Sometimes I am late to the party, very late, but this does give the added benefit of being able to ‘binge’ listen. On 14th May I came across an article on The Guardian website and was interested to find out more about the Serial podcast, so the next morning I downloaded all twelve episodes and read a little about the case. A potential miscarriage of justice and a teenager sent to prison for almost fifteen years potentially for a crime he did not commit. That was just the start, over the course of the next twelve days, there were going to be many more twists and turns in the narrative.
The man reason this show appealed to me was the age of Adnan Syed, he was less than a year older than me and I recall with great fondness memories from 1999 at college. Truly a coming of age period for me and my friends. It was the year I passed my driving test. Another aspect of the case which appealed to me from the start was having to account for our time. A mere twenty seven minutes in Adnan’s case but it did get me thinking of how difficult it can become to recall our movements from last week, let alone from several months ago.
The podcast is gripping, particularly as you get to hear from Adnan from prison via recorded conversations with the show’s narrator and main investigator Sarah Koenig. The production team do an excellent job in bringing us, the avid listener a little bite size chunk of information each week, as we slowly try to consider who is innocent and who is guilty. Of course the show is not perfect but it does cover a substantial amount of evidence over the course of twelve weeks and you have to consider the amount of time that went into researching a case which was closed over fourteen years ago. All the players have gone from young adults at high school, to fully grown adults with children and families of their own. It will be hard for people to listen to a single episode without wanting to switch over to the next one straight away. As I navigated my way through the final few episodes, there was great news online. Syed had won an appeal to have new witness evidence submitted as part of his appeal process. At the end of the listening experience, my thoughts turned to the unlikely event of ever finding myself in such a predicament. Pulled in the scene by circumstantial evidence which could convince some people you are guilty of a crime. Considering myself a law abiding citizen, I could never believe I would find myself on the wrong side of the law but this case proves how easy the tide can turn. I look forward to season two, which should be released later this year and I will be disciplined to listen once a week. I do not think my ears and mind could handle another binge listen.
Following a gap of a week or so I decided to download the Undisclosed Podcast and begin listening to events again from a different perspective. I was initially put off by the negative reviews of the first episode, comparing the audio quality unfavorably with Serial. Did I really want to invest more of my time in a podcast that just recovered the events from January 1999 once again but with pro Adnan stand point. Ultimately it was my thirst for more information that forced me to download the first episode and go from there. Thankfully quality improves greatly from home recording quality episode one to episode two, which appears to be a full fledged professional release.