The recent surge in popularity of true crime media has spawned countless podcasts for the crime-obsessed, but many of them tend to blend together and fail to stand out. They follow similar formulas for their episodes, with somber retellings of atrocities that leave you with chills. They might vary slightly in specifics, but they generally aren’t exactly “fun” to listen to. However, one podcast consistently provides informative deep dives into unique cases and a welcome dash of humor and originality: “Wine and Crime.”
“Wine and Crime” is the podcast where “three friends chug wine, chat true crime, and break out their worst Minnesotan accents.” It stars Amanda, Kenyon and Lucy, three women hailing from Minnesota who have been best friends since high school. Their close relationship grounds the show, and their comfortable rapport with one another makes it a lot of fun.
The show follows a formulaic layout that repeats itself with each week’s release, but no matter how many episodes you watch, you won’t get tired of it. The “gals” choose a new theme for every episode to diversify the topics they discuss, whether it’s a fan pick or one of their own ideas. Memorable past titles include “Gal Pal Crimes,” “Foreskin Forensics,” “Mid-Coitus Murders,” “Fatal ‘Accidents’” and “Horse Crimes.”
After deciding upon the upcoming week’s theme, the women individually research relevant information based upon their roles. Amanda and Kenyon both find specific cases to talk about, sometimes including multiple stories or just focusing on one complex narrative. Lucy, who studied mortuary science for part of her college career, bolsters their stories with any pertinent background information, including psychological factors and statistics.
Each episode opens with Amanda introducing one of their show’s most original aspects: the wine they pair with each crime. Usually, the wine name is a pun or play on words related to the crime, like a bottle of Le Ruse Sauvignon Blanc paired with “Double Lives.” As a wine connoisseur with experience in the service industry, Amanda provides listeners with intriguing facts about winemaking and how different grape varietals and various fermenting techniques influence the flavor of each bottle.
Teaching listeners that the right adjective for a drinkable wine is “quaffable” is only one thing that sets “Wine and Crime” apart from other podcasts. Lucy introduces each episode’s topic with a barrage of interesting trivia from around the web, quenching listeners’ thirst for a Wikipedia page on the theme. From a tutorial on how to make a murder look like an accident to the psychology behind why someone would fake their own abduction, Lucy provides relevant tidbits that listeners can later repeat in conversation to show off their knowledge.
After Lucy’s segment, Kenyon and Amanda take over and present their cases. The two have a knack for storytelling; they select fascinating and little-known cases, their narratives are easy to follow and the details they include keep listeners on the edge of their seats, eager to hear what happens next.
The cases they cover range from the trivial and lighthearted to the gruesome and macabre, depending on the theme’s gravity, giving listeners a wide range of options to choose from based on their mood. A running theme in “Wine and Crime” is their “Beyond Stupid” series, in which they highlight the buffoonery of dumb criminals’ antics. These are some of their funniest episodes, and the ridiculous cases and the women’s reactions to them will make you die of laughter. At the other end of the spectrum are their darker topics, including “Dismemberment” and “Necrophilia.” The hosts become relatively more serious when recounting these horrific crimes.
Yet no matter what topic they cover, “Wine and Crime” can always make you laugh. Without disrespecting victims, the three women joke a lot about the cases they discuss, especially as they get drunker as the episode progresses. Rather than sensationalize evildoers and thereby grant them a certain mythos that could boost their ego, they make fun of the perpetrators, roasting them for their idiocy and failures.
Aside from their humorous take on crimes, the hosts’ history with one another makes for great banter and anecdotes. Listeners are privy to inside jokes and old stories that personalize the podcast and bring them into the women’s lives. Each “Wine and Crime” episode feels like a casual conversation among friends, full of silly tangents and flashbacks that convey their deep sense of comfort with one another.
The podcast also features several running jokes that unite the fandom. After opening each episode’s bottle, the women exclaim, “Nice pop!” in an exaggerated parody of the accent from their home state of Minnesota. Other times, whenever something sexist occurs, they complain about the “f—king patriarchy.” These small aspects round out the show and connect fans with the hosts.
There’s a reason “Wine and Crime” was voted “Best True Crime Podcast” at the Discover Pods 2018 Podcast Madness. Its unique and personal tone sets it apart from generic true crime content, and its humor and fascinating scripts make it the perfect soundtrack to any extended drive or mundane activity. If you love true crime but think the genre could do with some originality and comedy, “Wine and Crime” is the right podcast for you.