Criminal (podcast)

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Criminal podcast logo.png
Hosted byPhoebe Judge
GenreTrue crime
ProductionPhoebe Judge, Lauren Spohrer, Nadia Wilson, Rob Byers
Original releaseJanuary 2014 – present

Criminal is an independently-produced podcast that focuses on true crime. It is recorded in the studios of WUNC in Chapel Hill, NC, and is part of the Radiotopia network from PRX. The show describes itself as telling "stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle."[1]

Criminal tells a different story in each episode[1] across a wide range of topics; for example, a mother-daughter coroner team,[2] a student who manufactured counterfeit banknotes with inkjet printers, an African American man who was wrongfully shot by police in front of his mother and father,[1] a visit to "a body farm," where forensic anthropologists put bodies outside to decompose in nature;[3] an investigation into the true origins of the term "420,"[4] and how to fake your own death and get away with it.[5] New episodes come out twice a month, on Fridays. Julienne Alexander makes original illustrations for each episode.

Criminal was originally created by Lauren Spohrer, Phoebe Judge, and Eric Mennel[1] and was launched in January 2014[6] after they met while working on The Story with Dick Gordon at WUNC.[7] Criminal is now produced by Phoebe Judge, Lauren Spohrer and Nadia Wilson who joined the show in September 2016. Three years in, the team decided to “try their hand at something new.”[8] They released This is Love, a new podcast that “investigates life's most persistent mystery.”[8] Season one launched on Valentine’s Day, 2018. The six-episode weekly series explores “stories of sacrifice, obsession, and the ways in which we bet everything on each other.”

Season two comes out in the fall of 2018.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Criminal has been described as "the best new radio show in America" in The Huffington Post,[7] as "the thinking person’s true crime podcast" in The News & Observer,[9] and as "the purist’s true crime series" in Time.[10] Alexis Soloski, theater critic at The New York Times, wrote that "no matter how strange or ghastly the crime, the voice of the host Phoebe Judge somehow remains implacable and oddly soothing."[11] Criminal is regularly selected in Best Podcasts roundups. In its selection of "The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016," The Atlantic wrote, "Criminal’s ethos sets the true-crime bar high." Criminal was chosen by Wired as one of the Best Podcasts of 2015,[12] and was included twice in the Vulture's annual lists: once on The 10 Best Podcasts and also the 10 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015,[13] where it was described as "a true-crime podcast that understands crime as something sociological, historical, even anthropological — that crime is a function of people, time, and place."[14] The episode "695-BGK" was one of nine award winners at the 2015 Third Coast International Audio Festival.[15][16] In March 2017, Entertainment Weekly included the program on its list of the best "true-crime" podcasts.[17]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Criminal podcast, review: These skilfully shaded crime cases are such". The Independent. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  2. ^ Locker, Melissa (2015-09-24). "Criminal: the podcast that's a life of crime". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  3. ^ "Episode 68: All the Time in the World (6.1.2017)". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  4. ^ "Episode 64: 420 (4.7.2017)". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  5. ^ "Episode 61: Vanish (2.17.2017)". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  6. ^ "ABOUT | Criminal". Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  7. ^ a b "This Is Criminal: The Best New Radio Show in America". The Huffington Post. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  8. ^ a b c Quah, Nicholas. "True-Crime Podcast Criminal Is Launching a Love-Themed Spinoff". Vulture. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  9. ^ "'Just tell a story': Behind the scenes at the thinking person's true crime podcast". newsobserver. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  10. ^ Locker, Melissa. "Serial: What to Watch, Hear and Read If You're Obsessed with the Podcast". Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  11. ^ Mcdermon, Daniel (2015-07-02). "What to Do This Weekend". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  12. ^ "Waiting for Serial? Try Some of These, Our Favorite Podcasts". WIRED.
  13. ^ "The 10 Best Podcasts and 10 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015". Vulture. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  14. ^ "The 10 Best Podcasts and 10 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015". Vulture. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  15. ^ "Episode 18: 695BGK (4.3.2015)". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Third Coast International Audio Festival :: 695-BGK Integirty". Third Coast International Audio Festival.
  17. ^ Everett, Cristina (March 17, 2017). "BEST TRUE-CRIME PODCASTS". Entertainment Weekly (1457/1458): 100.