Criminal isn't your typical true crime podcast. It doesn't litigate crimes or anoint heroes or villains. There's no blood or gore or salacious detail. Instead, the show embraces nuance, with some stories about mayhem and murder, but just as many about regular people doing criminal things and what happens before and after.
The makers, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer (who, full disclosure, I'm friends with), spent years working in public radio before branching out on their own, and it shows. Criminal is air-tight, well-mixed, and a delight to both listen to and think about later. And now, Judge and Spohrer have a Valentine's gift for us all: a new podcast, this one about love.
This is Love, which premiers on Valentine's Day, is a six-part series about “sacrifice, obsession, and the ways in which we bet everything on each other." It's a fitting subject for the duo, who've been immersed in the world of true crime now for four years. Crime may be driven by many things—money, power, politics, religion—but top of the list is love. For proof of that, just look at the statistics: According to the CDC, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence at the hands of a partner. Love can be beautiful, but it can also be violent. It's the perfect subject for a Criminal spinoff.
"Isn’t it funny that there seem to be two ways that you can genuinely ruin yourself—and we now have shows about both of them," Judge says. "Love is that one other thing that fascinates us all. It is inescapable. We can try and block ourselves from it but it never works. It finds us."
This is Love promises to reveal as much about human nature as Criminal does. To listen, subscribe here, or wherever you get your podcasts.