Monster: The Zodiac Killer - Is it a podcast worth listening to?

The crime writers discuss the finer points of hate mail. Toby gives a shout out to a little-known but important local podcast called 2nd Read, Rebecca and Kevin plug their appearance on Netflix's "You Can't Make This Up" podcast, and Lara has wine come out her nose.

The panel reviews Monster, which explores the sinister ciphers and random slayings of the Zodiac Killer that gripped California in 1969. Documentary or exposé, is it possible they’ll put forth a theory which has yet to be made after a half-century of investigation?

TO HEAR THE SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "MONSTER," SKIP TO 54:54.

Then in crime of the week: purloined purple penguin.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Third Love - go to thirdlove.com/crime for 15% off today

  • Rothy's - go to Rothys.com and enter CRIME to get your new favorite flats and free shipping

  • Brooklinen - get $20 off AND free shipping when you use promo code CWO at Brooklinen.com

  • Josie and Jonney are Having a Baby with You - in your podcast app right now!

Our Broken Harts breakdown

Two true crime updates this week. The "hot sheriff" from Murder Mountain issues a rebuttal of-sorts to the Netflix doc. Meantime, based on a recent court decision favorable to his case, Adnan Syed's legal team has submitted a supplemental filing in his appeal. Then there's special cameo from this month's guest on Toby Ball's Deep Dive podcast.

Next the crime writers talk about the hit podcast "Broken Harts." This collaboration between HowStuffWorks and Glamour magazine looks at the case of a family killed when its van was intentional driven over an ocean cliff. The background of the Harts is compelling, but does the pod do a good job presenting any of these issues?

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "BROKEN HARTS," GO TO 57:09.

In crime of the week: sub launching.

SPONSORS THIS WEEK

Murder Mountain and Bandersnatch and Chill

Murder Mountain and Bandersnatch and Chill

It’s 2019 and the Crime Writers resolve to bring it in the new year.

The panel clicks its way through "Bandersnatch," Netflix’s hot interactive TV show. Toby thinks it meshes gimmick with good story, Kevin likes its meta themes, and Lara is still trying to figure out her Roku. Meanwhile, Rebecca finally finishes her summer reading.

The Crime Writers catch the 4:20 to “Murder Mountain,” the new Netflix doc about the outlaw California region where black market marijuana is cultivated. Does the six-part series effectively weave the story of an unsolved(?) murder with its look at the past and future of the region now that legalization has uprooted the industry?

TO HEAR THE SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "MURDER MOUNTAIN" GO TO 59:22

Then in Crime of the Week: And to all a good fight.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Simple Contacts - get $20 off your contacts at simplecontacts.com/CWO20 or enter code CWO20 at checkout

  • Daily Harvest - go to Daily-Harvest.com and enter promo code CRIME to get three cups free

  • Mind's Eye podcast - visit parcast.com/mindseye to start listening now

The Innocent Man on Netflix, a Making a Murderer lawsuit, and a Monster podcast trailer

The Innocent Man on Netflix, a Making a Murderer lawsuit, and a Monster podcast trailer

Is it an early Christmas present, or a justified lawsuit? We weigh in on the news that one of the maybe-corrupt law enforcement officers featured in Making A Murderer has filed suit against Netflix and the filmmakers. Plus, one of the Bundy clan is walking away from the movement we heard about in the excellent podcast Bundyville. Why? The answer might surprise you.

And yes, a much-maligned podcast gets a follow up as we break down what we heard in the new trailer for Monster: The Zodiac Killer.

Then, in our main event review, we break down and review the latest entry from Netflix in the true crime documentary genre. It’s called The Innocent Man, and it’s based on a book from an author better known for campy courtroom novels. Do we love it? Find out!

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF THE INNOCENT MAN, FAST-FORWARD TO 1:01:33.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Talkspace - go to Talkspace.com/crimewriters, and use the code CRIMEWRITERS to get $45 off your first month

  • ButcherBox - for FREE bacon and $20 off your first box go to ButcherBox.com/cwo and enter CWO

  • Rothy's - visit Rothys.com and enter CRIME to get free shipping 

  • Poshmark - get $5 off your first purchase when you enter the invite code CRIME5 

  • Murderville, Georgia - available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere

A big break, a Cold review and the Best of 2018

A big break, a Cold review and the Best of 2018

OH SNAP! Rebecca describes her misadventure in the woods. We make an announcement about PodX. In true crime update, Curtis Flowers's defense hopes to turn the tables on Doug Evans.

