Murder in Illinois: Half of a story

TWO STARS

Reporter Lauren Bright Pacheco and her team fail to tell listeners the truth — that Murder in Illinois never intends to present a balanced case and let them make their own minds up. Rather its narrators, witnesses, evidence and all journalistic effort is hell bent on exonerating Vaughn.

Once you know that, it’s probably easier to enjoy.

Firebug: Flame festishes are a thing

FOUR STARS

This is a fascinating story, told carefully and concisely by Kary Antholis, who deftly builds the character of Orr – and outwardly intelligent and highly renowned arson investigator – before introducing listeners to the clues and hunches that ultimately reveal him as an unlikely but prolific fire setter.

Murdaugh Murders: Suspicion and intrigue in South Carolina

THREE STARS

Of course, the Mudaugh case is fascinating to begin with, but what Matney brings to the table is expert knowledge — both of the case itself and also of good storytelling. She busts myths, introduces new and important details, carefully constructs and deconstructs scenarios and, critically, she’s does a brilliant job of familiarizing her listeners with the local politics and hierarchies of her part of South Carolina.

The Line: Moral dilemmas for the military

FIVE STARS

Eddie Gallagher is what’s you might politely term a “divisive character.” Depending on who you ask, they could call him a decorated military hero or a murderous thug. In The Line, Dan Taberski attempts to separate fact from fiction in Gallagher’s controversial war crime case — and revisit some of the morally loaded questions around acceptable wartime behavior.

Suave: A tale of friendship and redemption

Suave is raw and true. It’s about human fallibility and how we process it as a society, and as individuals. About navigating forgiveness and guilt. It is about understanding predicament and fighting our human impulse to essentialize criminality, recognizing that a human being is so much more than a poor choice they once made.