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Given everything I know from the podcast, I feel like Jay is at least AS likely a primary suspect as Adnan. He knew where Hae's car was, he lied to the cops, he conspired with Jenn to lie to the cops, he and Jenn dispose of evidence including the shovels that buried Hae which also conveniently belong to him. Jay lies about everything and nothing to everybody, and he's the kind of "goofy" kid who tries to stab a friend for shits and giggles, and whom no one is surprised is involved in a murder.  And of course he and Jen are seemingly, and again conveniently, each others "alibi" for the day of Hae's murder. 

 

Adnan certainly isn't unsuspicious, the note with "I'm gonna kill" written on it, the Nisha call, not being able to account for significant part of his day, the basic probability that Hae would be murdered by a boyfriend or an ex, his seemingly blase attitude toward Hae being missing, and to Jay ratting him out for something he swears he didn't do.  But none of that ads up to guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, there is oceans of reasonable doubt, thus even if he did do it, I don't think he received a fair trail and shouldn't have been convicted.

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I'm loving this podcast experience, even as there are aspects of it that concern me (more on that below). Totally ditto blixie in thoughts about guilt and innocence, based on what we've heard so far. I just haven't heard--or read, outside of the podcast--enough that answers my questions about reasonable doubt. There are all sorts of threads in the story I want to know more about--from Mr. S. happening upon Hae's body when an officer who knew to look for it couldn't even find it, to Jenn and Stephanie (and their respective relationships with Adnan and Jay), to the mistrial that we haven't heard anything about other than it happened. Oh yeah, and Adnan's lawyer. WTF is up with her.

 

The stuff that concerns me: that there's next to zero time on the young woman who was murdered, that race and ethnicity seem to be playing a *massive* role but is also not being discussed in any meaningful way--either in terms of the happenings in 1999-2000 or in Sarah's reporting today. (This is a good read, I think, about her reporting on this as a white person.) 

 

Two places I tend to check out after each episode are Slate's post-episode debrief (a podcast about a podcast!) and Rabia's blog (she's the lawyer & family friend of Adnan who brought the case to Sarah back in episode 1 and writes about each podcast). I've intentionally steered clear of Reddit...I don't want to get sucked into that wormhole. Any other good sources of info or analysis out there?

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I was thinking definitely guilty until the revelations in the last episode. The Best Buy phone never existed. Another one of Jay's lies.

No episode next week:(

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I've tended to believe not guilty this whole time, but I would not be surprised if I was wrong. The episode about the Best Buy phone not existing cemented that for me. But I don't get why Jay would lie unless he did it, and I don't feel strongly about that.

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I hadn't heard about Serial until Thursday, and it was not hard to binge listen to the whole thing.  It's super compelling.  I hope the last episode focuses heavily on the actual trial.  It is fascinating to me that the defense lawyer was disbarred not long after the trial.  I don't know who killed Hae, but I do know that a decent lawyer would have kept Adnan out of prison.

 

I can't imagine what listening to this as someone involved must be like.  I can only assume Jay is listening to this.  Can you imagine listening to hours of a podcast that not so subtly call you a murderer?  Also, I bet Adnan is getting a ton of mail in prison.  It feels like listening to a "story", but a lot of it is about real people who are currently living their real lives, and it must be affecting them in very odd ways.

Edited by AndreaK1041
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Currently, after only listening to episode 1 so far.. I feel like Jay's story sounds more made up. He didn't seem to show any emotion and why would he help a guy bury his dead ex girlfriend? Just doesn't seem to add up. 

 

I'm sure I might change my mind with later episodes :)

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I can't imagine what listening to this as someone involved must be like.  I can only assume Jay is listening to this.  Can you imagine listening to hours of a podcast that not so subtly call you a murderer?  Also, I bet Adnan is getting a ton of mail in prison.  It feels like listening to a "story", but a lot of it is about real people who are currently living their real lives, and it must be affecting them in very odd ways.

Jay & Jen both had there Facebook profiles public after the first couple episodes they put them on private.

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Which leads me to something I'm not clear on - why are some people's full names given, some only first name, and some get pseudonyms? It is relatively easy to find everyone's full name in court documents (so I have read, I didn't actually check), so why the random secrecy on the podcast?

