Sarah Koenig and Emmanuel Dzotsi set on a mission to explore the machinery that drives the judicial system in the United States. They banged on city doors, asking for an opportunity to record what goes on in our courthouses and justice centers. No one took them up on their offer except Cleveland, whose leadership only asked that the co-producers be fair to this midwestern town. Without prejudice, and with an open mind, the reporting duo set to document cases that were relevant to the Justice Center’s experience and those of the community as a whole
In just nine episodes the manage to tell the story of a system that is broken. Plea deals are made to knock down charges that shouldn’t have even been enacted in the first place. Defendants lay low and accept deals on lesser offenses to ensure their plans to sue the city for police brutality are not discovered. Murderers go free, and innocent men are found guilty, and later exonerated. Race wars and abuse reign supreme inside and outside the courthouse and its jails and prisons. All this and more happens in a few months time, begging then question: is the system truly fair and objective?
You will not want to miss out on the incredible and valuable insight Koenig and Dzotsi packaged about the Law and the Order that serve us all, and how this microcosmic view translates so vividly and accurate across counties, states and federal jurisdictions. The problem is us, the people, who decide to remove themselves from these elements of governance not questioning its inner workings and status quo. We vote for leaders and judges hoping to stay as far away from the action as possible, to not be consumed by a process that chews you up and spits you out after applying biases and stereotypes to justify why you deserve to be considered guilty until proven innocent. The atrocities committed against those accused will shock those with limited experience on the subject matter. For the rest of us, it’ll be just another day in court.
Listen to Serial, Season 3 on the following apps and online at serialpodcast.org: