Serial podcast “doing a better job investigating than the police did” – say family

The brother of convicted murderer Adnan Syed says the hit non-fiction podcast has changed how he views the trial

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True crime podcast Serial has investigated more thoroughly than the police, say the family of convicted killer Adnan Syed.

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The American series – presented by radio producer Sarah Koenig – goes back over the 1999 murder case of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee, and investigates whether her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed really should have been convicted.

Adnan is currently serving a life sentence for the murder, but since the series began in October over five million people have downloaded and discovered his case anew via iTunes.

Adnan’s younger brother Yusuf is a subscriber, and last week told author Jon Ronson that after listening alone in his room “I think about it all day. What does this mean? What does that mean? Everything Sarah’s saying is new to me.”

Syed praised reporter Koenig’s investigation, saying in the Guardian interview, “Sarah is so thorough and clean. She’s doing a better job investigating than the police did. It makes me so frustrated and furious that there was so little evidence. Really? That’s all you had? To take away my brother’s life? That’s all you had?”

BBC Radio 4 Extra is broadcasting an episode at 9pm every night, and the first episode is available on iPlayer.  

In the series, Koenig has analysed police interviews and court evidence, as well as interviewing people connected with the 15 year-old case. A new series has been commissioned, with a statement on the show’s website saying, “We don’t know yet what the story will be or exactly when we’ll be airing Season Two, but we’ll be working on it as soon as this season ends.”

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Yusuf said that although the series has meant extra scrutiny on his brother’s case, the podcast has brought the family back together. “My older brother Tanveer – who was estranged for 15 years – he came home,” Yusuf told Ronson. “When he heard my brother’s voice, it brought back all the memories. He’s visited us three or four times already.”