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At one point she mentioned Mr S and how he chose not to be named. Maybe it's about the request of the people involved? At least the 'less important' people.

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The stuff that concerns me: that there's next to zero time on the young woman who was murdered, that race and ethnicity seem to be playing a *massive* role but is also not being discussed in any meaningful way--either in terms of the happenings in 1999-2000 or in Sarah's reporting today. (This is a good read, I think, about her reporting on this as a white person.) 

 

Disclaimer: I am not fully caught up on the podcast, I'm at ep 6.

 

Although I have thought that ethnicity hasn't been brought forward as much as it could or should, I found that article a little determined to find fault.  Kang lost me around the time he used Koenig's comment about Hae's diary as Koenig commenting about Hae's ethnicity or culture.  I heard that comment not as being about Korean vs European but about some weird expectation that the inner thoughts of this girl who was murdered might be more poetic or profound than someone who was not murdered.  As a commenter on the article says: 

 

While it's true that Koenig was holding the banality of the diary up against Hae's otherwise unusual life, the unusual-ness didn't come from her membership in an immigrant community. It came from the fact that she was *murdered.* That is, Koenig was using the diary to show us Hae wasn't some Laura Palmer-type with a secret double life. She wasn't depressed or disturbed or whatever (or scared of Adnan). She was an (adorably) normal teenage girl with (adorably) normal teenage girl preoccupations. A key narrative point.

 

If that's an example of Koenig's cringe-inducing "little judgments" I found it very hard to really get behind this particular interpretation.

 

At this point, I'm not convinced of Adnan's innocence but I agree that there are "oceans of reasonable doubt" and I wouldn't convict.  I wonder if, in the jury room, having seen the pictures of this brutally murdered girl, and having seen her family and friends, there isn't a stronger impulse to provide justice through conviction despite doubt -- the doubt is overcome by the certainty of the police and prosecution and the desire for closure and "justice" for the family.  Which would be tragic and ironic, since the standard is supposed to be "beyond reasonable doubt."

Edited by dusang
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I hope they try to talk to Don at some point. I really don't know who to believe at this point. The fact that the last two episodes focused on Jay and Adnan respectively and both made me sympathetic to them threw me for a loop.

One person who I think seems shady at this point is Jen.

Does anyone else get the sense that Koenig is intentionally playing dumb? I found it hard to believe that she didn't consider race until Deidre brought it up. Just something about her and the way she presents information makes me think that half of the point of Serial is examine narrative.

Edited by Janet Snakehole

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Yeah I agree with that (eta whoa three posts while I wrote - I am referring to the diary as surprising due to immaturity not race). There is also the fact that Koenig is interviewing all of the other people for her story when they are in their 30's, but the voice of Hae never had the chance to mature. I'm sure she has to constantly remind herself that they were just high school kids at the time, since it's so far removed. I also think she is sensitive to saying anything negative about Hae because it could come off as tasteless.

For some reason I thought there were 10 episodes of Serial, but I read that there will be 12. That leaves a decent amount of time to discuss Hae, alternate theories, and what I am most fascinated by: the terrible defense during the two trials.

I've realized that I am the same age as these people, so while it is interesting to hear interviews like "no, that couldn't have happened in that timeline, because I remember.." I cannot tell you specifics of one single day of high school. Not my birthday, not any days of tragedy, nothing. I remember bits and pieces like anyone, but details? No. Side note, I also worked at a Best Buy at that time for 2 years and I could not say at all one way or another if there was a pay phone in the lobby or parking lot. I love this podcast, but asking people to recall today what happened then is pretty far fetched to me.

Edited by AndreaK1041
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I don't know. I graduated 2002, and I can very vividly remember September 11. Like, to the point where my class schedule stands out and I know what outfit I wore that day and what I did after school. Different scale, but I feel like if one of my best friends went missing one day, I would be able to remember the details of the day.

Sorry if this came off wrong, I don't expect this to be across the board or anything,I guess I just meant that I am not surprised that some people interviewed are able to remember details of calls and schedules.

