Serial: the Podcast 2: Electric Innocence Project Boogaloo
November 6, 2014 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Just as the previous thread closes, Sarah Koenig talks to Innocence Project leader Deirdre Enright. What Enright said and did in Episode 7 may turn around the whole way listeners have been thinking about the case. Koenig may still be trying to keep "all her balls in the air" as Enright puts it, until her own investigation is over (and her opinion close to her chest), but Adnan seems to have already won some important supporters.
posted by rikschell (168 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Was the original thread closed because of time? Is there a new MeFi thread somewhere? Last time I checked, it was decided that podcasts wouldn't work well on FanFare.
posted by sideshow at 6:25 PM on November 6, 2014


It was really good to hear attorneys go over the evidence in the case, especially the forensic evidence, and talk about where they'd dig into the case. And, it was good to hear Sarah Koenig verbalize the same frustrations with Adnan.

These parodies of Serial are pretty great.
posted by gladly at 6:38 PM on November 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


Posts on the blue do have a time limit, but people had been actively posting on the old thread weekly. I audibly gasped when the Innocence Project asked to take on the case. It feels like it could change the direction of the series, so I felt like it was worth another post. Sarah Koenig is working hard to maintain a sort of journalistic objectivity while sharing her subjective concerns, but when she compared notes with professionals who deal with cases like this all the time, and they were all convinced Adnan had been wrongly convicted, I felt like it's going to change how Koenig approaches her investigation. Especially after last week's episode, which was all the random loose ends that she felt were fishy about Adnan's defense—none of which seemed all that damning.
posted by rikschell at 6:48 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, she said something in the latest episode about having a different job than the attorneys, and I'm really excited to see where it goes. Perhaps it will mean a shift - now it's about the innocence project and Adnan more directly, instead of about her own investigation?

I am absolutely hooked on Serial.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:02 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I audibly gasped when the Innocence Project asked to take on the case.

Me too. And then I was all like, TIME TO BRING IN THE BIG GUNS MOTHERFUCKER! because the Innocence Project is awesome.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:06 PM on November 6, 2014


Sarah Koenig talks to Innocence Project leader Deirdre Enright...

Point of order; Enright heads the University of Virginia School of Law Innocence Project clinic, but the Project itself is national in scope.

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:15 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'd be cautiously optimistic at best about the prospect of anything productive coming out of that Innocence Project clinic. Especially in terms of the forensic evidence. What's a reasonable scenario in which the available forensic evidence exonerates Adnan? DNA on the bottle, or MAYBE the rope is matched to a known murderer, I suppose. Beyond that? It seems incredibly unlikely anything could realistically come from analysis of the fibers at this point. The body? No way.

Enright's level of optimism about her ability to help in this case really surprised me. It's a very tricky case, and I really doubt there'll be anything like a neat solution at the end. Still a great podcast.
posted by Doug at 7:28 PM on November 6, 2014


This episode was SO exciting. I really love how candid Sarah Koenig is being with her ups-and-downs about Adnan; it makes me feel so much more invested to know that she is encountering the story with the same human-ness that I am.

Also: my eyes got SO BIG on the train this morning when she ended the episode saying that it's time to look at the thing that is bugging her most about the case: Jay.  ( I'm like, "ME TOO! What took you seven episodes to get there?!")
posted by Zephyrial at 7:50 PM on November 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


It feels like it could change the direction of the series, so I felt like it was worth another post.

I missed hearing about this, but after checking the other link I'm really glad you made the post. I'm going to save this one for later because it sounds like I should just listen from the start.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:13 PM on November 6, 2014


Enright's comment about the Innocence Project needing in theory to disprove guilt, but in practice to prove someone else's guilt was a depressing reminder that justice is often trumped by peoples' unwillingness to allocate time or money to a problem if the problem can be sufficiently buried instead- even if the problem involves wrongful incarceration.
posted by p3t3 at 8:21 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also: my eyes got SO BIG on the train this morning when she ended the episode saying that it's time to look at the thing that is bugging her most about the case: Jay. ( I'm like, "ME TOO! What took you seven episodes to get there?!")

Yeah, I've been crabbing a lot in the other thread about Koenig sitting on details and evidence that the audience is most hungry to hear. I still think the editors made a big mistake in the way the podcast has been structured. So I'm really happy that we'll finally get to Jay.

As for this episode: I'm thrilled the Innocence Project picked up the case, but I didn't exactly understand the group's reason for thinking that Adnan is innocent. The forensic details they brought to light didn't really indicate anything about Adnan's innocence. They just indicated that the prosecution's case was weaker than it first appeared. The group was happy to state "reasonable doubt", and I agree that there is reasonable doubt. But they didn't say what they discovered that justifies their pretty solid conviction that he's innocent. (That is, other than Deirdre's intuition based on past personal experience with innocent-but-accused people, which does carry some weight with me.) They sounded like me like too willing to slip from "reasonable doubt" to "innocent", which is a bias that probably makes sense for defense attorneys to have but isn't one that we listeners have to share.

I didn't quite get the timeline on Deirdre's involvement. Did she pick up the case before or after the podcast had started? One of the things that we were wondering about in the other thread was whether the early episodes would have an influence on the investigation, which would in turn be reported on in the later episodes. Getting the Innocence Project involved would be a pretty dramatic version of this, but I think this all happened before episode 1?
posted by painquale at 9:18 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm surprised the tought-on-crime law-and-order folks aren't more interested in stuff like the Innocence Project, because every time they prove someone on death row is innocent, it means there's a killer on the loose out there getting away with murder scott-free. If they don't care about the innocent condemned unjustly, surely they can get upset about the guilty going unpunished.
posted by straight at 9:22 PM on November 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think the difficulties of conveying timeline details in the podcast format is both a blessing and a curse for the show. My hunch as that Adnan's possible innocence — or at least the copious amounts of reasonable doubt — hinge upon that timeline. It was mentioned in this most recent episode … that this sequence of events was presented to the jury (and to us) as a given, with the rest of the events matched against it, and the audience basing their judgments (and therefore the validity of various testimonies) on whether those events are plausible within that given timeline. It just seems a horribly biased and unconfirmed premise to reconstruct a history around and so I'm curious to see if they pick that back up and debunk it any.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:57 AM on November 7, 2014


In my head I've been imagining the best kind of interactive website for the case with documents, maps, counterfactual timelines, that would emphasize just how tenuous the facts of the case are.

This is hard because visuals really do paint a hard picture, and I would want it to emphasize the very vagueness and fallibility of the evidence, and contrast it to how that same evidence is presented black and white to a court.
posted by stratastar at 1:04 AM on November 7, 2014


It was linked in the previous thread, but it should be linked here again: the serialpodcast subreddit is filled with great discussion and resources. The subreddit sidebar has maps, a timeline of alleged events, and a glossary of individuals.
posted by painquale at 2:03 AM on November 7, 2014


I didn't quite get the timeline on Deirdre's involvement. Did she pick up the case before or after the podcast had started?

I found the answer to my question. This article describes the Pro Bono Clinic taking on the case, and it was published before the first episode of Serial had come out.
posted by painquale at 2:07 AM on November 7, 2014


Note to self: Dont read the blue's abstracts before catching up on a podcasts.
posted by tunewell at 2:44 AM on November 7, 2014


Anyone know of any good synopses/recaps/etc. of the episodes? I listened to about four episodes before dropping it, deciding I wasn't interested enough for the time involved, but I wouldn't mind reading synopses of the episodes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:19 AM on November 7, 2014


Deirdre Enright telling anecdotes from her Innocence Project experiences would make for a great episode of TAL.
posted by dumdidumdum at 3:35 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Deirdre Enright telling anecdotes from her Innocence Project experiences would make for a great episode of TAL.

Or a great podcast in its own right. I would totally listen to that.
posted by meese at 4:31 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


In my head I've been imagining the best kind of interactive website for the case with documents, maps, counterfactual timelines, that would emphasize just how tenuous the facts of the case are.

In addition to the serialpodcast reddit, Serial's website also contains a lot of SK & Team's own research and follow-up blog posts.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:59 AM on November 7, 2014


I'm glad the Innocent Project people are on board, especially because Sarah was just sounding so worn out and discouraged. Also - WOW, JAY'S NEXT WEEK! Finally.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:32 AM on November 7, 2014


Hah, yeah, finally possibly answering the WHERE IS JAY THAT DUDE IS FISHY questions. Though I thought SK said early on that Jay declined to talk for the podcast.

My favorite part of it was Deirdre saying that the genuinely innocent aren't super helpful or knowledgeable about the case. That certainly fits, doesn't it?

I wish them all the best in figuring this out.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:47 AM on November 7, 2014


I didn't quite get the timeline on Deirdre's involvement.

Yeah, this one is weird to me. I understand wanting to lay stuff out before they go "and here's the opinion of someone from the Innocence Project!" but at the same time it just seems odd that they would wait seven weeks to get there. Maybe it took a few weeks between "we'll look into it" and "here's what we think", which could add up to needing to wait until now to post this.

Listening to the lawyers though was really interesting, because my (naive) responses are much like Sarah Koenig's -- why does Adnan know nothing? wouldn't he have thought about it over 15 years? (though some of what she thinks is fishy sounds like she doesn't know teenagers) -- and it's much more interesting to hear what people with actual experience think. Did it not occur to her initially to look at the forensics and then she just let the lawyers do it? Would she have looked at them otherwise?

