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Serial Season 3 Will Follow Cases In Cleveland Criminal Court

Serial” first gripped listeners in 2014 (and Kim Kardashian as recently as last month) with the case of Adnan Syed, a young man convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend. The podcast’s second season, which had more mixed reviews, centered on Bowe Bergdahl, an army sergeant kidnapped by the Taliban. Now, the hit show has revealed the main character of its newest season out September 20: a courthouse in Cleveland.

At around the six-minute mark of a seven-and-a-half-minute trailer, we land at host Sarah Koenig’s mission for the third season. Whereas the first season got Syed’s case retried and is often credited with popularizing the podcast format, this time the “Serial” crew are being even more ambitious: They are out to triage – and hopefully reform – the levers of justice.

“I don’t think we can understand how the criminal justice system works by interrogating one extraordinary case,” Koenig says in the trailer. “Ordinary cases are where we need to look. This season of ‘Serial’ we do just that. We take a look at the entire criminal justice system. A year inside the criminal courts of Cleveland, Ohio.”

Why Cleveland? Simple: Access.

“They let us record — everywhere!” Koenig says. “Courtrooms, back hallways, judge’s chambers the prosecutor’s office. And then we followed those cases outside the building into neighborhoods, into people’s houses and into prison. Every case we looked into there came a time where I said ‘wait, this can’t be happening.’ And then, it did.”

Well, Sarah, you definitely have our interest. Truthfully though, we do have to wonder if this new storytelling tactic, a literal case-by-case one, doesn’t seem more episodic than serialized. Either way we’ll be listening.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected].


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