Edited by Janet Snakehole
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No, I remember a lot about 9/11 too, but Hae wasn't missing until after school and then they were off school the next four days. Also, those 3-4 years matter, or at least they do to my quickly aging mind! High school gets fuzzier by the year.

I think I only brought it up because for me the new stuff seems really exciting as a listener (we just got new info about the pay phone, I got a call from Asia McClain, etc), but it is those things that are probably the least likely to be accurate. I'm just struggling with listening wanting to be entertained, and reminding myself it's real life, real people, not being presented for my enjoyment, etc.

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I agree with you, AndreaK, about memory.  I think this day is pretty distinct from something like 9/11 where the attack was such a huge event that it makes that day stand out (though even then I don't have vivid memories of even close to every detail of my day).  On the day Hae disappeared these folks--anyone not actually involved in her disappearance, that is--basically had normal days because she disappeared in the afternoon and it's not like people immediately knew that she'd been murdered.  

 

On the other hand, once people did learn of Hae's disappearance and eventually of her murder they probably did think back to that day (certainly the ones involved in the investigation did, but I'm sure others did as well)--which then wasn't so long ago--and run through it in their minds thinking about whether anything stood out.  So I'm not entirely surprised that people remember things that I'd never remember about a day so long ago.  That doesn't mean their memories are accurate, though.  I mean, memories are notoriously unreliable even for things that happened recently.

 

The case of the pay phone at Best Buy strikes me as weird, though.  That's not somebody trying to remember a single event; it's a case of someone having been to a particular location many times and therefore her memory of there being no pay phone is based on many experiences, not one.  But what's so weird about it is...in the course of the investigation did nobody ever take a run over to the Best Buy, the supposed site of the murder and a crucial phone call, and see if there was actually a pay phone?  We have this one person saying she's absolutely certain there was never a pay phone there, but that's based on her memory.  How is that not something that people are 100% certain about due to it having been noted by the investigators?  There are all these ways that they tried to (or did) corroborate the details of Jay's statements, but when he says Adnan called him from a particular pay phone they never bothered to see if such a pay phone exists?  Or did they know that it was there so never bothered to note it?  In which case the person's memory is just wrong?  This claim that there was no phone there is a recent development, so maybe in following up on it Koenig will hear from other people who remember just as clearly and confidently that there was a pay phone there.  I'm curious to find out.  

 

I'm starting to think that Jay did it in order to frame Adnan and that he cooperated with the cops in order to be able to claim only minimal responsibility when, inevitably, they discovered his involvement.

This strikes me as an awfully far-fetched theory.  So Jay murdered Hae for the sole purpose of framing Adnan?  Why would Jay want Adnan in prison?  I'm not saying I'm certain Jay didn't kill Hae--I don't feel certain about really anything, to be honest--but as far as motive that one strikes me as difficult to believe.  

 

At this point I'm not convinced of Adnan's innocence at all.  I think it's as likely as not that he did in fact kill Hae.  However, "as likely as not" is an awfully low standard.  Based on everything we've heard so far what I just keep going back to is what I've thought from the very beginning, which is that it seems unbelievable that a jury convicted him.  I guess what it mostly comes down to is that they just believed Jay's testimony, and if you figure Jay's telling the truth then there's just no question.  

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Why would Jay want Adnan in prison?

 

Jealousy, maybe? It was Stephanie's bday that day and Adnan had got her a present. I don't know. I'm just thinking aloud.

 

I'm going back to re-listen and I'm back to thinking that Adnan was likely involved. Two things that struck me. First, while being interviewed by Koening, Adnan says, "When Hae broke up with me," and then quickly follows that up with, "When we broke up." I know that is such a small detail, but it struck both my sister and I as weird.

 

Second, didn't Adnan tell the cops the second time that he didn't need a ride from Hae because he had his own car? If so, that doesn't make much sense because, while he had a car, he had lent it to Jay that day.

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I hope they try to talk to Don at some point. I really don't know who to believe at this point. The fact that the last two episodes focused on Jay and Adnan respectively and both made me sympathetic to them threw me for a loop.

