13 episodes

Detective Louis N. Scarcella was a legendary figure in New York City during the '90s. In a city overrun with violent crime, he cracked the toughest cases and put away the worst criminals. But the story changed when a group of convicted murderers-turned-jailhouse lawyers made a startling discovery that linked all their cases: Scarcella was the cop who helped put many of them away. They made a vow: Take down Scarcella. And with the help of a relentless New York Times reporter, they did just that. Thirty years later, 20 people who Scarcella helped put behind bars have since walked free. In the media, he’s known as the disgraced, rogue cop who hoodwinked an entire system. But was this really the workings of one person? 

We spent hundreds of hours talking with witnesses who were coerced, jailhouse lawyers, outraged attorneys, and righteous cops. Scarcella insists he didn’t do anything wrong. And after finally tracking him down, he agreed to take us into the belly of the beast... where justice is done (and undone). Welcome to The Burden. 

The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1.

The Burden True Crime Clubhouse

    • True Crime
    • 4.4 • 178 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Detective Louis N. Scarcella was a legendary figure in New York City during the '90s. In a city overrun with violent crime, he cracked the toughest cases and put away the worst criminals. But the story changed when a group of convicted murderers-turned-jailhouse lawyers made a startling discovery that linked all their cases: Scarcella was the cop who helped put many of them away. They made a vow: Take down Scarcella. And with the help of a relentless New York Times reporter, they did just that. Thirty years later, 20 people who Scarcella helped put behind bars have since walked free. In the media, he’s known as the disgraced, rogue cop who hoodwinked an entire system. But was this really the workings of one person? 

We spent hundreds of hours talking with witnesses who were coerced, jailhouse lawyers, outraged attorneys, and righteous cops. Scarcella insists he didn’t do anything wrong. And after finally tracking him down, he agreed to take us into the belly of the beast... where justice is done (and undone). Welcome to The Burden. 

The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode 1 | The Scoop

    Episode 1 | The Scoop

    Episode 1 of 10

    New York Times journalist Frances “Frenchie” Robles gets a tip about a group of wrongfully convicted men in the New York State prison system. The common denominator: many were arrested by the same detective. Frenchie tracks down the story in a surprise visit to prison.

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts.  

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min
    Episode 2 | The Confessions of Louis Scarcella

    Episode 2 | The Confessions of Louis Scarcella

    Episode 2 of 10

    Steve chases down the legendary detective. He hasn’t talked in years, but after tracking him to a sauna in a Russian bathhouse, Louie starts to sing. We learn about his uncle, the mobster who Louie must investigate for murder.

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts. 

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    Episode 3 | The Actual Innocence Team

    Episode 3 | The Actual Innocence Team

    Episode 3 of 10

    We meet Shabaka Shakur, Derrick Hamilton, and the rest of the law firm they founded in prison. They are the best jailhouse lawyers of their generation. They have roles: lecturer, writer, PR man, intern… They claim they were framed...by Louie Scarcella. They declare common cause: bring him down. That cause will change the history of New York state jurisprudence.

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad-free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts.  

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    Episode 4 | The Crazy World of Murder

    Episode 4 | The Crazy World of Murder

    Episode 4 of 10

    We meet the single eyewitness at the heart of some of Scarcella’s high profile cases. Teresa Gomez claimed to witness 11 murders, and she brought them all to Scarcella. For Louie, she was a truth teller and a “special friend” who also boosted his career. For those she testified against, she was a crack addict and fabulist. We explore the complicated relationship of Louie and Teresa, and her reliability.

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts.  

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    Episode 5 | The Derrick Dilemma

    Episode 5 | The Derrick Dilemma

    Episode 5 of 10

    Derrick Hamilton, champion of the wrongfully convicted, claimed innocence since the day he was arrested by Scarcella. He claimed innocence in a previous murder conviction as well. But we uncover documents that show he lied. He admits to being a liar. So… was he framed? Or is he the master manipulator the prosecution claimed?

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts. 

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 min
    Episode 6 | Does a New D.A. Mean a New Day?

    Episode 6 | Does a New D.A. Mean a New Day?

    Episode 6 of 10

    It’s 2013, and a fierce election for Brooklyn D.A. is in process. It’s an election that will change Brooklyn forever. The old guard is on the ropes and Louie Scarcella is a hot button issue. The lives of our main characters - Derrick, Shabaka, Louie, converge and no one will be the same.

    The Burden is available everywhere you get your podcasts.All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts. 

    The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
178 Ratings

178 Ratings

Tisha1800 ,

Okay

This is a great story. The theme song detracts from it. I think this would be taken more seriously without some of the hijinks.

Deaf Dani ,

A must listen

I’d like to preface my review by saying that I write this from the perspective of a mental health therapist, a true crime aficionado, and, most importantly, as a human being. I’d also like to say that after listening to dozens of long form podcasts, this is the ONLY one that has moved me so profoundly as to write a review (when you write case notes all day every day, you get a little sick of writing). This podcast was BEAUTIFUL. It explored the complexities of the human experience in a way that honored every participant. It explored the suffering that these men endured while imprisoned while also portraying one of the significant contributors to their suffering as a fallible human being and not a heartless monster. As a therapist, I want to look at people based on their potential and not just based on who they are or who they’ve been. I feel that this podcast really allowed me to do that. This podcast beautifully illustrated how important it is to remember that where human lives are concerned, if any person is “winning”, we’re all losing. I am so incredibly moved and I just want to say thank you to every one involved in the production.

banxrunner ,

Love it!

Great story, awesome story tellers. Love all the perspectives plus the twists and turns. I really enjoyed this podcast.

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