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‘Serial’ fans, here’s how to get your between-episode fix

How to quell the madness?


Nayomi Reghay


If you’re listening to Serial, the wildly popular new podcast from This American Life producers Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, you may have noticed that the days between the release of new weekly episodes take on a strange and painful oblong shape. Thursday is too far away from Thursday, and your week bloats outward with more questions than answers. Face it: This podcast is making you crazy.

How to quell the madness?

You could revisit the podcast and follow Koenig once more as she meanders through the looming questions surrounding the conviction of Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Or you could turn to your dear friend the Internet, which is just brimming with resources for delving deeper into your new favorite obsession.

Depending on your beliefs about Syed’s guilt or innocence, some resources may please you more than others. Here’s a “pick your poison” guide to getting your Serial fix while you wait for the next installment.

Team #FreeAdnan

You don’t just think Syed is innocent; you know it, deep down in your bones. You cannot bear to hear another flimsy theory on why and how he killed Hae. He’s a truly kind human being, and you’re dying for his exoneration to come.

Read Rabia Chaudry’s blog Split the Moon. Chaudry, the sister of Syed’s best friend Saad, was the one who brought the story to Koenig’s attention. Her blog offers weekly commentary and context for each new episode. Chaudry’s writing is smart, full of heart, and often quite funny. Her insights will bolster your spirit, and her relentless optimism that Adnan will soon be exonerated will soothe your soul.

Team #HeDidIt

“Come on,” you scoff every time someone gives you the “truly nice guy” defense. Let’s get real: People are capable of terrible things! You are confident that Syed was definitely involved, if not the murderer himself. 

Read the controversial “Adnan is a Psychopath” thread on Reddit. Sachabacha, a redditor claiming to be a former friend of Syed’s, details all the unsavory behaviors he observed prior to his conviction. You may also want to read the Psychopathy Checklist and go ahead and diagnose Syed yourself. After all, you’re the expert.

Team #OnTheFenceAndLosingSleepOverIt

Perhaps the most delightful and most agonizing place to be as you listen to this podcast is right smack dab in the middle. You just don’t know! Yes, it certainly seems there was reasonable doubt, and no, you don’t necessarily think Syed should have been convicted. The only thing you’re sure of these days is your insatiable thirst for truth. 

A good place to start your quest for answers is in the Baltimore Sun archives. Read each and every pertinent article, and comb them for fresh evidence of Syed’s guilt or innocence. If you poke around, you can find all the reporting that occurred prior to, during, and after the trial. The Baltimore Sun also recently released an article depicting the plight of Adnan’s younger brother Yusuf, who was just 9 years old when Adnan was sentenced to life in prison.

Feel like getting weird? Take the video tour of Woodlawn. Starting in the Best Buy parking lot and ending in Leakin Park, the tour offers first-person views of many of the key sites mentioned in the podcast. There’s even a second part, replete with deep cuts like the Crab Crib and an inexplicably groovy soundtrack (Frank Zappa’s “Watermelon in Easter Hay”). 

Another good way to pass the days that aren’t Thursday is to sift through the gilded comments for the Serial subreddit. This page is a veritable goldmine of keen observations and pressing questions, not only about the case, but about the podcast itself and our relationship to it as viewers. This is a great place to go if you want to dip your toes in the Reddit pool without drowning.

If you like to get meta, listen to Slate’s Serial Spoiler Specials podcast. Every week, Slate releases its podcast about a podcast discussing the merits of Koenig’s storytelling, the implications of the way Serial plays with form, and, of course, the nitty-gritty details of the case itself.

And if you’re exhausted after all that obsessing, the best way to top off your knowledge-binge might be with a hearty laugh. Listen to Paul Laudiero, Will Stephen, and Zach Cherry’s fantastic spoof. Laudiero mimics Koenig’s tone with perfect-pitch comedic timing. He even reproduced the MailChimp medley of voices that you just can’t get out of your head and interviewed a modern-day Best Buy employee for details about details. There are five mock episodes in his series, and they’re sure to have you chuckling at your obsession long enough to see you through to next Thursday.

Photo via Scott Schiller/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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