I saw an interview where the producer said they reached out to him and he refused to be interviewed.

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I am now up to date. 

 

I still think it was Jay. I've felt that from the beginning, his story just doesn't add up well enough. It'll be interesting to see how it all ends up

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I'm up to date on the Serial podcast.  I was looking to get into the Slate Serial Spoilers podcast but was confused by the fact that I could only find episodes back to #5.  Apparently that is, in fact, where they started.  The Slate website is, in my respectful submission, phenomenally difficult to navigate.  Getting to that #5 first episode was way more challenging than it should have been.

 

On the one hand, I see no reason for Jay to frame Adnan for first degree murder, which suggests that Jay is telling some version of the truth and Adnan is very, very guilty.  On the other hand, I just find that story so unlikely.  Also, there seems to be so many contradictory pieces of information and so many people who were not appropriately interviewed or pieces of information that were not sufficiently fact checked (the girl who claims Hae was in the gym with her at the alleged time of death, the Best Buy phone booth, etc.) it seems just so..... questionable.  I'm very curious to see (or hear) how they "close" the series -- it seems unlikely that we'll have an absolute truth to walk away with, which will feel both dissatisfying and painfully accurate.

 

I find the whole phenomenon around the podcast equally fascinating -- what about this is so interesting to people?  What are people getting from it?  What do they expect from it?  What can we learn from it?

 

I'm also about the same age at Hae, Adnan, et al, and I think about what I remember from high school and what I could talk about with any conviction right now.  There's not much, although I feel that if one of my friends and/or classmates had been abducted and murdered during my final year, that would solidify some of my memory.  This, in combination with my obsessive viewing of police procedurals on TV, make me feel like I should be keeping a terribly detailed diary at all times.

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I'm kind of there with you. I'm listening to it, and even the Slate spoiler specials, but I think I'd like it better if it was just an hour long episode of This American Life, or maybe two with an update. It's fine, but there's a lot of filler.

 

These being real people being talked about, I can't imagine that they can end with: "That's it!  Jay did it! He's the murderer!" even if they believed it completely.  I think we're almost guaranteed an unsatisfactory ending because of journalistic and legal responsibility.

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Oh, I quite like the format.  I like that it brings forward so many questions.  Also, in a world where people are so quick to jump to conclusions, it's interesting to have the decision-making process prolonged and possibly entirely undermined.

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If you're interested in keeping up on what's happening outside of the podcast, this seems to be an important development. Sounds like it's happening as part of the natural process (i.e., not *because* of the podcast) but I find it fascinating all of this is converging in real time. It will be interesting to see whether Sarah chooses to bring this in, perhaps along with updates on what the Innocence Project has been doing?

 

Given that everything hinges on one unreliable witness, with zero physical evidence, it just seems unreal to me that a conviction could stick. In related news: I'm so fucking naive.

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I would really like to hear from Stephanie. Adnan was her good friend and Jay was her boyfriend at the time. I'm curious to hear if she could give any insight.

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If you're interested in keeping up on what's happening outside of the podcast, this seems to be an important development. Sounds like it's happening as part of the natural process (i.e., not *because* of the podcast) but I find it fascinating all of this is converging in real time. It will be interesting to see whether Sarah chooses to bring this in, perhaps along with updates on what the Innocence Project has been doing?

 

Given that everything hinges on one unreliable witness, with zero physical evidence, it just seems unreal to me that a conviction could stick. In related news: I'm so fucking naive.

 

Oh my God, I'm even more confused now.  Although that article provides clarity on some of the post-trial timelines I had been confused on (I thought Gutierrez was disbarred and died much later, closer to 2008, so her lack of response during the appeals process was weird), I"m now confused because in episode 1 or 2 they said the alibi witness had been ruled on and was no longer material to the case.  So why is it coming up again in the legal process?

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I also have a question/clarification.  Isn't it true that in this appeal/last chance process that you must prove that someone is innocent, not that there is reasonable doubt?  I think the burden of proof is much different at this point than it was in earlier stages.  So while, yes, hendersonrocks, it seems insane that non-evidence convicted originally, the same non-evidence is not enough to release him now.  As far as I understand it, something new has to have come to light, and the "incompetent lawyer" argument is not going to be easy to prove.  