A post-podcast episode about the limits of journalism in this would be really interesting. As would a podcast by Innocence Project lawyers.
posted by jeather at 7:20 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


In terms of waiting to present the involvement of the Innocence Project, that could simply be a narrative decision. Six episodes to set up the case, introduce the listeners to the major players, the prosecution's case, what evidence exists and/or was brought to trial, conflicts in testimony, etc. If we start in with the Innocence Project episode, or if it comes too early, there isn't the doubt that listeners have, nor do we understand where their issues come from.

I suspect it also mirrors Koenig's experience, she spent months researching this before putting it on a podcast, right? She experienced the ups and downs, the certainties and doubts, and didn't start with the Innocence Project either.

I've been really impressed with this podcast, it immediately became a must-listen, cutting through a massive backlog of podcasts.
posted by X-Himy at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am fairly new to the podcast scene, but after listening to 5 minutes of Serial, I was completely hooked on it. I listened to the first 6 episodes in one sitting. I may have made a mistake listening to them all at once, because I was anticipating ep. 7 the entire week, stewing over the case and thinking about it non-stop. The pacing and structure of the show really make for an engrossing experience. I can't wait to dive into the subreddit and see what everyone else thinks.
posted by mister_oxenfree at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2014


And thanks for letting me know about all the supplemental material on the Serial site. I would love to find more podcasts like this, but I suspect it's sui generis, if only because of the resources available.

But barring that, are there some good true-crime podcasts that go this deep?
posted by X-Himy at 7:50 AM on November 7, 2014


Here is an interesting Guardian article about the rise of the serialpodcast subreddit and how it caught Koenig and the producers of Serial off guard.
posted by painquale at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


See also the Serial Spoiler Special, where Serial the podcast gets the same treatment as new movies do from the Slate Spoiler Special... podcast... folks.

They interview Dahlia Lithwick regarding Dierdre Enright in the latest episode, which is presumably why it didn't go up as promptly after the Serial episode as the more 'water cooler talk' episodes.
posted by clauclauclaudia at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2014


Based on what Enright said, and has been raised in previous podcasts, it would seem like the unreliability of the cell phone data used in the trial alone casts huge doubt on Adnan's conviction. The thing we've heard over and over again through the podcast is the growing number of things law enforcement and prosecutors ignored or left out because they didn't fit the Adnan Did It narrative.

My opinion for most of the series has been that Adnan was probably involved in the murder in some way but he shouldn't have been convicted because there is so much reasonable doubt and he had a crappy defense. My suspicion is that he conspired with Jay and then Jay went to the police before Adnan could turn on him.

Next week will be really interesting.

I could listen to Enright all day.
posted by dry white toast at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2014


Here is an interesting Guardian article about the rise of the serialpodcast subreddit and how it caught Koenig and the producers of Serial off guard.

Jesus Christ, is there anything reddit doesn't take and make shittier?
posted by Sangermaine at 4:43 PM on November 7, 2014


Here is an interesting Guardian article about the rise of the serialpodcast subreddit and how it caught Koenig and the producers of Serial off guard.

Jesus Christ, is there anything reddit doesn't take and make shittier?


Actually, that Subreddit seems excellent. While it sounds like there's drama, it also sounds like the moderators are working to sort it out. Frankly, if this weren't happening on reddit, it'd be happening on serialpodcastfanforum.net or whatever. When a bunch of people show up talking about how Serial is really about ethics in gaming journalism or men's rights, then you can blame reddit.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:39 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not only am I more hooked than before, I'm now motivated to look up Enright's work on the murder of the lesbian couple on the AT. I lost track of what happened with that years ago but I've never completely forgotten the crime.
posted by rtha at 5:45 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else listen to the latest Slate podcast on the podcast and yell "The HELL?" when they started complaining right off the bat, with at least two of them saying that they were very angry and disappointed they didn't get any new evidence? When one of them called Enright a treehugger? (Was it just me, yelling on a west Toronto sidewalk as people around me edged away? OK, then. But seriously -- treehugger? Come back and say that to her face, little girl. )

"The Opposite of the Prosecution" was one of the best episodes in the series so far. Not only does Enright sweep in as a smart, charming and determined personality (I agree with everyone above who wants to hear more from her), but even if the Innocence Project was brought in before the show started, having them enter at this point in the show really does function as a a reset for a show where Koenig, as smart and stubborn as she is, appeared to be flailing about in this sea of information.

But I will give the Slate podcast credit for trying to analyze the podcast as a show, where Koenig is probably making some very canny decisions. They point out, for example, that her conversations with Adnan in episode 6, where the case for his guilt was presented, included long pauses that were not included in any other interviews. Those pauses made him seem less likeable and less trustworthy than before.

So maybe Koenig wasn't flailing as much as she appeared to be by this point. Maybe Adnan usually spoke quickly and easily without pauses, and only this major conversation (from their 30+ hours of conversation) shook him up so badly. But I'm finding that it's not just what is being reported as how it's being reported that is really drawing me in.
posted by maudlin at 7:02 PM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


Do any of the links illuminate how the podcast is parsed out? As in, is every episode already recorded banked and ready to go or is SO putting it together week by week from a pre-existing outline? Does audience response to one episode affect how future ones are made?

Also I'm curious about season 2. I love it as a real life whodunnit more than I ever thought I would. I have faith in the TAL/Serial team but I'm not necessarily sold on long form serialized storytelling.
posted by elr at 8:37 PM on November 7, 2014


Also I'm curious about season 2. I love it as a real life whodunnit more than I ever thought I would. I have faith in the TAL/Serial team but I'm not necessarily sold on long form serialized storytelling.

Yeah, they've set themselves up for a huge issue with Season 2 because of how wildly and unexpectedly(?) popular the show has become. My guess is they will make a point of doing something totally different... maybe like a family's history told week-by-week? Or something less investigative-journalismy where they have all the answers at the start and just tell you the story over 12 weeks?

Whatever it will be, I'm sure they've had conversations about it because, damn, it'll have to be good. The week-by-week whodunit and unearthing of new bits of evidence is just so compelling. (And Koenig is pretty great, too.)
posted by Zephyrial at 9:33 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


As in, is every episode already recorded banked and ready to go or is SO putting it together week by week from a pre-existing outline?

They're putting it together as they go. I'm sure they have a tentative outline in mind. But after the first two episodes aired, Koenig said in an interview that although the primary research is done, nothing else is and she's not even sure how it will end.
posted by painquale at 2:35 AM on November 8, 2014


Rabia on episode 7
posted by Going To Maine at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


maudlin: Did anyone else listen to the latest Slate podcast on the podcast and yell "The HELL?" when they started complaining right off the bat, with at least two of them saying that they were very angry and disappointed they didn't get any new evidence? When one of them called Enright a treehugger? (Was it just me, yelling on a west Toronto sidewalk as people around me edged away? OK, then. But seriously -- treehugger? Come back and say that to her face, little girl. )

I was surprised too--I didn't anticipate that the panel (well, not all of them, but more than one) would dislike the episode. Personally, I thought it was great--the Innocence Project is fascinating and Deirdre is a firecracker. Her intelligence just comes right through in every minute of her interview.

[The treehugger thing--I did think the panelist's tone was condescending, but her specific use of that term was a callback to the episode itself, where Deirdre laughingly explains that Mario the law student is "not a treehugger who assumes everyone's innocent," the way Deirdre is perceived to be.]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:44 PM on November 8, 2014


I'm shocked that this episode was unpopular, I thought it was great. But I'm not really trying to solve it along with the podcast, so I am not looking for new clues every week.
posted by jeather at 5:26 PM on November 8, 2014


I had a car trip this weekend and ended up listening to the first six episodes again. Here are my random thoughts:

I'm a little fascinated by Adnan's way of speaking. I'm no linguist, but it's seems like it's almost AAVE, but not quite there. I wonder if that's because he grew up in West Baltimore and went to a majority-African American high school, or if it's because he's spent the past 15 in prison, which is most likely majority black. I suspect the latter, because Rabia Choudry's brother Saad doesn't speak that way.

Deidre made the point that Adnan's conviction could've been racially based. In the episode "The Break-Up", Koenig explains how the prosecution's motive was that Adnan was a controlling boyfriend who vengeful towards Hae for disrespecting him or whatever. It had not occurred to me how the fact that he's a Muslim Pakistani almost certainly played into that. He's not just any jealous ex-boyfriend, he's a Muslim jealous ex-boyfriend.
posted by donajo at 8:04 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I don't think him being a Muslim means anything one way or the other w/r/t his guilt, but I can imagine that the police, prosecution, and the jury may have been biased because of Muslim stereotypes.
posted by donajo at 8:09 PM on November 9, 2014


He's not just any jealous ex-boyfriend, he's a Muslim jealous ex-boyfriend.

This is the aspect of the prosecution's strategy that troubles me the most, and I feel like the podcast hasn't spent nearly enough time covering this. I (perhaps naively) thought SK would go into this at some point during the podcast and was just waiting on it, but after this past episode I found myself wondering if this hasn't occurred to SK at all until Dierdre pointed it out. Which bothers me.

I'm not saying that I think Adnan is totally innocent and 100% the victim of racial profiling. I'm saying that the fact that the prosecution was playing up the idea of the angry Muslim man avenging his honor hasn't been given nearly the kind of analysis that I wish it was in this telling of the story. I think it is super important.

Anyway, curious to see how this all wraps up, especially with the Innocence Project's parallel investigation.
posted by thereemix at 11:04 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed episode 7. I am looking forward to my long road trip on Thursday.
posted by bq at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2014


http://peterorabaugh.org/category/serial/
posted by bq at 6:59 PM on November 10, 2014


Thanks for posting this, rikschell. It prompted me to give Serial a try and it's great.

