Adnan Syed’s story continues post-‘Serial’ in new podcast

Photo of Adnan Syed.

Adnan Syed, seen in his yearbook photo from Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, was convicted for the murder of fellow student Hae Min Lee in 1999.

For some die-hard fans of “Serial,” the hit podcast by Sarah Koenig which told the story of Adnan Syed, the story never ended. The true crime narrative of Syed, who was a teenager when he was convicted of killing Hae Min Lee, his high school girlfriend, had plenty of real world evidence to pore over, including blogs by Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and advocate for Syed.

But for others, when the podcast ended, the story ended. “They’re still intrigued, they still want to know more,” Chaudry told the NewsHour. “They want ‘Serial’ to do updates, and ‘Serial’ isn’t. So we will.”

“Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syed” is a new podcast produced by Chaudry in conjunction with two other lawyers, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller. The first episode will premiere on April 13.

Chaudry said the new podcast will be an investigation of the case rather than a narrative, as “Serial” was. She described it as partly new information about the case and partly new analysis of things we already know from “Serial.”

“Susan and Colin have been taking a closer look, and with their own private investigator, continuing the investigation,” Chaudry said.

With “Undisclosed,” the lawyers hope to address some things “Serial” didn’t, and in some cases, correct some of the things it got wrong. That includes evidence relating to Syed’s whereabouts during the murder as determined by cell towers, something Koenig pored over extensively in several episodes.

This evidence was used to place Syed at the park where Lee’s body was found. “We’ve gotten so much feedback from cell experts saying, ‘That’s wrong,’ that it’s just impossible to pinpoint,” Chaudry said. “It makes for great storytelling, but we have to get to the truth.”

Besides addressing the specifics of Syed’s case, the podcast will also provide listeners with a larger perspective, like what was going on in the community at the time, what Adnan was going through and what the lawyers’ own perspective was at the time. “There are serious questions about the process, about the criminal justice system, about how prosecutors conduct themselves, and all of these things should be looked at,” Chaudry said.

The podcast will be co-hosted by Simpson, Miller and Chaudry, and each episode will run about thirty minutes. At this point, they’re unsure of how many episodes the series will span.

For Chaudry, the new podcast is a chance to bring those who have fallen away from the case since “Serial” ended. “They know there’s an appeal, but they’re not reading these blogs because it takes a bit of an investment,” she said.

She views this as a more accessible way to get the information — things she really wants the public to hear, because in her view, it’s good for Syed’s case. “The more public support we have in terms of skepticism toward the case, I think it has an impact on the case itself. That’s my goal,” she said.

In February, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed to hear arguments to determine whether Syed should get a new trial, but a decision is not expected anytime soon. In the meantime, listeners can again immerse themselves in Syed’s case, while Chaudry, Miller and Simpson ask some broader questions about the criminal justice system.

“We are in an era now, every few days I hear of a new exoneration,” Chaudry said. “At this point it’s something bigger.”