12 November 2014

Listen: Serial

Have you been listening to the podcast 'Serial'?
It's a sister show of This American Life and it is absolutely riveting.

I discovered it on Sunday morning after glancing at an article on facebook and immediately downloaded and listened to the seven episodes (available on iTunes or on the website) that are available so far.

The concept: to tell one nonfiction story week-by-week. Kind of an experiment in the endangered art of oral storytelling.

The premise: A 1999 Baltimore teen murder case.

Who killed Hae Min Lee? 

Hae is the girl in the middle and Adnan is below her.

So, the storyteller of this podcast is the fabulous Sarah Koenig and she gets a call one day from a woman who wants her to look into this murder of a teenage girl from the nineties. The woman is a friend of the alleged killer--the ex-boyfriend of the victim, Adnan Syed. She says that he didn't do it and that there are a lot of discrepancies is the case. 

Intrigued, Sarah starts to follow up on the murder and quickly realizes that yes, there are quite a few details that don't add up. So she begins to fully investigate bringing the listener along with her. 

Here's what I like about the show:

It's a great mystery. Is this a teenage romance gone terribly wrong? Is it a poor kid being framed because of a grudge? Is it just a journalist grasping at straws and being taken by a charming sociopath? Who killed this girl and why?


Adnan Syed

Considering this whole concept is to revive oral storytelling, I'd say that Sarah absolutely nails it. I mean, you feel like you are right there with her, checking on old court documents, making phone calls to Adnan in prison, knocking on people's doors to ask them where they were one snowy afternoon fifteen years ago. There are phone calls, playbacks from interrogations, court room audios. 

You feel like you are right there. It didn't even occur to me before writing this entry to even look up what the people in the story looked like. The storytelling was enough for me.
And she is t-h-o-r-o-u-g-h. I mean, Sarah needs to know who killed Hae Min Lee. Each episode looks at a specific part of the case, every element you can imagine: cell phone records, alibis, people who knew the alibis, maps, letters, car routes, testimonies, letters. Everything.


It's fascinating. I always like to pretend I'm a detective and I have been known to follow real-life crime investigations from my laptop, creating my own theories along the way. If you are anything like that, you need to listen to Serial right now.

I have a couple ideas about what I think happened, so if any of you are listening, tell me below and we can exchange notes. The next episode comes out Thursday and it's about (in my opinion) the most interesting part of the case: Jay, the one and only aspect of the investigation that led to the arrest and imprisonment of Adnan Syed.

Check it out. Seriously. You will be hooked. Once again, you can find listen to it on their website or download it from iTunes and listen on your phone.

Then come back here and tell me what you think.

19 comments:

  1. I randomly checked my bloglovin before I left work (night shifter), saw this, and listened on my way home. I've never listened to podcasts before, with the exception of Ted Talks for school, but now I'm hooked. This is way better than listening to radio shit on the way home at 7am. Plus, I'm also I into dark and twisty crime shit, so this is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes! That makes me so happy! Let me know what you think.

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  2. i've been listening! i am up to date and been following along. even i am unsure what is the truth and what are lies! email me - i want to hear your speculations!

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    1. Yelle, you rock. I'm sending an email your way.

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  3. Very interesting! I might have to give it a listen! I've been meaning to get into podcasts.

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  4. I am OBSESSED. So obsessed. I was kind of iffy in terms of adnan's guilt/innocence all the way through the Nisha call episode, and then I felt like, ok. Adnan did it. But then this past episode made me flip to the other side...so, yeah. I have no clue! I am so pumped for the jay episode. I feel like he has been weirdly absent--why hasn't Sarah talked to him? Where is he now? What is his deal? I have so many questions!

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    1. Agree. I was back and forth and then I thought he did it too because of the Nisha call, but Idk the lawyer lady's faith in him makes me question myself and is he really THAT much of a sociopath?

      I agree, I think everything comes back to Jay. I think Sarah has held it off because she wants to shock us with it in this next episode. There MUST be something about Jay's testimony, character that is revealing. I am literally freaking out, I cannot wait to listen.

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    1. Good, tell me what you think when you're done!

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  6. Okay, so after listening to the Jay episode, I feel the same as that girl "Then who the fuck did it?!" My gut tells me Jay actually did it, Adnan was involved but he didn't actually "pull the trigger" and Jay put it all on him to get out of a harsh sentence. BUT, we'll see how I feel after the next episode. I keep flopping my thoughts :(

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    1. Ugh, i know. That's EXACTLY how I feel. Part of me is like, no... it can't be Adnan. We've heard his voice! He sounds so sincere! But then also... just the way they described Jay... it didn't sound like it was him either.

      You should listen to Slate's podcast about Serial. They said a lot of interesting things about that episode as well, but I think everyone is on the fence. UUGGGHH why is Thursday not everyday?!

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  7. I never listened to podcasts either, but this sounds interesting.

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

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  8. ****** SPOILER ALERT TO ANYONE WHO HASN'T WATCHED*******


    Okay, so after the Jay episode, I was thinking maybe Adnan did it - but now I'm back on team Adnan. I'm wondering if maybe Jay and JENN did it?? I don't know why, but I'm not a fan of her - and it seems weird that Jay spent his girlfriend's birthday with Jen. Maybe Hae caught Jen and Jay in the act? Sounds so juvenile and, well, high school - but these kids were juvenile and in high school when this happened.

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    1. Hey, sorry I didn't get back to you!! Good points... but I don't think jen did it. I think she KNOWS 100% went down, and I think it was very disturbing to her.

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    2. It also seems a little unlikely that she strangled Hae to death... that just doesn't strike me as a way a teenage girl would kill another teenage girl. Hm.

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    3. Sorry, I wasnt clear. I mean what if jay did it, but Jenn was with him?

      Honestly I don't even know if I think that anymore. I have no clue what I think haha.

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  9. Came across this article and thought of you/this post. It looks at some of the ethics surrounding reporting in this way, thought it was worth sharing: http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/11/20/3595208/the-ethics-of-serial/

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