Podcast Review: Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes

(Grant / Flickr)

This week features another delightful podcast from the people over at Wondery. Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes is a weekly audio drama following stories of crime, love, mystery, or conspiracy. Each story is told over the course of one to six 30 minute episodes, these stories will make you laugh, think, and wonder.

Currently Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes has produced six different series, a stand-alone episode, as well as several bonus episodes. The first series, Air Force One, is a fictional retelling of the immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the events that play out within those 60 minutes. Divided into two parts, Air Force One is based on classified, Federal, and academic research, as well as diaries and recollections of those who witnessed the event in Dallas. However, it is still a work of fiction, and some conversations have been imagined.

Their second mini-series, A Beautiful Spell, follows the love life of Franny and Jim (portrayed by married actors Jenna and Bodhi Elfman). The couple have been happily married for 12 years… until Franny reveals a deep dark secret.

Third in the series is the standalone Love Contract. This special hour long episode follows the secret love life of Laura and Derek. The couple work together, and revealing their relationship to their boss could mean they both end up jobless, or at least one of them (we’ve all seen The Office, how well did that work out for Michael G. Scott?).

The fourth, Severed Threads, is a mystery told over the course of 3 episodes and follows three individuals on three separate continents. At first they appear to have few, if any connections, but their lives soon become intertwined.

The events of series five, Wait Wait Don’t Kill Me unfold over the course of 5 parts, and take the shape of a musical podcast. As the description puts it “like Serial Season One, only with much more singing”. If Serial sounds familiar that’s because it became a chart topping podcast way back in fall of 2014. WWDKM follows host Sarah Koenig as she ends up working at This American Life, and is approached about recounting the murder that launched her career.

The sixth series Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes is currently releasing is an interpretation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. This story is set in a futuristic totalitarian theocracy that has stripped away women’s rights. Women who are able to have children are trained as handmaids, and become sexual servants whose only function is procreation. This first five episodes of this six-part series have been released. If you listen to anyone of these, I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale.

As with last week’s podcast review Hollywood and Crime, the production quality of Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes is amazing. New episodes of Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes are released every Tuesday.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 20, January 31, 2017.