It was 1999 in Baltimore County, Maryland, when a high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime and, within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t. Sarah Koenig thought there was more to it, so sifted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimonies and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan and Hae. In this podcast, Sarah Koenig looks for answers.
Episode Highlight: Leakin Park
Hae’s been missing for three weeks when a man who stops at the side of road stumbles on her body in a city forest. But when you hear about the man’s suspicious behaviour – why was he walking in the woods in the middle of the day – the case suddenly becomes even more complicated.
In 1996 French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found dead near her holiday home in West Cork. With no witnesses and no known motive, it was known simply as ‘the murder’. The police had a suspect in the community, but they couldn’t make a charge stick. A quarter of a century later, this podcast series brings together a remarkable cast of characters, many of whom have never spoken publicly before. The victim’s family, the aforementioned suspect and other locals are all on hand to share their side of the story.
Episode Highlight: Five
Five episodes in, the guards finally have a suspect – one who has spent the last 20 years trying to convince Ireland that he is not a murderer. This episode traces back his steps over the six weeks following the murder, up until the day of his arrest. What was he up to, and how did he become the central figure in one of Ireland’s most notorious murder cases?
In 1974, Debbie Gayle was one of Britain’s most promising young ballerinas. At the age of 17, she was chosen to go to the Soviet Union and become the first westerner to train at Russia’s finest ballet academy. Only a few months later, things took a near deadly turn and she just about made it out of the country thanks to a young girl named Natasha – who she never saw or heard from again. Now, 50 years later, Debbie’s son – journalist Jake Warren – sets out to solve his family’s myth and find the woman who saved his mother’s life. Split into five digestible parts (each episode clocks in at less than half an hour, some closer to 20 minutes) each week Jake recounts his mother’s story and prepares to update her with his latest findings… be they good or bad.
Episode Highlight: Part 2, Enter Natasha
Debbie travels to Russia and things go downhill quickly while Jake makes an important discovery. This episode has some of the case’s most interesting details, so be sure to listen carefully, especially during the latter half where we’re given crucial clues.
Shrink Next Door
Fans of the Dirty John and Dr Death podcasts will be hooked on this series. Journalist Joe Nocera’s neighbour in the Hamptons was a therapist named Ike. Ike counted celebrities and Manhattan elites as his patients. He’d host star-studded parties at his eccentric vacation house. But one summer, Joe discovered that Ike was gone and everything he’d thought he’d known about his neighbour – and the house next door – was wrong. One of the most shocking cases on this list, Shrink Next Door is a story about power, control and turning to the wrong person for help for three decades.
Episode Highlight: 4, The Familia
The guest list for those notorious Hamptons parties was filled with A-listers. But mingling among those guests were some of Ike’s patients. Strange? Yes, we think so too…
Hosted by journalist Pandora Sykes, The Missing looks into the cases of the long-term missing and asks you, the listener, to help. Brought to you in association with charities Locate International and Missing People, every week the team explores a different case, hears original interviews with family and friends, and ask the questions that need to be answered. Where did they go? What happened to them? And does anyone listening have any information?
Episode Highlight: Karen Milsom
Karen was 52 years old when she suddenly disappeared from her home in the south of France. This episode hears from her best friend Claire, who reveals the devastating impact that the disappearance has had on her life. Karen was down and in a rut before she vanished, and an argument with her husband led to her wanting a few days to herself. But she never came home – can this episode unlock some answers?
Having documented more than four years as a 'prison wife' in a blog and previous podcast series, Prison Bag, Josie Bevan now confronts the failings of the prison system. In episode one, Josie meets her husband Rob at the prison gates after he's served four-and-a-half years of a nine-year sentence for fraud. She takes stock of where the experience of his incarceration has left her and the family, and the dramatic ways it has impacted her understanding of how the criminal justice system in the UK works – or doesn't work. Elsewhere, she talks with former prison governor Peter Dawson, who is now director of the Prison Reform Trust, about how honest public discourse about prison is; and she meets Dave Merritt, whose son Jack was working with former prisoners when he was killed in the terror attack at Fishmongers' Hall in 2019.
