It’s safe to say that investigative journalism will never be the same since true crime podcasts have taken over the medium, converting even podcast sceptics to hard-core subscribers. 2018 looks to build on the success of the last year, where shows like Dirty John and S-Town made a significant dent as far as listener numbers and critical reception go. Here are four shows that are set to begin the frenzy all over again. Happy listening!
The first true crime hit of 2018 explores the dark years between 1971 and 1981, when the American city of Atlanta was shaken by the disappearance and murder of more than 25 African American children and young adults. The case was seemingly solved in 1982 when Wayne Williams, a black man, was arrested based on the murders of two adult men. The show will focus on the class and race struggles that resulted in that arrest, issues that are still quite pertinent to our present day life. The ten-part series (three episodes out now, with new ones dropping every Friday) comes from the expert minds behind hit podcast Up and Vanished — Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright — and is produced by HowStuffWorks; so you can expect a high-quality show backed by years of editorial and production experience.
More than a true crime story, Black Hands is a devastating exploration of the troubled Bain family that was for long teetering on the edge of an implosion, five members of which were found shot dead on a cold morning way back in 1994. One of the most violent stories to come out of New Zealand at the time, there were only two suspects for the murder: one lay dead among his family, the other is the sole surviving member of that fateful morning. The show follows the case from 1994 to 2009, where court proceedings took a shocking turn, the results of which are still heatedly debated today. Listen to this one when you have ample time on your hands, it’s an addictive listen.
Audible’s upcoming true-crime podcast takes listeners on a gruesome journey into a remote, idyllic Irish town in 1996, in the aftermath of the infamous murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a 39-year-old French film producer. Du Plantier was found dead at her vacation home near the village of Schull in West Cork, laid out in front of her driveway in the most gruesome fashion imaginable. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Ford, guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard. The episodes drop on Audible on February 7.
In the Dark
One of the best true crime podcasts of 2016 was In the Dark, which investigated the 1989 cold case of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year old boy who was kidnapped from his hometown of St Joseph, Minnesota. A landmark case, Wetterling’s story was unsolved for more than two decades, but has also made deep, lasting changes, both cultural and legal, including the first US federal law that led to the sex-registry. Season two will move away from the Wetterling case but little else is known. This is what AMP Reports have to say so far about the episodes to be dropped in spring this year: “Our next season will expose long-hidden actions by powerful people that have caused great harm. The story we’re reporting is bigger than we thought when we started, and it’s pushed us in a way that no other story has.”