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‘Serial’ unanswered: Lingering questions from the podcast

Dear faithful readers: I’m out of the country for an extravagant Bollywood style wedding. (Tough life, I know.) But in order to quench your thirst for Generation J.D. blogs, my friend and fellow attorney, Kumudha Kumarachandran, who practices criminal law, wants to share her observations on the sensational and steamy Serial.

Since about November, I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out the answer to one question: Did Adnan kill Hae? I started listening to the podcast around the time the ninth episode came out. In a matter of two days, I had listened to all nine episodes and anxiously awaited the next one. After the series ended, I have spent even more of my time looking at Reddit, blogs, and news articles about the series.

So what exactly is it about this podcast that has made it the most listened to podcast in the world?

RELATED: Adnan Syed prosecutor speaks out: A letter from Kevin Urick

For me, I was originally drawn in by the parallels of the story with my own life. As a South Asian American having grown up not too far from Woodlawn, I instantly related to the so-called “double life” that Rabia and Saad discussed in the first episode. But what kept me listening was the way it made me question our justice system.

Now, I’m not saying I’m definitively Team Adnan or Team Jay, but I will say I am still hung up on a few issues that the podcast highlighted about Adnan’s case.

For instance, why didn’t it matter that the prosecutor provided Jay with an attorney? You hear the tape of Christina Gutierrez practically screaming at trial about this and yet the judge deemed that it would have no effect on the case. It just seems glaringly unethical for the prosecutor to have provided the state’s star witness with an attorney for the witness’s own accessory case, for which he did no time.

How could Adnan have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? The entire podcast is about the reasonable doubt as to whether or not Adnan killed Hae. It’s that back and forth in this case that gets you hooked and keeps you hooked through blogs and the news of recent developments in Adnan’s case. Sarah Koening even decides to end the show not by saying Adnan did or did not do it but rather that if she were a juror she certainly would have acquitted him.

If you’ve never listened to the podcast before, I apologize because I’m quite sure you have no idea what I’m talking about it. But for those of us are addicted to “Serial,” I leave you with two questions:

Why does Asia McClain keep giving and taking back her alibi? And to echo the famous words of Laura — Well if Adnan didn’t do it, then who did?



  1. After listening to the podcast, I only find myself asking: “How could Adnan not be guilty?” Jay would have had to frame Adnan without any knowledge of his alibi. Why would Adnan loan his car to Jay if they weren’t such good friends? Then, the damming cell phone records which have to be implausibly explained as a butt dial to an answering machine in order to invalidate them. It moves beyond a “reasonable doubt” and into “shadow of a doubt” territory to think Adnan is not responsible.

  2. I was hooked by the podcast. This is in part because I know (or knew) many of the players including the defense attorney. I previously represented the now-deceased new “suspect” named by the Adnan forensic team.

    Maybe more so than Michael Smith above, I tend to discredit informant testimony. I am not impressed that Jay knew the location of the car, as the podcast led me to believe that the car was in plain view of a road he frequented. It is possible that he simply saw it. But I also believe that Adnan hurts his defense with every sentence. Whenever Adnan explains something about the case, his explanations are tentative, uncertain and speculative. As I listen to Adnan, I gravitate to believing that I am listening to the child’s killer.

    I left the podcast believing that the State/prosecutor’s timeline may be inaccurate, which plays to the defense ability to challenge the merits of the case. Very interesting, but also very troubling. No one wants to see an innocent person punished for a crime he didn’t commit. Finally, I am never satisfied with the idea that if X didn’t commit this crime, who did? I am much more confident about a conviction when the great weight of the probative evidence proves the guilt of the convicted person. In the end, I would label myself “uncertain.”