The groundbreaking first season of the “Serial” podcast, which launched a wave of similar podcasts and audio journalism projects after its 2014 premiere, riveted listeners with the complex tale of Baltimore teen Adnan Syed.
Nearly 20 years ago, Syed was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly murdering his high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Uncovering new revelations and demonstrating how the original case relied on faulty evidence, the team behind the “Serial” podcast, a spinoff of public radio’s “This American Life,” brought new attention to the story of Syed, who has maintained that he was wrongfully convicted.
Now, a four-part HBO documentary series, “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” aims to pick up where “Serial” left off, according to a trailer released Wednesday.
As a direct result of the podcast, officials in Maryland reopened Syed’s case. After more legal limbo, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals last year upheld his claim that he received “ineffective assistance of counsel” during his original trial and ruled that he had the right to a new trial. But according to his attorneys, the case has largely stalled.
“‘Serial’ is what brought new evidence to the case. But ‘Serial’ is not going to exonerate him,” Rabia Chaudry, an attorney and family friend who first brought Syed’s case to the podcast’s creators, says in the trailer.
Directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg, the series features some familiar names from Syed’s case, like Asia McClain, a key witness who was not interviewed by Syed’s original defense attorney.
Berg told Baltimore magazine the new series centers more of the narrative on Lee and her family, featuring excerpts from Lee’s journal set to animation.
“There’s a balance that we need to comprehend, especially in documentary in true crime cases, because there are two sides to the story. There’s a family on both sides that I want to respect,” Berg said. “I just wanted to make sure she had a voice.”
“The Case Against Adnan Syed” premieres at 9 p.m. ET March 10 on HBO.