Serial Season 3 is over! And is Homecoming worth a watch?

Serial wraps up season 3 with more from Joshua behind bars (should the whole season have been him?). We leave some notes in the suggestion box for Sarah Koenig about how S3 could have pulled together the many themes touched on: overcharging, racial inequality, police misconduct, and the indifference to improving the system.

Then we binge Amazon Prime's "Homecoming," the first major TV adaptation of a hit podcast. It has its own visual and musical style and a plot that suddenly veers from the source material. Is there enough different about the TV series to keep fans of the podcast engaged?

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "HOMECOMING" FAST-FORWARD TO 1:09:34.

Then in crime of the week: doughnut make my brown eyes blue?



Serial Episode 8 & Believed (the podcast about Larry Nassar)

Sarah Koenig talking to a man behind bars who got done-wrong by the system. Wait, what season of Serial is this? We're talking about "A Madman's Vacation" with its revealing look at the Cleveland juvenile justice system.

Then we talk about the powerful series from Michigan Radio and NPR, "Believed." This podcast takes a hard look at the crimes of gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar who was convicted of sexually assaulting more than 200 girls. Believed tells the tale through the stories of his victims and tries to examine how Nassar got away with it for so long. And our CWO discussion gets personal.

NOTE: THIS PART OF OUR DISCUSSION MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME LISTENERS. TO SKIP PAST IT, OR JUST STAY SPOILER-FREE, FAST-FORWARD TO THE 1:06:11 MARK.

Then in crime of the week: the spirit within her.

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Making a Murderer Season 2 - Our breakdown and review!

Making a Murderer Season 2 - Our breakdown and review!

Killers or conspiracy? Justice or just desserts?

We dedicate our entire episode to the much-awaited sequel to 2016's breakout hit and cultural phenomenon: Netflix's Making a Murderer 2. Our review takes two paths. First the panel discusses the Brendan Dassey story line. Did it capture the drama of his reversed reversal of fortune? Then on to the tale of Steven Avery's attorney Kathrine Zellner. Does her investigation create more doubt about Avery's conviction? Or is it more of (a different kind of) the same.

WE ARE DOING ALL THE SPOILERS, SO TO STAY SPOILER-FREE JUMP TO 1:07:26.

In crime of the week: pooper star!

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Serial Episode 7 and Gladiator from Wondery

Serial Episode 7 and Gladiator from Wondery

In Serial episode 7, "Snowball Effect," we see the negative after-effects of Erimius's and Jesse's cases. What were once two men with the moral high ground against police misconduct are now spiraling into self-sabotage.

Then we look at Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football, Inc. This podcast from the Boston Globe Spotlight team examines how football and his environment contributed to Hernandez going from NFL tight end to having three murder charges. A must-listen, even for non-sports fans.

Want to skip our spoilers and just get to the thumbs-up or thumbs-down review? Go to 1:00:18

In crime of the week: swift justice.

Listen now:

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Serial Season 3, episode 6 and Happy Face

Serial Season 3, Episode 6 and Happy Face

It's the return for the Brickter Scale. In Serial episode 6, "You in the Red Shirt," Sarah & Emmanuel get into the story of a man beaten by East Cleveland police who seems to get justice in the court but continues to pay for it on the street.

Then we talk about "Happy Face" aka "My dad, the serial killer." This podcast of a daughter's take on her secretly-homicidal father has everything: truckers, bunk beds, prison correspondence...bears. But does it have a point? (Spoiler alert: Nope!)

FOR A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "HAPPY FACE" FAST-FORWARD TO 57:35.

In Crime of the Week: skin diver.

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Serial season 3, episode 5 & The Dream

Serial season 3, episode 5 & The Dream

In Serial episode 5, Pleas Baby Pleas, Sarah brings us inside the prosecutor’s office, giving us a view of what it’s like to be one of too-few prosecutors in a system with too many felonies to prosecute, with some decisions made for justice and some for expediency. But does this episode live up to Serial's promise? The panel is split 3-1.

Then, we review The Dream, a new podcast from Stitcher that looks at the unsavory world of multi-level marketing companies, and the reasons some people get sucked in.

For our review without spoilers, skip to: 1:06:41.

In Crime of the Week: Apple, peaches, pumpkin pie. Who's not ready, holler "I."


