'Truth Be Told' takes a hard look at America’s obsession with true crime podcasts: Here are 5 of the most gripping podcasts out there

We take a look at podcasts like 'Serial' that documents a new case every season and like 'Bear Brook' that investigates not just a case but how the authorities handled it over two decades. Then there is 'Undisclosed' that strives to deliver justice through rigorous investigation and careful analysis

                            'Truth Be Told' takes a hard look at America’s obsession with true crime podcasts: Here are 5 of the most gripping podcasts out there

Apple TV+ has a lot of interesting new shows coming up. One of them is ‘Truth Be Told’, a limited drama series that follows podcaster Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) as she is compelled to reopen the murder case that made her a national sensation.

In the process, she comes face-to-face with Warren Cave (Aaron Paul), the man she may have mistakenly helped put behind bars. The show is based on a novel by Kathleen Barber, and according to Apple TV+, it “provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.”

It is true. America is obsessed with true crime podcasts -- the sheer number of them out there ought to give us a clue. So let us look at the five best and most gripping podcasts right now:


Considered to be the "Holy Grail" of all true crime podcasts, 'Serial' is an investigative journalism podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig, narrating a nonfiction story over multiple episodes. 'Serial' has won every major award for broadcasting, including the DuPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, Edward R. Murrow, and the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast.

Season 1 of the podcast investigated the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore. The second season followed Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who was held for five years by the Taliban and then charged with desertion.

The third season of the podcast took a different turn. Set inside a Cleaveland court, it took a hard look at America's broken criminal justice system. True-crime author and podcaster Billy Jensen best described the podcast and said, “'Serial' is the most important, because it went viral, got into the zeitgeist, introduced many people to podcasts, and got them hooked.”

You can listen to the podcast here.

The Killing of Marilyn Monroe

"How did Hollywood’s brightest star become its most tragic victim?" is the fundamental question this podcast asks. This 12-part documentary podcast, from the creative team behind 'Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood', analyzes "the tangle of sex, power, corruption and lies that led the most powerful men in America to silence Marilyn Monroe for good."

"It was Marilyn’s turbulent love life that ultimately sealed her final fate. Surrounded by a deadly cocktail of pills, her death was ruled 'probable suicide', but questions remain surrounding just how – and why – she died," is what this gripping show tries to uncover. 

You can listen to the podcast here.


For fans of 'Serial', this one is a must-listen. 'Undisclosed', hosted by Rabia Chaudry, takes a hard look at wrongful convictions in the United States. What makes this podcast so good is that it picked up right where 'Serial' Season 1 left off, investigating the case against Adnan Syed (held for the murder of Hae Min Lee). 

According to Vulture, Chaudry teamed up with attorneys Susan Simpson and Colin Miller "and proceeded to tear apart, bit by bit, the state’s case against Syed and many aspects of the 'Serial' narrative itself." Season 2 focused on the Georgia conviction of Joey Watkins for the murder of Isaac Dawkins. 

You can listen to the podcast here.

Bear Brook

"Two barrels, four bodies, and an enigmatic killer. The cold case that changed the way murders will be investigated forever." Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? 'Bear Brook' covers the decades-long investigation around four unidentified bodies stuffed in a pair of barrels found in a wooded New Hampshire park.

The podcast delves into a complicated story, that spans more than 20 years, about a previously unknown serial killer and the many investigators who worked it tirelessly. Jason Moon began reporting on the Bear Brook murders back in 2015 when it was announced that new forensic techniques were being used to try to identify the four bodies.

In early 2017, when authorities revealed a break in the case that made it clear this story was bigger than previously thought, Moon and the New Hampshire Public Radio's editorial team began work on the 'Bear Brook' podcast.

You can listen to the podcast here.

In The Dark

Produced by American Public Media and hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran, 'In The Dark' was described by New Yorker magazine as one of the best podcasts of 2018 -- "Shocking but not sensationalized". Season 1 of the podcast looks into the police investigation of the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, an investigation that yielded no answers for 27 years.

'In The Dark' investigated "how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation's sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving accountability."

The second season takes a peek into Curtis Flowers. Flowers, according to the podcast, had been tried six times for the same crime. "For 21 years, Flowers has maintained his innocence. He's won appeal after appeal, but every time, the prosecutor just tries the case again. What does the evidence reveal? And why does the justice system ignore the prosecutor's record and keep Flowers on death row?" asks the podcast.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.