In the first episode of Serial's new season, which quietly dropped December 10 at 6 a.m., Sarah Koenig began detailing her investigation of the U.S. Army Soldier and former prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl. Within the first few minutes of the episode, it became clear that this labyrinthine story had more layers and intricacies than I anticipated — even though I was familiar with Bergdahl's case beforehand. Which brings up an important question: How many episodes of Serial Season 2 will there be? As the podcast releases episodes "serially" instead of all at once, we can't say for sure. Since Bergdahl's case is much larger in scope than the 1999 murder case Koenig covered last year though, wondering if we can expect more episodes is a fair question to ask.
Unlike last season, Bergdahl's case is currently open, and, if you've been following the news, pretty active. So, does this mean that Season 2 will feature more episodes? A story this convoluted sounds like it could use the extra time. But that's probably just my wishful thinking. According to NPR, Serial has 25 hours worth of recorded conversations between Bergdahl and Hollywood screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), which means there's plenty of content to cover. Wired reports that Serial Season 2 will have been eight and 10 episodes, though that doesn't seem like enough time to address all the intricacies of the story.
Especially considering that there were 12 episodes for Adnan Syed's case last year. Not to say Syed's season was anything less than complex; it's just that, compared to the global implications of Season 2's Bergdahl case, Season 1 had a much smaller mountain to climb.
In June 2009, Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban until the U.S. negotiated an exchange (releasing five Taliban detainees) in May of 2014. In the investigation of Bergdahl — who has been regarded as both a war hero and a war criminal — Koenig will have to discuss the context and politics of war, which is something Syed's season didn't have to delve into, and it's definitely something that calls for more than eight episodes.
At the end of this season's premiere episode, we hear Koenig place a phone call to the Taliban. It was hands-down the most intense and important part of the episode, and, if that teaser is any indication of how thing will transpire in Season 2, I think it's fair to say we have a long, complicated road ahead of us. No matter how many episodes there are.