It's interesting also to see how some people become so certain of someone's guilt or innocence, simply based on what they are presented with by media. Personally I'm assuming that this series will end long before any firm conclusion can be drawn, and I'll be fine with that. Though I'll be pleasantly surprised if my assumption is wrong. But I suspect a lot of people will want to know the answer and will keep digging. That slightly worries me, to be honest.
posted by Kattullus at 6:09 AM on November 11, 2014


Tell me why we can't have a regular Serial post in FanFare.

Also: JAY DID IT, THAT SNEAKY SHIT. I actually yelled at my phone, listening to it last night, when Koenig's asking "Why? Why?" with regards to Jay's ever-shifting bullshit stories. "BECAUSE HE DID IT!"

Sure, I may change my mind (I try to keep an open mind with any possible outcome), but come on, Jay is shady as hell.
posted by grubi at 11:23 AM on November 11, 2014 [3 favorites]




Does it stand out to anyone else that Hai's family hasn't been interviewed at all? Assuming they refused but weird that that wasn't explained.
posted by latkes at 3:28 PM on November 11, 2014


I don't know that I would. There's something about the format, the stringing it out for entertainment's sake that both makes it intriguing and makes it difficult. These are people's lives. And the most fundamental aspect of lives; life and death, freedom, deceptiveness. I don't know that if this was my child I could handle all the idle speculation.
posted by readery at 4:03 PM on November 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that, readery. It helps to visualize what was (allegedly) going on.
posted by donajo at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been checking out the Serial subreddit and it's quite interesting. It reminds me more of Metafilter discussion than other things on Reddit I've seen. So I found this thread funny: Pre-Serial Redditors: isn't this insane? (META META META). It's full of people marvelling at how civil the discussion is on the Serial subreddit and speculation about what makes it different and better than some of the other discourse on Reddit.
-Yeah I love the civility too. I know it's conscious because of the framework being set as such but I also think that the majority of this influx of users might just be civil people too- if this kind of civil framework were to be instated on a number of other subs, it would be anarchy. Seems here, people are just like yeah, how else would I be?

-...I've read a lot of conflicting opinions on there, but like 98% of the time, they end in "well, let's just agree to disagree," and that's that. I just started following this sub obsessively about a week ago, but I haven't personally seen any abuse. I really like that. Real people having real conversations about something (which also happens to be real). It's encouraging!

-I think there's also a lot more diversity here. Not just culturally, but I am seeing a lot more women. There's definitely a pervasive narrative that reddit is solely for white dudes who work at a video game store and there are certain subreddits where I know that the unspoken rule is "no women allowed." Obviously it's not true everywhere, but this is the first subreddit where I'm seeing the positivity that comes from people of all different backgrounds having a discussion. Ladies, we've found the Sasquatch!

-Also there's less of the STEM or DIE tone here. It's funny, about a month ago, I realized that I kind of think of Reddit as one person. Obviously it's not, but just the way I engage with it, it's always felt like me and this straight white dude named reddit laughing about cats. This sub feels like I'm talking/lurking to lots of different people with different ideas and perspectives.
I am not a member there, but I find myself wanting to join so I can say, "Come to Metafilter! It's like this all the time!!"
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:13 PM on November 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


But all this idle speculation is leading to significant interest in a case that was otherwise moribund. I think I would be willing to make that trade for a family member I was convinced was innocent.
posted by jeather at 5:14 PM on November 11, 2014


I was thinking of Hae's family.
posted by readery at 6:18 PM on November 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Tell me why we can't have a regular Serial post in FanFare.

We asked, and the answer was the same as why we can't have books, etc. Right now, the Fanfare code relies heavily on data from IMDB and is entirely structured for movies/tv.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2014


This animation of movement according to Jay's testimony with cell phone tower information is interesting.

Wow, the cell phone pings are pretty wild. I think showing a jury something like that would be very powerful. It shows the ridiculousness of relying on cell phone tower data to corroborate Jay's story while completely ignoring the data that would expose inconsistency or outright lying. If the prosecutor really only has the tower pings to corroborate Jay's story -- aside from Jenn's testimony, which isn't unbiased, and Cathy's, which is only circumstantial impressions -- there's should have been plenty of reasonable doubt established there.
posted by gladly at 9:26 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hae's family might want to know that the correct person was in prison.
posted by jeather at 5:26 PM on November 12, 2014


If this were fiction, you'd definitely be expecting a reveal where Adnan turns out to be innocent. Narratively, that's what the thing seems to be structured towards. But I can't for the life of me figure out how a guilty Jay can finger Adnan with confidence that Adnan will have absolutely zero alibi or counterargument. If Adnan is truly, genuinely innocent, how is Jay able to create a narrative with confidence that Adnan won't be able to produce some counterproof? Was he shooting the moon? Did Jay just get massively, impossibly lucky that Adnan turned invisible that day, left no trace anywhere, and also can't remember anything? It seems wildly more likely to me that Jay's story is more or less true than that Jay masterminds this complex scheme without a hitch.

I'm fascinated to see where the remaining episodes take it.
posted by gerryblog at 7:38 PM on November 12, 2014


...he said, a few hours before "The Deal with Jay" upends EVERYTHING.
posted by gerryblog at 7:39 PM on November 12, 2014


Episode 8 is a wrap and... well, I feel the same way I've felt since episode 3: Adnan did it, he's a sociopath, and the lives of those tangentially related to the case are being dissected for little reason. I'm really hooked and look forward to watching every week, but taking a step back, I guess I don't see what's so dramatic or interesting about this case that deserves this kind of attention or this kind of storytelling. In the first episode we got the prosecution's story and we get Adnan's non-story. What have we really gotten since then?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:57 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why are you so confident in your opinion? I've listened to the same shows you have and I don't have enough information to draw any kind of firm conclusion.
posted by Kattullus at 5:48 AM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


You have multiple people saying he did it, with one of those people saying he helped Adnan after the crime. Of the players, only Adnan had motive (that we know). Of the players, only Adnan had the opportunity to intercept Hae between school and when she picked up her cousin. To believe Adnan is to believe a seemingly unbelievable number of coincidences. I don't feel like I know with 100% certainty Adnan did it -- how could anyone -- but ever since the case was laid out, it has just seemed like he was the only who could have or would have done it, and nothing in the past 5 episodes has done anything to change that opinion. Your incredulity over my confidence mirrors my incredulity over others' unwillingness to form an opinion -- here we have multiple testimonies, we have a motive of partner violence, we have cell records placing Adnan at the burial site on the night of the murder, and we have a defendant who can account for his actions during the morning and early of the day of the murder but who conveniently cannot account for his actions during and after the time of the murder.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:00 AM on November 13, 2014


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: here we have multiple testimonies

There is a single testimony that says Adnan Syed was the murderer.

we have a motive of partner violence

As far as I can remember, no one has said that Adnan was violent to Hae Min Lee or anyone else prior to her murder, nor afterwards.

we have cell records placing Adnan at the burial site on the night of the murder

We have cell tower records placing his cell phone near the burial site, yes.

and we have a defendant who can account for his actions during the morning and early of the day of the murder but who conveniently cannot account for his actions during and after the time of the murder

That can be something that indicates guilt, or it can be because he simply doesn't remember as he was high as a kite. My gut feeling is that if a teenager was trying to get away with murder, then he would try to come up with some kind of story about where he was and what he was doing. But going by gut feeling isn't necessarily the best option always.

The one thing I'm pretty sure about is that the defense attorney didn't do her due diligence. I'm really surprised we haven't heard from her law clerks.

If I think about this in terms of epistemology, which is hard not to, then all I know is that multiple people have looked at this case very carefully and come to different conclusions. I have access to just a small part of the available material. I'm with Sarah Koenig on this one, I just don't know.
posted by Kattullus at 6:23 AM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


If I think about this in terms of epistemology, which is hard not to, then all I know is that multiple people have looked at this case very carefully and come to different conclusions.

In my opinion, the bias and opinion creeping in and clouding judgment here is the presentation of the case by SK and team. I don't say that negatively -- they are storytellers, that is what they do. But just by virtue of the fact that we are introduced to the story via Rabia, and that we hear Adnan soon after the podcast begins, and SK tells us she doesn't know what happened -- that is setting our brain to think a certain way. That there is a mystery here. And we're ready to go along for the ride. We believe there is uncertainty, we believe Rabia and Adnan; our sympathies lie with them. This is natural, this is human.

But is there a mystery? If we heard Jenn and Jay's stories first, if we heard of threats and of nasty letters, of phone calls late into the night and into the morning of the day of the murder, of friends remembering that Adnan tried to get a ride from Hae on the day of -- well, our mind would have been set a different way, and our interpretations of SK's calls with Adnan would be colored differently.

With regards to people looking at the case and coming to different conclusions, well sure. The guy said he didn't do it. So you have the police doing their job and a jury convicting quickly, and you have the defendant's friends and family disagreeing with the verdict and believing in his innocence. Those without a natural bias came to one conclusion, those with a bias came to another conclusion.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:43 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's funny, if I have a problem with the storytelling, it's the very opposite. By starting the story with Adnan and Rabia's version, it's setting them up as targets for debunking. So when you get the information that conflicts with the initial story, one very normal response is to disbelieve entirely the first account and believe the second version, even if it's just as problematic.

And I don't think it's quite so easy to divide people into those with bias and those without. If nothing else, the Innocence Project getting involved complicates that neat distinction.
posted by Kattullus at 6:57 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting take, but I absolutely disagree. Twitter is filling up with breathless declarations of #TeamAdnan and I think it completely has to do with how the podcast was originally framed and presented.

