Serial | Season One: Adnan Syed
12 episodes | 2014
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Why Did I Listen to This Podcast?
A few months ago, I started listening to Crime Junkie and was hooked.
I’ve always been a fan of true crime and was beginning to dabble with my listening selections in the podcast world. I learned quickly that I enjoyed listening to a story being told, like on public radio. I also learned quickly that I was not a fan of consistent banter and back-and-forth with hosts or guests. Crime Junkie stuck with me, so I started at the beginning to listen to all the episodes and “catch up.”
I came upon the twentieth episode titled “ADNAN: What Serial Didn’t Tell You.” Ashley Flowers opened the episode with producer Brit Prawat and told listeners that they were out to make a special episode to fill in the gaps with what Serial left out. They also said that they were not going to recount the twelve episodes of Serial, so those of us who have been “living under a rock” should go listen to the first season of Serial before coming back to the episode, which is what I did.
According to serialpodcast.org, Season One of Serial tells the story about the following:
“A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.”
Sarah Koenig’s storytelling and journalistic approach was a roller coaster ride of facts, stories, and questions. I was along for the entire ride. I felt like I had been transported back to 1999 with the deficient technology we had back then compared to what we have today. I did take a pause for a few days before listening to the final episode because I couldn’t believe it was done. Overall, I thought the podcast was fantastic. Like most people I’ve talked to, I’m left with more questions than answers, yet have a strong opinion on whether or not Adnan is guilty.
After listening to the first season of Serial there are a few next steps I would like to take:
- Listen to Crime Junkie‘s take on the missing aspects of Serial
- Read as much as I can and watch/listen to other coverage of the crime and trial
- Continue listening to Serial‘s second and third seasons
- I’ve seen a few teachers incorporate Serial into their classrooms, so I have a ton of questions about that. Overall, I’m looking to seeing how podcasts can/should be incorporated into the classroom/curriculum
What resource or coverage piece would you recommend for me to check out about Adnan’s case? Thanks in advance!