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Criminal Records Podcast

Sep 16, 2021

What if a legal trial was also a battle to the death? In this episode, we look at the strange phenomenon of the judicial duel, in which a plaintiff and defendant would try to kill each other to win a court case. In the “last duel” of medieval France, one man made his fight for justice into a literal fight, and used...


Sep 2, 2021

We've talked about cultures that had a formalized, bureaucratic process for getting revenge. But what do you do when you're not legally allowed to retaliate against the man who killed your father? Shi Jianqiao devoted her life to revenge, captivating the Chinese populace with her filial piety and her poetry...


Aug 19, 2021

London’s greatest thief-taker had a secret: he was also the leader of its best-organized gang of thieves. For years, Wild turned one of the most brutal criminal justice systems in the world to his advantage—but even the self-styled Thief-Taker General ended up on the gallows.

Content note: This episode contains a...


Aug 5, 2021

Is it a crime to be well-dressed? In this week's episode, we return to the French revolution to find out why one of the world's most fashionable women became the symbol for everything that was wrong with the aristocratic system. Did Marie Antoinette really bankrupt the country with her dresses and jewels, or was she...


Jul 22, 2021

The people of France tried to do just a little bit of revolution, but things got out of hand when their king didn't play along. Louis XVI's accusers needed to convict France's disgraced figurehead to cement the legitimacy of their own government. They just had one little problem: how do you prosecute a man who committed...