Crime Writers On...Serial (& More)

Crime Writers On...Serial (& More)

United States

True crime co-authors and real-life couple Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie chat with noir novelist Toby Ball and journalist-turned-investigator Lara Bricker about the blockbuster podcast 'Serial,' as well as justice, journalism, storytelling, pop culture, and the 'Crime of the Week.'


A Triple True Crime Podcast Bonanza - Phoebe's Fall, Breakdown & In The Dark  

Things get back to normal in the Crime Writers' world. They discuss the perils of doing bad accents and explain why they can't do audio book versions of their own books. A true crime update (add your own echo): Burke Ramsey has followed through on his threat to sue over the CBS special on his sister's murder. Looks like the case will focus on one comment from one person. Then the focus shifts to the new investigative podcast from Australia, "Phoebe's Fall." We know that Phoebe Handsjuk dropped 12 stories down a garbage chute, crawled out, only to bleed to death from injuries from the trash compactor. Was it a suicide attempt? Was it a drunken misadventure? Or was it something more nefarious? So far, the Crime Writers have mixed opinions. Footnote: for another strange how-did-she-get-into-that situation, check out the case of a 21-year-old Chinese tourist who drowned in a hotel water tank. Checking in with some of the other leading true crime podcasts, in "In The Dark"'s penultimate episode, the Sterns County sheriff is confronted with their pitiful clearance rate. And the trial of Justin Ross Harris is finally underway in "Breakdown." In the Crime of the Week, don't block a driveway in Australia...even if it's your own. NEXT WEEK'S HOMEWORK: From PRX, the new Offshore podcast. From Partners in Crime Media: a new mystery podcast, "The Disappearance Podcast." If you like "The Black Tapes," and "The Message," you'll want to download this one. This week's sponsor is Errata sheet: The link for Grommet in last week's show was wrong. The correct link is

Amanda Knox - The Documentary And Case That Divides Us All  

Oh no! We went there! The Crime Writers discuss the controversial Netflix doc "Amanda Knox." Why are we still intrigued by the murder case? Does any of the evidence add up? Is the motive believable? Is Knox herself credible? As she says, "Either I am a psychopath in sheep's clothing or I am you." Rebecca and Kevin welcome back Dr. Elizabeth Yardley to explain why the British have such a different (and more visceral) view of the case than Americans do. Could it be they were each seeing a different case in their papers and on their TV screens? Bigger question: how bad are the writers going to get trolled on Twitter for their views? Because it seems some people - not everyone, but some - feel really, really, REALLY strongly about this case and you better agree with them in 140 characters (or the 140 consecutive tweets with which they will flood your feed)! In Crime of the Week...a SWAT team takes out an 81-year-old woman for growing a single marijuana plant. Good thing she wasn't stealing cable TV...she'd probably be dead. Episode sponsors are : - (promo code crime) - the Havenly app (promo code crime) - and

We Stand Accused ...of Loving the Podcast 'Accused'  

Every couple of weeks, other podcast comes along and seems like the heir to "Serial." Few live up to the anticipation. Is it possible that the Cincinnati Enquirer's "Accused" podcast has replicated the secret sauce: a truly compelling murder mystery and the transparent, obsessive reporting which goes into the story? It sure is. Rebecca talks with Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossman about their year-long investigation into the 1978 Elizabeth Andes murder. If her acquitted boyfriend Bob Young didn't do it, than who did? Next, the Crime Writers dish on who was the biggest villain in the case: one of the four remaining suspects OR the prosecutor who dodged Amber for a year. (Spoiler alert: three quarters of the panel is REALLY down on Gmoser - and not just because the "G" is silent.) We get a TRUE CRIME UPDATE from Lara about the official Army findings in the Bowe Bergdahl case. Were any servicemen killed looking for Bergdahl? The answer appears to be no...but then again, we don't really know what we're talking about. Kevin sends out love to all who sponsored his Walk-a-Mile In her Shoes event; yes, he finally completed that mile-long course in high-heeled shoes. In the Crime of the Week: A bucket list wish unlike any other. Grandma, Grandma, whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Interstitial music by Uncanny Valleys. Episode sponsors are E-Salon - visit - and Prepdish - visit