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I also have a question/clarification.  Isn't it true that in this appeal/last chance process that you must prove that someone is innocent, not that there is reasonable doubt?  I think the burden of proof is much different at this point than it was in earlier stages.  So while, yes, hendersonrocks, it seems insane that non-evidence convicted originally, the same non-evidence is not enough to release him now.  As far as I understand it, something new has to have come to light, and the "incompetent lawyer" argument is not going to be easy to prove.  

 

My understanding is that they would need new evidence that was not (made) available at the original trial or a witness recanting.  I think that's why the Innocence Project focuses on testing other evidence from the crime scene or getting DNA matches.  So yes, you are correct.  The "reasonable doubt" has been overcome by the jury and their decision is binding.

Edited by dusang
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I"m now confused because in episode 1 or 2 they said the alibi witness had been ruled on and was no longer material to the case.  So why is it coming up again in the legal process?

 

No Adnan's appeal was denied, and at the time Asia was still in denial/recant/leave me out of it mode. Since she wouldn't testify and validate her initial affidavits that was a big blow to his appeal. The post conviction relief piece, which is what is happening now, is based on his lawyer doing a crappy job, one big piece of which was her failure to follow up with Asia at all, but I don't think that's the only contention, but given what people have said about lawyers who have slept their way through cases not being found insufficient council I doubt this tact will be successful. His only real chance is "new" evidence that unequivocally establishes his innocence or if Jay recants, or the "real" murderer confesses.

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I'm intrigued by this line from the article linked above --

 

 

Brown also wrote that Gutierrez erred when she did not seek a plea deal for Syed, who asked her several times whether a plea option was available.

 

He wanted a plea deal? Why? So the trial wouldn't drag out forever or because he thought he'd be convicted or because he was seeking a lighter sentence to begin with?

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Yeah I really want to know when he asked for a plea, if it was well into the second trial she was botching than I don't find that nearly as bad, but if he was inquiring about pleas from the get, well that doesn't look great Adnan. Then again he was 17 and had no alibi and Rabia  mentioned there was a xenophobic stench to a lot of the coverage and framing of both trials, it would be easy to believe you were going to be convicted regardless of the lack of evidence (and of course that is exactly what happened), and want to do the least amount of time possible. Ugh, IDK. I wonder if Sarah will cover this new appeal, it seems like the ethics wire keeps getting thinner in that respect, how much can she storify something that's still up in the air legally?

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Yeah I really want to know when he asked for a plea, if it was well into the second trial she was botching than I don't find that nearly as bad, but if he was inquiring about pleas from the get, well that doesn't look great Adnan.

 

 

100% agree. I couldn't help but think about the people who have been freed after decades of wrongful imprisonment that talk about how they refused a plea because they refused to admit to something they didn't do. I know it's horribly unfair to put that onto Adnan and this case, but yeah...it's where my mind went right away.

 

I'm sure it's tough to figure out how to handle the lawyer-ly stuff, but I really hope we get to it soon. The stuff we've heard about Gutierrez and the trials is mind bogglingly bad, but at the same time I know she was a really well respected defense attorney. (And I have finally, sadly, realized that the polished & oh so compelling Law & Order, LA Law, etc. arguments aren't realllllly what happens in courtrooms!)

Edited by hendersonrocks

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I saw speculation (so take it with a grain of salt) that Gutierrez didn't want a plea deal bc she wanted cash from the appeal.  That is unprovable and pretty much the height of evil as a defense attorney, but... yeah.

 

I'm going to spoiler this, because I imagine it will be compelling if presented in the podcast about the mistrial:

the first trial was thrown out because one of the jurors heard the judge call Gutierrez a liar.  Sit with that.  The JUDGE called her a liar and a juror heard it.  Apparently the juror wrote the judge a note something like "now that we know you think the lawyer is a liar, are we going to start over?".  I can't remember the exact wording but it is just mind boggling to me that something so insane could happen in a first degree murder case where my assumption is that people know what they are doing.

