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 just that - expertly researched, filled to the brim with grisly details, and often come 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 but for those because it's better to listen to it all in one go.

 

9. 'Conviction: American Panic'

Season 2 of 'Conviction' focuses on the "moral panic" of '80s America - satanism. In the space of just a few short years, the US justice system had arrested and convicted numerous people with flimsy, circumstantial evidence of "satanic ritual abuse", which ultimately turned out to be false. One such case involved John Quinney, who testified against his own father in a sensational trial that saw the then-10-year-old boy accuse his father of being a cult leader.

 

8. 'Mens Rea'

Leaving aside the fact that 'Mens Rea' is a great name for a podcast - and refers to "the mental element of intent required to prove certain crimes have been committed" - it also delves into an area not often examined in these kinds of series. 'Mens Rea' focuses on the mental component of Irish murders, and asks how and why it played an impact on each crime, and the resulting fallout from it.

Recommended episode: The episode on the Hazel Mullen murder in the '70s was fascinating, and delves into the racial component of the story too.

 

7. 'Undisclosed'

Odds are if you got into 'Serial', you already know about 'Undisclosed'. While it initially grew out of the investigation into the conviction of Adnan Syed, 'Undisclosed' spent its second season diving into the conviction of Joey Watkins for the murder of Isaac Dawkins. The investigation went all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, and made for some thrilling listening.

Recommended episode: All of the Greg Lance episodes were truly riveting stuff.

 

6. 'Dirty John'

If you haven't already listened to 'Dirty John' and only know it from the very meh Netflix series, go back and listen to it because it's far better than made out to be. For one, the twist doesn't pack half the punch in the TV series (even if you know it's coming) and there's far more to the story than made it on the series. Not only that, but you also begin to understand if now how, at least why something as strange and bizarre as all this happened.

 

5. 'West Cork'

Just about everyone in Ireland knows the name of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and Ian Bailey. In 1996, du Plantier was found beaten to death in Schull, an idyllic community in West Cork. Her murder, and the investigation that followed, has raged since then. Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey attempt to get to grips with the story, the fallout, the major players, and the media circus that surrounded the murder - all while parsing through interviews, recordings and anything they can their hands on.

 

4. 'Bag Man'

Odds are you're not entirely sure who Spiro Agnew is, unless you're American and a politics buff. Don't worry - if you don't have a clue who he is, Rachel Maddow takes you through the wild and often unbelievable story of the criminal enterprise that was ran out of the White House during the Nixon administration - not by Nixon, but by his Vice President, Spiro Agnew. If you thought Trump was a crook, you don't even know the half of it.

 

3. 'The Nobody Zone'

Produced by RTÉ and Danish production house Third Ear, 'The Nobody Zone' focuses on the murders of Kieran Patrick Kelly, a homeless Irishman who lived in London in the '70s and, after being arrested for stealing a man's wedding ring, begins to confess a decades-long murder spree, beginning in 1953. The twist? Nobody's really sure if he's telling the truth or not, and some of the deaths went unnoticed or misattributed for years.

 

2. 'Serial Killers'

Well, the name tells you just about everything you need to know here. Each episode focuses on a serial killer, explains the surrounding circumstances, their victims, if they and how they were caught, and the fallout from it. Some subjects may run to two or three episodes, not to mention a revisit now and then, but it's a show you can drop in and out of as you like.

Recommended episode: The three-part Jack the Ripper special, for sure.

 

1. 'My Favourite Murder'

Yes, it might seem a little weird to blend comedy chat show and true crime together, but the fact is that 'My Favourite Murder' has become a juggernaut of a podcast and inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of copycat shows. The original is by far the best, and hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark know how to keep the show engaging, fresh and fun way longer than most shows would have burned out.

Recommended episode: Without a doubt, the episode about JonBenet Ramsey.