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Serial season 3, episode 4 & American Vandal does number two

Serial season 3, episode 4 & American Vandal does number two

For Serial season 3 episode 4, "A Bird in Jail is Worth Two on the Street," Sarah introduces us to man charged with shooting of an infant in a car before the state dropped the charges. Could this have been avoided? We learn that a snitch in time could have saved him a year in jail.

Then...American Vandal is back with number two. Netflix's smart, Peabody Award winning, true crime satire returns with Pete and Sam looking for the Turd Burglar. Call the police, because DeMarcus steals the show.

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "AMERICAN VANDAL," JUMP AHEAD TO 59:25.

Then in Crime of the Week - golden goats.

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  • Under My Skin - from NY Times bestselling author Lisa Unger

Kevin wishes to thank the following folks for donating to the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes walk-a-thon. Krista Correa, Rachel Harrison, Rebecca Epstein, Ben & Noel Bruening, Claire Cantwell, Kylie McElveen, Jennifer Rubenstein, Nikki Mans, Jessica McEachern, Emiliano Diaz de Leon, Katy Veprauskas, Anne Rogers, Carol Coello, Leah & Susan Kosior, Kimberly Hoefling, Wendy Martin, Lisa Miller, Melissa Huenefeldt, Bonnie West, Moira MacLellan, Courtney Castaneda, Sarah O’Reilly, Rebecca Lavoie Flynn, and “Anonymous.”

Serial Season 3: Episode 3 & Uncover: Escaping NXIVM

In Serial episode 3, "Misdemeanor, Meet Mr. Lawsuit," Sarah looks into the issue of how the police interact with the African-American population in their communities. A large topic writ small through the story of one arrest in a hallway. Which one of the crime writers says this is the best single episode of Serial ever?

Then the panel discuss the new CBC podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM. The distinctive Canadian presentation style takes on an alleged sex cult.

In Crime of the Week: game over.

DONATE TO KEVIN'S WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES EVENT, OCT 3, BY CLICKING HERE.

SEE TOBY AT THE CHARLOTTE VT PUBLIC LIBRARY OCT 4.

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Serial Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2 - Our breakdown and review!

Get ready for the best discussion and analysis about the Serial podcast.

Sarah Koenig is back for season 3 (finally)! Along with Emmanuel Dzotsi, Sarah gives us a year in the life of the Cleveland Justice Center.

For episode one, "A Bar Fight Walks into the Justice Center," the crime writers discuss whether the lesson is about prosecutorial discretion...or about race?

In episode two, "You've Got Some Gauls," we can't even with Judge G. But does he have a point?

Also, we give our take on the update episode of "In the Dark." The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In crime of the week: whale fail. See the dumpster snafu here and the classic exploding whale incident here.

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Dr. Death, Ozark Season 2, and Serial Season 3 is almost here!

Paging Dr. Death...back to the Ozarks...and Serial is coming back

Weekly episodes of "Crime Writers On" have returned! And so has "Serial!” For season 3, Sarah Koenig and co. will look at the justice system from the inside: embedding themselves in a criminal courthouse in Cleveland.

Note: for the duration of Serial's run, episodes of CWO will debut on Mondays instead of Fridays.

Netflix’s hit crime show "Ozark" is back with a second season. The drama starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney combines white collar crime and redneck gothic. Is it as good as its debut season?

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF OZARK, SKIP AHEAD TO 31:44.

The panel digs into the new hit "Dr. Death" from Wondery. Billed as the successor to "Dirty John," reporter Laura Beil recalls the case of a doctor who performed a string of botched surgeries while the system was unable - or unwilling - to stop him.

TO JUMP AHEAD TO OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF DR. DEATH, FAST-FORWARD TO 56:45.

Then in crime of the week: felonious food fight.

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This episode has IT ALL: Up and Vanished, Sharp Objects, Pam Smart, Kim Kardashian and MORE!

This episode has IT ALL: Up and Vanished, Sharp Objects, Pam Smart, Kim Kardashian and MORE!

Wow, we've got more true crime than you can shake a stick at! This time out we talk about Kim Kardashian's new-found love of "Serial," the latest court filings in Adnan Syed's appeal, and the Facebook meltdown over "My Favorite Murder." The panel give first takes and final thoughts on shows like "Sharp Objects," "Up and Vanished," and "Fatal Voyage." And there's cool stuff to look forward to with TV debuts of "My Dad Wrote a Porno" and "American Vandal" season two.

TO AVOID SPOILERS FOR "SHARP OBJECTS," JUMP TO TIME CODE 35:42.