As for the Innocence Project, remember what Dierdre said. If we don't hear from her and her team, then that doesn't mean they haven't reached a conclusion. It's just that the conclusion they've reached didn't differ enough from the established story to be significant. I'll be interested to see/hear if we revisit them and, if/when we do, how forthright they are with their findings.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:01 AM on November 13, 2014


Ok I'm listening to it now and every time they play audio of Adnan's defense attorney speaking I want to gouge my eyeballs out with a pen. Her voice is so grating and whiny and it sets me on edge.

This is so shallow of me but I cannot imagine how torturous it would be to sit on a jury and listen to that lawyer's voice go on and on and on. I'm not saying that had anything to do with the outcome of Adnan's case - I just want to mention it because it's annoying the piss out of me so much that I don't want to listen to this episode if it means having to keep listening to her voice. Ugh.

Carry on.
posted by thereemix at 7:07 AM on November 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Jay carries himself so well in those recordings from the trial. Maybe Adnan's 'pathetic' comment was in reference to his defense, and how shaky it seemed compared to Jay's calm demeanor?
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:29 AM on November 13, 2014


I know I'm harping on something that's mostly beside the point, but I don't think maintaining the drama this episode of tracking down Jay, briefly speaking with him without a recording, and then eventually not being able to secure his further participation, was worth the lacunae left in the first five episodes during which they strangely don't even mention the possibility of trying to talk to Jay. I can understand why they might have made that choice -- they couldn't bring it up earlier as a promise without feeling like they'd need to disclose right there that interviewing Jay didn't really end up happening -- but was being able to dramatize that will-he-or-won't-he moment for 10 minutes this episode worth it?

As for (Asienio) Hall and (Warren) Oates, I suspect the...virulence of your conviction is because you're setting your position in opposition to the people you're reading on Twitter whose fan-like #TeamAdnan stances aren't quite represented by anyone in this thread? It sounds like you're annoyed by them, and then that annoyance is carrying over in how you're responding to people here saying they just don't feel like we have all the facts.

(In any case, I'm leaning toward thinking both Adnan and Jay were involved in the murder, but I don't see much value at all in choosing to solidify that opinion.)
posted by nobody at 7:33 AM on November 13, 2014


"But while I am willing to cut “Serial” enough slack to regard it as an experiment in form, I am still disturbed by the thought of Koenig stomping around communities that she clearly does not understand, digging up small, generally inconsequential details about the people inside of them, and subjecting it all to that inimitable “This American Life” process of tirelessly, and sometimes gleefully, expressing her neuroses over what she has found."

A writer at The Awl has some things to say about Sarah Koenig today.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:40 AM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't claim to know who did it with absolute certainty. I'm not virulently claiming that other people are wrong. I'm saying I think Adnan did it and I'm saying that I've felt that way since the 3rd episode. In my first comment today I said: "I feel the same way I've felt since episode 3: Adnan did it, he's a sociopath, and the lives of those tangentially related to the case are being dissected for little reason."

In other words, yeah, I'm with the writer at The Awl.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:46 AM on November 13, 2014


Still listening, 6 minutes to go. I'm at work with my headphones on, and the friend of Jay's who said that he thought the murder didn't happen in the Best Buy parking lot, but rather happened in the parking lot of the library - the same library where Asia said she saw Adnan - made me stop in my tracks. I closed the spreadsheet I was working on and now am sitting here, rapt, wanting to give it my full focus. That detail is huge. I don't want to roll it back just yet because I'm still listening but I think this is the same friend that Jay mentioned by name (Chris?) in his first interview that the cops never bothered to question.

The police work in this case baffles me, through and through. I know the DC detective that SK brought in to analyze the police file said that this was a "better than average" investigation, and all that really does is make me so thoroughly depressed. The police work here seems so shoddy and weird, and this is better than it usually is? I mean, I can't say it surprises me. But it does depress me.

Back to listening.
posted by thereemix at 7:51 AM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


From the article fuse theorem links above:

"As a result, Chaudry believes Koenig has left out an essential part of Syed’s story—that his arrest, his indictment and his conviction were all influenced by his faith and the color of his skin. “You have an urban jury in Baltimore city, mostly African American, maybe people who identify with Jay [an African-American friend of Syed's who is the state’s seemingly unreliable star witness] more than Adnan, who is represented by a community in headscarves and men in beards,” Chaudry said. “The visuals of the courtroom itself leaves an impression and there’s no escaping the racial implications there.”

Yeah, this is kind of what I was saying up above a few days ago. This is a huge part of the case that SK just doesn't seem to understand, and it's becoming a problem in her storytelling.
posted by thereemix at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2014


I think there is an underlying theme to a lot of what has transpired. It's not something that SK has emphasized all that much (although it's come up here and there, as a number of disconnected asides), but I think it might be the major thing to take away from this whole ordeal, the entire case, the whole trial: there's something really absurd about treating teenagers as adults.

We were introduced to this question today: Who is Jay? Or, more accurately, who was Jay? Who was he, when he was just a teenager? And this entire podcast series could be seen as built around this question: Who is Adnan? Or, rather, who was Adnan, when he was a teenager? Everything is about trying to construct character sketches--trying to take the (lacking) evidence available to us and piece them together into a robust analysis of who these two men are. Who those two kids were.

We keep having difficulties, though, because the evidence is so contradictory. Think of what we heard about Jay: he was a punk, he was a rebel, he was trouble, he was a nice guy... It doesn't fit together into a nice cohesive whole. What we get about Jay-the-teenager is a bunch of bits and pieces, and they don't form a smooth narrative. We're often asked to think of this as a problem with the evidence available to us: we just don't have enough of the pieces to get a real picture of who Jay-the-teenager was. But I think what we're really confronted with is this: far more than sufficient evidence for recognizing that there was no set personality, set character, to Jay-the-teenager. He was a teenager. Teenagers are unfinished. Jay-the-teenager probably was an incoherent set of bits and pieces, because that's what all teenagers are. Adnan was likely the same: the stoner, the overbearing boyfriend, the laid back (attempted) ladies man, the cool kid... There isn't a single narrative we can tell about Adnan, there is so single person he was. I was the same, as a teenager. So were you. We're none of us fully-formed people, when we're 16, 17, 18.

So we look at a piece of evidence from the case, and we're asked to draw conclusions from it about Jay's or Adnan's internal nature. Adnan wrote depressing and distressing poetry: is he dark and twisted? Jay tried to stab his friend for kicks: is he dangerous? Adnan (may have) written "I will kill" on a note about Hae: is this criminal intent? Answering such questions, though, requires presuppositions about what sort of person would do such a thing. "What sort of person writes disturbing poetry?" "What sort of person writes dark and twisted poetry?" If we were deliberating about adults, maybe we could form answers. I do have some sense of what sort of person (mind you, what sort of adult, fully-formed person) would write dark and disturbing poetry. I definitely have some sense of what sort of (adult, formed) person would threaten to stab their own friend.... but a teenager?

Like the poetry teacher said: every teen writes disturbing poetry. If we took writing down disturbing things like "I will kill" as evidence of criminal intent, every teen would be suspect. If we draw conclusions from the fact that Jay threatened to stab his friend, we're forgetting that one of the essential features of being teenager is being a reckless, confounding dumbass.

So, we have here a case where the hard evidence is lacking. It comes down to judgments about the two main individuals: Jay and Adnan. Where we fall on the case--what conclusions we draw, how we interpret the little evidence we have--is determined in large part by how we interpret their teenage personalities. But teenagers don't really have personalities yet. They're cauldrons of conflicting motivations and attitudes. They're pre-formed. And that means we can't take any specific action a teenager performs and see it as reflecting their true nature, their underlying character. And that means we cannot find our feet with the evidence, we do not have what is needed to build a reliable interpretation.

Episode 1 started out with SK remarking on how ridiculous so much of her focus for this story is: she is digging into details about teenagers' sex lives and poetry, prom kings and weed. It is ridiculous. And the more you think about it, the more absolutely disturbing it is that those sorts of details are ones that were central to this trial, this application of our judicial system.
posted by meese at 8:51 AM on November 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: As for the Innocence Project, remember what Dierdre said. If we don't hear from her and her team, then that doesn't mean they haven't reached a conclusion. It's just that the conclusion they've reached didn't differ enough from the established story to be significant.

That's a good point. I would counter by saying that they know a whole lot more than we podcast listeners do at this moment, and they're at least willing to put effort into proving Adnan Syed's innocence.

thereemix: I know the DC detective that SK brought in to analyze the police file said that this was a "better than average" investigation

He didn't understand him to be saying that the investigation was better than your average police investigation, but that it was better than average for the sort of investigation he's asked to review.
posted by Kattullus at 8:55 AM on November 13, 2014


I really think the narrative structuring flows towards #TeamAdnan as well -- we're used to stories that end with "the wrong person was freed from jail after many years after the hard work of reporters and lawyers" and not used to stories that end "but we looked into it and it turns out the cops basically had it right all along." There's a bias (especially among the generally left-leaning, progressive audience of TAL and MetaFilter) to hear a case where a person says the cops screwed up and believe the person must be innocent. Everything SK has done in the series has intensified that -- she undercuts anti-Adnan evidence whenever she hears it and says "but we still don't KNOW." But where, really, is the ambiguity here? Jay knew where the car was when the cops didn't, among other things, and he says Adnan did it; the objective facts (like the presence of the cell phone when Adnan has it that night in Leaken Park) are generally consistent with Jay's story; Adnan can't provide any evidence or alibi explaining where he was to counter Jay, and no one else can either. Like others, I'm half-expecting some big twist to come, simply because I don't know why this project was worth presenting in this way, or even embarking on at all, if the conclusion is going to be either "yeah, sorry, Adnan did it" or "from an epistemological standpoint, can we ever really *know* anything?"
posted by gerryblog at 8:57 AM on November 13, 2014


Great perspective, Meese. You can't really judge people on what they were like at 17 or 18. Or judge criminal intent based on notes passed in school in a boring class.