That JonBenet Ramsey Special - Yup, We Went There  

The Crime Writers take on what's good - and what's *not* so good - about the The Case of JonBenet, the four-hour CBS special featuring profilers Jim Clemente and Laura Richards and an all-star cast of forensic investigators. We talk about the case, the show's WTF moments (THEY BUILT THE HOUSE??), and dive deep into the potential defamation of Burke Ramsey, who is (in the experts' opinions) a leading suspect in the cold case. We also chat with Ann Bartow, a law professor at UNH Law School and expert on all things defamation and internet speech, and tie that conversation in with issues raised in this week's episode of the excellent In The Dark podcast. Finally, our crime of the week has Rebecca airing an old grudge with her favorite public radio host, Ira Glass. Episode sponsors are the Havenly app (use promo code "crime") and Modcloth (also use promo code "crime") - and yes, we sometimes flub the ads, as you'll hear in the outtakes. Interstitial music by Blue Dot Sessions and Jahzzar. Support Kevin's walk for domestic violence victims in crisis at

In The Usual  

Now that the crime writers are all back in their closet studios after their awesome live show, they tackle the newest high-quality true crime podcast, "In the Dark." It's like "Someone Knows Something"... if someone actually knew something. Rebecca begins by talking with Madeleine Baran, APM Reports journalist and host of "In The Dark." They chat about Madeleine's year-long investigation on what went wrong during the investigation into the 1989 kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling. Even though the podcast kicked off days after Danny Heinrich confessed to killing Jacob 27 years ago, is there still a compelling story to tell? The panel ponders if a true crime podcast can still achieve excellence without the benefit of suspense. Then the Crime of the Week is not child's play. Or is it? Someone needs to go to jail, go directly to jail. Also...Kevin is again doing his part to raise money for a local crisis center. He will "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" and don some stilettos for this one-of-a-kind walk-a-thon. (Spoiler alert: he will likely twist both ankles.) If he raises enough money for his October 5 walk, Rebecca promises to stream every painful step on Facebook Live. Give a modest donation by going here:

Live From The Mall: The Crime Writers Book Club Special  

Yup, the Crime Writers went all in with a live show taping - there was even a real-life audience there to hear it! We talked about our summer book club pick, Laura Lippman's Wilde Lake. Toby also read an epic items list, we answered audience questions. A couple of notes: - Special thanks to the Hatbox Theatre in Concord, NH - Rebecca talks to author Laura Lippman from the 8:08 mark to about 21:00 - Interstitial music was by the Blue Dot Sessions - Some audience questions had to be edited out because of audio quality - Rebecca would like to apologize to her Mom. Stay tuned for the outtakes and you'll know why

New Evidence in the 'Making A Murderer' Case? And Last Call for 'The Night Of'  

We heard you missed us. But hey, we're back! After a semi-vacation over the summer, the crime writers are back weekly to talk about all things criminal - in real life and in pop culture. News on the Steven Avery case continues to break. The new lawyer for the "Making a Murderer" subject has filed a petition to have evidence re-tested using the most modern (and most expensive) analysis currently available. She says the results will definitively prove Avery's innocence (or, she concedes, his guilt). Is doubling down on the police conspiracy theory Avery's best play? Now that HBO's limited series "The Night Of" has signed off, what does the panel make of it? Did the show live up to the high expectations set by episode one? Who's the hero? What does the ending mean? And why did Stone's eczema come back? These are questions the public demands answers to. (PS: If you want to skip past the discussion to remain "unspoiled," skip from 35:47 to 58:36.) The Crime of the Week is a cream pie to the face. Who's responsible for all the creepy-looking clowns popping up in neighborhoods throughout the Carolinas? Is it a sick criminal perpetrator or just a scary joke?

