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Non-Film Discussion => Other Media => Topic started by: Tictacbk on November 05, 2014, 10:24:52 PM

Title: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Tictacbk on November 05, 2014, 10:24:52 PM
Anyone else hooked on Serial?  Wondering if it warrants its own thread.

If you're curious, Serial is from the producers of This American Life, but it's one story told over multiple episodes.  Without getting too much into the story, it's about a murder case involving high school kids in Baltimore.  It's 6 episodes in (but will be 7 by tomorrow), and in my opinion it's quite good.

http://serialpodcast.org/ (http://serialpodcast.org/)
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 05, 2014, 11:19:51 PM
Yeah, I've been listening to Serial and Slate's Spoiler Special podcasts on Serial.

It's one of 3 or 4 podcasts I have to listen to immediately when it comes out. Great stuff.


Any opinions on his guilt or innocence? I currently lean toward guilty. I think Adnan probably did it and that Jay is way more involved than he's admitting. But Adnan can't say that, because he'd be implicating himself, so Jay is free to characterize his involvement as he likes.

I paid close attention to the passages about motive. And it seems likely to me that Adnan is in fact massively downplaying his reaction to the breakup. You can tell he's downplaying it a little too much, as if he just shrugged off the breakup, and the incident at the dance, and basically everything. Right.

I could be completely wrong, but that's where I am so far.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 06, 2014, 11:56:48 AM
GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH episode 7 was awesome. This show is my favorite thing right now.


- Like Sarah (and most people it seems) I flip flop between guilty or not guilty with each episode. Right now I'm on team Adnan. I fully expect the pendulum to swing back to guilty next week.
- Diedra is a fascinating new addition to the show. I love her vibe and she made some great counter-points. Many assume Adnan not having an alibi or answer for every question means he must be hiding something, but wouldn't a person seem more guilty if they had a clear answer for every little moment on that day?
- Diedra's doubt of Adnan being this sociopathic mastermind was illuminating.
- Jay is the key to this case. He definitely is more complicit in this crime than he lets on. I have no idea what his motive is, but I also believe there is a third guilty party we don't know about yet.
- One question I want Sarah to ask Adnan straight up - "Who do YOU think did it?" If he's not guilty and Jay is, there's no way Adnan doesn't have at least some opinion as to what exactly happened that day.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 06, 2014, 12:12:24 PM

Yes, great episode, and I am still on the fence. I should resist the urge to put myself in one camp or the other. It's so tempting, though. Reaching for conclusions is the only way to relieve the tension and suspense.

I don't think Adnan is a mastermind, but I do think it's possible that he's sociopathic. Something has always felt off about him. That could mean nothing, of course.

I always thought the lack of sexual assault evidence was a mark against Adnan. After all, were it a random killer, wouldn't the chances of sexual assault be pretty high? But now finding out how lacking that part of the investigation was (they didn't find sperm, but they neglected DNA testing etc.), that seems like a mark in Adnan's favor. Also, when Diedra mentioned the possibility of a killer who murdered Asian women that year, I was like oh right, that happens, and this is Baltimore.

But doesn't Jay's involvement rule out the possibility of a random killer? I totally agree that Jay is the key, and I'm excited that the next episode will focus on him. I think it's possible that Adnan was 20% involved and Jay was 80% involved. Maybe Adnan is Martin Freeman in Fargo.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 06, 2014, 12:26:58 PM
You make a good point. It's hard to imagine any scenario where Adnan is not at least tangentially involved.

What makes Adnan seem iffy to me is how dismissive and nonchalant he is in regards to Jay. If Adnan is innocent, that means Jay is lying and setting him up, which means Adnan should be fuming with anger towards Jay, and should have spent the last 15 years trying to figure out how, when, and why Jay did it and who else might be involved? Maybe Sarah just hasn't revealed that portion of her talk with Adnan yet, but Adnan must have some Jay theories he should bring forward.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 06, 2014, 02:05:56 PM
Yes, exactly. I've been thinking the same thing. Instead, Adnan projects this aloof befuddlement about Jay, and it kind of rings false.

I do agree with the Innocence Project people that there was seemingly not enough evidence to convict Adnan. "Mountains of reasonable doubt," as one of them said. Of course that's a different question than "what is the truth?"
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 06, 2014, 02:41:31 PM
A reddit commenter (yeah I went there) made the following point:

Diedra's team talked about red fibers found in Hae's hair.
Jay says Adnan was wearing red gloves in the phone booth.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 06, 2014, 05:44:19 PM
Interesting. I've read a little bit on Reddit but am resisting going down that rabbit hole. I sort of don't want to spoil myself yet in case SK makes similar revelations.