And lots of details are just so troubling. At Jay's sentencing hearing only Stephanie was there with him? No parents or family members?
posted by readery at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


meese, I hear what you're saying about all of the uncertainty surrounding this case. And I agree with you --it'd be great if there were more hard evidence. But it's not like we have to rely entirely and exclusively on personal judgments of the personalities of teenagers. We don't have to sit here and make up theories about what might have happened. Jay told us what happened. That's the story. Jay put himself at the scene of the crime, he knew where Hae's car was, and he knew the method of assault -- things that were not known to the greater public. Now, you can believe Jay's description of events or you can not believe him. You can believe it to a T or you can believe that he's essentially telling the truth. But it's all about Jay's story. He either he did it by himself, he did it with someone other than Adnan, he did it with Adnan, or Adnan did it and he helped after the fact. To say that Adnan is completely innocent and did not know that Jay performed the abduction and murder of Hae -- on the same day that Adnan lent Jay his car and cell phone -- during the one small window of time that Adnan does not recall having any memories involves believing in a number of coincidences that I can't accept. However, to accept Jay's story is, to me, logically much easier to do. Jay's story completes the circle, as it were. And sure, maybe that's a convenient way for me to look at it, but until there is evidence that contradicts Jay's essential telling of the story, I personally have little reason not to believe him.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:19 AM on November 13, 2014


Now, you can believe Jay's description of events or you can not believe him. You can believe it to a T or you can believe that he's essentially telling the truth. But it's all about Jay's story.

That's my point. In deliberating about the evidence, the issue comes down to: is Jay trustworthy? That's a judgment about his character.

You present some reasons for believing him to be reasonably trustworthy, to believe he's telling the truth, but none of it is conclusive. Consider this point: "until there is evidence that contradicts Jay's essential telling of the story, I personally have little reason not to believe him." There's plenty that speaks against his telling of the story -- all the details about the other state park they went to, the strange inconsistencies, etc. You're not convinced that those inconsistencies are relevant (that they're essential to his story), because you're willing to see him as relatively trustworthy. If, on the other hand, you judge Jay not to be relatively trustworthy, then all those inconsistencies and confusions spell a really huge problem with the essence of his story.

I don't disagree with your point about Jay's story. If you trust Jay, then the case fits together well. So the question becomes, should you trust Jay? Is Jay the sort of person you can trust? Whether we look at his testimony and ask, "Why is Adnan not able to disprove it?" or "Why is Jay lying?" comes down to how we judge the personalities of the teenagers involved.

Also consider how you presented your position about the case above: I feel the same way I've felt since episode 3: Adnan did it, he's a sociopath, and the lives of those tangentially related to the case are being dissected for little reason. Notice the judgment about the case fits so naturally with a judgment about Adnan's character: he did it, he's a sociopath. To make a judgment about the case is to make a judgment about Adnan's personality. That's what I'm talking about.

I'm not arguing that, without obvious forensic evidence, we must accept total skepticism. What I am saying, though, is that, with so much of the evidence relying on testimony, one's judgments about the case must be determined in part by one's judgments about the underlying personalities of the individuals involved, about the people giving the testimony. And since the individuals involved are kids, this causes a problem in how we can go about confronting and evaluating that evidence.
posted by meese at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Three things:

1. The detective hired by Serial was previously featured in Act 1 of an episode of TAL: Confessions.

2. It's worth bearing in mind here that Adnan could both be the killer and not be a sociopath. The narrative that seemed to be getting pushed at the end of this episode is that the killing might have been a crime of passion. That seems far more plausible than the notion that it was a planned, thought-out crime. A crime of passion, frankly, doesn't seem like something a sociopath would do.

4. Where does Adnan say that he was during the Leakin Park calls? I'm unclear on this.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:16 AM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is that based on what we know, and based on the facts presented (and NOT taking into account the personalities of the players involved), I ask myself: is it reasonable to think that Jay committed the murder without Adnan's knowledge, without a motive, without a single other person (including Adnan!) accusing Jay of being involved in the murder, while also: accidentally butt-dialing Nisha on Adnan's phone, and then (un)intentionally driving around the area of the burial on the night of the murder? Nothing about personalities or who "sounds" believable. Don't care. I simply can't imagine a situation where the above scenario is plausible -- which is perhaps a lack of imagination on my part -- and therefore I think Adnan was involved. Everything I've heard counter to the "official" story is just variations on "but how can we ever REALLY know??!?!" Well, we can't. But of the narrow band of options that seem possible, only one seems plausible to me.

The "sociopath" thing is simply a judgment of whoever is lying here. It's either Adnan or Jay. I think it's Adnan -- but if it turns out that Adnan is innocent and Jay is framing him -- then yeah, wow, that is some seriously anti-social behavior.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:20 AM on November 13, 2014


The "sociopath" thing is simply a judgment of whoever is lying here.

Okay, but I do think we should cool it with that - a sociopath is a very specific thing, and no one involved with this seems like one.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates - I can't speak for anyone else here, but I absolutely think Adnan was involved. But I don't think he acted alone, and I don't think he was a sociopath. I think if it was anything, it was a crime of passion, as Going To Maine suggests, and I think Jay got roped in after it happened, i.e. Adnan was freaking out and called him for help. It's not that I don't believe Jay at all - but I do think that the story he told the cops the first time was specifically to downplay his involvement, and then when he went back to make further statements, he was probably coached a bit by the police to make sure the story he told fit the timeline that they had established based on the cell phone tower data, which is a tenuous thing to build a case on.

I guess what I'm saying is that the choice here isn't Adnan Is 100% Innocent vs. Adnan Is a Murderous Sociopath. There's another option, and that option means that Jay was more involved in whatever it was that happened (which we may never know) than he tries to portray in his testimony.

What makes this story interesting to me isn't the whodunnit aspect of it, but instead this notion that someone could be found guilty of a crime (who probably is guilty, at least in part) based on very thin evidence. That's where Deirdre and the Innocence Project's investigation comes in. And the evidence was thin but the jury convicted him anyway because part of the prosecution's strategy was to play up this notion of the angry violent Muslim man who was avenging his honor after his woman humiliated him. And that latter bit is what frustrates me so much about the way SK is telling this story because I think unpacking that aspect of the state's case would yield far more interesting information than this constant back and forth about whether Jay is trustworthy or a juvenile delinquent, or whether Adnan is a sociopath or not. SK has been spinning her wheels about "what's the deal with Jay" and "what's the deal with Adnan" for the past three episodes and while it's compelling to listen to in that it's a part of the larger narrative that she has undertaken with this series, it's not all that interesting to listen to in that it's really treading way too hard in whodunnit territory. I don't think we're ever going to learn whodunnit, but I don't think that's what makes this story interesting, and I don't know if SK realizes that at this point. I'm not sure what her end game is here.
posted by thereemix at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well, one other option, hinted at a couple of times in the series but never explored, is that Jay was protecting someone else by giving Adnan to the police. I'm not saying it's the answer, but that's at least one other possibility that's not entirely implausible. But of course, this being reality and not fiction, the real answer may be something completely bizarre and out of left field.
posted by Kattullus at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2014


I guess what I'm saying is that the choice here isn't Adnan Is 100% Innocent vs. Adnan Is a Murderous Sociopath.

My one beef with this is that the notion of this as a sliding scale isn't quite right. If Adnan did strangle Hae then he is 100% guilty. Maybe that shouldn't be a life sentence, especially if it was a crime of passion by a teenager, but it's very much guilt. If Jay is involved as well then Jay is also guilty, but it wouldn't exonerate Adnan.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:14 AM on November 13, 2014


I am definitely using "sociopath" colloquially and not as a medical diagnosis. Of course you're correct, Going to Maine, and point well-taken.

What makes this story interesting to me isn't the whodunnit aspect of it, but instead this notion that someone could be found guilty of a crime (who probably is guilty, at least in part) based on very thin evidence.

That's how the podcast has been framed thus far -- throwing wrenches into the state's case and bringing up uncertainties. We are confronted with a question: at what point is someone proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? And we have so far looked at this question from #TeamAdnan's perspective; we have not looked it from Hae's family's perspective. At what point are we also comfortable with someone going free because the state hasn't been able to "prove" they did it? I wonder a lot about whether Hae's family is listening to the podcast, and what they think of it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2014


My one beef with this is that the notion of this as a sliding scale isn't quite right. If Adnan did strangle Hae then he is 100% guilty. Maybe that shouldn't be a life sentence, especially if it was a crime of passion by a teenager, but it's very much guilt. If Jay is involved as well then Jay is also guilty, but it wouldn't exonerate Adnan.

Totally agreed - I didn't express myself very well there. This statement here is a more accurate summation of what I think.
posted by thereemix at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2014


I also agree that the omission of Hae's family thus far is strange and does tend to weigh the story so far mostly in favor of Adnan's take on what happened. I wonder if we'll ever hear from anyone in her family?

Maybe this is because I am a curmudgeon who doesn't really "get" Twitter, but I've never really encountered any blatant #TeamAdnan sentiment from any of the analysis/critique I've read about Serial. I've read a lot of stuff that is puzzling through SK's evolving relationship with Adnan as the show progresses, and a lot of stuff that looks at the way the narrative is structured and how SK is putting together the story. Are there people out there (aside from Adnan's family and friends) who really think he wasn't involved at all? That seems bizarre to me, even if the show thus far has given a lot of attention to him and his version of events.
posted by thereemix at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2014




Stay classy, Daily Mail.
posted by thereemix at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2014


Jay doxxed by Daily Mail.

