Host Ira Glass plays tape from a political rally in support of a Chicago politician named Derrick Smith, who had just been arrested for accepting a bribe. His supporters likely believed that Smith had erred...but they also believed that the other candidate was even worse.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of Jeff Smith, a former Missouri State Senator who spent last year in federal prison. The story of how Jeff ended up there includes large sins, but begins with a relatively small one.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has led some of the most sweeping budget cuts in the country. Producer Sarah Koenig reports from Trenton, where one third of the police force has been laid off, leading to dramatically increased crime.
Sarah Koenig attended last weekend's Penn State game, the last home game of the season, with Michael Winereb and his parents. Weinreb grew up in State College, and has written several widely circulated columns for the website Grantland about his reactions to the recent scandal.
Some adventures you seek out on purpose, and others hunt you down. Producer Alex Blumberg tells this story, about the experience a guy had in China...which started out as first kind of adventure, then quickly turned into the second kind.
Ira explains how a man named Chris Butler created a private detective agency where the investigators were good-looking soccer moms. Their publicist invited a reporter named Pete Crooks from Diablo magazine to do a ride-along with the P.I.
Joshuah Bearman tells the story of Pete's ridealong with the PI Moms, and how strange things started to happen. As he dug deeper into their operations, he learned about cases like the Candyman, where everything gets oddly and unnecessarily complicated.
Joshuah Bearman's story continues. Chris Butler makes a transition into true criminal behavior.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of Florencia de Benito Juarez, a small town in Mexico where a new drug gang recently took over. They promised peace and tranquility, and for the most part, they're making good on those promises.
Reporter Laura Beil tells the story of a kid named Kenneth Williams and an adult named Ton'Nea Williams (who share a last name but are not related).
"Thug" is a very imprecise word. And as producer Nancy Updike explains, the subjectivity of its meaning has been particularly apparent during the recent revolution in Egypt.
Host Ira Glass speaks with former FBI agent Bill Tobin about police collusion with organized crime in 1970s Chicago. It turns out that old boys networks like the mob pull in good and bad cops alike.
When he was a kid, Josh Martin's mother Nancy told him that if anythingever happened to her, he needed to take care of his brother Ben. This confusedJosh, because Ben was his older brother, and he felt that if anything heshould be the one taken care of.
Back in 2004, a reporter named David Holthouse published a remarkable story in the weekly paper he worked for, Westword. It's about something he waited his entire life to do...since childhood.
Host Ira Glass Host talks to Paul Gereffi, a letter carrier in Ft. Lauderdale who helped save the life of a stabbing victim who saw Gereffi's mail truck and flagged him down.
Sarah Koenig tells Raucci's story—the story of a virtuoso tyrant and bully, a man who made himself feared and untouchable, in a place where no one thought to look for a tyrant.
Sarah Koenig's story continues. This is the 'fall' half of the rise and fall of Steve Raucci, including secret recordings of the man himself.
David and Chana discover a dark criminal plot inside their toxic asset.
Ira Glass speaks with a man named Daniel Johnson, who is in the K&R business. That's the kidnap and ransom business, where a company helps you negotiate to get back your loved one.
So much kidnapping happens in Colombia that the biggest radio station in the country has a show aimed specifically at an audience of kidnapping victims. Reporter Annie Correal tells the story.
Isaiah Thompson tells the story of the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami, a bridge that became home to a population of sex offenders, after a powerful lobbyist named Ron Book helped make it illegal for them live almost anywhere else in the city. Isaiah Thompson is a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia City Paper.
Michael May tells the story of Barry Cooper, a former crooked narcotics cop who has turned his interest elsewhere...to busting crooked narcotics cops. But after Cooper and a rich benefactor team up to set a trap for the police, Barry's plans are put in jeopardy—including his dream of creating a reality show called "Kop Busters." Michael May is the Culture editor at the Texas Observer.
Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk. He was a fixer.
James Spring had hit his late 30s, and found his life utterly unremarkable. He needed to do something big.