I’m not really a podcast listener, so the fact that I’m on episode 9 as I write this should be telling enough about how intriguing and addictive Serial is.
Serial, although hard to keep up with at times due to all the facts and theories involved, is nonetheless an incredibly in depth look at the criminal justice system in America, particularly with the focus of a 1999 murder where the man convicted may have been wrongfully accused. Sarah Koenig takes investigative journalism to new levels in this podcast, ones that she probably would not be able or allowed to take in print media. She makes quips and provides her own theories if she believes them to be solid enough to responsibly share. She’s observant and leaves no stone unturned, managing to fill up just under an hour of time, making for an interesting background conversation while you work on other tasks.
Podcasts are a portable and convenient form of media, making them more accessible and giving them the ability to reach a larger audience – and this certainly shows in Serial, with it being one of the most popular podcasts in North America. It’s popularity does make me wonder about the effect it would take on the victim’s family. Hae Min Lee was a bright, well-liked high-school student who came from a conservative Korean family; to have this all torn open again as entertainment must have been traumatizing for them. It’s never even mentioned in this episode whether or not the creators of Serial got permission from Hae’s family to talk about this, which personally I find very disrespectful, especially since the podcast was created to question the idea that her accused killer was actually guilty.
Overall, I do find Serial to be a very enjoyable, albeit macabre podcast. As someone who cannot stand gore or jump-scares, I’m glad that Serial decided to take an analytical approach and wasn’t hyperbolic, while still maintaining a creative edge of including interviews with people related to the case, including Adnan himself. It adds to the realism and reminds viewers that this murder actually happened, and was not fictional.
Sarah’s questions about memory connect the audience to the podcast and make them think, thus causing them to really listen and get involved with the episode. I personally have a terrible time remembering things in the chronological order in which they happened. I was a victim of gaslighting for many years that leaves me with trauma to this day; I simply don’t trust my own recollection of reality and would be very easy to pin a murder on. If you asked me what 2+2 was, I’d answer 4, but still whip out a calculator just to be sure. I believe this question already puts the audience in Adnan’s corner; especially when it comes to Jay and his confident, detailed, yet ever-changing stories.
I’d be a fool not to recommend this podcast to anyone who’s a fan of true crime, and feel that although Serial is the recipient of controversial attention, it may serve a good purpose, and if Adnan really is innocent the popularity of the podcast could cause a public uproar and give him justice. I mean, the man’s been in jail for half his life…which is still more than Hae ever got.