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Friday, November 14, 2014

Best Things: The Podcast "Serial"

Now that the kids are both in school full-time, I have a lot more quiet time in my life. To fill some of this quiet I've been on the hunt for some different podcasts. It's been great having a wide variety of shows to listen to, but on my schedule.

Over the last couple weeks I have heard a fair bit of buzz about a new one called "Serial" (http://serialpodcast.org).

In it, a producer from "This American Life", Sarah Koenig, looks into the case of a teenager convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore in 1999. He and his family proclaim his innocence and assert he has been wrongfully convicted. Here we are 15 years later and Sarah is digging through old evidence and files, finding and interviewing witnesses, following rumours, reviewing the court record, all in an effort to determine whether in fact this guy committed the murder. This is a true story.

We know the basic facts from the outset, but every week Sarah digs a little deeper and reveals more of the whole. She looks at the alibi of the convicted guy, the examines the breakup of the couple, the discovery of the body, the inconsistencies in the star witness's statements, the problems with the convict's evidence. She's talked to jury members, hired an ex-detective to review the police investigation file, been in touch with and had help from a Project Innocence at an American university, and talked to the star witness himself.

We see every single week that sometimes things just don't add up and we know someone is not being truthful. But who and when and to what extent? We see that crime solving is not neat and tidy, that witnesses are real people with fallible memories, and that sometimes some questions just don't get answered to our satisfaction.

I'm totally captivated by the entire podcast. And to add to the sexiness of the podcast itself, some of the documents are posted on the podcast's website. Combine that with hundreds of Facebook comments and it's so easy to geek out on this whole case. (Just to be clear, I haven't totally geeked out, but I see the potential.)  I flip flop frequently as to whether or not the guy is guilty or whether the star witness is actually telling the truth. I just don't know. People are wrongfully convicted, but only sometimes. 

At this point, we're just eight episodes in. I hope there'll be a satisfactory ending - meaning we'll know whether he really did murder his girlfriend, but I'm not really holding my breath for that. In the meantime I'm just going to go along for an enjoyable and fascinating listen. And hope that someone I know listens to it too so we can thoroughly discuss it.












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