True crime stories are perfectly suited for podcast series for a number of reasons.
For one, podcasts are at their best when they're going in deep on a given topic, and true crime stories are often doing just that - expertly researched, filled to the brim with grisly details, and often with their own twists and turns.
While 'Serial' is undoubtedly the touchstone for true crime podcasts, there's been thousands more in its wake - including a good few Irish ones, for that matter.
Here's a selection of some of the best true crime podcasts available right now. For the serialised podcasts, we'll hold off recommending an individual episode because it's better to listen to it all in one go.
Although it may veer in some parts into politics and away from true crime - particularly the most recent season, which followed former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke's path to "respectability" - there's a lot to like about 'Slow Burn'. Each season covers in methodical detail - without being boring - a crime or controversy and goes beyond the simple headlines. Season 1 and 2 covers Richard Nixon's fall from the White House and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while Season 3 investigates the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG, and how their deaths significantly impacted popular culture and music for years afterward.
In 2003, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University and formed Theranos, a medical technology company that claimed it could cut the time and the effort it took to achieve accurate blood tests. Holmes eventually became the world's youngest self-made billionare in the process. Yet, everything about Theranos was based on a lie and somehow it managed to survive for 15 years before Holmes was found out and charged with fraud. 'The Dropout' covers the bizarre story with interviews from people who saw it all and reveals how it all happened.
Over four years in production, 'I'm Not A Monster' tells the bizarre story of how an American woman named Sam Sally went from smalltown Indiana to the ISIS Caliphate, and tries to piece together how and why it happened. What's fascinating about 'I'm Not A Monster' is how some interview subjects seem to cross over one another. For example, Sam's sister, Lori, tearfully describes an e-mail from her sister who pleads for mercy in Syria. Yet, the very next episode introduces Sam's father and puts an entirely different spin on it. The series is currently ongoing, so expect a new episode any day now.
This Sunday marks 40 years since the Stardust Fire in Artane, Co. Dublin. Some 800 people had attended the nightclub that night. The fire eventually took 48 lives, and injured some 200 more, and became a haunting memory for those who survived it. 'Stardust', produced by The Journal, probes and examines the lead-up to that night, and what came afterward when the families of those who died came looking for answers.
The two seasons so far of 'Gangster Capitalism' have zeroed in on major scandals in US public life. The first season examines the College Admissions Scandal that roped in actors such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, while the second season uncovers the dark money surrounding the National Rifle Association. Richly produced and investigated, 'Gangster Capitalism' dives deep into the black heart of money in American life.
Pulling up a new case file each episode, this Australian true crime podcast turns over stones and pokes through the hedges of some well-known crimes and murders - including a number of Irish ones. Shergar, for example, made up an entire hour-and-a-half episode of the series, diving into the conspiracy theories surrounding the famous racehorse's disappearance. Another episode examined the brutal murder of Elaine O'Hara in 2012.
The Waco siege of 1993 and the bloody battle that took place between the FBI and members of David Koresh's Branch Davidian sect may have been covered in the past in both TV series and documentaries, but where 'End of Days' comes at the story is by investigating the followers of the cult - specifically, the 30 Britons who were taken in by it. Almost comically bizarre in some places, 'End of Days' is nevertheless a fascinating examination of a false prophet and the people who followed him.
Although many people know the names Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, there's another name tied to both of them that may not be so well known - Robert Maxwell, Ghislane's father. A millionaire publishing tycoon, Robert Maxwell died in mysterious circumstances on his yacht in 1991. After his death, the true extent of his financial impropriety came to light and the Maxwell publishing empire crumbled into dust. 'Power' tells the whole sorry story.
In the aftermath of this podcast's debut, a total of 18 people came forward with claims of sexual abuse against former Olympic swimming coach George Gibney. Charged with 27 counts of sexual abuse, Gibney eventually fled to the US after a judicial review failed to prosecute him for his crimes. The podcast is truly damning of not only George Gibney, but also in how relentless Mark Horgan hunts him across Ireland, the UK, and eventually, the US.