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About Serial

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it's important to listen to the episodes in order. For more information on how to listen, click here.

Serial has won several awards, including the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, and Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts. Serial, like This American Life, is produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

About Season Two

In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.

President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier's parents at his side. Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory. 

Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.

Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.

For this season, Sarah Koenig teams up with filmmaker Mark Boal and Page 1 to find out why one idiosyncratic guy decided to walk away, into Afghanistan, and how the consequences of that decision have spun out wider and wider. It’s a story that has played out in unexpected ways from the start. And it’s a story that’s still going on.

Season Two aired in the winter of 2015-6 and is now complete. Listen again from the beginning.

Serial Staff

Sarah Koenig

Host and Executive Producer

Sarah Koenig was a newspaper reporter for ten years, covering mostly politics and criminal justice. In 2004 she took a producer job at This American Life. She started Serial with Julie Snyder in 2013.

Julie Snyder

Executive Producer

Before creating Serial with Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder was the senior producer at This American Life.  She has received numerous awards for broadcast excellence, including four Peabody Awards.

Dana Chivvis


Dana Chivvis was a fellow at This American Life before joining the Serial team. She was also a reporter and digital producer at NBC News, and a photo editor at National Geographic.

Ira Glass

Editorial Advisor

Ira Glass is the creator and host of This American Life, which has won the highest honors for broadcast excellence.

Kevin Garnett


Kevin Garnett was a research fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. He received a JD from Fordham Law School in 2013. He does not play basketball.

Whitney Dangerfield

Digital Editor

Whitney Dangerfield was a senior staff editor in the Opinion and Sunday Review sections of the New York Times. Before that, she was a writer/researcher at National Geographic Magazine.

Kristen Taylor

Community Editor

Kristen Taylor was a senior producer of Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines and is the founder and editor of Saucy Magazine.

Kate Bilinski

Mix Engineer/Music Editor

Kate is a sound designer and re-recording mixer. Beyond Serial, she makes noises for film and television, recently Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog and the Emmy-winning documentary We Could Be King.

Emily Condon

Line Producer

In addition to her work on Serial, Emily Condon manages This American Life. She’s been with TAL since 2009.

Seth Lind

Director of Operations

Seth Lind also runs operations for This American Life. He is the creator of Cast Party and director of the video This American Life: Live at BAM.

Elise Bergerson

Business Operations Manager

Elise Bergerson has been with This American Life and Serial since 2012. Prior to this, she worked in conflict resolution at, among other places, the United Nations.

Kimberly Henderson

Office Coordinator

Kimberly Henderson joined This American Life and Serial in July 2015. Before that, she worked as a program associate at McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

Page 1

Page 1 is a media company founded by Mark Boal to explore the intersection of reporting and entertainment. It has a first look deal with Annapurna Pictures. 

Mark Boal


Mark Boal is the Academy Award winning writer and producer of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker.

Megan Ellison

Founder, Annapurna Pictures

Megan Ellison is the founder of Annapurna Pictures, a film production and finance company focused on high-quality, innovative content.

Hugo Lindgren


Hugo Lindgren has been the editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine and acting editor of the Hollywood Reporter.

Jessica Weisberg


Jessica Weisberg is an editor and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Elle, and other publications.


Sami Yousafzai

Special Projects (Afghanistan)

Sami Yousafzai is a journalist who’s been covering militancy in the Afpak region since September 2001.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Mitchell Hall

Special Projects

SOC Mitchell Hall is a retired Navy SEAL operator and a recipient of Silver and Bronze Stars.

Jonathan Leven


Jonathan Leven is a veteran production executive and co-producer of Zero Dark Thirty.

Irwin Rappaport

Legal Counsel

Irwin Rappaport is a Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer who represents studios, production companies, and producers.

Mitchell Adwon


Mitchell Adwon has been working in the film industry for four years.

Additional Credits

Rich Orris

Web Development

Michelle Harris

Fact Checking

Fritz Myers


Studio Rodrigo

Web Design

About Season One

A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

Season One Staff

Sarah Koenig

Host and Executive Producer

Julie Snyder

Executive Producer

Dana Chivvis


Emily Condon

Production & Operations Manager

Ira Glass

Editorial Advisor

Additional Credits

Rich Orris

Web Development

Mark Henry Phillips

Score and Sound Engineer

Studio Rodrigo

Web Design


Season One

Season One’s original score comes from both Nick Thorburn, who wrote the theme song, and Mark Henry Phillips, who mixed the show.


Season Two

Nick Thorburn composed the theme song and contributed to the score. Fritz Myers also contributes to the score, and Kate Bilinski, the staff music editor, manages the final selections and completes any additional mix and mastering work. 



You can email the team. To contact the staff securely, use the PGP key for producer Dana Chivvis (FF634008).

For Serial press inquiries, please email [email protected]. For sponsorship inquiries, please email [email protected].

For speaking engagements and appearances for Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, please contact the Steven Barclay Agency.


Is Serial seeking pitches for Season Three?

We’ve chosen our story for Season Three, but we still welcome your pitches. If you think your story would be a better fit for a non-serialized podcast, feel free to send a pitch to This American Life: [email protected]. Submission guidelines for TAL are available here.

When will Season Three air?

We don’t know yet. It depends on how the story develops. But in the meantime, we’re producing other spin-off projects as well. If you’d like updates on our show and on our new podcasts, please sign up for our .

How can I contact the show’s creators?

You can send an email to [email protected] and someone on our staff will read it. We might not be able to respond to every email we get, but we’ll try.

To contact the team securely, use the PGP key for producer Dana Chivvis (FF634008).

If you’re a member of the media, please contact [email protected] with your press requests. For speaking engagements and appearance requests for Sarah Koenig or Julie Snyder, please contact Steven Barclay at [email protected].  

Will the show’s creators speak to my class?

Unfortunately, the Serial team is small, and they don’t have enough free time to talk with classes. But we do have resources for educators that we encourage you to read and to share with students. We have do-it-yourself radio guides, storytelling tips, equipment recommendations, jobs and internships information, and more on This American Life’s Make Radio page. 

Are transcripts of the episodes available online?

Yes, we’ll make transcripts available for Season Two. We don’t have official transcripts for Season One.

Is Serial available in another language?

Serial is available only in English. At the moment we aren’t accepting listener-generated requests to translate the series.

Is Serial available in CD format?

No, we don’t have a Serial CD.

Is Serial merchandise available to purchase?

Yes! A Serial notebook is available from our web store now.

Can I use the Serial logo to create my own t-shirts or promote my event?

Unfortunately, we have to say no, in order to protect our logo. If you have other questions about permissions and licensing, please write to [email protected].

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