Serial

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I’m a little late to the party here, so apologies if you’ve already had someone talk your head off about this crime investigation podcast.

If you haven’t, here’s the gist: in 1999 a high school student called Hae Min Lee was murdered in Baltimore, Maryland, and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was later convicted of first degree murder. He’s been in prison for 15 years. Recently local journalist Sarah Koenig was approached by family friends of Syed who are convinced he’s innocent, and she heard enough for her to embark on a long passion project tracking down the precarious (teenage at the time) witnesses, sparse evidence and talking to Syed himself about what happened. It is nothing short of fascinating.

There is something unsettling about this now-cult piece of ‘entertainment’ – it’s easy to forget that this was a real death and teenage murder (by who, it’s still unclear) and get all ‘OMG did you see what happened this episode? I think he/she did it’. I’ve also felt uncomfortable when friends of the victim or Syed laugh trying to remember the events of the time. It’s unflinching in its use of police recordings, Lee’s diary entries and other legal material. I even had to categorise it as ‘entertainment’ on this blog, but it’s really something else. It feels important to remind ourselves that many murder cases are far from ‘open and shut’ and that local communities are often gunning for a conviction, however flimsy the evidence.

If you’re interested in law, justice or just a really good story, it’s compelling and chilling stuff. Download here.

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