Show Notes is the Q&A series from Crime + Investigation where we speak to the hosts of your favourite true crime podcasts. Using quickfire questions we find out more about the shows, their passion for true crime and the cases that keep them awake at night. There are hundreds of true crime podcasts available across every platform, so this is your chance to meet the people behind the microphones and discover your next favourite listen.
In this latest interview, we speak to Alex Estrada, a co-host of The Estate. Throughout the seven-episode series, Alex searches for the truth about whether or not his own father was involved in a murder back in 1973. The Estate goes on a twisting journey that covers a murder mystery, political conspiracy and the criminal justice system.
1. What five words would you use to describe your podcast?
Family memoir. Political conspiracy. Murder.
2. What makes your podcast stand out from the crowd?
The Estate is an atypical true crime podcast for several reasons, but what sets it apart the most is the relationship between myself as the host and one of the story’s main characters: my father, Rosalio Estrada.
Often, in deep-dive investigative pieces it's journalists outside of the story that are coming in to find the truth. But, in this case, it’s not just an outside investigation, but a personal one. My father was accused of orchestrating a murder that took place in the 1970s in Stockton, California; the murder of his business partner, Anthony Virgilio. For most of my life, I believed that was the case, and The Estate really documents my journey to discover the truth for myself. It meshes family memoir and true crime together in a unique way and also includes dramatised moments from talented voice actors to really bring certain parts of the story alive.
3. What first sparked your interest in podcasting?
In a sense, every family reunion since my father’s passing was a sort of 'in-person' podcast. My siblings and I would get together and talk about Dad, share new stories we’d heard from family members, and debate about whether or not he was involved in the murder. Those discussions eventually pushed me to get the facts for myself and led to the creation of The Estate.
I also drew inspiration from Chris Lambert’s work on Your Own Backyard, a true crime podcast covering Kristin Smart (which, incidentally, has a connection to Stockton, CA); specifically in that we also have a hope to drive others to come forward with more information about the Virgilio murder.
4. What's your favourite part of the podcasting process?
I think the most fascinating part of making The Estate was listening back to the interviews my co-host and I conducted with our subjects, especially those who shared stories about my father. Though they were not always germane to our murder investigation, they did offer a view into him as a person that I never got when he was alive.
5. What's your favourite episode in the series and why?
The last one, episode seven. I will say no more except that it is a fitting end to this series, so you’ll have to listen to see why!
6. What life lessons has your podcast taught you?
Be patient, be persistent, and be prepared for anything.
7. What's your favourite true crime podcast?
For me, Serial is the gold standard when it comes to true crime podcasting. That was our goal when we set out to make The Estate. Of course, it ended up being a bit trickier given that the murder occurred 50 years ago and was prosecuted without any real physical evidence against a political backdrop. Plus, my personal connection to one of the suspects added an additional layer of complexity. As a result, we ended up with a true podcast with a focus on politics, psychology, and family rather than gory details and the minutiae of police reports.
8. If you had to choose another subject other than true crime for a podcast, what would you choose and why?
I would do another mystery about my family but I would choose a lighter subject matter. I’ll give you a quick example: I just came back from a family reunion and was reminded about an experience from my childhood where a cousin of mine visited from out of state and brought a disposable camera. However, someone in my household had taken the camera and used up all the pictures. We ended up doing a full investigation complete with a 'family court' trial. It was truly a ridiculous experience worthy of the annals of podcasting, and I think with the right structure, production, and writing would be an entertaining and gripping story for listeners.
Listen and subscribe to The Estate wherever you get your podcasts.
- Check out our true crime podcast hub for podcast features and interviews, plus full episodes of the Murdertown podcast.