Podcast of the Week: Dig Deep with Long-form Investigations on Serial

by Rebecca Peterson


For those of you who are hip to the podcast scene, the voice of Ira Glass has likely become a ubiquitous fixture on your daily commute. The host of This American Life may sweep you away with his clever segues and wistful stories of the American experience, but TAL is finite, and sometimes you’ve got to step out of the playlist. (Though not too far, just yet.)

This week’s podcast is Serial, a spanking new This American Life spinoff hosted by Sarah Koenig, with Koenig and Julie Snyder as executive producers. The show takes on one story per season, plotting out and following along with the unfolding of a real-life event. 

Season One focuses on the 1999 murder of a high schooler named Haei Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is serving time for her murder, though he claims he’s innocent. While the show has many of the same characteristics of a crime drama, Koenig and crew pull off something that is considerably more human than the conventional dialogue. Syed’s prison phone calls are interlaced with Lee’s cooing diary entries. Koenig brings in her own insecurities as a researcher. Listeners are suspended in the same unknowable “if” as the characters involved. 

New episodes come out every Thursday morning, and while you will need to start at the beginning, the season is only three episodes deep — the perfect number to entertain on a week of subway rides to and from Brooklyn.

You can take a look for yourself here or download free episodes through the iTunes store




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