true crime

“Serial” – the founding of true crime podcasts ?

As I’ve always been interested in the field of true crime for a while though after watching many documentaries, visiting crime feed regularly and avidly reading news articles, so I decided podcasts should be the next format I should try. Since one of my friends is really into podcasts she said I should try possibly the most famous true crime podcast of all time – Serial. I decided to give this a go since it had ten star reviews on most websites and an avid fan following and so it overall took me about a week to finish it as it replaced my regular music-listening on my walk to and from sixth form. So far, I have only listened to the first season of Serial as I am apprehensive to start the second as it didn’t get as good reviews, but maybe one day I will get around to it…

The podcast Serial is hosted by Sarah Koenig who is everything you would want from a host – funny, endearing, interesting and definitely passionate about the topic she is talking about. The first series of Serial follows Koenig’s journey  to try and discover the truth surrounding the murder of 18 year old South Korean high school student Hae Min Lee in Maryland in 1999. It is commonly believed that her ex boyfriend Adnan Syed committed this horrendous crime as a witness confirmed this (Syed’s ex best friend Jay) but there are serious loose ends surrounding this case, which are put forward by Koenig.

Image result for hae min lee

Throughout this podcast, Koenig foretells her mission to try and uncover the truth surrounding this saddening case including befriending Syed in prison through a series of phone calls, interviews with witnesses and ex-classmates of Syed and Hae, forensics and court records. If anything should be highly praised about this podcast, it should be Sarah’s emphasise on detail – it is amazing how much information and depth she goes into about the case and it is thoroughly interesting. The main reason I was apprehensive about starting this podcast is the length: 10 episodes of about an hour each just to cover one mystery(?) and after starting and hating making a murderer for its slowness, I was sceptical; however, as Koenig supplies a lot of information throughout each episode, this podcast does keep your interest the whole way through.

Perhaps the reason why Serial is possibly one of the most successful podcasts of all time is because of its technique to make you change opinion of each person it introduces, throughout. At first I was determined that Syed was guilty due to a firm witness statement but now after other witness alibi and the police’s faulty timeline of the case, I’m not so sure.  The story surrounding Serial is definitely an intriguing and deeply upsetting one as it does concern the murder of a teenage girl, so it definitely hit home for me as I myself am in the same environment as Hae would’ve been in. It is also upsetting how lots of teenagers became highly involved in this case, as it is definitely something no teenager should have to go through.

Overall, if you ask me whether Serial is worth all the hype surrounding it, I would say yes for the detail and Koenig’s ability to keep a listener intrigued; however for me, I don’t think podcast listening is an activity I would actively take up in replacement of TV or reading. If you don’t focus entirely 100% on this, then you can easily get lost (which I most definitely did), and as an avid multi-tasker it took a lot for me to stop doing what I was doing, in order to listen to Serial. Therefore, I don’t think I will become an avid podcast listener, but I would recommend this podcast if you’re into podcasts/true crime.


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