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Yeah I really want to know when he asked for a plea, if it was well into the second trial she was botching than I don't find that nearly as bad, but if he was inquiring about pleas from the get, well that doesn't look great Adnan. Then again he was 17 and had no alibi and Rabia  mentioned there was a xenophobic stench to a lot of the coverage and framing of both trials, it would be easy to believe you were going to be convicted regardless of the lack of evidence (and of course that is exactly what happened), and want to do the least amount of time possible. Ugh, IDK. I wonder if Sarah will cover this new appeal, it seems like the ethics wire keeps getting thinner in that respect, how much can she storify something that's still up in the air legally?

 

I'm surprised the DA didn't push for a plea -- an astronomical number of cases never see the inside of a court because of poor defense, backlogs, and money pressure.  I saw the filmmaker for Gideon's Army on The Daily Show when it came out and it was suuuuuper depressing.

 

ETA: I'm now listening to the Slate Serial Spoiler Podcast (which is, for the record, not spoiler-y at all provided you have listened to the most recent episode of Serial).  It's really infuriating me to listen to them speak because I so completely disagree with them and it's frustrating to not be able to argue the point.  I just listened to the ep.7 issue, which is where we meet Deidre and the Innocence Project and the Slate people called it complete filler and entirely useless and I could not disagree more.  If for no other purpose beyond providing a more experienced perspective on Adnan as a potentially innocent convict -- though the whole thing I've found Adnan's inability to come up with a credible story or reasonable answers so bizarre.  He's been in prison for 15 years!!  How has he not turned that day over and over in his mind to come up with answers?  How can he be so frequently stumped by Sarah's questions?  Why does he keep saying "I don't know"?  But Deirdre was like, "Yeah, if you didn't do it you don't know. You don't know."  And that really reframed some of my assessments of Adnan.

Edited by dusang
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I'm listening to some of the episodes again and something has struck me. Adnan tells Sarah that it "insults him to his core" that people he knew could believe that he had so cold-bloodedly killed Hae. But then he goes on to say that he wants to shoot himself if another person says that they believe he is innocent because he is a nice guy. Aren't those two feelings inconsistent?

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I'm listening to some of the episodes again and something has struck me. Adnan tells Sarah that it "insults him to his core" that people he knew could believe that he had so cold-bloodedly killed Hae. But then he goes on to say that he wants to shoot himself if another person says that they believe he is innocent because he is a nice guy. Aren't those two feelings inconsistent?

To me, the latter wass frustration.. how does it help him if people think he's a nice person? It doesn't change anything for him and doesn't help him get out of prison. He would prefer people to say "you're innocent because at the time I was having a chat with you" something of use to proving his innocence rather than just a feeling.

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I'm listening to some of the episodes again and something has struck me. Adnan tells Sarah that it "insults him to his core" that people he knew could believe that he had so cold-bloodedly killed Hae. But then he goes on to say that he wants to shoot himself if another person says that they believe he is innocent because he is a nice guy. Aren't those two feelings inconsistent?

 

Not really.  Both those feelings seem perfectly reasonable to me, even if they are, in some respects, logically inconsistent with one another.  In one instance he was referring to his friends and classmates who basically accepted the fact of his guilt based on the legal system, rather than standing by him and saying, "I know this man, he could not, would not, did not do this."  In the second instance he was effectively referring to Sarah as a stand-in for either anyone he's met post-conviction and/or the justice system as a whole and his desire for them to see him as innocent not in a vague and shapeless, unsubstantiated way of "but you're such a good guy" but in a fact-based way of "your story is definitively true and you are innocent of the crime for which you have been convicted."  I can see both sides of it.

 

ETA: And as kalliste said, he wants (needs) new evidence to be exonerated.

Edited by dusang
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The stuff that concerns me: that there's next to zero time on the young woman who was murdered, that race and ethnicity seem to be playing a *massive* role but is also not being discussed in any meaningful way--either in terms of the happenings in 1999-2000 or in Sarah's reporting today. (This is a good read, I think, about her reporting on this as a white person.)

 

Although I have thought that ethnicity hasn't been brought forward as much as it could or should, I found that article a little determined to find fault.

This is a pretty good response to that article.

