The second series of Serial will be investigating U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who was held prisoner in an Afghan jail.
Bergdahl disappeared under mysterious circumstances from his Afghanistan base in 2009 and was subsequently captured by the Taliban.
He was later traded for five Taliban figures. The deal faced criticism from those who believed that he'd intentionally left the base and deserted his command.
As previously speculated, you will be able to hear Bergdahl recounting his experience of leaving the army base in the episode. There is also an extensive writeup in the New Yorker about the premise of the new series, featuring interviews with executive producers Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder.
In an email sent to fans, Koenig has explained why she is investigating this story.
This story—it spins out in so many unexpected directions. Because, yes, it's about Bowe Bergdahl and about one strange decision he made, to leave his post. (And Bergdahl, by the way, is such an interesting and unusual guy, not like anyone I've encountered before.) But it's also about all of the people affected by that decision, and the choices they made.
Unlike our story in Season One, this one extends far out into the world. It reaches into swaths of the military, the peace talks to end the war, attempts to rescue other hostages, our Guantanamo policy. What Bergdahl did made me wrestle with things I'd thought I more or less understood, but really didn't: what it means to be loyal, to be resilient, to be used, to be punished.
The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to release a report today on the trade that freed Bergdahl.
Serial, a spin-off of This American Life, had a sensational first season, with more than 100 million downloads to date. The first series examined the murder of Hae Min Lee, a student at a school in Baltimore, and tried to work out whether her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was responsible.
The sheer weight of traffic to the Serial website since the podcast was unexpectedly released has resulted in the site occasionally crashing.
But don't fret, the MailChimp sponsor message is still at the start of the podcast.
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You can listen to the first episode of the new season here.
You might just have to wait a bit.