We review Cold, the new podcast from KSL examining the Susan Powell case. A thorough examination of the lives of the Powells through recovered computer files, audio diaries, videotape, and dramatic readings, we ask how much is too much?

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF COLD, FAST-FORWARD TO 32:58.

We look back 2018 with our recommendations of the best things to watch, read, and listen to. What's everyone's pick for the best podcast of the year?

Rebecca's picks:

Kevin's picks

Lara's picks

Toby's picks

Then in Crime of the Week: Viva Nun Vegas!


SPONSORS THIS WEEK:



A Teacher's Pet update, HBO's The Sentence and Headlong: Surviving Y2K

A Teacher's Pet update, HBO's The Sentence and Headlong: Surviving Y2K

IRL Rebecca renders a verdict...and gets to check something off her bucket list. There's a true crime update out of Australia with an arrest in the Teacher's Pet case. Should we reconsider the quality of a podcast story poorly told, yet effective at solving the crime?

HBO brings us to tears with The Sentence, a look at one woman's 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence and its effects on her young children. Can a documentary about a single family speak to a larger institutional issue?

TO HERE OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "THE SENTENCE" GO TO 33:01.

Then Dan Taberski returns with Headlong: Surviving Y2K. This look at global disaster averted weaves stories about eager doomsday preppers, bank robbers, dissident journalists, mothers in labor, and Taberski's own story of coming out to his wife. Let's party like it's 1999.

TO HEAR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "SURVIVING Y2K" GO TO 1:11:53.

Then in Crime of the Week: there arose such a clatter.

Dirty John on TV, an Ear Hustle update, and our review of The City

Good news/bad news in our true crime podcast updates. He’s podcasting’s second most-famous inmate. Now someone is leaving Ear Hustle…for a great reason. Also, a return trip to Winona by Madeline Baron and In the Dark gins up more CWO anger. Was that recent fire a coincidence or payback for supporting Curtis Flowers?

A microchip has solved the mystery of the stray cat taken in by Lara. Seems she soon after had an awkward conversation with a neighbor.

Bravo’s Dirty John is the first true crime podcast to get a scripted TV adaptation. How well is the Connie Britton/Eric Bana-led show telling the story? And does it matter if we already know how it ends?

Then we take a longer look at USA Today’s ten-part series The City. It’s a giant heap of garbage…we mean, the story is about a giant heap of garbage which turns up overnight in a depressed Chicago neighborhood. Does the examination of city politics, corruption, and environmental racism adequately fill the time the podcast’s been given?

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF "THE CITY," FAST-FORWARD TO 57:34.

Then in crime of the week: that didn’t last long.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Brooklinen - get $20 off and free shipping with promo code CWO at Brooklinen.com

  • Bombas - go to bombas.com/crime and use code CRIME for 20% off your first order

  • Tommy John - save 20% on your first order at TommyJohn.com/crime

  • Poshmark - $5 off your first purchase when you enter code CRIME5 when you sign up

  • Rothy's - go to rothys.com and enter CRIME to get your new flats and free shipping 

  • Pretty Litter - visit PrettyLitter.com and use code CRIME for 20% off your first order

  • Wild Fang - go to Wildfang.com and use code CRIME for 25% off

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.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • FabFitFun - go to fabfitfun.com and use code CRIME to get $10 off your first box

  • Bombas - Go to BOMBAS.COM/crime and use the code: CRIME for 20% off your first order

  • BioClarity - Visit bioclarity.com and enter code CRIME to get 50% off a routine, plus free shipping

  • Simple Contacts - get $20 off your contacts at simplecontacts.com/CWO20 or enter code CWO20 at checkout

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!