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I liked this episode. I could completely understand how jurors would have sympathy for Jay if he was being questioned by someone with that voice and awful cadence. I'm surprised she was successful early in her career with that technique. The yelling was off putting too, it wasn't like an a ha moment, it was more like bad imitation of bad TV.

I think Koenig's done a good job of casting probable doubt. I'd like one of the last two episodes to be about how evidence could stack up to point firmly to Adnan. She started right from episode one saying she doesn't buy the motive, there is no physical evidence, etc, but I'm sure she's a good enough storyteller to have an entire episode that clearly presents facts in a condemning way. I'm ready for another side at this point.

Edited by AndreaK1041

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I think Koenig's done a good job of casting probable doubt. I'd like one of the last two episodes to be about how evidence could stack up to point firmly to Adnan.

Wasn't that what Episode 6: The Case Against Adnan Seyed was?

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Maybe but she spent a lot of that episode giving justifications for inconsistencies and with a healthy dose of acting thoroughly unconvinced. I really think she's talented enough to tell the story without that, just for an episode.

I think I feel like that because she seems to strive to mention both sides, and presents it as impartial, but it's really not impartial at all. I'd just like to hear a real and true case for Adnan. Or just flat out say it doesn't exist.

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Maybe but she spent a lot of that episode giving justifications for inconsistencies and with a healthy dose of acting thoroughly unconvinced. I really think she's talented enough to tell the story without that, just for an episode.

 

I'm not sure what you mean about her presenting facts in a "condemning" way, facts are facts, she's not a lawyer and yeah she's a journalist, but Serial isn't per se journalism. So, fair and impartial, if such a thing ever truly exists in journalism or justice, isn't really paramount. She's telling a story through her own specific lens, I think she's doing due diligence in presenting a fact and then the other side of the fact, every fact not just those that favor Adnan, or condemn Jay. I think every time a fact "doesn't look good for Adnan" she's labeled it as such, and some even after devil's advocating, still gnaw at her. She included the awkward confrontational conversation they had about him being a "nice" guy, she's red flagged the Nisha Call, the phone pinging Leakin Park, his not following up about Hae, his asking for a ride and even in this last episode his pursuit of a plea before both trials. So yeah I think she's doing her job presenting both sides, but I don't think she's required to be unbiased, she's human she's going to form opinions, make judgements like anyone else.

 

I know for myself, and I do believe SK as well, the thing I can't get past is Jay's lies. SO MANY LIES. And I can not find it within myself to believe one single word he says, obviously some of it IS true, but which parts? Fuck if I know, and the hell if I'd convict some guy because he said so. To me that's the entire states case: Liar Jay said so, a Leakin Park cell tower ping, a phone call to Nisha, a note passed in school, oh and Muslim xenophobia. You ultimately either find that circumstantial evidence credible and convincing or you don't. If you're someone who doesn't find Jay's statements/testimony credible, you've just thrown out 90% of the case against Adnan. 

Edited by blixie

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yeah she's a journalist, but Serial isn't per se journalism.

...huh? What else could it possibly be? It's not straight-ahead NYT "here's the facts and we never use a first-person pronoun," but it's definitely journalism.

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I don't think it has to be fair and impartial, that wasn't my point. I am saying that in this entertainment piece, which is a journalistic one, but presented in a way to engage and amuse the audience, I would enjoy an episode where she fully committed to the other side. It's not necessary, I just think she's such a good storyteller, I'd like to hear how well she can take an audience that has heard 10 episodes that lead to an opinion, twist it on its head and do the opposite. She is of course not obligated to do an episode like that, I just thought it might be an interesting study into presentation of data.

I do not think its fair to say facts are facts when it comes to this podcast. There are facts presented, but also opinions. She will say "I don't buy that" right after an interview clip. Plus the issue with this case is that there are so many non-facts. It's memories, people telling stories, clearly some people are lying or misremembering. Plus the actual facts are so wishy washy, like even hard facts like Adnan's cell log are fuzzy bc we don't know who had the phone when and the cell tower pings are not as simple as it seems. She said today about the case "we don't even know when Hae died" which if you think Jay is a complete liar, is true. She could have been kidnapped for a few days. Who knows? (Ok I don't think that's true, since I believe Jay buried her and I believe him and Jenn cleaned shovels that night, but there is no physical evidence to prove that).

