Best Podcasts November 2020: Best True Crime series to binge

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·6-min read

What goes into pulling off a perfect crime? Why do humans kill? What does double jeopardy mean? How do you catch a killer?

If you’re interested in answering these questions you’re likely one of the millions obsessed with true crime stories and investigations.

Image of young woman listening to podcast on train, looking intense true crime representation
Where is your next true crime fix coming from? Right here, of course! Photo: Getty Images

A true phenomenon of podcasting, the true-crime series is arguably what put podcasting on the map for many, and what keeps many enthralled and coming back for more.

So what’s out there for a lover of true crime this strange November of this strange year?

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Here are some of my personal favourite true crime podcasts perfect to binge to your heart’s content this November.

Unravel True Crime: Snowball, ABC Radio: Listen here

Unravel True Crime: Snowball abc radio
Unravel True Crime: Snowball. Photo: ABC

An Aussie true-crime drama, Snowball was 2019’s edition of ABC’s Unravel True Crime series and just scooped up the award for Best True Crime podcast at the 2020 Australian Podcast Awards if you don’t mind!

The series follows Kiwi-born Triple J journalist Olly Wards who spent 12-months investigating and tracking down his brother’s mysterious ex-wife, Lezlie, a woman who disappeared into thin air, and who he believes may be an international con artist.

You may or may not develop an audio crush on Olly Wards and his delightful family if you come along for this ride. Listen on iPhones here and Android here.

My Favourite Murder, Exactly Right: Listen here

My Favourite Murder podcast best true crime
Karen Killgariff and Georgia Hardstark's My Favourite Murder Photo: Stitcher

A consistent chart-topper in the world of podcasts, the unusual mix of comedy and true crime hosted by Karen Killgariff and Georgia Hardstark manages to walk the line between side-splitting humour and respectful victim-orientated crime storytelling.

Satisfying for both the morbid and the comedy-hungry, you can listen on iPhones here and Android here.

Hunting Warhead, CBC: Listen here

Hunting Warhead true crime investigation podcast
CBC's investigative podcast Hunting Warhead. Photo: CBC

Warning: This podcast details child abuse.

Hunting Warhead is perhaps one of the most intense and moving podcasts I have ever plugged into, but should be pursued with care – it’s an in-depth look at how a combination of Norwegian journalists, Aussie cops and Canadian and US reporters worked together to infiltrate one of the darkest corners of the internet where sinister child abuse material is found and distributed.

A six-part co-production from Canadian network CBC and Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, the podcast follows reporter Daemon Fairless as he follows an international investigation into a web of online child abuse sites, and eventually coming face to face with the mastermind ‘Warhead’ – the man behind the evil enterprise.

The podcast interviews victims, perpetrators and investigators in a jaw-dropping look at how, and why, some of the most evil crimes imaginable take place online and how, or if, the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

At times very disturbing, the podcast is a must-listen for any true crime enthusiast but should be listened to at your own discretion.

Nut Jobs, Audible: Listen here

Nut Jobs podcast best true crime for November
Nut Jobs is an investigation by Marc Fennell. Photo: Audible

This one is a homegrown number that travels far afield and it was also a contender for the Best True Crime award ultimately picked up by Snowball at the Australian Podcast Awards this year.

The latest offering from SBS journalist Marc Fennell, Nut Jobs starts as a deep dive into a multi-million-dollar heist of a number of food trucks in California, which soon unravels into a whole world of organised crime within the food industry.

It is… bananas? Nah, it’s completely nuts and it will have you thinking long and hard about the food we eat, and the sometimes deadly, and deep-rooted networks they pass through before they arrive in our shopping trolleys.

If you were a fan of It Burns, Fennell’s award-winning first foray into the podcasting world, you’ll go...nuts (I’m sorry) for Nut Jobs.

Morally Indefensible, Truth Media: Listen here.

Morally Indefensible true crime feature
Morally Indefensible podcast. Photo: Truth Media

True crime lovers looking for their next criminal hit can breathe easy, with the latest offering from The Jinx’s Marc Smerling one that will keep you occupied from beginning to end.

Is it ever ok to lie and betray to tell true story? That’s the question this deep dive into the relationship between convicted murderer Doctor Jeffrey MacDonald and journalist Joe McGinniss seeks to answer.

In 1979, the ex-Green Beret doctor was convicted of murdering of his pregnant wife and two young daughters, and he subsequently struck up a friendship with famed reporter Joe who sought his trust in order to pen a ‘tell-all’ book about the case that divided a nation.

The book, Fatal Vision was a smash hit, but far from the tome the trusting doctor expected to be written, the journalist ultimately asserting he thought Dr MacDonald, by then a close friend, was guilty of the murders.

One that will have you twisted and knotted as you seek to discern right from wrong, Morally Indefensible is a mind-bending examination of truth, lies, murder and what is, and isn’t, morally defensible.

Uncover: Escaping NXIVM, CBC: Listen here.

Uncover Escaping NXIVM investigation podcast best true crime for November 2020
Uncover's first season, Escaping NXIVM by true crime experts CBC. Photo: CBC

The first season of CBC’s acclaimed Uncover true crime series, Escaping NXIVM is a jaw-dropping first-person look at the inner workings of one of the most notorious cults in modern America.

Originally sold as a multi-level marketing company, NXIVM was uncovered as a sex cult officially this year when leader Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and other crimes after former members came forward in court.

Escaping NXIVM follows former high ranking member Sarah Edmondson’s journey into and out of the cult, with first-person accounts and insight that will draw you in before you can blink.

You can listen to Uncover: Escaping NXIVM here.

The Last Voyage of The Pong Su, The Sydney Morning Herald/ The Age: Listen here

Last Voyage of the Pong Su drug bust investigation podcast
The Last Voyage of the Pong Su from the SMH and The Age. Photo: Fairfax Nine

Another one that was up for Best True Crime series at this year’s Australian Podcast Awards, The Last Voyage of the Pong Su flew under the radar for some Aussies this year.

If you fall into that basket, it is a grave mistake I suggest you correct immediately.

The series is a fascinating 10-part feature looking into what at the time was the largest ever heroin import into Australia, starting from the moment 150kg of the drug washed up on the Great Ocean Road in 2003.

With brand new information and exhaustive reporting, the series is a fabulous option to plug into on any long drives you might be taking this Christmas.

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