Making a Murderer Brendan Dassey SHOCKER! Plus, Bergdahl Update & The Night Of Predictions  

Another episode, another questionable murder conviction vacated. The panel reacts to the news that a federal magistrate has vacated the conviction of Brendan Dassey, the accused accomplice in the Steven Avery "Making a Murderer" documentary. Although the public went nuts over what many perceived to be a coerced confession, it was something else the detectives did to the intellectually-challenged teen that violated his Sixth Amendment rights. More true crime updates: why did a General burn letters related to "Serial" season 2 subject Bowe Bergdahl? And the man accused of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy is also walking out of prison. Is Naz breaking bad in "On the Night Of"? What is the audience supposed to think of main characters in the HBO limited series at this point? In the Crime of the Week: POOPACALYPSE! P.S. Don't forget about the first Crime Writers On live podcast on September 6 at the Hatbox Theater in Concord, NH. We'll wrap up our summer book club, plus other surprises. (It's free to get in, but click here for so we can have an accurate head count!) P.P.S. What should Lara's Parrothead nickname be? If you have an idea, send us an email or email us a voice memo!

Sneak Preview - These Are Their Stories: A Law & Order Podcast  

Just for fans of our show, here's a trailer for our spinoff, in which Kevin will talk with Rebecca and a special guest about their obsession with Law & Order, and break down the true crime cases behind ripped-from-the-headlines episodes of Law & Order, SVU, and Criminal Intent

Stranger Things, Serial Update(s) & Omar on The Night Of  

Well, it took more than one try, but the Crime Writers are getting it done with a well-rehearsed discussion on Netflix's newest breakout hit, "Stranger Things." It's like Stephen King and Steven Spielberg had a baby that was eight-episodes long. (Almost) no spoilers...except that it's freakin' awesome. We also debut a brand new segment: the TRUE CRIME ROUND-UP! We've got the latest on the Adnan Syed appeal and the Bowe Bergdahl court martial. The panel's sharp eyes turn back to HBO's "The Night Of." What was a straight murder mystery is now part prison story, part crime procedural. Half way through, is it losing focus or hitting its stride. ALSO: Watch for details on the first Crime Writers On live podcast. (Click here for a sort-of RSVP!) We'll wrap up our summer book club with an audience-participation discussion on Laura Lippman's Wilde Lake. We'll be at the the Hatbox Theater in Concord, NH September 6th. FREE ADMISSION. Surprises galore!

HBO's The Night Of, DNA Shenanigans, A Serial Update & Rebecca's Big Win  

It's been more than ten days. What's the latest on whether the state will appeal Judge Welch's decision to vacate Adnan Syed's conviction? "The Night Of" is sure to be "the show of the summer." This moody, unsettling murder mystery is everything that "True Detective, Season 2" was not. The Crime Writers talk about what makes this show stand out, whether the cops are playing fair with Naz, and WTF is up with John Turturro's feet. You think juries can be swayed by faulty cell tower evidence, but how about something as sure-fire as DNA? We hear from science writer Chris Berdik about how DNA mixtures from a single sample are complicating the scientific process...and how the DNA used to convict some suspects is now being used to exonerate them. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We'll announce which crime book you have chosen for the Crime Writers On first Summer Book Club. Use that Amazon link to buy your copy. We'll have a special interactive show to get your views and discuss our thoughts (bring your own white wine). Grab your smartphone for the Crime of the Week. People our out in the real world hunting for Pokémon and some are finding more than just Pikachus!

