What is the new season of Serial about? Show reportedly covering Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl US Army Photo

The first season of the unprecedentedly popular podcast Serial introduced the listening audience to a criminal case that few outside of Baltimore knew. According to a report from this week, the new season of Serial will cover the more widely known, albeit still complex case of Bowe Bergdahl.

Several anonymous sources connected to the former POW told Maxim they’ve been interviewed by producers for season two or three of Serial. Host Sarah Koenig (pictured below) was reportedly also present at a preliminary hearing for Bergdahl’s case last week.

For now, those directly involved with Serial aren’t confirming anything. When asked about possibly covering the Bergdahl case, production manager Emily Cordon told Maxim via email they want fellow journalists to give them “some room.” She explained:


We’d very much appreciate if fellow journalists would give us some room and not feel the need to attempt to dig into and try to figure out what you think we might be doing, especially since we’re actively reporting stories, and having a bunch of wild speculation out there makes our job reporting harder. Doesn’t feel very menschy. In any case, here’s what I can tell you: The Serial staff is currently working on several things simultaneously: Season 2, Season 3, and some other podcast projects. For now we’re not talking publicly about anything that we’re working on.


Sarah Koenig Serial

If one of the seasons does involve Bergdahl, it will be met with backlash — considering anonymous members of Bergdahl’s unit already told Maxim they don’t think Serial could do the complexities of the case justice.

“Anyone who tries to benefit from Bowe’s situation has little interest in the truth,” one said. “What happened in 2009 is both troubling and politically incorrect… My concern is that the truth is being diluted by those looking to gain from Bowe’s story.”

Referencing the Serial rumor and Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal’s interest in the case, another said, “I get it that Boal wants to make a movie and Serial is trying to make a nifty diorama for hipsters to marvel at, but I think it’s the height of crassness for them to do this when it could potentially affect the legal proceedings….I assume it will be a great way to paint us as kooks and sore losers.”

The reasons why the Bergdahl case is so controversial are complicated. (Which is perfect for Serial.) To briefly summarize, he went missing while serving in Afghanistan in June 2009. He later said in a Taliban video that he was captured. Other sources said he walked off base and into enemy territory on his own after becoming disillusioned with the war — which is the account the Pentagon believed in their 2010 investigation. Nonetheless, search and rescue attempts continued for the next five years, during which time Bergdahl was held as a POW. He was released in May 2014 in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees and went back to Army duty. In March of this year, the U.S. Army formally charged him with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl’s trials are ongoing.

The second season of Serial will debut this year, with the third season to follow next spring.

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