One thing's clear. The original investigators on the scene were practically useless, and according to Diedra, that's common. Yikes.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Tictacbk on November 07, 2014, 12:51:23 AM
I'm also trying to avoid any spoilers that may or may not be on the internet, so this is pretty much the only place I'll be reading about it.  But MAN what an episode.  Everything is so well laid out in this podcast.  If you had asked me yesterday, I would've said "Oh yeah, I definitely think he did it."  But today I'm thinking he didn't.  Such a perfectly timed episode, and I never could've predicted the introduction Dierdra and her team.  Solid storytelling, Serial.  Well done.

It was interesting to hear Dierdra's team confirm or dispel every back and forth thought I've had.  Like "oh yeah, it WOULD be crazy if he was actually a sociopath."  I actually think this episode provided the perfect ending, and the one I've been thinking about for a few episodes now: that it will become clear that Adnan shouldn't be in jail, but there won't be enough evidence to get him out.  Now, when I say "perfect ending" I mean from a storytelling stand point.  What's crazy is that these are real people living in the real world, so that "perfect ending" kinda sucks.  I don't even know what I'm hoping for any more.  A confession?  A The Killing season 1 scenario? Who knows, but I'm in, whatever it is.

I really hope she's been holding back a Jay interview until next week.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 07, 2014, 01:15:09 PM
Totally agree. Such a solid episode. I don't understand why many are saying it was frustrating. Slate is doing a recap podcast (yes, a podcast about a podcast) and they equated it to a bottle episode. I found Diedra and her team so fascinating. And Sarah's final line about Jay was a holy shit moment of Breaking Bad levels for me. Who knew a podcast could do that.

I seriously doubt Jay would ever interview with Sarah though. No lawyer would ever let him do that. What does he have to get out of it?

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 07, 2014, 02:57:42 PM
I'm also starting to wonder what she can say legally. Eventually her speculation must become a little more solid. At what point does it cross the line into slander or defamation?

For example, can she suggest that the detectives were colluding with Jay to make a stronger case against Adnan, helping Jay refine his story etc. instead of interrogating him? Even though that might be the case? (Her reflexive defense of the detectives seems wrong.)

They brought this up in the Slate podcast too, but there are some things Sarah skips past a little too quickly, like the detective issue, and the "kill" note, and a couple other clues. Is she making mistakes or saving revelations for later?
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 13, 2014, 11:48:16 PM
So here's what this new episode teaches us:

1. Either Jay or Adnan is a brilliant pathological liar.
2. My opinions are so malleable episode to episode and I'm basically the most gullible person ever, which I think is the point of the series.   

Also, this from an attorney on reddit:

Adnan did not testify at his trial???????

That is an absolute game changer for me. And I write this as a criminal defense attorney who is intimately familiar with the 5th Amendment.

I think the 5th Amendment is great. I think the burden of proving a crime should be entirely on the government, and that a defendant should not have to testify, and that a juror can make no adverse inference from a failure to testify.


Jurors are human beings, and they want to hear from the defendant. And if the defendant does not testify, that is an obstacle for the defense. I have successfully defended people who did not testify. This happens mainly when clients tell me they did it, but want to go to trial anyway. I can't put them on the stand where they will lie, so I attack the government's case from the perspective of confusion and procedural mistakes.


If a client was charged with murder, and they were adamant to me that they did not do it, and had no idea who did? I would absolutely put them on the stand. I would insist on it. Let the jury hear the passion and resolution in their voices. A star athlete and student like Adnan with no priors? If I had represented him, he would have testified. The chances of acquittal go up dramatically when the defendant testifies and proclaims his absolute innocence. I have had particular success in getting charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing using this method.

If Adnan told me he did it, then I would have proceeded exactly like his attorney did- go after Jay and the police process of investigation.

Clearly, SK has planned these episodes to arc from belief in Adnan's innocence to thinking he was involved with Jay and the crime to, I assume, proof that Adnan did it- maybe the last episode will be a sullen meeting with the UVA team.

