Crime serial podcasts have never really been my listening choice, which is why I wanted to check Criminal out. The story itself was fascinating, but I thought that what they accomplished in 24 minutes could’ve been done in 18.
It starts with a soundbite, then an interesting introduction to the speaker. They did a good job of identifying who he was and why he was germane to the story. The narrator came on to walk us through the story. This is where I started to have some issues. Since there’s no visual, it would have been more effective if the narrator, Phoebe Judge, introduced herself earlier. It took a couple of minutes for her to do so, so it was a bit confusing as to what her role in the story was. Was she just an observer or somehow involved with the story?
In the first few minutes, they used guitars as transitions from soundbite to soundbite. There’s a part of me that felt that the music was too upbeat for the subject matter. This is a story of death and dismemberment and the early minutes of the story are accompanied with a calypso style score. It didn’t match up and was a bit distracting.
I wasn’t invested in the story until about the 6:30 mark. This is where Judge starts to add the interview element into the story. Before, the soundbites from the particulars, seem to just be coming out of nowhere. Now we know that Judge is in the room with them. That makes a difference. Now as the listener, I realize that she’s not just telling me the story, she’s seeking out answers. Now there’s an element of us both being in this together.
At the 8:00 mark, the music begins to change. It’s more somber and more appropriate to the subject matter.
The storytelling & choices in the editing got better as the podcast went on. The swerve at the end of the story was well cloaked. I wasn’t expecting the motivation for Angie’s murder to be what it turned out to be. Judge wraps up the podcast well and the music again matches.
In the end, I was happy that I stuck with it, but I was definitely thinking about ejecting in the first couple of minutes.