Serial Epilogue: Adnan Syed Gets a New Trial...Maybe  

Ever since Sarah talked to Asia the world wondered whether she was the key to getting Adnan Syed a new trial. In the end, it was a single sentence in a pile of thousands of documents. The result is in. Judge Welch has ruled Adnan's Sixth Amendment rights were violated and he'll get a new trial...if it ever gets that far. The Crime Writers pull apart the decision and discuss where the case may go from here. Does the state have any evidence left? How would 12 Baltimore jurors (who'd never listened to a podcast) size up Adnan? And why could it be years before he gets out of jail? The panel is joined by super-professor Colin Miller, who answers questions about the legal ins-and-outs of the ruling. Then the Crime Writers take your questions and voice memos. They also discuss the dilemma of the Alford plea: would you admit your guilt to a crime you didn't commit if it gets you out of prison? Also, WTF is a jury view like at the scene of a lumber theft? Here's something new: our first Crime Writers On Summer Book Club show. Each writer has nominated a book. You vote online, then we'll all read and share (bring your own white wine). The nominees are If I Did It by OJ Simpson, I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry, and Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman. In the Crime of the Week, one of our listeners makes a marital confession... #Serial #SerialSeasonOne #AdnanSyed #Undisclosed

Quick Tease: Serial Subject Adnan Syed Gets a New Trial  

Rebecca and Kevin give their quick thoughts on the breaking news of Adnan's Syed's being granted a new trial. We'll be talking about the case in our episode dropping July 9th, so we're asking you to send your questions, comments, and thoughts in an email or a voice memo to You can learn how to send a voice memo on the blog section of our website,

OJ: Made in America, Adnan Syed: Made for TV  

We've spent a lot of time with the boob tube (ahem) so far this summer. This episode, the Crime Writers take out their ear buds and tune in to some of the season's most talked about television. The Adnan Syed case finally gets the prime-time treatment on Investigation Discovery. For crime fans who can't figure out how to download a podcast, or those who only know the tale from hearing it at the water cooler, this hour-long special provides an overview of Serial's season one case. But for those who've spent hours and hours devouring minutia about the crime (I'm looking at you cell tower L689!), is there anything in this show for us? AND - Though you'd think we'd all have had enough of that former Bills running back, especially after the superior drama "The People vs OJ Simpson," ESPN's ambitious documentary may prove you can't get enough of a good thing - if it's a good thing. And "OJ: Made In America" is 450 minutes of a good thing. Race, sex, celebrity...this is why it was the Crime of the Century - and the Crime Writers dive right in. Also - did the crime writers make the same mistake with "Reply All" that the jury made with Paul Modrowski? And we're going for the gold with the Crime of the Week. #Serial #AdnanSyed #OJMadeInAmerica

Reply All Does True Crime & Shines Bright Like King Diamond  

Who thought we'd see Serial reborn in a podcast about the internet? Reply All's Sruthi Pinnamaneni brings us a four-part story about an inmate, his blog, the shifty characters associated with his crime, a flimsy evidence and nutty trial, and then - woah! - that final jailhouse interview! It's the podcast that has everyone asking, "Who the eff is King Diamond?" In this episode, we'll hear from Sruthi about what went into creating the world's latest must-listen-to podcast. Then the panel will give their two-cents on the case and whether Sruthi is the one who finally stuck the landing. There's also a correction or two. The song says "Don't you forget about me," but we might have forgotten about them. Finally, you'll be repeating the Crime of the Week over and over again. Also...can't get enough wisdom and insight from the incarcerated? Here are some blogs written by inmates, for future inmates (...if you're not careful). On the Inside - Paul Modrowski's blog, edited by his mother, that started Reply All's four-episode profile of Paul and his case. Between the Bars - a blog platform for prisoners in the US without internet access, done through MIT. Live from Lockdown - a blog written by various inmates in the federal prison system, including highly influential gang-leaders and those held in solitary confinement. Ben's Prison Blog - written by Ben Gunn, imprisoned in Sudbury (HM Prison), Derbyshire, England, 2009–2012. Since his release, Ben has continued his blog. Lastly, for those looking for deeper meaning, here's King Diamond's song, "No Presents for Christmas." Additional music this episode provided by Uncanny Valleys.