Again, I am utterly flabbergasted that someone like Adnan who is adamant about his complete innocence did not testify at his own trial.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 14, 2014, 10:28:38 AM
Hmm. What if Adnan admitted his guilt to his attorney? SK insisted that she was well-respected and successful.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 14, 2014, 12:58:52 PM
I'm not so sure about the defense lawyer's competence or skill, actually. She was so screechy. That must have been hard to listen to as a juror. And apparently she had something to do with the mistrial.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 14, 2014, 01:52:00 PM
She was so grating! No wonder Adnan lost the case.

Where is your head at right now? I feel manipulated to hell and back and I'm loving it. This episode certainly humanized Jay to a degree. I still think he's more involved than he lets on as he's proven himself to be a capable liar based on accounts from his friends. We need more from Adnan now. If Jay is guilty, Adnan has to have an idea what Jay's motive was.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 14, 2014, 02:28:36 PM
I feel generally the same... that Adnan shouldn't be in jail, because of the "mountains of reasonable doubt," but that he's probably guilty, and that Jay was probably even more involved than he admits.

I don't think either Jay or Adnan is "a perfect sociopath," but it seems totally possible that both of them are sociopathic to some significant degree. My mind is open, but that's my fallback position for now.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on November 20, 2014, 11:19:27 AM
Interesting episode, especially the "3 new things" bit. This is what I want Adnan to answer:

What do you think happened to Hae?
If Jay killed her, what is his motive?

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 26, 2014, 06:29:13 PM
I gotta say, after listening to a lot of Sword and Scale, and then the latest Slate podcast (which is extra spoilery and includes outside information, including a very plausible alternate theory of the crime), I feel surprisingly confident that Adnan is innocent.

When the innocence project lawyer said that Adnan would have to be a perfect sociopath, I kind of blew that off at the time, but she really is right. Hearing many voices of actual sociopaths & psychopaths on Sword and Scale, then hearing Adnan, there seems to be no connection. To me it sounds like he has that basic emotional inner life that's missing in psychopaths. Unless he really is a master manipulator.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on December 11, 2014, 10:22:53 PM
What do you guys think? Penultimate episode was interesting. It's getting really sad! The show obviously took a turn around episode 7, focusing less on exposing evidence and more on character exploration. One of the more interesting revelations, according to this latest episode, is the overlap between sociopaths and murderes is very small. I didn't realize that but it makes sense.

Some other random thoughts:
- The show is experiencing an interesting reverb in that Sarah is reporting on the reactions to the show. I'm not quite sure I like it. 
- This show has two audiences, kind of like The Sopranos and True Detective. I suspect the audience who's listening purely to find out whodunit might be disappointed with next week's final episode.
- That being said, I have to believe Sarah is saving some semi-major reveal for next week. I mean she has to, right? It might not be the smoking gun but it has to be…something.
- Adnan's letter was heartbreaking.

Oh and if you haven't already, I suggest staying away from the serial subreddit. I reached a breaking point where falling down reddit rabbit holes was taking away from my enjoyment of the show. I guess I'm just not a redditor.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: polkablues on December 11, 2014, 10:55:17 PM
I'm gradually getting caught up. Listening to episode 8 right now. I'm pretty sure the only reason the jury voted to convict is because Adnan's lawyer was the most obnoxious-sounding person in the history of the planet.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 11, 2014, 11:08:23 PM
Yeah, Adnan's letter is sort of that missing piece for me that makes his behavior and demeanor in the interviews suddenly sensical. (You're welcome polka.)

- That being said, I have to believe Sarah is saving some semi-major reveal for next week. I mean she has to, right? It might not be the smoking gun but it has to be…something.

I think I know what it is. It better be the thing from the extra spoilery Slate episode, because if it's not, that would be an unconscionable omission.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: polkablues on December 11, 2014, 11:17:37 PM
sensical. (You're welcome polka.)

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Reelist on December 12, 2014, 06:09:22 AM
Oh, I thought last weeks ep was the finale because she started listing credits at the end... I was pissed
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: polkablues on December 18, 2014, 01:05:20 AM
Finally caught up, just before the finale. Speaking of which, this is brilliant: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/6ab2d45a77/the-last-episode-of-serial (http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/6ab2d45a77/the-last-episode-of-serial)
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on December 18, 2014, 01:11:16 PM
That is brilliant. As was the finale! It was funny to hear Sarah reference that parody, either deliberately or not, when she's talking to Adnan in the beginning and begging for him to provide more answers.

