With over five million downloads, people around the world have become enraptured by the smooth voice of Sarah Koenig as she picks apart a 15-year-old murder case in Baltimore, Maryland. For those of you who don’t know, Adnan Syed was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee on January 13, 1999. Within a year, Adnan was convicted and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. Koenig first learned about the case a little over a year ago. Since, she has been sorting through box after box of legal documents, interviewing individuals who were close to the situation, and listening to police and trial testimonies.
Varying Opinions on “Serial”
Some of us at the office had either listened to it religiously every Thursday or recently binge listened to catch up before the final episode that aired today. We’ve made our predictions, jumped to conclusions, and changed our minds on which suspect murdered Hae Min Lee. However, it wasn’t until finishing the podcast today that we had very different opinions on “Serial” and the closure it did not give us.
There was an article written about the two types of people who listened to “Serial:” person one has this need for closure (NFC), while person two is satisfied with the good storytelling. Well, I’m person one, and I needed closure.
After finishing the podcast on my drive into work, I became a little outraged. I had spent hours listening to this woman investigate a case, a case that I would have had no idea about or really cared for. Maybe I held too tightly to, what I now realize was, a half-hearted promise at the beginning of the podcast? Alternatively, maybe it goes back to the whole left-brain, right-brain theory. I’m left-brain if you couldn’t tell. I like clear-cut, black-and-white things, bows at the ends of stories, not loosely dangling threads that have no relation to one another.
The Triumphs of “Serial”
While I brooded about the end of the case as I walked from my car to the office, I realized that, though there was little closure, I would probably listen to season two. Call me a hopeless romantic, or just an avid lover of all things trendy, I can’t help but get pulled into someone else’s world. Moreover, that is why Koenig is a magician. Though I felt like I was eavesdropping on one of the most important conversation of Adnan’s life, Koenig made it seem like I was welcome.
The great thing about this “Serial” podcast was, for me, it didn’t revolve around the television, computer, or anything else visual. It was solely her words, and the words of others, that kept me coming back for more. I’m an avid reader of books (mostly fiction), and it was refreshing to not be overly stimulated by CGI and special effects. With books, you can get lost in the story and even let your imagination wander as you create the characters the author brings to life on the page. Moreover, while this wasn’t a non-fiction story, I was still able to combine my logical and somewhat critical mind with the ever-so-small right side of my brain.
Koenig’s “Serial” podcast has changed the game and opened the doors for other storytellers out there. Now, we want to hear what your thoughts were on this Internet sensation. Did you love it? Hate it? Was there enough closure for you? Are you still plotting out the details? Do you think there will be a follow-up to Adnan’s story? There are a thousand and one more questions I could write about “Serial,” but instead I will leave you with this, I hate to love uncertainty.