The crime writers look at the new miniseries from Investigation Discovery, "Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery." As NH-based writers & journalists, there's not a lot about the case the panel doesn't already know. Does the show add anything for those who've seen one of the movies or read one of the many books on this case?

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "PAMELA SMART: AMERICAN MURDER MYSTERY," GO TO 1:06:33.

In Crime of the Week, felony bang bang!

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A Double-Bill Review: Slow Burn and Castle Rock

In the world of true crime updates, Irish authorities have issued a new report on police conduct in the West Cork case. Speaking of podcasts from Audible, what's happened to their podcast division? Rebecca gives a plug for her new project, Bear Brook, which will be debuting from NHPR next month. Also, has horror author Joe Hill solved the 1974 mystery of the "Woman in the Dunes" by watching "Jaws"?

Speaking of Joe Hill, his father (Stephen King) has a new show on Hulu. Castle Rock is the creepy tale of a unidentified inmate discovered in an old prison, and of the lawyer with a haunted past returning to his hometown in Maine where evil lurks. It's the most Stephen King thing to ever Stephen King.

FOR A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "CASTLE ROCK," GO TO 35:05.

The sophomore season of Slow Burn is out, this time focusing on the impeachment of President Clinton. Slate's podcast attempts to tell the story of the building crisis and how it affected the lives of the scandal’s supporting characters. As Leon Neyfawk says, it's crazier than we remember it.

FOR A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "SLOW BURN," GO TO 59:20.

In Crime of the Week: Friendly, neighborhood bar, Spider-Man.

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Going down to Bundyville and being a Dark Tourist

On our off week, the Crime Writers got together face-to-face for the first time in ages. We're back with lots to talk about. This includes the latest "In the Dark"-related court filings in the Curtis Flowers case, the passing of a troubled ex-prosecutor featured in "The Staircase," and one of the panelists gets called for jury duty.

We go globetrotting on the new Netflix series, "Dark Tourist." Journalist David Farrier, who wowed us with his documentary “Tickled,” shows us some of the most bizarre, macabre, and dangerous travel destinations around.

Moving on...the new podcast "Bundyville" examines the story-behind-the-story of Cliven Bundy and his anti-government standoff that transfixed the nation. The seven-part series explores the seeds of Bundy’s discontent as sewn by federal grazing rights, court cases, nuclear testing, Mormon oppression, and a religious prophecy.

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, GO TO 59:30.

In Crime of the Week: Bigfoot whips it out. (And in this week's outtake - so does one of us.)

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An S-Town lawsuit, an In The Dark tragedy, and a Sharp Objects Review

An S-Town lawsuit, an In The Dark tragedy, and a Sharp Objects Review

While Toby broadcasts from a beautiful island lake house, the rest of the panel sweats it out to bring you another episode of Crime Writers On with a brand new logo!

There are true crime updates galore:

We talk about the MD Court of Appeals granting cert in the continuing post-conviction struggles of Serial's Adnan Syed.

Curtis Flower's mother passed away and we reflect on the meaning of injustice within injustice.

Plus, the "estate" of John McLemore is suing "S-town" for violating his privacy. Legally, morally, ethically - do they have a leg to stand on?

We talk about HBO's new prestige drama "Sharp Objects." As much a character study as it is a crime mystery, will the star-driven adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel thrill fans like “Gone Girl” or leave them disappointed like “True Detective" season 2?

Plus, we give the Granite State some summer tourism plugs this week with shout-outs to Story Land, Santa's Village, and Clark's Trading Post (with the dancing bears and the Wolfman who shoots a gun at you).

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "SHARP OBJECTS," FAST-FOWARD TO 1:14:47

Then in crime of the week: blow it up your ass.

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Hangman, a new novel by Jack Heath

Rewinding the RFK Tapes and In The Dark's triumphant finale

Kevin is recording in his underwear and Stephen King has come to live at Lara's house. It must be time for the summer edition of Crime Writers On.

In the first part of the podcast we'll review The RFK Tapes from the team behind Crimetown. Robert Kennedy was assassinated at point blank range in a room full of people...so why do some believe there was another shooter? We're not buying the conspiracy, but the tale isn't so bad.

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF THE RFK TAPES, FAST-FOWARD TO 33:12.

Then we'll muster up as much rage and praise as possible for the season finale of In The Dark. An undisclosed alternate suspect! An uncatalogued gun! A hidden-in-plain-sight tunnel! The debate isn't about whether In The Dark gets a thumbs up - it's about whether it's the best podcast of all time.