I feel like we got as satisfying an ending to the podcast without getting "the" answer as we could have asked for. We heard from new players, learned new bits of evidence, got an Innocence Project update, heard Adnan's emotional decision to order DNA testing, and ultimately, what Sarah thinks. What a fascinating ride.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 18, 2014, 02:15:32 PM
The "alternate theory" I mentioned, which was not in the finale:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AZar4NH0SU&t=21m1s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AZar4NH0SU&t=21m1s)

Goes from 21:00 to 25:00.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 18, 2014, 03:32:39 PM
Here's a brief summary of the alternate theory. Source is an assistant to Adnan's lawyer. (The document is online. We should find the link and post it here.) It claims that Jay was cheating on his girlfriend (remember Adnan's lawyer bringing that up at trial?), but more importantly that Hae found out, was furious, and planned to confront Jay about it the next chance she got. One might extrapolate from there. Listen to the clip for the full context.

I suppose I can understand why this was omitted, but couldn't it have at least been presented within a batch of "out there" theories or something like that? I feel like there was more room for speculation in the show. Put it out there. Perhaps be dismissive or highly skeptical, but include it.

I also feel like there could have been more characterization of Hae. We got a lot of it in the beginning, and a little burst of it in the finale, but essentially nothing in the middle. That's a minor complaint, though. On balance we probably got enough. I thought it was especially interesting this week to learn the extent of Hae's assertive personality.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on December 18, 2014, 08:50:46 PM
Totally agree on the alternate theory. Why it wasn't included in the rumors episode if nowhere else is bizarre. It presents a clear motive for Jay. I have to assume it came down to over-speculation and maybe defaming of Jay's character? There has to be a legal reason why she didn't include it.

On another note, my favorite part of the episode was "Of course I have an ending!" It felt like a jab at redditors/critics at large.

I'm just going to go out on a limb and say this is the most fascinating podcast every made to date and anyone who hasn't listened yet should give it a go when they have time. I wish P could comment on it.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Tictacbk on December 22, 2014, 03:11:04 PM
They've really dug themselves a hole for season 2.  How the heck are they going to find a case that's this perfect again!?  They even kind of point that out in the finale when she asks the investigator whether or not she'd find so many holes in any case she dug this deep into, and the response is "no."

I kind of hope for season 2 they do something completely different.  Like focus on the docks.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: picolas on December 22, 2014, 04:32:26 PM
yeah. i think if they want the show to have legs, they should really mix it up. mystery is cool, but i also really liked getting enveloped in the specific culture of that high school. serial could potentially be about anything.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Pozer on December 22, 2014, 04:42:46 PM
I wish P could comment on it.

Paul is dead.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Tictacbk on December 29, 2014, 06:02:12 PM
Jay speaks:  https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/29/exclusive-interview-jay-wilds-star-witness-adnan-syed-serial-case-pt-1/ (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/29/exclusive-interview-jay-wilds-star-witness-adnan-syed-serial-case-pt-1/)
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Kal on January 03, 2015, 10:29:21 PM
This is amazing.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: ©brad on January 23, 2015, 12:02:40 PM
I know we've all kind of moved on but this (http://ww2.kqed.org/pop/2015/01/22/serial-a-completely-unsubstantiated-theory-that-explains-everything/) theory is very interesting. Read it at once.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 23, 2015, 12:44:30 PM
That is interesting. And possible. This is the part I don't buy, though:

But then Hae’s body was found. Things were about to fall apart.

If the police figured out who’d actually killed her, both Jay and Adnan would have their lives to worry about. So maybe they pulled straws for who would take the fall. More likely, they figured Adnan had a way better chance of getting off.

There are so many unlikely things at play here. I don't see Hae getting caught up in drug dealing etc. (no accounts of her even hanging out with Jay and Adnan that I remember). And it seems vastly more likely that Jay and Adnan would turn on each other than cooperate in the way that's suggested.

I think there was already a good explanation for why Adnan didn't go after Jay in the interviews.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Kal on January 23, 2015, 05:02:05 PM
There's no way Adnan would rather go to jail for the rest of his life than give away the fact that there was someone else involved, regardless of who they were. As much as he might fear for his life or family. Especially considering he is now created a monster of reporters and investigators digging into the case. He's bringing unwanted attention that could still put him in danger. If he took the fall to protect his family from the mob, he would keep his mouth shut for the rest of his life.

Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Kal on February 07, 2015, 12:03:36 PM

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-maryland-court-of-special-appeals-grants-adnan-syeds-application-to-reappeal-conviction-20150207-story.html (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-maryland-court-of-special-appeals-grants-adnan-syeds-application-to-reappeal-conviction-20150207-story.html)
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 07, 2015, 01:18:05 AM
Adnan Syed allowed to present new evidence


Lawyers for Adnan Syed, the subject of the hit US podcast Serial, will be allowed to present new evidence in his case after a court ruling on Friday.

Syed, 35, is serving a life sentence for the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999.

His defence team is trying to reopen the case based on some of the questions raised in the Serial podcast over whether Syed had received a fair trial.

A judge in Baltimore has allowed lawyers to submit new evidence for the first time since his conviction.

Serial, which was released in weekly instalments at the end of last year, became a global hit, breaking records as the fastest podcast to reach five million downloads on iTunes.

In it, journalists went through every detail in the investigation into the death of Lee, for which her ex-boyfriend Syed was convicted. Apparent errors and possible new evidence were discovered by the Serial team, leading to calls for a new investigation.

Lawyers will now be allowed to present new evidence on two fronts: the reliability of mobile phone records and the testimony of a potential alibi.

In the 2000 trial, prosecutors weighed heavily on mobile phone records that allegedly placed Syed at a park in Baltimore where Lee's body was buried. Syed, who was 17 at the time, has always maintained his innocence.

But a motion filed in court in August said a newly recovered mobile phone document showed "the cell tower evidence was misleading and should have never been admitted at trial".

The new hearing, a date for which has yet to be decided, will also hear evidence from a potential alibi for Syed.

Asia McClain, a friend of Syed's who was not heard in the original trial, claims to have seen him in a library at the time of the suspected killing.

The fact that Syed's first lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to submit this evidence in the original trial was one of the arguments used to win him the right to appeal in February.

Court papers show the hearing will also look at why Syed's defence team did not present Ms McLain as a witness and whether there was "potential prosecutorial misconduct" as a result.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: polkablues on December 10, 2015, 03:33:31 PM
It's back. (https://serialpodcast.org/)
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 10, 2015, 04:52:24 PM
It's pretty good, too. I've long been curious about the Bowe Bergdahl story, so I'm excited they're tackling it.

The only problem is, I have a really strong instinct to give him the benefit of the doubt. Serial will need to do a lot to overcome that.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 03, 2016, 05:06:11 PM
This season has been... less exciting? But I have to say, Episode 8 just blew things wide open for me. I feel like I suddenly understand him completely.

(John Hodgman can find the crux in less than 45 minutes. Sarah Koenig can find it too; just takes 8 episodes.)

I think Ayn Rand preys on the mentally ill in a very specific way. In Bergdahl's case, it's so fascinating how his personality led him to Rand, and how his Rand obsession might have exacerbated everything. Especially his vision of himself as this singular all-powerful individual — a Jason Bourne, a samurai, a John Galt. He believed not only that he could do it, but that he was entitled to do it.
Title: Re: Serial (Podcast)
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 01, 2016, 03:48:53 PM
Conviction vacated, new trial granted for Adnan Syed of 'Serial'


A Baltimore judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for Adnan Syed, adding a new chapter to a two-decade-old murder case propelled to international attention by the popular podcast "Serial."

Syed, now 35, has been serving a life sentence since 2000, when he was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee the year before. The body of Lee, a classmate of his at Woodlawn High School, was found buried in Baltimore's Leakin Park.

Retired Judge Martin Welch, who had denied Syed's previous request for a new trial, vacated Syed's conviction Thursday and said questions about cellphone tower evidence should have been raised by his trial team.

The ruling came four months after a hearing that included testimony from an alibi witness who had been featured in "Serial."

The podcast was downloaded millions of times, drawing legions of devoted fans who scrutinized the case online.

Susan Simpson, an attorney and "Serial" blogger who produced an offshoot podcast called "Undisclosed," is credited with tracking down the evidence that Welch cited in granting a new trial.

"If it weren't for her eagle eye ... we might not have won here," said Rabia Chaudry, the Syed family friend who co-hosted "Undisclosed."

Syed remains in prison in Western Maryland, where he has been fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. His attorney said he expects the state to appeal the ruling, but said the defense had cleared its biggest hurdle.