This weeks recommendation is “The Las Podcast on the Left” hosted by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski. These guys cover everything from murderers, cults, alien abductions, conspiracies, hauntings and more. You can listen from the beginning or pick and choose based on the topic you are interested in. They really dive deep into the subject of each episode with extensive research; while keeping their sense of dark humor with jokes and silly voices. So if you also have a taste for the weird and disturbing, give this podcast a try.
This six episode podcast, hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times, is this weeks recommendation. (Thats right I’m going to be posting once a week from now on.) This gem I found was actually on the iTunes charts for a while when it was first released. It centers around a middle aged woman named Debra, who is looking for love and turns to online dating. She then meets this man, John. He is attractive and seems to be falling for her fast. A little too fast, and her family members are not buying it. They know something is wrong and that she might be falling for a man who is only after her money. It is a hell of a ride and is perfect for people who love a satisfying ending.
If you are a BuzzFeed reader like myself, you are familiar with their not-so-serious approach to journalism. They have goofy quizes and silly posts mixed with actual resourceful articles. Their series, Unsolved: True Crime, is the perfect combination of silly and serious. For each episode, two BuzzFeed writers (I’m assuming) investigate an unsolved murder or disappearance. They give us all the known facts of the case and the popular theories. All while commenting with funny banter between the two hosts. Check it out if you need a quick laugh and also want to feed your inner arm chair detective!
“A podcast about a podcast” is how they describe themselves. Hosted by Rebecca Lavoie and features Kevin Flynn, Toby Ball, and Lara Bricker as regulars. Though they got their start talking about Serial, now they have a broader spectrum on what they discuss. From other podcasts, true crime, pop culture, to Lara’s cat. They cover anything they find interesting and always take suggestions from listeners. That is one of my favorite things about this podcast, they really read our tweets, emails, or comments. They even have a voicemail set up for listeners to leave messages and will sometimes play them during the podcast. Since they cover so many forms of entertainment, they usually let listeners know ahead of time what they will be talking about. That way we can all avoid the dreaded “spoiler.” Rebecca and Kevin are true crime writers (hence the name) and also happen to be married. Toby Ball is a fiction author and Lara Bricker is a Licensed P.I. So as you can imagine, the conversations are very interesting/entertaining to listen to. Check them out!
(Also, I’ll be posting about some of their true crime books on a later date.)
This book fills in the gaps between Serial and Undisclosed. Chaudry opens up about her life and her connection with Adnan. We get to see a Muslim perspective for the first time, which plays a bigger role than we are lead to believe in Serial. We get to read Adnan’s letters to family and Sara Koenig. After reading this book, I felt like I had a much better understanding of who Adnan is as a person. And a much better understanding of everything that he and his loved ones have been through because of his conviction. And of course it makes you wonder what things would be like if this case had been investigated thoroughly all those years ago, would Adnan even be in prison? Justice for Hae would most likely mean justice for Adnan. Chaudry offers some thoughts and theories about what actually happened. At the end of the day it is all speculation. But what I do believe is that the State would not be able to convict Adnan again. Not with the whole world watching and taking notes. That is the silver lining in all the wrongful convictions that seem to be coming to light in the recent years. People are finally paying attention.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -MLK Jr.
After Serial season one, you are left wondering about what actually happened on January 13, 1999. Did Adnan kill Hae? Well I can’t say for certain since only Hae and her killer know without a doubt. But the Undisclosed team (Rabia Chaudry, Colin Miller, and Susan Simpson) rip the State’s case to shreds. So much information is provided in this podcast, that it sometimes felt like I was in a lecture and should be taking notes for the exam. I mean that as a complement since this group of lawyers really dedicated their time and effort to Adnan’s case. So much so that Adnan has been granted a new trail as of June 30, 2016. You get to listen to the information they have on the case, their theories, and the long process of getting Adnan a new trial. They simplify complicated legal terms and make you feel like you are so smart and should consider a career in law. The team also takes on other cases like: The State V. Joey Watkins, The State V. Gary Mitchum Reeves, The killing of Freddie Grey, and The State V. Jamar Huggins. Overall, great podcast and educational as well. If Undisclosed still doesn’t satisfy your Adnan curiosity, you should read the book.
My Next recommendation… Adnan’s Story: The search for truth and justice after Serial.
I am starting off my long list of recommendations with what some might say is the most mainstream and influential true crime podcast in the history of podcasts. For those of you who have never heard of it, Serial is a 12 episode podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig and developed by This American Life. Its first season investigates the murder of Hae Min Lee. On January 13, 1999 Hae Min Lee; an 18-year-old high school senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, was last seen around 3:00pm. Her body was then found in Leakin Park on February 9, 1999. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested and charged for her murder later that month. Then he was convicted with a life sentence a year later. Adnan and his family have always maintained his innocence. A decade and a half later a family friend and attorney, Rabia Chaudry, reaches out to Sarah Koenig and asks her to take a look at his case. Koenig investigates for a year and is able to interview Adnan himself. What she finds is an infinite amount of unanswered questions. Why was there so little physical evidence? Why did the key witness, Jay Wilds, have such a conflicting and constantly changing story? Why did Jay know where Hae’s car was? Why would Jay confess to taking part of a murder if it wasn’t true? Why can’t Adnan remember what he did that day? Where is Asia McClain, the girl who could potentially be Adnan’s alibi, and why didn’t she testify in his trail? If Adnan didn’t kill Hae, then who did? Koenig is a great storyteller and keeps the listener in constant intrigue. She gives just enough information to keep you thinking and lets you build your own theories in your mind. There’s ambiguity in every episode and the whole series leaves you wanting more answers. I loved this podcast and I highly recommend it to everyone I know. But having looked further into Adnan’s case, I’ve realized how much information there is and how little Koenig touched on. I understand why she did this but at the same time it makes me feel like I was lied to in a way. So please listen and enjoy but dig deeper.
This leads me to my next recommendation…Undisclosed.