New True Crime Podcast
O.C. Swingers is a new true crime podcast that has been hovering around the top of the podcast charts since its debut.
O.C. Swingers takes a disturbing look at allegations against a wildly successful Orange County plastic surgeon and his girlfriend for multiple counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, and other various offenses.
I could not help but immediately think of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell while I consumed the first few episodes of O.C. Swingers.
While the alleged crimes in O.C. Swingers thankfully do not involve minors, the shocking combination of a woman paired with a man committing serial offenses along with the elements of elite wealth and high society are all there.
The Podcast Series
O.C. Swingers comes to us from Audiochuck, the podcast production outfit that was founded by Ashley Flowers of Crime Junkie fame.
O.C. Swingers is hosted by journalist and podcaster Justine Harman.
Harman takes an investigative approach towards sorting through all the sordid details of the allegations against Dr. Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley, a substitute teacher by profession.
In addition to the purported crimes themselves, Harman peels the proverbial onion on the culture of the Newport Beach area, where Dr. Robicheaux enjoyed a quasi-celebrity lifestyle.
It is a culture steeped in elite-level wealth, luxurious beach town vibes, and raucous partying with excessive booze and drug usage.
Harman conducts interviews with local reporters who are cultural experts for the Newport Beach area.
She weaves in audio clips as well as reenacted readings of actual police and court transcripts from alleged victims.
All the investigating and reporting paints a picture of power, wealth, guns, drugs, and unforgivable acts of violence perpetrated against countless women drugged into semi-conscious stupors against their own will.
The Main Players
Who is Dr. Robicheaux? How could someone who could seemingly have it all in life live with these dark, corrupted, skeletons in their closet?
Dr. Robicheaux first rose to local, semi-celebrity status when a Newport Beach lifestyle publication deemed him the most prominent bachelor in the area.
That designation and profile alone garnered Dr. Robicheaux a significant spike in interest from women and the town itself.
From there, Dr. Robicheaux landed a feature role on a short-lived reality television show which was to explore the world of online dating from the perspective of eligible, successful bachelors.
None of the content creators from any of these media outlets could have ever envisioned the monstrous allegations that would one day engulf this plastic surgeon and the glitzy beach town he resides in.
Who is Cerissa Riley? How could a substitute teacher, of all professions, find herself as a supposed willing and active participant in some of the most unspeakable acts of horror against fellow females?
Was Cerissa Riley one of Dr. Robicheaux’s first victims? Was she under some sort of Stockholm syndrome spell, which caused her to not only be complicit but actively involved in continual criminal acts against other women?
Pondering that type of explanation for Riley’s alleged participation is not in any way excusing her if she was as heavily involved as she stands accused.
It is simply trying to come up with some sort of explanation behind her disturbing behavior as a woman.
I was hoping as the series of O.C. Swingers moved onward, we would get to hear some sort of origin story for both Robicheaux and Riley.
What was in their family lives or upbringing that laid the foundation for such corrupted morals and twisted psychological profiles?
It would be a missed opportunity not to dedicate at least a full episode of laying down the framework of their upbringing to try and glean some sort of understanding of how all of this could have happened.
That is one of the real benefits for society in the proliferation of true crime content.
We get educated and informed on patterns and behaviors of perpetrators to at least recognize certain concerning human traits if not ever truly understanding them.
When you are talking about a man and a woman, in concert, professed to have committed harrowing acts together, that is a whole other level of pathology to explore.
In episodes 3 and 4, we thankfully got those looks into the history of both Robicheaux and Riley’s backstories.
I will not play the role of the spoiler here as I want any potential listeners of O.C. Swingers to go on the journey with the podcast series.
I will say, though, that Robicheaux’s backstory left me wanting to hear more.
I wanted the host Harman to uncover a more obvious inflection point in Robicheaux’s life that we could all point to and clearly understand the allegations against him.
For Riley, her life was turned upside down at a relatively young age.
Nothing excuses her alleged behavior at all, clearly, but I could see a path having been laid out for a soul becoming lost in life.
Having an expert opinion from a criminal profiler or even a psychologist share their perspectives during these two episodes of reflection would have been a welcomed addition to the production.
O.C. Swingers is a solid, entertaining true crime podcast but not anything I would rush to proclaim as a candidate for the best podcast of 2021.
The production is tight and well packaged. Host Justine Harman does a proper job at presenting the details in a clear and accessible manner for the audience.
The guest interviews and audio clips that are woven throughout the series provide the needed context and background detail for the overall build of the story.
For me personally, the draw here is just the utter shock and contemplation of someone so successful and seemingly having it all, committing these kinds of heinous acts against scores of women.
Combine that shock with the disbelief that a female partner could be along for the ride, side by side, perpetuating these horrific acts against fellow women too.
It is not hard to imagine that a couple that is so strikingly good lucking together with rarified wealth in an opulent, party-hard beach town could not charm their fair share of women into consenting, permission-based sexual rendezvous.
What kind of sick pathology resides in the core of a person’s being that drives them to operate under a mode of drugging and raping barely conscious women as their primary means of extolling power and seeking gratification?
In addition to the draw and fascination over exploring that dark element of humanity, comes the intrigue over the culture of the Newport Beach area itself.
The show takes a smart approach in setting the town up as a player in the story.
Host Justine Harman paints an interesting picture of life in this wealthy, conservative-leaning enclave of an overwhelmingly liberal, democratic state.
For the majority of us, pulling a yacht into a beach bar and being served mimosas on board while luxuriating in the California sun is nothing but a daydream.
Getting a glimpse into the debauchery that can encompass a wealthy beach area could be a podcast series unto itself.
O.C. Swingers is a top-notch true crime podcast production with the kind of components to a story that understandably gravitates it towards the top of the podcast charts, where it has been residing for weeks.
I do not believe there is any new ground being broken here for the world of true crime podcasts but fans of previous smash hits like Dirty John should be well entertained by O.C. Swingers too.