Undisclosed Breaks Serial Wide Open

Undisclosed Breaks Serial Wide Open

To say I am a fan of the podcast Serial would be to understate my fan-dom by a mere factorial. Serial’s Sarah Koenig drew us into a single story over the course of 12 episodes (thus the name, I know, clever huh?) which told of the murder of Hae Min Lee. Hae was a popular high-school student who disappeared from school one day. Adnan Syed was arrested six weeks later and has remained in prison these past 16 years.

The question largely remained focused on figuring out just where Adnan was on the day of Hae’s disappearance and whether or not he had an alibi as being in the library that particular afternoon. Sara Koenig did an amazing job walking through the states case, and defense’s responses. She walked us through the ins and outs of cell tower tracking back when this wasn’t really a thing yet.

And for a lot of the interwebs, the facts of the case were immovably laid out for us. I mean, why would we doubt someone with such a high quality production design and such infinitely enlightening insight? I’ll tell you why… because Sarah Koenig and her team at This American Life got it wrong… like terribly and horrifyingly wrong. Wait, what?! How is this possible?


Well, I’ll tell you how. The Podcast Undisclosed is how.  I was madly in the throes of podcast love with Serial – I am absolutely in a state of apoplectic shock and awe when listening to Undisclosed. Serial and Undisclosed could not be any more different. This American Life is a radio show with a storied and august body putting it together each week. A couple of weeks ago, Rabia, the creator of Undisclosed didn’t even know how to operate a headset. Podcast? Zero experience. No clue. But she had a story to tell that definitely was not told by the Serial team and Sara Koenig.

Right now there are only two full length episodes out so far. And yet they already have two enormous, case changing, mind blowing insights. That was the problem with Serial – Sara refused, refused refused to posit anything incontrovertible. If it wasn’t cast in stone she wouldn’t conjecture or guess or hope. She just stuck with the absolute guaranteed facts, and in a case like this one… facts are about as fleeting as they come. But Rabia is the perfect person to bring us new insights from the case because,

“I’ve run around with his case files for years, sometimes in the trunk of my car, sometimes storing them at my mothers, sometimes at Adnan’s parents. I held on to them through a bad marriage, divorce, single parenthood, remarriage, moving, and moving, and moving. I read them, forgot them, revisited them, forgot things again.”

And the world gets it. She is the perfect person to tell us more about this case. And the number one news organizations in the world have picked up Rabia’s podcast. It’s been covered by the NY Times, the Washingtonian, the Rolling Stone, PBS Newshour, Huffington Post, People, Vanity Fair and more more more.

But what is exactly that blew the doors off the story exactly? You are just going to have to listen to find out. But dang. If you want to know, I’ll treat you to some spoiler goodness…

Still here? Great.

In episode 2 the team does nothing more than prove that there was no wrestling match later that night. If you know anything at all about the timeline of the story this is mindblowing. That Hae was on her way to a wrestling match was fact. It wasn’t even considered that that could be false. But these three lawyers went well beyond to prove that the wrestling match that Hae was to help score didn’t happen at all – and it wasn’t where she was going as so many people surmised throughout Serial.

And the biggest revelation was in episode 3. The Undisclosed team pull together evidence that very clearly shows that the cops coached Jay in his story. When he messed up, they corrected him and helped him with his provided talking points. They do deep sound analysis to show that the police were incessantly tapping on the talking points when Jay strayed. They have a very very good case to show that the police were just finding someone to help them make a case against Adnan. And I totally by why they are selling too.

I have previously predicted that 2015 would not go by without Adnan being released. And with the Undisclosed team on the case I believe this more now that I did even a couple weeks ago. #FreeAdnan.