Serial, the most popular podcast produced to date, began its second season Thursday morning, and as rumored, it’s focusing on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey. Bergdahl was held captive in Afghanistan for five years after leaving his post, then was traded back to the U.S. in a controversial prisoner swap and currently awaits word on whether he’ll be court-martialed.
It also features interviews directly with Bergdahl, who has avoided commenting publicly and in the press amid the furor about his return. The 25-some hours of audio come from film producer Mark Boal, who according to the New Yorker managed to secure hours of phone interviews with Bergdahl following his return. You can read more of that background at the New Yorker by clicking here.
In the interviews, Bergdahl explains what he said was his motivation for leaving, and what he experienced while held by the Taliban for five years. He explained how being held in a dark room felt like a torturous, disembodying experience.
“How do I explain to a person that just standing in an empty dark room hurts?” Bergdahl said in his interview with Boal.
The first season of the podcast examined a complicated murder case in Baltimore, Maryland, and hinged on the main source’s proclaimed innocence. The second season will focus on Bergdahl and why he made the decision to leave his post, according to an email update sent out to the show’s fans Thursday.
Sarah Koenig, Serial producer, recapped how quickly the narrative around Bergdahl shifted after he was brought back to the U.S.
“Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, which for five years had ‘Bring Bowe Home’ posters and yellow ribbons all over the place: They planned this big celebration for him. But then so suddenly the whole story flipped.” Koenig said in Thursday’s episode. “Within days — within hours of his rescue, in fact — people began saying that we shouldn't be celebrating him, because Bowe Bergdahl deliberately walked off his post into hostile territory.”
Read more about the podcast at the Idaho Statesman. We’re following along with Season 2 of Serial as it revisits the case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Starting next week, reporters with the Idaho Statesman and Boise State Public Radio will host a followup podcast discussing Bergdahl’s case, Serial’s reporting and what happens when an Idahoan becomes the center of international news.