The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘Serial’ podcast may become part of the scrutiny for Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion case

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, left, and defense lead counsel Eugene Fidell, center, look on Friday, Sept. 18, at Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, Tex., as Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl is questioned during a preliminary hearing to determine if Bergdahl will be court-martialed. (AP Photo/Brigitte Woosley)

The desertion case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl may get new scrutiny from a source with a cult following: The popular “Serial” podcast that drew a massive national audience over the last year.

The podcast could focus one of its next two seasons on the controversial soldier’s case. Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior in connection with his June 2009 disappearance from a small military outpost in eastern Afghanistan. He was almost immediately captured by militants and held for nearly five years before he was exchanged for Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

[Disillusioned and self-deluded, Bowe Bergdahl disappeared into brutal captivity]

Maxim first reported last night that “Serial” is examining the Bergdahl case, citing anonymous sources. The rumor circulated last week at Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, where Bergdahl faced a preliminary hearing in his case. The Washington Post has not confirmed the news, but a reporter observed that journalists who listed themselves as with NPR’s “This American Life” were present. “Serial” is a spin-off of the popular radio show.

The podcast became popular while examining the case of Adnan Syed, a Maryland man serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Its creators did not respond directly when asked by Maxim to detail their plans for the Bergdahl case.

“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,” said Emily Condon, a production manager for “Serial,” in an e-mail to Maxim. “Doesn’t feel very menschy.”

Condon added that 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.”

Related on Checkpoint:
Bergdahl’s attorneys raise mental health issues

Bergdahl’s former officer: ‘Absolute disbelief that I couldn’t find one of my men.’

In sparse prose, Bergdahl details his captivity for the first time

Bowe Bergdahl, once-missing U.S. soldier, charged with desertion