When it Comes to a Murder Conviction, More Facts, Less Fiction Please

The hook of Sarah Koenig’s podcast Serial  is her (and her production team’s) meticulous investigation into the details of the state of Maryland’s story of how Adnan Syed murdered Hae Min Lee in 1999. Koenig lets the facts–or the mushiness of them–complicate the story to the point that her audience is unsure of who murdered Lee, confident only that the prosecution’s case against Syed is less than conclusive.

I have to think that Adnan’s being granted an appeal just this week has at least something to do with Koenig’s thorough scrutiny of the details of the story at the heart of Serial. If breathing new life into a murder trial long since adjourned isn’t an indication of the power that the presentation of research in nonfiction can have on an audience, then I don’t know what is.

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