Budding screenwriter, electro/indie music lover, TV watcher, cinema frequenter, living in Sydney, graduated from RMIT, raised in Brisbane born in El Salvador.
Published December 4th 2014
Murder investigation 101
Yes, this is a review about a podcast. A podcast that is blowing up all over the place. It is the number one ranked podcast on iTunes in Australia, the US and the UK. I hadn't heard of it up until a few weeks ago when my girlfriend put me onto it. Normally, I wouldn't be posting about podcasts but this one is so unique, intriguing and well done that it merits a mention.
In a nutshell it is an investigation into the murder case of 18 year old Hae Min Lee in Baltimore, 1999 and whether the man charged with the murder (Adnan Syed) really did do it. Each episode unfolds different elements of the case and reasons why Syed could or couldn't have done it.
The narrator and journalist of the podcast is the affable and conversational Sarah Koenig who trawls through the evidence and condenses it for you. She is clear, concise and direct. She is also frank about her feelings about the case, which makes you feel like you are partners and she's offloading all this information onto you. You trust her implicitly when she tells you that that clue is a dead end. She promises.
The first episode is a recap of the murder, the facts recorded and why the State found Syed guilty. It then gives you a possible alibi why he may not have done it. By the end you're thinking 'Oh my God, he didn't do it.' Then you listen to the second episode and that surety is dispelled with evidence against Adnan leading to contradict yourself.
This is probably why serial is so addictive and has been received so strongly because of this constant 'did he or didn't he?' The podcast itself is plotted like a murder mystery rich with red herrings, twists, leads and suspicious characters.
Listeners can become amateur investigators using the information from the podcast and additional posts on the site. It is a ridiculously simple but effective formula.
At the heart of all this, is that a woman was murdered. You hear real people talking and real testimonies about this case - it can be downright depressing when you think Adnan is in jail for life for a crime he may not have committed. Or that we may never now who killed Hae Min Lee. Maybe that's also why it's so addictive because it is real.
Season One is still going but it has been confirmed that Season Two is on its way.