What the every fuck? Why on earth would they do that?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:15 PM on November 13, 2014


we have cell records placing Adnan at the burial site on the night of the murder

We have cell tower records placing his cell phone near the burial site, yes.


It's not even that. In the general vicinity of a burial site would be a better charcterisation. The cell tower records only indicate that he was within the radius of the tower when the call was made. There's a lot of variation in cell tower broadcast strength, and I haven't looked into it in detail in this instance, but it could be anywhere from 1-8 km or so.

The cell tower logs are very much open to interpretation, as far as determining location at the time of calls goes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth the people on the Serial reddit believe that Leakin Park cell phone data is legit and definitive, i.e., that that tower covers the area around the burial site and basically nowhere else. This is true even of posters who distrust the cell tower evidence generally.
posted by gerryblog at 6:30 PM on November 13, 2014


gerryblog, do you have a link for that - like, a specific post? The cell phone locations and ranges would be interesting to consider.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:30 PM on November 13, 2014


Well, here's one: http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast/comments/2m3jza/the_key_pieces_of_evidence_against_adnan/cm0tqek

But you can see the same basic claim made basically any time they talk about Leakin Park and the cell towers:

http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast/search?q=leakin+park+antenna&restrict_sr=on&sort=relevance&t=all
posted by gerryblog at 9:01 PM on November 13, 2014


We have cell tower records placing his cell phone near the burial site, yes.

Hmmm. You're right. This cell tower map, which divides it up by the tower most likely to be pinged based on distance, is pretty damning. The Leakin Park tower (L689B) basically covers only Leakin Park.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:44 PM on November 13, 2014


So many thoughts ...

"Jay lies." And I understand Jay now. I mean, I've known guys like this, who just lie constantly about so many small and stupid things. And I can see how someone like this would make up lots of small things while being faithful to the overall truth. I can't explain the behavior, but I know this type.

Adnan's defense lawyer also made my skin crawl. I can't imagine how that harsh approach would ever win over a jury. But here's a new theory: maybe she threw the case because she believed Adnan did it.

I also think there's a huge benefit to the story, and into digging into all the little details, even if the story itself doesn't end with a clean resolution. I'm struck by how many people are haunted still by the events that summer. And then I think of how many kids are murdered in our cities each day, and how this same type of trauma must also haunt hundreds of thousands of other adults. It's sobering.
posted by kanewai at 10:43 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


My spidey sense still says Adnan is too smart to have done this and then rather than ditching his phone and building a cover-up alibi for the rest of the day, instead opting to drive all over town with a shady liar buddy making calls on both of their phones, smoking weed, threatening to harm Jay's GF, etc.

I propose that it was done by some even shadier friend of Jay's, with Jay probably present, maybe Jay's drug dealer, or at least some non-student who the other high school friends are barely aware of. This third character threatens to implicate Jay and/or kill Stephanie unless Jay makes it go away. So Jay comes to the obvious set-up of Adnan, spends the rest of the day with him planting seeds of evidence. Jay then sits on it to build the story for a few months, then goes to the cops when it's all ready. This type of explanation takes into account Stephanie's absolute silence even at the cost of close friendships, as well as Adnan's complete lack of interest in even attempting any sort of alibi, and Jay's knowledge of many details yet his inability to create a cohesive timeline of events that implicate Adnan.

Of course this would be impossible to prove with the evidence that the podcast has provided so far, but would explain so many of the head scratching sides of the story.
posted by p3t3 at 10:50 PM on November 13, 2014


I was a teen around the same time as Adnan, and I had no clue how cell phones work. Nowadays, cell phone tracking comes up in the media often enough that people have a good sense that you shouldn't use your cell phone when doing nefarious things, but I'm not sure if we can expect a teenager in that time frame to have the same understanding.
posted by meese at 6:47 AM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, as someone Adnan's age, I can assert that it was not uncommon to share cellphones and borrow pagers. Also, Law and Order hadn't yet made it public knowledge about how cellphone data could be used in solving crimes.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:19 AM on November 14, 2014


Part of the problem for me is that I have a really hard time visualizing a teenager who sounds a lot like many people I knew at that age arranging his girlfriend to death. I have the same problem visualizing someone helping bury the dead body of their buddy's ex girlfriend. but this kid of thing does happen, every day, and just because these two men sound nice doesn't mean they are innocent.
posted by bq at 9:43 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


meese and tofu, good points; I'm a few years older than Adnan/Jay, but I do remember the way people used pagers back then and I agree that there was a general lack of awareness.

My other leading personal theory is that Adnan and Jay committed the murder together, possibly Jay even talked Adnan into it, the same way he tried to talk his friend into taking a stabbing. That would explain Adnan's inability to be more helpful with details, and his phone interviews that sound less frustrated and more disappointed bordering on apathetic (although that could also be explained by apathy instilled by living through prison). He knows he's partially guilty, but his only way out is to pin it all on Jay, who has less motive.

It would also explain my main beef with Jay, and the concept that was introduced in the first episode - the fact that if you saw something traumatizing as an innocent person, the events of that day would be seared into your mind, and even a habitual liar should have a more cohesive story than what Jay cobbled together.
posted by p3t3 at 4:50 PM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


So now the AV Club is doing a Serial Serial podcast about Serial.

And now we wait for Maria Banford to take up the show and make the Serial Serial Serial...

In all honesty, I wasn't too impressed by it on the first go-round. Kinda like "yeah, we want in on the action!" but not saying anything I haven't heard already in the last 24 hours.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:31 PM on November 14, 2014


Listening to that part where Jay is dissolving into tears made it even more real for me and frankly I now want to stop listening to the podcast. I have no thoughts to offer regarding innocence and guilt. I'm so sad about the lives shattered by this and most of all the loss of a young woman from a Korean, migrant family. I'm going to check out for the next month and listen again when the podcast is done. I enjoyed reading this thread though. Thanks, mefites.
posted by one teak forest at 11:13 PM on November 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Rabia on ep. 8. While I do like her thoughts, I really do feel that there is something hypocritical in opening with a "Hey, we can't judge any of these peoples' true characters from a 40-minute radio show" and then she proceeds to go judgin' Jay's character based on random tidbits of personality. She makes a point of bringing in facts, certainly, but she also goes after him on character traits.

One thing that I do consider interesting about this is that, if Adnan is indeed guilty and went in on this investigation, he must be fairly confident that SK et al. will either show that the state's case is no good or else turn up nothing. Since he has to have figured that they would talk to Jay, he would need to be a little certain that Jay would say nothing, which means that he must still perceive that there's some kind of threat hanging over Jay if the real deal (as opposed to the seemingly bogus afternoon timeline used at trial) comes out. Rabia seems to think that Jay's plea deal goes to hell if the truth comes out, but I'm not certain enough about the legal system to know if that's the case. If that isn't, man, I really want to know what the threat is.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2014


if Adnan is indeed guilty and went in on this investigation, he must be fairly confident that SK et al. will either show that the state's case is no good or else turn up nothing.

Or, he could figure he has nothing to lose. If the show confirms his guilt, he's not any worse off than he is now.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:19 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, sort of. He won't be any more in jail than he is now, sure, but the many people who have been supporting him for years will know the truth and feel betrayed, including his family.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:39 AM on November 16, 2014


I'm back to feeling like we won't get any sense of resolution out of this series. That we'll be left with more questions than answers. In the end, it really seems to come down to who you think is lying: Jay or Adnan. One of them has to be lying (or I suppose both of them). And the producers seem to want to believe them both, or at least feel that each could plausibly be telling the truth and one of them is a scary-good liar. And that's what we'll be left with, that and a pile of evidence that adds up to an argument, but not really proof in any tangible sense.

That said, every couple of episodes I change my mind about where I think it will end up. So maybe we'll get a smoking gun. If we do, I suppose it will have to be very close to the end.
posted by rikschell at 5:31 AM on November 17, 2014


The Problem with Serial and the Model Minority Myth (at Buzzfeed of all places).
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:49 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


at Buzzfeed of all places

Buzzfeed is a hotbed of excellent journalism on race, though you wouldn't guess it from their lists. The Buzzfeed staff is very supportive of writers interested in minority issues. For instance, this article and this back-and-forth have stuck with me. Saeed Jones is fantastic.
posted by painquale at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't figure out how to get the AV club podcast on my apple podcast app. Do they shun iTunes?
posted by bq at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2014


Looks like it just downloads from that page as an mp3, so you should be able to fling it into your itunes where it will show up as a music file, and it will play like normal in your phone's music player.
posted by rtha at 2:12 PM on November 17, 2014


Just saw this on the Serial subreddit - I am Hae's brother - do not AMA. Worth reading, and keeping in mind.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:43 AM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't believe he posted Sarah Koenig's cellphone number, albeit briefly and non-maliciously, on Reddit. I suppose that turnabout is fair play, though.
posted by donajo at 5:03 AM on November 18, 2014


I haven't clicked the reddit link yet, but what makes it turnabout?
posted by rtha at 5:31 AM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


A lot of people have wondered why Hae's parents have not been on the show yet. Hae's brother makes it seem like not only are they on the show, they didn't even know that this investigation was going on. It seems remiss of the creators to not even give the family a head's up. It seems like it's putting the brother in the position of having to protect his family from finding out.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2014


Sorry, not only are they NOT on the show
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:30 AM on November 18, 2014


I know I read somewhere that Hae's mother and brother moved back to Korea after losing Hae. I'd like to think her mother will be protected. But realistically, how long until even local media (in Korea) pick up on this story? There's articles about this podcast in the UK press, in Australian media...it's just a matter of time before Korean media picks up on this. I hope they are less sensationalistic.
posted by readery at 8:36 AM on November 18, 2014


Here's a thoughtful and interesting response to that Buzzfeed article, written by a writing teacher: The Problem with the Problems with Serial.
posted by Zephyrial at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


We don't have to sit here and make up theories about what might have happened. Jay told us what happened. That's the story. Jay put himself at the scene of the crime, he knew where Hae's car was, and he knew the method of assault -- things that were not known to the greater public.

