Serial: Weekly Podcast Exploring a Single Story in Great Detail
Serial is a weekly podcast that explores a single story in great detail. For fans of This American Life, you’ll be right at home here as the content and quality of the show is the same. But in stead of three stories covered in an hour, this is more like one story covered over the course of a few months.
As a quick summary, the subject of Season 1 is the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a popular Baltimore high school senior who disappeared after school one day. Six weeks later, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is charged with her murder, and he eventually is found guilty.
But the thing is – there was no physical evidence tying Adnan to the murder. Largely, his conviction was due to the testimony of a friend named Jay. But while there are issues and gaps in Jay’s story, there are similar concerns with Adnan’s inability to remember key details.
The kicker with this story is that someone is lying. But sifting through all the evidence, the narrator (and listener) seems to constantly go back and forth. You would think with all the details uncovered, it would gradually point to Adnan’s innocence or guilt. But so far, nothing seems black and white. It’s all gray.
I’ve been catching up on episodes, and I’m currently at Episode 9 (Episode 11 comes out this week). I don’t normally listen to podcasts, but I’d heard so much about this from friends online… I got hooked. After the first episode, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d need to listen to the rest, to hear how things turn out.
For those not familiar with podcasts, they’re really just mp3 files. You can go to the Serial website and just listen to the episodes through your browser. Or you can download them to your mobile device, if you want to listen to them later. If you want to learn more, the site also has a good primer on podcasts.
I highly recommend you give this a listen. I don’t know how many episodes there are for Season 1, but I’m half-afraid I’ll hear some kind of spoiler soon if I don’t listen and catch up.
// Update: I was talking with a coworker, Maia, and learned she was super into the podcast. So much so that she’s got her own theory and also created her own Google Doc to try to make sense of the timeline. It’s incredibly detailed!