Episode Highlight: Decriminalisation
In episode three, Josie visits Devon to meet the family of Luke, who died aged 16 after taking ecstasy. With Luke's sister and mother, she talks with the teenage boy who had supplied the tablets and who they saved from a prison sentence.
Chameleon: High Rollers
The first season of Chameleon focused on a mystery criminal who terrorised a select group of Hollywood workers. In the second, High Rollers is all about deceit, scandal and lies. It’s Las Vegas and the FBI has a sting it can hardly believe it's working on. It’s the stranger-than-fiction tale of a two-year undercover mission that went bust, with no one convicted of any crimes. Hosted by Trevor Aaronson, there’s interesting insight on what it’s really like working with the FBI and how, sometimes, missions with the highest stakes can go wrong – with catastrophic effects.
Episode Highlight: Pahrump
Two people have finally been arrested in connection with the offences, trying to leave Las Vegas airport. But when they’re taken in to be interrogated, more questions than answers are raised.
Actresses Hayley Atwell and Vanessa Kirby narrates true stories from the real spies behind some of the world’s greatest espionage operations. What do they know? What are their skills? And what would you do in their position? The first instalment looks into a fake diving resort that saved the lives of hundreds of refugees from Ethiopia, with Mossad operative Gad Shimron – the story behind the Netflix movie The Red Sea Diving Resort – while the latest episode shares what went on during 9/11 inside The Vault, the CIA's top secret bunker, with Tracy Walder, a rookie operative who was there on the ground.
Episode Highlight: Mission in the Dog Meat Valley
In South Korea, dog meat is a controversial delicacy. The farming of dogs for meat is largely unregulated, and animals are kept in horrendous conditions. Activists Nami Kim and Nina Jackel are on a personal mission to stop the slaughter. But to expose their enemies, they'll need to gather the right intelligence – and put their own safety on the line…
The Witness: In His Own Words
In 2005, Joseph O'Callaghan's testimony helped convict two drug-dealing gangsters for murder, and he became the youngest person ever to enter the Witness Protection Programme in Ireland. Now, as the men he put away agitate for release, he tells his extraordinary life story in his own words for the first time. The podcast is based on Nicola Tallant’s best-selling book The Witness – definitely one for anyone who wants to know even more.
Episode Highlight: The Milkman
It’s 1997 and Joseph’s story starts in Dublin. When an unexpected visitor calls at the door, the then 12-year-old decides to get himself a job on the milk round. But his delight at securing his first job quickly turns to fear, as his boss’s true intentions are slowly revealed. Gripping.
Guru: The Dark Side Of Enlightenment
When we face challenges in life, we seek answers from people we believe can help us. When tragedy strikes an exclusive retreat with a self-help superstar, many people are left to wonder: how far is too far? At one time, James Arthur Ray was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune and significant influence with his followers. But it didn’t take long for some to question his unorthodox methods and attempt to stop him. From Wondery – the makers of Dirty John, Dr Death, and The Shrink Next Door – this is a story about the dark side of wellness or, more specifically, enlightenment. Hosted by journalist Matt Stroud, new episodes are released weekly.
Episode Highlight: Introducing The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra
Barry Keenan had hit rock bottom in 1963. He was broke, unemployed, hooked on booze and pills, and his family was falling apart. Put simply, he needed a miracle. And against all odds, he got one. But when the voice on the radio told him there was a simple solution to all his problems – i.e. kidnap Frank Sinatra – things went from bad to worse.
If you've paid any attention to the news in the last couple of years, you'll be aware of the opioid crisis which currently threatens to engulf America's youth. But did you know that in 2019, fentanyl killed more people in a single year than any other drug in modern history? Join VICE News reporter Keegan Hamilton each week as he tracks the third wave of this unique drug crisis. Gripping.
Episode Highlight: The Happiest Thing Ever
A chronic pain patient who relies on fentanyl finds himself on the verge of suicide after the DEA arrests his doctor during a nationwide crackdown. An emotional listen.