Should 'Serial' Season 2 Focus On Bowe Bergdahl? The Complicated Case Makes This A Complicated Answer
I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for Serial Season 2. Like the rest of the world, I fell totally in love with the first season of the hit podcast and was plunged into a well of entertainment withdrawal-based depression. What was going to happen with Adnan, why wasn't anyone paying more attention to Jay, and, perhaps most importantly, when was Serial coming back and what would the case be? The latter question may just have an answer soon, as it's been suggested that Serial Season 2 might cover the Bowe Bergdahl case. This American Life and Serial Production Manager Emily Condon said to Bustle, "The Serial team hasn’t confirmed our topic for Season 2 yet. Over the last few months we’ve been reporting on a variety of stories for both Seasons 2 and 3 of Serial, along with other podcast projects." However, Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from an army base in Afghanistan would be an incredibly interesting mystery to sink our teeth into — not to mention a completely different one than we dealt with in Season 1.
Reports of Serial's alleged interest in Bergdahl's case came from former soldier Matthew Farrell, who claimed that two unnamed soldiers who served alongside Bergdahl told Farrell that they'd been interviewed by Serial host Sarah Koenig for the upcoming season. In addition, according to Farrell, Koenig and at least one other Serial producer were reportedly in attendance at a court hearing held at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas last week to determine of Bergdahl will be tried in a court martial. However, with regards to Serial Season 2 covering the case, NPR has refused to confirm any speculation, and Condon outright states that Season 2 is still up in the air. And, according to Bergdahl's lawyer Eugene Fidell stated, "My focus right now is exclusively on representing Sgt. Bergdahl in the military justice system."
If Bergdahl is indeed the subject of Season 2, it's a story that will need to be handled with great care, especially considering the fact that it's an ongoing case without many established facts at present. Bergdahl's disappearance from his army base in 2009, and his subsequent imprisonment by Taliban forces until 2014, led to his being "charged with both desertion and misbehavior before the enemy" — charges which may see him face the aforementioned court-martial. Such serious accusations require great delicacy in general, especially when a man's life and integrity are called into question. How Koenig can handle such a story — and whether or not she should — are questions that will likely be asked quite a lot over the coming weeks and months. As for the answer, I suppose that depends on who you ask.
With Season 1, Serial dug up a case that has been closed for nearly 15 years. Adnan Syed's name was likely unknown to a great majority of the podcast's listeners, and his fate had been decided long ago — though perhaps wrongly. While it's certainly true that those who knew and loved both Adnan, and his alleged victim Hae Min Lee, had differing feelings on the case being used as entertainment journalism fodder, there is still some good that came out of Koenig's investigative work. Adnan's case was reopened, and there have been several breakthroughs that may eventually lead to some sort of justice — whether that's finding him innocent or proving his guilt. If Season 2 goes through with focusing on Bergdahl, we'll be gazing into a matter that is still being investigated by the actual relevant authorities, and that's where things could get messy.
Serial is no stranger to criticism, and public response is unlikely to change the show's plans when it comes to which case they focus their next season on. Serial Season 2 is coming, but what case we'll focus on remains up in the air. Whatever it ends up being, here's hoping it helps increase our understanding rather than hurting those involved in the case we're exploring.