true crime podcasts

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: From Maine to the O.C.

Photo-Illustration: Vulture

The true-crime-podcast universe is ever expanding. We’re here to make it a bit smaller and 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 noteworthy and the exceptional. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists will pick their favorites.

O.C. Swingers, “The Lifestyle” & “Sunday Funday”

Trigger warning for those sensitive to discussions of sexual assault: Proceed with caution. This ten-part podcast series covers the still unfolding case of a pair of alleged serial rapists. To his neighbors in Orange County, Dr. Grant Robicheaux seemed like a dashing fellow. He was a successful orthopedic surgeon, who’d been featured on reality TV, voted “Bachelor of the Year” by the well-to-do locals, and boasted a gorgeous girlfriend, Cerissa Riley, who many assumed was a model. This sparkling image came to a dark end in October 2016, when horrified screams rang out from his home in the middle of the night. What followed was a series of allegations that the couple had drugged and raped a woman, and that they recorded the crime on a cell phone. As the police investigated, more accusers came forward with similar accounts. Meanwhile, the doc and his dame insisted they weren’t criminals, just misunderstood swingers. Journalist Justine Harman walks listeners through this complicated case, bringing in reporters, forensic experts, and witnesses, as well as burrowing through police testimony to make sense of the story beyond its shocking headlines. —Kristy Puchko

Dark Downeast, “Did Charles Terry Do It?”

The murder of Brunswick, Maine, resident Shirley Coolen is not, says Dark Downeast host Kylie Low, a case of “the husband did it.” It’s far more complicated than that, and it provides an opportunity to look at three more cases of murdered women that remain unsolved. In this episode, Low examines the murders of Coolen, along with Donna Kimmey, Zenovia Clegg, and Patricia Wing— all connected to Maine native and suspected serial killer Charles E. Terry (who, in case you were wondering, suffered a head injury as a child, after which he was never the same). Terry’s confession to and arrest for the 1963 murder of Clegg led to investigators uncovering a series of creepy coincidences between his crimes and those of the Boston Strangler. Could he have committed those murders as well? Over the course of this episode, Low looks closely at Terry as a suspect and also reminds the listener that it’s really easy to assume we know things about the lives of victims, when in fact, it’s rare that we can know the truth. —Chanel Dubofsky

Tapes From the Darkside, “Annihilator”

In the first episode of Tapes’ third season, host and producer Tz Borden introduces the uniquely horrible case of Don Spirit’s familicide. In 2014, Spirit called 911 to announce that he’d killed his adult daughter and six of his grandchildren and said he would be waiting for the police on the back porch of his home in the tiny town of Bell, Florida, where he planned to kill himself. From what I’ve read about the case so far, the kids were failed at every turn by those who should have protected them, including and especially Florida’s Department of Children & Families, who paid $450,000 as part of a legal claims settlement related to the murders. It’s a tragic tale of systemic poverty, intergenerational abuse, and mental illness that is tricky to cover in an unsalacious manner; so far, Tapes hasn’t set off any “fully body CHILLS!” alarm bells yet. Finding an independent true crime podcast that’s well made and doesn’t have sketchy vibes (i.e. misogyny, transphobia, anti-sex-worker sentiments, generally icky killer worship, plagiarism, etc.) is refreshing, so while I’m a newcomer to Tapes to the Darkside and haven’t listened to their entire catalogue, I’m interested to dive into their archives and see what else the dark side holds. —Jenni Miller

The Fall Line, “The Murder of Geraldine DeLoach, Part One: Whoodi‪e‬”

On Tuesday, May 28, 1991, Geraldine DeLoach’s sister, Ava, stopped by her apartment in Register, Georgia, to pick up a bag of hair accessories. Instead, she found her sister’s body. In the first of a three part series about Geraldine’s unsolved murder, host Laura Norton examines what’s known about the case, as well as the fact that it got very little media attention at the time. According to Norton, The Fall Line team did more interviews for Geraldine’s case than they have for any other, talking with her large family about who she was, and their lives as children and adolescents in South Georgia. A portrait of a motivated, vibrant, and indomitable woman, who cleaned her house when she got angry, emerges from the interviews, and with the help of media exposure, as well as new information, the DeLoach family hopes that Geraldine’s case can be solved, and a murderer in their hometown apprehended. —Chanel Dubofsky

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: From Maine to the O.C.