Why You Need To Listen To Serial Now

It's the true life murder mystery that's got the world hooked


by Jess Commons |
Published on

If you’re signed up to our email and listen to the jolly good advice we try to impart to you then you’re already down with Serial, the podcast that’s slowly taking over the world. If not then, that’s OK, we’re going to give you another nudge to get involved because trust us, it’s great. (But, sign up to our mailer here.)

Serial hails from the guys at the podcast previously known as the best podcast in the world; This American Life (this title has now been taken over by Serial, we've called it) and is headed up by one of their producers Sarah Koenig. Instead of This American Life’s normal format of broadcasting three or four stories over the course of an hour, Serial is the opposite; dedicating 12 episodes to one story.

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The story in case in is of Hae Min Lee who was a high school student in Baltimore before she was murdered in January of 1999. Convicted of her murder was her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed who’s currently serving life in prison. The only problem is, Adnan’s always maintained his innocence and there’s a couple of baggy elements to the whole case that caught Koenig’s attention. And so she embarked on an epic year-long investigation; tracing back the phone calls and movements of Adnan and his friends around the time of the murder, speaking to Adnan and his friends on the phone, re-enacting the days’ movements and speaking to lawyers and experts in her quest to get to the bottom of the case.


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But don’t think she’s just out to prove Adnan’s innocence; Sarah’s as much a part of the story as the characters involved in the murder. From week to week she goes back and forth in her belief in Adnan’s innocence and shares her struggle with the listeners. She presents both sides of the case; from Adnan’s mate Jay’s testimony that led to his conviction to the problems in the case (his lawyer was later disbarred, many key witnesses were missed), leaving you to make your own mind up each week about where you think responsibility lies.

Since Serial aired just under two months ago, it’s got a bonkers amount of fans. There’s a Reddit community that’s obsessed with pouring over the evidence presented by the Serial team and the letters and drawings from the cast posted on the Serial website (steer clear of this if you’re sensitive to spoilers), a podcast on Slate that’s essentially a podcast about a podcast and a huge Twitter following that’s constantly debating what’s going on.

The consensus is that Sarah’s leading us all to a neat consequence, like in the movies when someone’s proved innocence and they’re let out of jail into the loving arms of their family, and it’s that image that’s got listeners so invested. The only trouble is; this is real life and things don’t always work out like that so what’ll happen at the end is nothing if not contentious.

This week has just seen Epsiode 8 air so, if you haven’t been listening so far, there’s just four weeks left. But don’t fret; binge listening is far and above the best way to do Serial; it means all the information is fresh and you can totally fall down the Adnan rabbit hole. Just don’t blame us if you struggle to come back up.

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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