Starter episode: “He’s Having Second Thoughts”
This coproduction from Wondery and Campside Media centers on the unsolved 2008 murder of Arpana Jinaga, a 24-year-old software engineer who was found dead the morning after a raucous Halloween party at her apartment complex near Seattle. That gathering provides a wide array of suspects, all of whom are investigated in this absorbing, emotional ten-episode series. Ultimately, the police do home in on one chief suspect, but that conviction proves to be deeply flawed. “Suspect” uses its central case to explore the dizzyingly rapid evolution of DNA technology, as well as racial bias in the justice system.
Starter episode: “The Halloween Party”
Instead of dedicating several episodes to a single case, “Unexplained” tackles a new logic-defying event every week. Leaning more toward the paranormal than criminal, this British series makes for reliably spooky listening, in part because Richard MacLean Smith, the host and creator, resists the urge to ham it up. Over the course of six seasons, Smith has delivered episodes on the true story behind the “Exorcist,” the fate of a ghost ship in the Dutch East Indies, an apparent alien abduction in the north of England, a family being terrorized by a poltergeist and the chilling ongoing saga of the “Havana syndrome,” which has seen numerous C.I.A. employees in Cuba fall sick with debilitating neurological symptoms in recent years.
Starter episode: “Valleys of the Uncanny”
The sheer volume of murder mystery podcasts out there can feel overwhelming, but this anthology series from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a consistently rigorous, intelligent gem. The host, David Ridgen, was a filmmaker and documentarian before he created “Someone Knows Something,” and his flair for character-driven storytelling is evident, as is his ambivalence about “true crime” as a genre (the series begins with a prologue in which Ridgen admits to being wary about making it at all). Each season chronicles a different cold case, beginning with the 1972 disappearance of 5-year old Adrien McNaughton. The third season focuses on the devastating story of Charles Moore and Henry Dee, two Black men whose murders in 1964 by Ku Klux Klan members resulted in no convictions for more than 40 years. The fourth follows a family’s search for answers after a man is murdered by a mail bomb sent to his house. Whichever season you choose to begin with, you’ll likely be hooked.
Starter episode: “The Wrong Body”
It’s been more than 30 years since the first iteration of the docuseries “Unsolved Mysteries” first aired on television, offering up re-enactments of cold cases, conspiracy theories and paranormal encounters. The formula has remained largely unchained through multiple reboots — on Lifetime, more recently on Netflix, and now in an equally addictive podcast format. Though it’s narrated by Steve French instead of Robert Stack, who was the longstanding host of “Unsolved Mysteries,” the show is an otherwise faithful audio rendering of the franchise, featuring weekly half-hour mysteries full of ghost stories, disappearances, demonic possessions and more.
Starter episode: “Where’s Alicia?”
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