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • White Fang - Go to Wildfang.com and use code CRIME for 25% off 

  • Pretty Litter - Visit PrettyLitter.com, promo code CRIME for 20% off

  • Brooklinen - For $20 off AND free shipping use promo code CWO at Brooklinen.com

  • Audible - To get 3 months of Audible for just $6.95 a month, go to Audible.com/crime or text CRIME to 500 500

  • Tommy John - Save 20% on your first order at TommyJohn.com/crime 

  • Betabrand - Visit Betabrand.com and use code CRIME to get 20%

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:

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE:

  • Rothy's - free shipping, returns and exchanges Rothys.com and promo code CRIME

  • Daily Harvest - go to Daily-Harvest.com and enter promo code CRIME to get three free cups

  • Bombas - go to Bombas.com/crime and use code CRIME for 20% off your first order

  • bioClarity - go to bioClarity.com for 15% off you entire first purchase with code CRIME

  • “You Can’t Make This Up” - a new podcast from Netflix 

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.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE



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."


SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Bombas - go to Bombas.com/crime and use the code CRIME for 20% off your first order

  • Talkspace - go to Talkspace.com/crimewriters, and use the code CRIMEWRITERS to get $45 off your first month 

  • Legacybox - go to Legacybox.com/crime for 40% off your first order

  • Daily Harvest - go to Daily-Harvest.com and enter promo code CRIME to get three cups free in your first box

  • Evelyn & Bobbie - go to evelynbobbie.com and use code CRIME to get a free pair of underwear with any purchase

  • Under My Skin by Lisa Unger - new from Park Row Books

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.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Pretty Litter - go to PrettyLitter.com promo code CRIME for 20% off

  • Brooklinen - get $20 off AND free shipping is to use promo code CWO at Brooklinen.com

  • Grove - get a two-month VIP membership and bonus gift by going to Grove.co/crime

  • 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.

JOIN OUR PATREON TO GET ACCESS TO LARA'S RAGE WALK FB GROUP!


SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • bioClarity - get 15% off with code CRIME at bioClarity.com

  • Simple Contacts - get $20 off at simplecontacts.com/CWO20 or enter code CWO20 at checkout

  • Daily Harvest - Go to daily-harvest.com and enter promo code CRIME to get three cups free

  • Rothy's - free shipping on your Rothy’s shoe when you go to Rothys.com and enter CRIME 

  • Handy - go to handy.com/crime and use code CRIME to get your first 3-hour cleaning for $39

  • Evelyn & Bobbie - go to evelynbobbie.com and use code CRIME to get a free pair of knickers with any purchase

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.

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

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

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.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Revolution Math - Get your first month of classes for only $1 at RevolutionMath.com/crime

  • Rothy's - free shipping and returns on your shoes when you go to Rothys.com and enter code CRIME

  • Grove - get a two-month VIP membership and bonus gift by going to Grove.co/crime

  • Betabrand - go to Betabrand.com and use code CRIME and get 20% off your Dress Pant Yoga Pants

  • FabFitFun - go to fabfitfun.com and use code CRIME to get $10 off your first box

  • Little Comfort by Edwin Hill - visit Edwin-Hill.com for more info

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!

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE:

  • Homesick Candles: get free shipping plus $10 off when you buy two or more candles with code CRIME at Homesick.com
  • Rothy's: free shipping and free returns and exchanges on your Rothy’s shoe when you go to Rothys.com and enter CRIME
  • Audible: a 30-day trial and your first audiobook is free at audible.com/crime or text CRIME to 500-500
  • Revolution Math: get your first month of classes for only $19 at RevolutionMath.com/crime
  • Impostor's Lure by Carla Neggers: available today through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold
  • Miss Jones Baking Company: use code crime at missjones.co to get 2 FREE Desserts in a Cup with any online purchase
  • "One Dollar" from CBS All Access: CBS.com/crime for your FREE trial of CBS All Access and their newest original series, One Dollar.

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.

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

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.)

SPONSORS THIS EPISODE

  • Miss Jones Baking Co. - use code crime at missjones.co to get 2 FREE Desserts in a Cup with any online purchase
  • Tommy John - go to TommyJohn.com/crime for 20% off your first order
  • Daily Harvest - go to Daily-Harvest.com and enter promo code CRIME to get three cups FREE in your first box
  • Betabrand - get 20% off at betabrand.com with promo code CRIME
  • FabFitFun - and use code CRIME to get $10 off your first box at fabfitfun.com