true crime podcasts

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: Is Ron Burgundy a Psychopath?

Photo: Vulture

The true-crime podcast universe is ever expanding. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists will pick their favorites. To read the last edition, click here.

Who the Hell Is Hamish?: “The Day Max Died”

The Australian newspaper made headlines of its own in 2018 with the engrossing true-crime podcast Teacher’s Pet. Now the team is tackling a brand-new case — not of murder but of deception. The con man is Hamish McLaren, and to tell you anything more about the first episode would ruin the carefully constructed twist, but suffice it to stay it starts with a love story and ends with an arrest. To be fair, it’s hard to completely size up this new podcast from just the first installment — it’s a meager 19 minutes long — but for now, it has my confidence. —Amy Wilkinson

All Crime No Cattle: “The Texas Eyeball Killer, Part 2”

I was waiting on tenterhooks for the second part of this series on the horrendous crimes committed in my hometown of Dallas by someone dubbed the Eyeball Killer, and the good/bad news is that co-host Erin did so much freaking research that they’re releasing a third episode very soon. The first episode goes into gruesome detail about the crimes and their victims, which is something I appreciate about ACNC — they’re always careful not to glorify the crimes or the murderer(s) and to humanize their victims, who are so often the targets of serial killers because it’s assumed no one will notice or care if they go missing. But the crimes, y’all. WHEW. I had to take a break, because the Eyeball Killer’s methods are no joke. The second episode goes into detail about Charles Albright, the man convicted in one of the murders he’s suspected of, and it’s thankfully a lot less gory, but it is pretty freaking weird. Let’s just say the dude should maybe not have been taught how to taxidermy animals as a child. This is also a really interesting look at this era in Dallas and the neighborhood of Oak Cliff, especially as the latter has become wildly gentrified over the past few years. —Jenni Miller

The Ron Burgundy Podcast: “True Crime”

The man. The myth. The legend. He’s back, and he’s got a podcast — and in his first episode, he takes on the hottest podcast topic around: true crime. Without giving away too much, Burgundy hits the ground running by giving details into the identity of the Zodiac Killer. But the episode really takes a turn when Dr. Scott Musgrove, who is a real-life forensic psychologist with his own real-life podcast, joins the show. While we don’t get too deep into too many true-crime cases, Burgundy asks the deep questions we’ve all had: Do you really have to go to school to be a forensic psychologist? Do podiatrists often help to solve crimes? “If you’re grouchy and you’ve had a bad day and you express that to some strangers, does that make you a psychopath?” There’s also a round of “F, marry, kill” featuring some infamous (and infamously attractive) serial killers. Is this the best new true-crime podcast? No. Is this the funniest true-crime episode you’ll listen to this week? Yes. —Hillary Nelson

Over My Dead Body: “The Husband” and “The Former Wife”

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Wondery (makers of Dirty John and Dr. Death) drop this new podcast, a story of love gone horribly wrong. Of course, it starts out like so many others: Dan Markel and Wendi Adelson seemed like the perfect match. Both lawyers, they moved down to Tallahassee, Florida, for Dan’s new job and quickly became one of the capital city’s power couples. But then came the divorce papers and the dead body in the driveway … If you’re an avid Dateline watcher, you may recognize this case from a 2018 episode. But an hour with Dennis Murphy clearly just skimmed the surface of this tragic tale. —Amy Wilkinson

Bear Brook: “Update #2: Eric Rasmussen”

Bear Brook is one of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to, so I was beyond excited that they posted a new episode. Like Happy Face and Kerri Rawson’s memoir about her dad, the BTK killer, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, this update focuses on the oft-overlooked victims of a killer — their families. Eric Rasmussen is Terry Rasmussen’s son, and although he only learned about his father’s crimes in 2017, he’s carried the trauma of his father’s actions with him his whole life. Terry abused him, and his mother abused him for reminding her of his father; on top of all that, Eric has post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the Marines and the Army. Eric is incredibly forthcoming about all of this, from his fears that he may be like his father to the effects of trauma on his everyday life. After learning the truth about Terry, Eric quit his job and went to work with the VA to help other veterans struggling with PTSD. He’s also spent quite a bit of time scouring Terry’s military history to see if that holds any clues. Did something happen to Terry overseas that finally pushed him over the edge into the “darkness” the Rasmussen family alludes to? What’s stopping Eric and others like him from becoming the same sort of monster? Eric and other family-member survivors may never find truly satisfactory answers, but I hope that talking openly about their experiences can help them find some measure of peace. I’ll be staying subscribed to Bear Brook with the hopes we’ll get more updates from Jason Moon and the rest of the team. —Jenni Miller

Crime Beat: “Who Are These Guys?”

A bank-heist genius assembles a crew to steal $30 million dollars of Richard Nixon’s ill-gotten money from a safety deposit box lodged in a bank vault in an unincorporated California community. This is the crisply told story in Southern California News Group’s Crime Beat season one: Stealing Nixon’s Millions. Based on host Keith Sharon’s ten-part Orange County Register series, the season promises to tell the story of seven guys from Youngstown, Ohio, who in 1972 pulled off the greatest bank burglary (not robbery, any idiot can pull off a robbery) in the history of the United Stastes. In episode two, “Who Are These Guys?”, we’re given a portrait of Amil Dinsio, the aforementioned genius, who assembles his team of burglars. Then, in a made-for-the-movies scene, each are handed a plane ticket to California. From the time they land, things don’t go well. Crime Beat has a quick tempo, as befits the subject, but is never too fast for the listener. Sharon nails a Scorcese-like mix of amusement and seriousness. It’s smart and very entertaining. —Toby Ball

Root of Evil: “Saved by the Ghetto”

In this new eight-episode podcast from Cadence 13 and TNT — yes, the TV network! — Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile delve into their mother Fauna’s tape-recorded diaries to get to the bottom of their family history. But it’s no ordinary family history: Rasha and Yvette are the great granddaughters of George Hodel, one of the main suspects in the infamous Black Dahlia murder. Predictably, the Hodel family’s story is one of tragedy, abuse, and devastating secrets. This first episode kicks off with the two women retrieving their mom’s audiotape diaries, in which she describes her confusing and abusive childhood, where she was raised as biracial by her alcoholic, violent adoptive mother, and Fauna’s ensuing search for her birth mother, Tamar. Somehow, once Tamar enters the picture, it gets even stranger. In any case, the first episode alone is pretty bananas, so I will definitely be tuning in every week. Root of Evil is associated with TNT’s new show, I Am the Night, from Patty Jenkins, which is inspired by Fauna’s memoir, One Day She’ll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel. That’s a whole lotta Hodel. —Jenni Miller

This week’s contributors: Toby Ball, Jenni Miller, Hillary Nelson, Amy Wilkinson

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: Ron Burgundy Talks Crime