Good news for 'Serial' Season 1 fans: the podcast that turned nearly 40 million listeners into aspiring detectives is about to get a new chapter.
On Thursday afternoon, Judge Martin P. Welch of the Baltimore City Circuit granted a new trial for Adnan Syed, a man sentenced to life for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and the subject of the gripping podcast. And let me tell you, I am pumped.
When I first discovered 'Serial', five episodes had already aired. I thought I'd give the first episode a try as I got ready from my Monday 9AM. Long story short, I skipped, not one, but two classes that day. I skipped class for the first time in my life to listen to a podcast.
One of the main reasons 'Serial' gained such popularity is because it left audiences with so many unanswered questions, thereby illuminating many flaws in our criminal justice system (an accomplishment that earned the podcast a Peabody Award in 2014). Host Sarah Koening had us all discussing the questionable details that went overlooked during Syed's first trial in 2000: the 21 minute time gap, the streaker who found Lee's body (which no one seemed to think too strange... Am I the only one?), the Nisha Call, and Jay. Something's shifty about that guy. All of this led to a huge national debate between those who believed Syed to be innocent and those who believed Syed to be guilty.
When asked if he thought the retrial would have been possible without the success of ‘Serial’, Syed’s lawyer, C. Justin Brown, responded with a simple, “I don’t think so.”
Judge Welch made it clear, however, that the public interest in the case had nothing to do with the retrial.
“Regardless of the public interest surrounding this case, the court used its best efforts to address the merits of petitioner’s petition for post conviction relief like it would in any other case that comes before the court; unfettered by sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion,” the judge wrote.
Whether or not the public had any sway, the decision for a retrial is a huge victory for Syed, now 35, who for the past 16 years has maintained his innocence.
As for us ‘Serial’ fanatics, we eagerly await the new trial in November to hear what happens “Next time on ‘Serial’…”
For more information, check out this article from the New York Times.