All that does it put Jay there. There is nothing putting Andan there. Jay's story kept changing to match the cellphone records. Jay's story beyond proving he had something to do with it is pretty worthless.

Andan very well could have done it; but he shouldn't have been convicted. The case against him did not overcome reasonable doubt. The jury was overwhelmed with cellphone evidence they didn't understand, and underwhelmed by a incompetent defense attorney.
posted by spaltavian at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


All that does it put Jay there. There is nothing putting Andan there. Jay's story kept changing to match the cellphone records. Jay's story beyond proving he had something to do with it is pretty worthless.

Gee, that's a great point. I wish I had kept writing, because I probably would have said something like: "Now, you can believe Jay's description of events or you can not believe him. ... Jay either did it by himself, he did it with someone other than Adnan, he did it with Adnan, or Adnan did it and he helped after the fact." Oh, golly, I did say that!

As for why the jury found Adnan guilty, I respectfully disagree that it was principally about the cell phone evidence. I think it's much simpler than that. I think the jury heard a story from a person they trusted, and they believed that story. That's it. Whether or not that's how the justice system is "supposed" to work is a different conversation than "why did they convict." Jurors are, unfortunately, human and fallible. And as humans, we want to figure things out and understand how and why things happen. So the jury was presented with a possible story explaining the event, and they believed it. I really don't think it's more complicated than that. Unfortunately for Adnan, the defense did not give the jury an alternative story to consider, and the defense did not sufficiently poke enough holes in Jay's story for the jury to find Adnan not guilty. The cell phone evidence, as spotty as it was, served only to help further convince the jurors of what they were already prejudiced to believe: that the kid who got on the stand and talked to us was the telling the truth, and the kid who didn't take the stand to defend himself was lying.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:30 AM on November 18, 2014


Another response to the criticism of Serial: Not Problematic: In Defense of ‘Serial’.

at Buzzfeed of all places

Buzzfeed is a hotbed of excellent journalism on race,


Maybe, but that piece sure wasn't an example of it.
posted by spaltavian at 10:12 AM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Did the Innocence Project frame an innocent man to get its client out of jail?
If you know of the Innocence Project, you probably think of it as the group that works tirelessly to rescue people from death row. Maybe you've heard tearjerker tales of cases in which it saved prisoners from execution by digging up DNA evidence proving they didn't actually commit the crimes that put them behind bars.

But the role of one branch of the Innocence Project in a recent case is much more complicated.

That's because 64-year-old Alstory Simon recently walked out of prison midway through a 27-year sentence for his role in a 1992 double murder in Chicago, after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez concluded that the confession he made in 1999 was coerced.

Here's the catch: Alvarez determined that Simon had been manipulated and misled, not by law enforcement officials, but by investigators who were working for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project to free Anthony Porter, the man who had originally been convicted in the murder.

Simon, Alvarez concluded, was in prison for a crime he didn't commit because of the unethical tactics of an organization dedicated to freeing people in that very situation.

Alvarez told the Chicago Tribune, "[T]his case has been so deeply corroded and corrupted that we can no longer maintain the legitimacy of this conviction."

It's a happy ending for Simon,  who is now free. A film about his ordeal, "A Murder in the Park," premiered this week in New York.
This story's been sort of lurking in the background for a couple of weeks, but seems to be taking off in the right leaning blogosphere over the last few days. With all the important work the IP is doing, I hope we get an answer as to exactly what happened in this situation so that the controversy doesn't undermine their other efforts.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't clicked the reddit link yet, but what makes it turnabout?

Sarah Koenig started this series with Adnan's cooperation and consent, but she didn't seem to realize that the other players in the case, including the victim's family, may not want to have this period in their lives dredged up and put on display for the purposes of entertainment. Or if she did realize, she chose to do it anyway. One of the articles linked in the previous thread talks about how Koenig and TAL didn't anticipate the popularity of the show, and didn't think through that these people are findable through social media, even without using full names on the air.

So it seems somewhat fitting that Hae's brother made Sarah Koenig's cell phone number public, albeit briefly and unintentionally. The inadvertent lack of respect for privacy swings both ways.
posted by donajo at 11:26 AM on November 18, 2014


Koenig didn't post anyone's private cell phone number; and the case itself a matter of public record. Hardly "turnabout".
posted by spaltavian at 11:36 AM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have to say that if some journalist came around telling me they were doing a story about the convicted murderer of my loved one, there is no way in hell I would agree to that to them.
posted by bq at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have to say that if some journalist came around telling me they were doing a story about the convicted murderer of my loved one, there is no way in hell I would agree to that to them.

Yet people do this all the time! My husband is obsessed with those true crime TV shows that cover the investigation of old murders. "Forensic Files" is one of them. And, just about every single time, they involve interviews with the family and friends of the victim. I always wonder about their involvement. I wonder if, afterwards, they're left feeling like their tragedies have been taken advantage of. I wonder if they feel like their involvement was worthwhile. My husband and I both worry, sometimes, that there is something seedy and morally suspect about being entertained by these shows.

One difference may be: those show focus on solving the murder mystery; Serial is focused on examining the case against the convicted killer. Maybe that makes a difference to the people involved. I don't know.
posted by meese at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2014


So it seems somewhat fitting that Hae's brother made Sarah Koenig's cell phone number public, albeit briefly and unintentionally.

Yeah, it doesn't seem fitting to me to do that.
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


To be clear, it seems like Hae's brother didn't realize what he was doing. The number was in an email that posted on Reddit briefly, and then took it down when he realized that it contained personal info.
posted by donajo at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but again, there's no "inadvertent lack of respect for privacy swing[ing] both ways". Koenig is reporting on a public story, asked if he wanted to comment, and left him alone. She didn't camp at his house, or harass him.

This is one person, the brother, inadvertently violating Koenig's privacy. The family doesn't own the investigation and trial, it's all conduced under the auspices of the state. Plus, reporters looking into the criminal justice system is a pretty vital function in a democracy.
posted by spaltavian at 6:12 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


The article says that the Medill Innocence Project is independent of the Innocence Project based in DC.
posted by bq at 6:51 PM on November 18, 2014


bq: The article says that the Medill Innocence Project is independent of the Innocence Project based in DC.

Ah, that was added in an update after I posted it. Thanks!
posted by tonycpsu at 7:47 PM on November 18, 2014


Here's the catch: Alvarez determined that Simon had been manipulated and misled, not by law enforcement officials, but by investigators who were working for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project to free Anthony Porter, the man who had originally been convicted in the murder.

Simon, Alvarez concluded, was in prison for a crime he didn't commit because of the unethical tactics of an organization dedicated to freeing people in that very situation.


This is shameless buck passing. Even if the Medill Innocence Project unethically coerced a confession (and that is not proven) they didn't put anyone in jail. Prosecutors made a decision to prosecute Simon, not the MIP.

The responsibility for Simon's incarceration rests with the prosecutors and no one else.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:14 AM on November 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Today's episode was great. It circled back around to some lingering questions and reemphasized that this is real, that real people are suffering from this. I think the Internet need a little reminder.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:17 AM on November 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm very glad that she took a moment to focus on Hae, what she was like, and the loss that her family suffered.
posted by bq at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


A nice meditation, tho' not a navel-gazey one. And the new shit that has come to light! Also interesting.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:57 PM on November 20, 2014


Also, for kicks: Charts for people obsessed with Serial
posted by Going To Maine at 1:15 PM on November 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I thought Adnan's comments about regret were so very sad. I think a lot of people are going to misconstrue what he said as some sort of admission of guilt. I very much interpreted his remarks as regretting straying from the tenets of his religion, and, ultimately, dating Hae. :(
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:10 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I doubt he even gave it that much thought. He was just saying a bunch of cliches. He acting like a beset-upon hero in a movie without giving much thought to what he was saying. And then when Koenig pressed him on one line, he was forced to dig a little deeper, realized he couldn't, and so just kept saying "you know what I mean?" It's pretty common for people to just spout off cliches and play the role of the reflective character when they're trying to be reflective. I don't think it really speaks to his guilt one way or another.
posted by painquale at 2:50 AM on November 21, 2014


painquale: I doubt he even gave it that much thought. He was just saying a bunch of cliches.

People use cliches to think.

And I don't think that his thoughts about his parents were very cliche, for that matter.
posted by Kattullus at 3:02 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


People use cliches to think.

Well, yeah. That's exactly what I meant. He was thinking through cliches rather than the cliche being the end result of some deliberation. (And you can tell, because when asked to elaborate on why he said that he regrets what his parents were going through, he got stuck.)
posted by painquale at 5:45 AM on November 21, 2014


Part of me wishes that Serial could exist in a bubble. No subreddit, no Spoiler Special, no Daily Mail terribleness, I don't even need the extras on the Serial blog.

