Aspiring investigators, the time has come: Serial – and Mail Chimp – are back!
The podcast that captivated listeners last year with the story of Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee is back for round two. This time, there’s an entirely different story – and a pretty high-profile one, at that.
Episode one is already out, but if you want to know what you’re getting yourself into (especially before the Serial addiction comes back in full force), get a debriefing on the case with five things you need to know here:
1. The Adnan of season two is U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
This season’s case is a bit more newsy than season one’s murder mystery – and the story has already received national attention. The prosecuted party this time around is Bergdahl, a U.S. Army officer who was held captive by the Taliban for five years, which, to this day, is the longest any U.S. citizen has ever been held by the group. He returned back to the United States last year. Sounds like a war hero, right? Not according to the U.S. military, which charged Bergdahl with desertion after coming home.
2. Reaction to his return went from positive to negative in mere hours.
Initially, the plan was for Bergdahl to be welcomed home with a celebration befitting a war hero, complete with a reception hosted by President Obama for Bergdahl and his parents in the White House Rose Garden. His hometown of Hailey, Idaho, was planning to pull out all the stops as well. But just a few hours after he was rescued, the tide began to turn: People began to question him, saying that the only reason he was captured by the Taliban was because he deserted his unit, wandering into unsafe territory. The celebrations were promptly cancelled, and he was later charged by the military.
3. This is the first time Bergdahl is telling his side of the story.
Since his legal troubles with the U.S. Military began, Bergdahl has kept silent – he hasn’t given a single interview since returning. But with this season of Serial, that will change. As it says on the podcast’s website: “Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight. Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.”
4. Bergdahl admits that he left his unit.
And he’s not trying to pretend that he didn’t. However, Bergdahl says that he fled because he wanted to draw attention to his superiors’ actions, which he felt were wrong. Sarah Koenig, the host of Serial, calls him a “whistleblower” in the season’s premiere episode.
5. His roommate says he’s a traitor.
One person who’s not on Bergdahl’s side? His former roommate, retired Spc. Cody Full, who testified against him in court last year. During the trial, he called for Bergdahl to be charged, saying that he left his unit in a “premeditated act of desertion. The only thing you can count on in combat is commitment of your fellow Americans, knowing that someone you needed to trust deserted you in war and did so on his own free will is the ultimate betrayal. You should not be able to desert your fellow Americans without consequences.”
You can download Serial here. New episodes premiere every Thursday.