Then in crime of the week: I'm not dead yet.

 

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Hangman, a new novel by Jack Heath

Has In The Dark surpassed Serial? Plus, Adnan Syed gets a timeline, and Flint Town gets our review.

Has In The Dark surpassed Serial? Plus, Adnan Syed gets a timeline, and Flint Town gets our review.

Is In The Dark a better podcast than Serial season one? Or would it not even exist were it not for Serial?

The Crime Writers take on that debate as we check in with the latest installment of In The Dark's investigation into the investigation that left Curtiss Flowers stranded on death row.

Plus, Adnan Syed gets a new timeline for a legal decision, Brendan Dassey's case maybe gets a SCOTUS look, and in the biggest crime of all, Rebecca and Kevin make jokes about their sex life. Also, Toby WINS the Candace from The Staircase debate.

The crew then digs in to Flint Town, a fascinating docu-series that gives an inside look at one of the most challenged police forces (and communities) in the country.

WANT TO SKIP TO THE THUMBS UP OR DOWN REVIEW OF FLINT TOWN? SKIP TO 1:06:33

Listen to the episode:

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Those new eps of The Staircase! An S-Town movie? And In The Dark has us like...

Those new eps of The Staircase! An S-Town movie? And In The Dark has us like... 

What a bad week for Lara. First she loses the chowder contest, then she had to listen to that enraging interview with DA Doug Evans from "In the Dark" (of which Rebecca genuinely worried for Lara's health). Everyone has thoughts about a proposed "S-town" movie. And Kevin makes some Canadian friends.

The panel runs up and down "The Staircase's" three new episodes. The original true crime doc about Michael Peterson was a seminal work. Does this final coda contain the same power?

This episode's Crime of the Week is truly eye-popping.

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'In the Dark' outrages, 'Killing Eve' slays, and what really happened to Maura Murray

'In the Dark' outrages, 'Killing Eve' slays, and what really happened to Maura Murray

Lara hits the roof after hearing the latest installment of "In the Dark." We knew the court was rough on the defendant - but the jurors too?!

Kevin gives a plug for the June 8-9 Toronto True Crime Film Festival. He'll be there Saturday for a panel discussion. More at torontotruecrimefilmfestival.com.

Toby gets another chance to roll his eyes about "The Staircase" owl theory.

Rebecca leads the discussion on Killing Eve. An American-bred Brit goes from desk jockey to head of a secret unit tracking a skilled assassin striking throughout Europe. This cat-and-mouse thriller that bounces around the continent is both suspenseful and playful, with compelling characters and crackling dialogue.

TO HERE OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEWS OF "KILLING EVE," JUMP AHEAD TO xx:xx.

In Crime in Week: dangerous moves.

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A hot review of 30 for 30's "Bikram," Adnan Syed responds, and an "In the Dark" recantation

A hot review of 30 for 30's "Bikram," Adnan Syed responds, and an "In the Dark" recantation

More paper pasted this week in the Adnan Syed case. The defense has filed its conditional cross-petition. It basically says, "Hey state supreme court, don't take this case. But if you do, we got some stuff over here we want to talk about."

This week's "In the Dark" buries the needle on the Brickter-scale. Listen how Cookie's story crumbles.

The crime writers break out the leotards and sweatbands for the hot hot-yoga docu-pod "30 for 30: Bikram." Julia Lowrey Henderson tells the rise of Bikrim Choudhury, peels back the veneer of his self-created myth, and gets into the many allegations of sexual misconduct.

In Crime of the Week: done and dusted.

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Dismissing Adnan's charges? The Handmaids return! An In The Dark Update! And Grading The Teacher's Pet!

Could it be? Could the next Baltimore State's Attorney be willing to drop charges against Adnan Syed? Well..he's gotta win first. How about them Handmaids - the feel-bad tv show of the year? Lara's Rage-o-meter buries the needle when she hears this week's episode of In the Dark (oh Cookie!),

TO SKIP OUR TALK ABOUT "IN THE DARK," JUMP AHEAD TO 29:50.

Then from Australia we’ll review “The Teacher’s Pet”: a podcast about a professional athlete, his missing wife, and his teenage lover. Does this cold case story from Down Under stack up against the best podcasts out there?

TO JUMP PAST OUR DISCUSSION ON "THE TEACHER'S PET," GO TO OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW AT 51:26.

Then in Crime of the Week: I could read it all over your face.

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