‘Serial’ is the OG investigative true crime podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig

True Crime August 27, 2021
Listen to ‘Serial’

Created by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder in 2013, “Serial” investigates compelling, true stories each season. As an OG true crime podcast, “Serial” has garnered a serious following. Each season, unexpected revelations are broached as listeners navigate the justice system and learn about a variety of cases.

Listeners were captivated with Season 1. Sarah unpacked the disappearance of high school senior Hae Min Lee in 1999. Hae’s body was found in the local park. After her ex-boyfriend, 17-year-old Adnan Syed, failed to report a solid alibi for the date of her disappearance, and the police received an anonymous tip, Adnan was arrested. Adnan’s cell records were subpoenaed. Classmate Jenn said their fellow classmate, Jay, told her Adnan admitted to Hae’s murder. Jay was interviewed by police and said Adnan brought him to view Hae’s body. Jay plead guilty as an accessory to murder. Adnan faced two trials and was charged with murder.

This case, and the subsequent trials, were found to conceal additional complex narratives, which Sarah unearthed in the podcast. In years later, Sarah reported on several updates as per the new evidence presented in 2016’s court proceedings.

The show’s second season shares the story of Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who left his outpost in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. The Army conducted a search mission. After five harrowing years in captivity, Bowe managed to get out alive. He returned home, and was initially welcomed by President Obama in the Rose Garden. His hometown celebrated his return. Suddenly, the celebrations were canned, the Army commenced an investigation and charged Bowe with deserting his line of duty.

In season 3, “Serial” went to Cleveland searching for answers and truth in 9 common cases. “This American Life’s” Emmanuel Dzotsi co-reported with Sarah to challenge the criminal justice system, revealing questionable actions that lurk beyond the impartial façade of case rulings. Listeners can learn about cases involving a biased judge, a woman arrested after a bar brawl with police officers, and a man attacked by police officers for possession of cannabis, just to name a few from this season.

Episodes include interviews with all parties involved, also incorporating sound bites from courtroom proceedings, judges’ determinations, and office chatter. “Serial’s” website includes an extensive archive of bonus documents and multimedia clips in case you’d like to learn more about each season.

On Podsauce’s seventh episode, guests Sarah and Megan from “It’s Always the Husband” selected “Serial” as one of their favorite podcast picks. They started listening to the podcast after seeing a “Serial” spoof on Saturday Night Live.

A recent series, “The Improvement Association,” is also produced by “Serial.” As hosted by “This American Life’s” Zoe Chace, this series deals with election fraud set in rural Bladen County, North Carolina. All episodes of this season, as well as “Serial’s” three seasons, are available to stream.

Listen to ‘Serial’

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