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Serial Podcast: Season 1 Review

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With more and more people beginning to listen to podcasts on a daily or weekly basis, it can be difficult to notice some great ones that had been released years before podcasts became popular; one of these include ‘Serial’, which is a true crime documentary podcast that started in 2014 with season one. If this genre intrigues you then read on to see what season one is all about, before finding yourself listening to each of the 12 episodes in curiosity.

Pictured: Hae Min Lee

‘Serial’ season one focuses on the case of Hae Min Lee, a high school senior who disappeared one day after school in 1999 in Baltimore County of Maryland. After a month, her body was found in the city park and the case was declared as a homicide due to cause of death, which was manual strangulation. 17-year-old Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee’s ex-boyfriend, was arrested and 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.” However, “Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death,” and while some people believe him, there are others who do not.

Sarah Koenig and her team “sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone” they could find who remembered Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee.  The podcast description also raises a few questions before we even begin listen: “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.”

Adnan Syed

As Sarah Koenig mentioned in the beginning of episode one, people’s memories can be unreliable, especially when asked to recall something from years ago, like she had to do. When talking to everyone, the host found that speaking about a case 15 years ago is more difficult than expected, due to the lack of accountability for time. In each episode, she focuses on one theme at a time, asking questions, speaking to the people involved at the time of the case, and visiting locations that may help, though most of all, interviewing Adnan Syed throughout this season of ‘Serial’ to try to uncover what happened in the case.

The attention that ‘Serial’ brought to the case was most likely influential in getting the court to revisit the evidence, due to the fact that the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled  to reinstate Syed’s conviction, and although there is no end to this yet, we can only wait to see how this story of 22 years will end.

Journalist Sarah Koenig of ‘Serial’ podcast

Having been released week by week, Sarah Koenig spent a long time thinking about this case even before she began recording for the first episode of ‘Serial’; she and her team worked on 12 episodes together, all of which can be listened to on the official website Serial Podcast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Follow ‘Serial’ for other crime stories and documentaries, as well as further updates on previous seasons, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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