Crime podcasts are at their best when they reach past the grim details and gore of murder, and investigate something bigger. That’s what works so well about the ABC’s true crime contribution, Unravel.
In its first season, ‘Blood on the Tracks’, Unravel focuses on the death of Aboriginal teenager Mark Haines in 1980s Tamworth. It’s a gripping story with plenty of the horror that comes with a murder story – but it also examines why the case went inadequately investigated for so long, and scrutinises the racism at play in the police force in regional New South Wales. Its reporters – Allan Clarke, Yale MacGillivray and the Unravel True Crime team – won a Walkley Award in 2018 for Best Indigenous Reporting.
Unravel‘s second season – ‘Barrenjoey Road’, investigated by Ruby Jones and Neil Mercer – begins with an abduction in Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 1978. A third season, ‘Last Seen Katoomba’, digs into the suspicious unsolved disappearance of young mum, Belinda Peisley, who was last seen in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in September 1998.
Crime podcast fans will find a lot to love here – clear injustice, audience-sleuthing and dazzling sound design. But those sceptical of the genre should give it a try, too.