Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
The best mystery podcasts to listen to in 2023
Mystery podcasts have taken off in a big way since the success of Serial, and at this point, there are tons of great podcasts to choose from. From true crime podcasts to stories of the paranormal, we’ve selected the best mystery podcasts to fill your feed in 2023. And a word of advice: avoid Googling around too much if you don’t want to spoil the surprise.
The best mystery podcasts
We’d be doing a disservice to all of you if we didn’t include the first smash-hit podcast there ever was. While the first legendary season of Serial follows the story of a high school murder and a (potential) false conviction, each subsequent season tells a completely different story, so you don’t need to listen to each season. The first and third seasons are must-listen podcasts, but you can probably skip the second. The show officially finished in 2018, but since 2020, the feed has been filled with similar mystery podcasts worth a listen.
Next up is another of the best murder mystery podcasts, focusing on a killing spree that started in 1979. A fictionalized version was included in the excellent Netflix original series Mindhunter. But if you aren’t familiar with it, 28 children and adults were murdered over two years, and cops were eager to pin the murders on the first suspect they found. But is he the real killer? More than 40 years later, this mystery podcast tries to find out.
Homecoming is one of the best fictional mystery podcasts out there, eventually getting picked up by Amazon for a Prime Original series starring Julia Roberts. The podcast series is also a star-studded affair featuring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, and others. It’s better if you go into the story cold. Without spoiling too much, it’s about a caseworker at an experimental facility for soldiers returning home from war. The story unfolds over two seasons, and you’ll be at the edge of your proverbial seat. This one is a Spotify-exclusive podcast.
S-Town is short, but it’s one of my favorite mystery podcasts of all time. On the surface, it’s a (true) investigative podcast about a reporter looking into wild allegations that a curious man has about his podunk town in Alabama. However, the two develop a special relationship along the way, and the mystery only deepens. The series finished years ago, and at just eight episodes long, it’s ripe for an afternoon binge listen.
Up and Vanished
Up and Vanished is hosted by the same person as Atlanta Monster above, and it’s another murder mystery podcast in the same vein as Serial. Each of the three seasons follows a different murder, re-interviewing witnesses and digging up old leads. Unfortunately, there are long gaps between seasons, so don’t expect a season four soon, but there’s still plenty to listen to in the meantime.
This Australian murder mystery podcast covers the real-life murders of three Aboriginal Australians in the titular town of Bowraville. The host attempts to solve the cold case more than 30 years later, and the result has been called Australia’s Serial. If you’re on the fence, it’s short at just five episodes long, so you can binge the whole thing on a long domestic flight.
Missing Richard Simmons
This is perhaps the strangest mystery podcast on the list, but as the title implies, it’s about 90s fitness guru Richard Simmons. It’s a low-stakes dive into the recent disappearance of Richard Simmons from public life, presented in a Serial-style narrative format. It’s an interesting and entertaining series that doesn’t take long to finish and brings up some interesting issues about today’s celebrity culture.
Want a mystery podcast with a bit of sci-fi horror and a lot of weirdness? Spines is a radio drama from ZoomDoom Stories about a woman who wakes up surrounded by what appears to be the remnants of a cult ritual. The first few episodes will be confusing, but watching (or hearing?) the mystery unfold over the full 24 episodes is an experience you won’t soon forget. If you want more, check out the follow-up series Mirrors.
We have one more radio drama to include in our list of the best mystery podcasts, and this one was also adapted into an (ill-fated) Netflix original series. Presented as a found-footage narrative, it follows archivist Dan as he restores tapes that a young woman made in the 90s in a mysterious apartment complex. The three-season series contains horror, sci-fi, mystery, and paranormal elements.
Unsolved Mysteries is better known as an iconic TV series, but it’s also available in podcast form. The 80+ episode series has slowed production recently and is now on a long hiatus. However, there’s still plenty to comb through, and the odd update is published now and then. Like its visual sibling, the podcast primarily focuses on crime mysteries, whether unsolved or wrongly convicted.