Here is some background knowledge about the podcast.
“It’s Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he’s innocent – though he can’t exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found” (SEASON ONE: EPISODE 01 THE ALIBI).
In my opinion, this was an overall great podcast. What made this podcast so great? Well, I am a fan of true crime and deep dive genres, so this was all I could really ask for. It got me hooked on to the fact that the alleged “murderer” Adnan Syed, could not remember anything on the January afternoon the murder took place. I questioned how this was even possible? If he really was the murderer, why could he not remember committing the murder?
What made this podcast story even more interesting was the fact that there was a witness; a classmate that knew of Adnan’s whereabouts, but she is nowhere to be found. This immediately got me hooked to the mystery of the story and left me wanting more.
I kept trying to understand why the alleged “murderer” could not remember the crime that he, himself committed. “Claims of amnesia have been reported in an estimated range of 10 to 70 percent of homicides. Memory impairment during the commission of crimes has also been reported by perpetrators of domestic violence” (Whitehurst, Amnesia and Crime). I believe Adnan did not commit the crime. From the podcast, I gained evidence that Adnan had no intentions on hurting his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. In-fact, he was calmly going through the breakup and was already over it. His friends claimed that he was a good, well-known kid and they were all shocked upon hearing the news. The amnesia could have been the result of physical damage to his brain. This amnesia could also be the cause of his inability to remember that particular day in January. This is concerning to me as a reader, because if nobody can trace Adnan’s whereabouts on the day of the murder, how will there be proof of his innocence? This lack of evidence will likely affect the opinions and voices of the people retelling the story on the podcast and can thereby negatively influencing the perspective of the listener. If I was in Adnan’s shoes, there would be little to no chance of me remembering what I have already forgotten, I usually struggle to remember birthdays or any event I have on a given day at a given time, and that’s without any amnesia, to begin with. I ultimately see Adnan having no memory of that day because he had amnesia from a possible blackmailing for the murder. I do not know who, but I am certain there definitely was someone blackmailing him.
Adnan was raised by immigrants, Pakistani Muslim parents that are very protective, like most immigrant parents are. Adnan held prayers at his local mosque which tells us how religious he was. I myself am being raised by foreign immigrant parents that are a little more conservative than most parents. The Muslim religion has many rules or teachings that Adnan did not follow. “It is haram for a man to speak to a non-Mahram woman with the intention of making her fall into sin” (Rules related to socializing). Looking at his religion and his behaviours tell me that he was already breaking rules (sin) so this could not have led him into a potential murder. His family (knowing that they are Muslims) would be angry and frustrated at him but at the same time will be fighting for his son to be bailed out because they know that he would not commit this crime. Adnan’s family must be very sad knowing that their child is in prison for the rest of his life. I am a little angry that the podcast published this personal story because I know my family, or any family for that matter, would not want an hour long podcast detailing their son doing something horrible that would make the whole world see him as the worst person possible. I am curious to know if Serial even asked Adnan’s family if they wanted his story going public.
This was my first experience listening to a podcast. I usually do not like reading books, but with the podcast, I enjoyed listening to it. My podcast experience had some aspects that I liked and some aspects that I did not like. The thing that I enjoyed was the use of different voices and stories people had about Adnan’s murder. Also, the music made it more entertaining and gave it more feeling in the beginning and towards the end of the podcast. Compared to reading a book, I feel that the podcast gives you more stories and perspectives than reading a book. Some things that I did not like about the podcast was how the narrator would never say her opinion whether she thought Adnan was innocent or guilty. I really wanted to hear what Sarah Koenig’s perspective of this story was because she had the most insight on this story. From what I can tell, she kind of tends to lean on Adnan’s side because she calls him many times and gives him the good news about new information she found on the case. Compared to a book, the narrator gives his or her perspective throughout most of the text.
Although the narrator does not give her perspective, I know that Adnan Syed was innocent. This was a great podcast that really interested me into the story. I will be looking forward to the next series of podcasts Serial makes.
Bourget, Dominique, and Laurie Whitehurst. “Amnesia and Crime.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 01 Dec. 2007. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://jaapl.org/content/35/4/469>.
Crockett, Moya. ““It Wasn’t Adnan. It Wasn’t Jay. I Know Who Killed Hae”: Serial’s Rabia Chaudry Speaks to Stylist.” Stylist Magazine. N.p., 15 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://www.stylist.co.uk/people/rabia-chaudry-interview-serial-adnan- syed-innocent-jay-didnt-do-it-hae-min-lee>.
Fieldstadt, Elisha. “Lawyers for ‘Serial’ Subject, Adnan Syed, File Brief for New Murder Trial.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawyers-serial-subject-adnan- syed-file-brief-new-murder-trial-n328921>.
MacLean, Ali. “The Most Bizarre Things about the Adnan Syed Case.” NickiSwift.com. Nicki Swift, 09 Nov. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://www.nickiswift.com/30520/bizarre-things-adnan-syed-case/>.
Parco, Nicholas. “Sarah Koenig Is ‘shocked’ That Adnan Syed Is Getting a New Trial.” NY Daily News. N.p., 06 July 2016. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/sarah-koenig-shocked-adnan-syed- new-trial-article-1.2701250>.
“Rules Related To Socializing.” Al-Islam.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://www.al-islam.org/code-ethics-muslim-men-and-women-sayyid-masud- masumi/rules-related-socializing>.
“Season One.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/season- one>.