I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say at the end of the day, I’m done. Completely, 100% finished with the very notion of doing things. Reading, watching Netflix, it’s too much work – I don’t want to have to keep my eyes open. And, ironically, I don’t want to go to sleep either. A week ago, that meant it was time to find an alternative.
So, I sought out a podcast. Now, in the past, podcasts haven’t really been my thing. I just never got into them, and I was skeptical. But entertainment for which I didn’t have to keep my eyes open beckoned, and so, a few lists later, I found what I was looking for: Serial.
Hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig, Serial is currently a two season podcast that has eaten up my nights for the past week. Each season follows one story though about 13 hour-long episodes. Each episode goes into another detail of the same story – by the end of the season, you’ll have the “full story” (sort of- it’s complicated).
Season one presents the case of the 1999 murder of a high school student named Hae Min Lee, and the subsequent arrest and trial of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Where things get a little more complicated? Well, Adnan swears he’s innocent. And the evidence in the case isn’t exactly proving him wrong. But it’s not proving his innocence either.
On one side, you have the very, very questionable witness, Jay, who claims to have helped Adnan in the murder and keeps changing his story. On the other, you have the fact that Adnan claims to not remember the afternoon when Hae Min was murdered, so he can’t provide an alibi. So, the question comes down to who’s lying? Someone has to be. Honestly, there are so many details in this case I can’t even begin to break it down in a way that would do it justice.
Serious in tone, but really easy to listen to and follow, Koenig investigates what she can of the story in a relatively fair manner. She’s not taking any particular side, so you can consider the evidence yourself. It’s absolutely gripping.
Season two takes on a different sort of case – and full disclosure, I’m only part way through, so I’m not quite sure where it’s going yet. Anyhow, in the second season Koenig investigates the case of Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban for five years after having walked off his post in Afghanistan one evening. The key question: is Bergdahl an American hero, or a traitor to his country?
In every episode, of course, the topics are also retreated respectfully and fairly. As far as I know, no baseless claims are made, and no ‘alternative facts’ are employed – not by Koenig, at least. It’s the sort of podcast that might turn me onto other podcasts.
And, bonus, it is the sort of end of the night thing to listen to that won’t scare you, but won’t tire or bore you either. It’s impressively well made, and it’s totally captivating. Which, when you’ve just come off reading about a billion pages of a textbook, is pretty great.
So, next time you’re feeling pretty done at the end of the night, get some tea, get cozy, and give Serial a try – if you like true crime, then you’ll be completely hooked. And, while you’re at it, comment with your other favorite podcasts – I know I’m going to finish Serial by the end of the week, after all…