Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, & Legal Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Carrie Buist

Second Advisor

Dr. Jina Lee

Third Advisor

Dr. Tonisha Jones

Academic Year



True crime podcasts have risen in popularity following the release of Serial in 2014. Contrastingly, homicide case clearance rates have been declining since the 1990s. Many true crime podcasts detail both solved and unsolved cases, thus, podcasts may serve as useful tool for law enforcement. The current study aimed to identify victim and suspect demographics, as well as crime related themes within true crime podcast Crime Junkie. A content analysis of Crime Junkie homicide episode themes revealed white women were the primary victims covered in the episodes, males were the majority of the suspects and offenders, and firearms were the prominent method of homicide in unsolved cases. In addition, through the use of external searches, the study examined if any true crime podcast contributed to the reopening and later solving of an unsolved case. The external searches enabled the extraction of various podcasts and case names/details to gather data. The external search not only uncovered five true podcasts that have aided in the reopening of an unsolved case that was later solved, but also three common themes as to the role of the podcast played in reopening emerged. This research serves as one of the first to investigate and determine the positive role true crime podcasts can play in cold case investigation.