“Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We’ll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.
On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up 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 convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his 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, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she’s been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators’ notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public 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.” [Serial]
What I Thought
Are you into crime TV? Do you love legal procedure? Are you slightly nosey or voyeuristic? (If you watch What’s in my Bag vidoes or Daily Vlogs this counts!) Do you love pure speculation? Serial is for you! I straight up binge-listened to this at work over the course of about a week*. I think that this show did a lot of things really great – they kept the tone casual, each episode was engaging and they said each time they were speculating.
The tone I think is something that makes this podcast. Murder is a subject that is serious but Sarah Koenig’s casual real person tone created an atmosphere of talking about a crime with a friend at a soup and salad lunch. It’s not dignified – she totally swears a little and says “like” and “crappy” which I am totally fine with. The tone brings you in to keep you the listener asking questions and keeping an open mind throughout the case.
The case itself sounds straight forward, but then you get into timelines, unreliable witnesses and asking yourself – did they prove this case? Is there no one else who could have killed the victim? Were the facts and evidence presented proved beyond a reasonable doubt?
For me I asked myself that question about 100 times throughout listening to this case and by the end I would say that without more evidence this case was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt and the burden of proof failed. He could totally still be the killer but the case presented against him that got him convicted was weak sauce with loads of holes. Give it a listen and tell me what you think!
Listen here for free – Serial Podcast.
*It should be noted that I use speakers at work since I have my own office but I keep my door open. I did warn my colleagues that if they walked by and heard random snippets about a dead body to not be alarmed – casual murder on a Tuesday? TOTALLY FINE. So it can be a bit awkward to listen to at work, but if you get weirded out use headphones and you’ll be fine.