  • Undisclosed. Basically, a team of lawyers going in and really researching the Adnan Sayed topic. There are over 40 episodes and footnotes about the crime, his case, and what went wrong. They reveal a lot of extra stuff here which was never brought up by Koenig, and sometimes changes what you thought you knew. Remember, her focus was telling an interesting story, she’s not a lawyer and she definitely ignored or dismissed parts that didn’t fit her narrative. Now they’re onto a second season and a new case…
  • The Black Tapes. It’s like a paranormal mystery version, with the subject’s missing wife element added on to the black tapes that they’re investigating. Alex Reagan, the host, tells a good story. She knows exactly how to make it interesting and keep viewers liking both her and her guests. It’s spooky; I’ve tried listening right before bed before… which wasn’t a good plan.
  • Someone Knows Something. It’s an old Canadian unsolved case of a young boy’s disappearance. Not as good as Serial, but it’s from a journalistic perspective and he’s really re-investigating everything to try and bring closure for the family and uncover something new. He’s onto a new season and a new crime, which thankfully stayed closer to the first season than Serial’s change of pace.
  • Crimetown. Gimlet Media recently put out a few new shows, and this investigation of Providence, Rhode Island hit the spot. It’s not necessarily a murder case, but it’s a true crime show about the organized crime and corruption in one small town. It’s from the creators of HBO’s The Jinx, which you’ll remember as the show where Robert Durst kind of admitted to the murder of his wife. They’re goal: investigate corruption in a different city each season.
  • Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? Another Canadian one here, this time about a young Indigenous woman murdered in BC in 1989. Missing and murdered Indigenous women are talked about quite a lot in Canada: what happened? when will an investigation really start up? all that kind of stuff, so this podcast by CBC takes one step into the story of one woman, Alberta Williams. If you want unsolved true crime stories, then you’ve got it here.