Partially because while I trust SK & friends to be respectful of the innocent families involved, I don't harbor the same amount of trust for other media outlets or reddit or the chans. And also because I love my hour-a-week listen, but I resent feeling like I need to also keep up on a whole bunch of other forums/articles/side-podcasts to keep up with the story.

For now, I'm avoiding all of the "extras" (besides this thread) but I do feel like I'm missing the full experience.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:40 AM on November 21, 2014


I am avoiding the extras and actually feel really good about it. (I do check the subreddit once a week or so to see if there's anything major.) I don't think I'm missing something. I do wish I had a sense of how far along we are in the story.
posted by jeather at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2014


I do wish I had a sense of how far along we are in the story.

The plan is for twelve or so episodes, & this last one is number nine. So depending on episode length we've probably got somewhere between ninety minutes and five hours of musings about truth, prison, high school, Baltimore, and and trials ahead.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:01 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Unless, I mean Jay changes his mind about giving that interview, Adnan suddenly reveals that he was involved, or some other big thing happens.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2014


Just caught up on Serial, and came right here to talk about it a little.

I'm glad that you all were also thinking about the tension embedded in the narrative structure. On one hand, the show is certainly designed to make us feel like we're along for the ride while SK does the investigative journalism work: "let's go talk to that guy!" "what about the phone?" "hang on doesn't that contradict this other thing?". But on the other hand, the arc of the show is carefully plotted out, and information is only doled out to the listeners at the right times.

In the other thread (where this topic was being discussed a little more heavily), someone made the point that any mystery or detective novel has the same structure, and we're fine with it. I was thinking about that, because they really do feel different, and I suspect that when we're reading a book it's very easy to separate Agatha Christie (who is doing the work of plotting, only doling out information where it fits the purposes of the narrative arc) from Hercule Poirot (who is doing the investigative work). I think that some of the tension in Serial arises because we can't separate SK's two roles quite as easily.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:11 AM on November 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's true, about seperating SK from Hercule Poirot: by the premise implicitly set up at the beginning of this we learn things as SK learns them and think to question things as she does - but she's already done all this work, she already knows. Yet she's putting it forth as though she doesn't.

I was thinking that if I was really curious, I'd find out if anything new has happened, because I'm assuming it's all pretty public if you know where to look.

But it's a story to me. So I don't . And frankly I think that's kind of a shortcoming.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:01 PM on November 22, 2014


I don't think you can properly understand this case with just a one-time info dump. The investigation isn't just into the murder, but the into the police investigation itself, and into the stories the principals and bystanders tell themselves. We also have more context to make our own opinions, and to question, evaluate and be forced to really think about how we came our own conclusion. This, to me, is an exercise is skepticism that not only has value in its own right, but also sheds light on the nature of investigative journalism.
posted by spaltavian at 6:08 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]




Via the NY Times article, Paul Laudiero's dead-on parody

Stay for the end of "Cold Calls"!
posted by morganw at 7:51 AM on November 24, 2014


> it's all pretty public if you know where to look

Except that someone came forward due to the show & told SK some things, revealed in ep. 9, that weren't previously public.
posted by morganw at 7:54 AM on November 24, 2014


I inhaled all nine episodes over the last couple days. Very interesting, even if in the end it only amounts to a meditation on how crime stories don't always tie up nice and neat like Law & Order episodes.

One thing that's crossed my mind, particularly with regard to all the attempts at creating a timeline of Jay and Adnan's movements on that January 13, and how the call logs do and don't coincide... Why is that January 13 necessarily the right day? I gather that's the day she first went missing, yes, so it's likely, but her body wasn't found for a month, so the actual murder could've happened any time after she disappeared, right?

I'm definitely hoping to hear more about this defense lawyer. She sounds awful on those trial recordings.
posted by dnash at 10:08 AM on November 24, 2014


One thing that's crossed my mind, particularly with regard to all the attempts at creating a timeline of Jay and Adnan's movements on that January 13, and how the call logs do and don't coincide... Why is that January 13 necessarily the right day?

Well, that's the state's timeline, so investigating if Adnan did it means look into that day. It's pretty unlikely that Adnan or Jay were holding Hae somewhere. If it was a stranger, it's certainly possible.
posted by spaltavian at 2:49 PM on November 24, 2014




If you don't like your mind in its current, un-blown up arrangement, check out this mash-up of the Serial score and "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. It's...uncanny.
posted by dry white toast at 11:25 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]




Serial: Why Jay’s Testimony Is Not Credible Evidence of Adnan’s Guilt

I've held out that Jay is a motherfucking lying sack of crap since day one, but it's pretty damning when you see it all laid out like that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:08 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those The View From LL2 posts are great. the call one, in particular, really helped me understand the timeline of events (regardless of whether or not the blogger's reconstruction is correct).
posted by Going To Maine at 5:30 PM on November 27, 2014




I disagree with many of the critiques of Serial and don't read it as being as racially problematic as some have, but that article in the Atlantic linked above really rubbed me the wrong way. When I scanned down to the author bio I mentally replaced it in my head with, "Conor Friedersdorf is some white dude named Conor" - he doesn't seem to have any real qualification or expertise around the issues and is basically mansplaining/whitesplaining with a big, giant "Um, Actually...." about why POC critiques of the show are wrong and TAL and Serial are justfinethankyou. I'd much rather read a discussion of race on Serial from a writer of color who has some actual understanding of white journalistic cultural tourism, even if I don't find their conclusions convincing.

Following up with a wikipedia link about the author, it turns out he's a right wing libertarian - the perfect white dude to discuss subtle issues around race and representation!
posted by latkes at 10:38 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does Friedersdorf's article rub you wrong solely because of the gender and race of the author, or is there something in the substance of the article that rubs you wrong? If it's the latter, what is it?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


There is a lack of substance to the article, and it seems to exist because Friedersdorf is a member of the privileged class of white men who’s opinions are elevated to publication not because they have any particular experience or expertise, but simply because white dudes opinions are automatically assumed to matter. This is a long article that basically is like, “yeah but POC are wrong”. I found it grating in tone because it comes off as an Um, Actually about something he knows less about than the people he’s critiquing. So his gender and race are essential to my distaste for his piece.
posted by latkes at 1:26 PM on December 3, 2014


POC here (also a child of immigrant parents and grew up under the same "parameters" as Hae and Adnan as a teen), so I hope my opinion counts.

Friedersdorf's article was a breath of fresh air for me as someone who read a bunch of the "Serial is problematic b/c stupid white lady" articles and almost needed a trip to the ER because my eyes rolled so far back in my head. I think he made great points, and gave voice to my opinions way better than any of the POC "experts" making up the backlash.

As Friedersdorf makes clear in his article, there are a lot of problematic ways with the way that POC are portrayed in western media/journalism. What Koenig is doing on Serial, and what TAL does when they handle race issues are generally part of the solution, not the problem. Sure, call them out when they screw up, but call them out for legitimate screw-ups -- not just imaginings based on the least charitable interpretation of everything that Koenig says and does.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:49 PM on December 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh...and we're on Fanfare now!
posted by sparklemotion at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2014


Gotcha sparklehorse. I appreciate hearing your take. I was struck by the article because although I agree with what your saying, I do not find the show as problematic as it's critics have regarding race, I still found that article smarmy in tone. But I hear what you're saying that you found his points correct.
posted by latkes at 2:40 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another POC/child of an immigrant here, and my take was the same as sparklemotion's. I thought Kang's article (and Julia Carrie Wong's Buzzfeed article) were poorly written, frankly--they made assertions about racial bias and unexamined privilege, but the examples they used from the podcast didn't actually support their points. In contrast, I thought Friedersdorf's article was quite well written. He makes it clear that racial bias is a real problem in journalism and needs to be examined:
...the charge, "You got that country wrong," or "you misjudged that church," or "you don't understand how such companies work," or "that's not how it is in that political faction," or "you fell into stereotypes when writing about that ethnic community" should never be dismissed. The best course is to reflect on the critique with as open a mind as possible. As often as not, there is at least something to be learned from the critic.
...and explains that he respects Kang's writing in general:
...I kept an open mind when I saw Jay Caspian Kang's article in The Awl, "'Serial' and White Reporter Privilege." In part, this is because "white-reporter privilege" sounds like just the sort of thing I might not discern. I also have a high opinion of The Awl's cultural analysis, and hold Kang in even higher esteem. After reading "The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain is Always the High," which I selected as one of the best pieces written in 2011, I felt sure I wanted to read everything he ever published. In doing so, I've found much of his writing on race in America to offer uncommon nuance and insight.
His critique, therefore, doesn't come across as either a defensive "racism doesn't exist!" or an ad hominem, but rather a rebuttal supported with good examples. The problems he points out are the same ones I noticed with Kang and Wong's arguments.

But that said, I share some of your unease, latkes: it's a tricky situation, because it can be problematic for a white writer to say, "There's not really evidence to support these POC writers' claims of racial bias." I do wish some writers of colour had spoken up and said to Kang and Wong, hey, your points are just not supportable with the evidence at hand.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:40 PM on December 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


(sparklemotion, I just realized I called you "sparklehorse"! Not sure what that's about, but sorry!)
posted by latkes at 7:23 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


There is a lack of substance to the article, and it seems to exist because Friedersdorf is a member of the privileged class of white men who’s opinions

Kang and Wong's pieces are pretty horribly written, and pretty seriously distort passages in Serial. There really isn't any "there" there. I hope no one is saying that's because they're Asian.

Friedersdorf's piece is lucid and doesn't rely on blatant distortions of the pieces he's arguing against. If there's an issue with substance, it's not with him.

His comments on Kang's writing make me baffled as how you got that impression from the piece, latkes.
posted by spaltavian at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


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