I am probably thinking about it too much. It's more to me than a presentation of how someone was convicted on flimsy to no evidence, it's also a unique bit of journalism and entertainment that I think is interesting on its face beyond just the information in the story.

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It's more to me than a presentation of how someone was convicted on flimsy to no evidence, it's also a unique bit of journalism and entertainment that I think is interesting on its face beyond just the information in the story.

 

No, no  I agree that it's more than that, but that is also what I meant about it not being strictly journalism, I should have said it wasn't really the kind of straight news reporting where I'm looking for her to be unbiased or even balanced (though as I've said I think she's doing her best to be as balanced as possible). But that's also where the ethical challenges come in for me. The Case Against Adnan has been made, by the state, by the media in Baltimore at the time, and she has devoted an entire episode to that case against him. I guess I'd find it really extra oogy of her to just do an episodes like your describing just to flex a story telling muscle and "entertain" people, when I think over all 10 episodes she's hit those "this is bad for Adnan beats" and let them stand, it just wasn't aggregated into one episode.

 

I'll admit straight away I actually can't stand This American Life, I don't care for it's type of journalism, so for me Serial actually IS more about real world issues, the evidence, and the information, I do not give a damn if Jay had hot pink hair and liked Rage Against the Machine, it doesn't make him any less a lying liar, and I already considered him a complex and fully human being w/o that detail. 

 

I anticipate in Season 2 SK will be happy to pursue a story with less real world legal considerations/fall out than this one.

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The Case Against Adnan has been made, by the state, by the media in Baltimore at the time, and she has devoted an entire episode to that case against him. I guess I'd find it really extra oogy of her to just do an episodes like your describing just to flex a story telling muscle 

Yeah, I see your point.  Maybe I'm just looking for excuses for more episodes :)   Serial #2 is going to be so long from now... she doesn't even have topic yet and then it is going to take a long time to research and produce.  I look forward to it, and in the meantime I should search out more podcasts because this is my first experience with any media like this.  From what I can tell it's unique, but I bet there are other quality storytellers out there who can quell my thirst for something to listen to after this is done.

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Serial #2 is going to be so long from now... she doesn't even have topic yet and then it is going to take a long time to research and produce.  I look forward to it, and in the meantime I should search out more podcasts because this is my first experience with any media like this.  From what I can tell it's unique, but I bet there are other quality storytellers out there who can quell my thirst for something to listen to after this is done.

 

I welcome recommendations (all media—not just podcasts) to fill the void between the next two episodes. (Not to mention the long, long wait for Serial season/series 2.)

 

I'll start with the obvious. This American Life:

This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 2.2 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards. It is also often the most popular podcast in the country, with around one million people downloading each week. From 2006–2008, we produced a television version of This American Life on the Showtime network, which won three Emmys.… [A] half dozen stories from the radio show are being developed into films. In 2014, we launched our first spinoff show, Serial, a podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig.

 

There's a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There's lots more to the show, but it's sort of hard to describe.

 

Specifically, I recommend episode 492, "Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde," from April 12, 2013. The reporter is Sarah Koening:

Dr. Benjamin Gilmer gets a job at a rural clinic. He finds out he’s replaced someone— also named Dr. Gilmer—who went to prison after killing his own father. But the more Benjamin’s patients talk about the other Dr. Gilmer, the more confused he becomes. Everyone loved the old Dr. Gilmer. So Benjamin starts digging around, trying to understand how a good man can seemingly turn bad.
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I love, love, love this podcast, but I did not love Episode 11.  Maybe it was an answer to audience reactions of people assuming they can determine innocence or guilt based on a word or an inflection in an interview.  I'm sure it's hard for some people to listen and say that we will never know what actually happen, so they try to find clues and draw conclusions.  To me though, it felt like generalities about people and criminals, where I am more interested in this specific crime and the trial.  Did anyone else have a totally different reaction?

Edited by AndreaK1041
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