Two And A Half Crime Writers (AKA The One Where We Chat With Jon Cryer!)  

Why the heck would mega TV and movie star Jon Cryer agree to be on our little podcast? Because he's a fan, dammit! It also turns out that he's a HUGE fan of true crime, including many of the podcasts we've talked about, like Serial and Undisclosed. But does the artist formerly known as Duckie qualify as a crime writer? YES! (Sort of.) He's got a hilarious memoir, So That Happened, in which he explains his crime scene-rich formative years, including the shooting of his hooker-loving, soup-making next door neighbor. So yeah, that happened. We talked to Jon Cryer. And yes, he DID spill the beans on being in Pretty in Pink, the weird antics of Charlie Sheen, and serving on jury duty (more than once!) Plus, our Crime of the Week tackles the question...of all the child/teen actors you used to love, which one does the panel most which would make a comeback?

Bowraville - The Podcast From A Land Down Under  

This week, the panel talks about Bowraville, the true crime podcast created by The Australian newspaper. (Scroll down to listen!) Rebecca also connects with Dan Box, the Brit-turned-Aussie who reported the story, and asks, why is your newspaper being called the "unlikely hero" of this never-solved serial murder case? (A has a little something to do with Rupert Murdoch!) Also, we tackle some listener queries, and play a voice memo simply because one of you asked us to. As for the crime of the week? Let's just say it puts a new twist on the trustworthiness of babysitters.

Bowe Bergdahl's Court Win & The SWAT Team Controversy  

When news broke last week that Bowe Bergdahl's legal team had scored a victory in his case, we weren't sure we understood exactly what happened. So, Kevin reached out to our trusty military legal eagle James Weirick for a quick run-down. As a bonus, we get confirmation that Weirick is, in fact, the manliness man to ever man-up. Also, the PBS documentary Peace Officer hooked us in but also left us with some questions. As we tackle those, we also wonder, WTF is our local PD doing with a tank? (BTW, you can find out what we're going to be talking about before our episodes drop if you sign up for our newsletter! You can do that right here.) Plus, Lara gets corrected correctly, we answer a couple of listener inquiries, and the Crime of the Week it EVER too late to hand out some justice? LINKS: "The Coldest Cut" article by Kevin & Rebecca Radley Balko's Washington Post blog: The Watch AMC/Netflix's crime drama "The Killing" Crime of the Week: 71 year old fugitive caught 50 years after his escape.

Breakdown's Breakdown and British Crime's Dark Side  

Just when we were getting ready to see how Justin Ross Harris's trial in the baby-in-the-hot-car homicide would play out, a twist no one saw coming. This means an unexpected hiatus for the "Breakdown" podcast and questions about media influence on the justice system. We get to know Dr. Elizabeth Yardley, a criminologist at Birmingham City University in England. She's studied how Serial fans used Reddit to interact with Hae's and Adnan's families, as well as look at the digital fingerprints criminals are leaving on social media. Plus, we talk about what British audiences like when it comes to crime drama. We should have seeing the signs in the Crime of the Week. One NY mayor helped his village's street department out by taking home some "office supplies" from this day job.

These Are Their Stories: A Very Special Law & Order Special  

Kevin and Rebecca are joined by two very special guests to discuss Law & Order: "Original Recipe," AKA, the first series in the juggernaut franchise that's been on the air for nearly three decades. The panel talks about what makes Law & Order so compelling, their favorite characters, the weird writing tropes of the Law & Order universe, and a lightning round that pits Jerry Orbach against Dennis Farina, and Jill Hennessy against Angie Harmon. Episode links at Meet our brand new special guest panelist Brady Carlson and read his book, Dead Presidents Rebecca talked about a study that looked at views of law enforcement through the lens of Law & Order. Here's an article about that. And, you can see Brady Carlson's Happy Birthday photo signed by Jerry Orbach,

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