Sarah Koenig, This American Life, and her team began Serial by investigating the story of Adnan Syed, a seventeen year old high school student, was accused and later convicted of strangling and burying his ex girlfriend, Hae Min Lee on a clear January day in Woodlawn, Maryland, back in 1999. During Season 1 they explore allegations that Baltimore City and County police were not only corrupt, but on a rush to clear their murder dockets. They botched this case royally, and were unapologetic about it.
Investigators and lawyers for the defense have been able to prove that a series of unfortunate events led to Adnan being found guilty. The main evidence in the case centered around cell phone tower ping and location technology that has been proven inadmissible and inadequate in many cases because it doesn’t conclusively show where a call was made or received. Ineffective counsel, conflicting testimony from star and eye witnesses add to the drama of this injustice. Experts claim that this podcast investigation is responsible for uncovering evidence that resulted in a new trial and possible post conviction relief. Wow!
For Season 2, Serial featured PFC Bowe Bergdahl’s ordeal as a Taliban prisoner of war, which unfortunately occurred after he went A.W.O.L. His motive, to cause a DUSTWUN to protest US Army policies and prove how ineffective the entire war endeavor was. The move backfired; he was captured by the enemy, and the search stretched resulted in Army casualties. It took 5 years and a prisoner exchange to secure his release which polarized a nation as to what proper punishment to assign the rescued POW.
The Army asked for a court-martial, charging Bowe with dereliction of duty and misbehavior before the enemy, which can earn him in a life in prison sentence. As the story unfolds the Serial team discover and discuss Bowe’s motivation, defense and possible fate. At the time the episodes aired Bergdhal was still on active duty, confined to a desk job, until his trial came to pass. It turns out that in June 2017 a judge set a trial date to for October. The now Army Sargeant is going to have his day in court. For more info, follow the link.
Serial will return with a Season 3 in the near future.