Is is possible for a reporter to solve a 15 year old murder? Sarah Koenig of This American Life hopes to find out with her new podcast titled Serial.
Serial is a new podcast from This American Life. Instead of telling a new story every week, it tells one part of the same story. The particular story it is telling, is about the 1999 murder of Baltimore area high-school student Hae Min Lee. The case is officially closed, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was arrested and convicted for the murder, however that is where things get very interesting. Serial investigates the reasons why Adnan possibly couldn’t have done it, the inconsistent witnesses, the odd assumptions made by police and more.
And it is the most gripping radio I have ever listened to.
Sarah Koening who has produced some of the most memorable TAL has created a show in Serial that humanizes all aspects of the criminal investigation process as well as sheds light on how stories can be crafted out of very disparate evidence. The style of storytelling used in Serial is like This American Life, using music and tone to set the mood for the listener.
The first episode of the series started out as what’s normally referred to as a “backdoor pilot” in the television biz, when it played in the This American Life timeslot. I didn’t really know what to expect, having heard only a few spots and descriptions for it, but once I started listening I couldn’t stop. I had been listening to TAL on delay, so by the time I checked, I had two more Serial episodes in the queue and I binged myself on them.
As of this article, there are five episodes of Serial out. Unlike This American Life, they are not an hour long, since they are a podcast they do have to fit into the hour long NPR format. Some are as short as 38 minutes! However that doesn’t diminish their listenability. As a podcast, Serial is already one of the best. As a well told story it’s an all-timer.
Serial can be downloaded and subscribed to through their website. New episodes debut every Thursday. It is also available through the Podcast app on your iPhone.