I’m Addicted to Serial

PodcastlogoI am a long-time listener to This American Life so I was pretty excited when I heard they were releasing a “spinoff” called Serial. Yup, I liked it before it was cool. Now that we’re nine episodes in, I have become REALLY addicted. I’m already wondering how I will survive Thanksgiving since they’re not releasing a new episode that day. I guess I will have to drown my sorrow in a pool of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

In addition to Serial itself, I’ve been nerding out with Slate’s Serial podcast – yes, a podcast about a podcast – and the Serial subreddit which I admit is a pretty sad corner of the Internet.

Like everyone else listening, I go back and forth on whether Adnan did it. Here are my current thoughts. (WARNING: this contains spoilers, including spoilers about episode 9).

I think it’s pretty clear both that Jay was involved and that he is lying about some of the details. He must have been involved because he lead the police to the car and also based on some of the testimony from others (especially Jenn). Also if he had no involvement, it makes no sense that he would tell a story to the police that includes his involvement. But some parts of his story make no sense, especially the part about the Best Buy parking lot. After episode 9, Sarah pretty convincingly discounts this part of the story.

So either Jay did it it alone, he did it with someone else, or he did it with Adnan. I’m still leaning toward Adnan, although probably not clearly enough that I could have convicted him (based on what I’ve heard so far).

Why Adnan? It’s hard to believe anyone else would have a motive to kill her. He never tried to call Hae after she disappeared. The Nisha call. The note with “I will kill” written on it in pen. His inability to remember the day despite it being a significant one (Stephanie’s birthday and HAE DISAPPEARED). His unwillingness to directly discount Jay’s story or to speak about Jay. He seems popular and well liked, but also a bit possessive of Hae and at times sounds a bit manipulative.

It clearly didn’t happen at Best Buy, so it seems more likely that Adnan was at the library after school as Asia remembered. Maybe it happened inside a car in the library parking lot. Maybe Hae did end up giving him a ride and they went to Patapsco State Park. The version Chris told in episode 8, which he supposedly heard from Jay, makes more sense.

With this version, it makes more sense why the Asia “alibi” was not pursued (it wasn’t an alibi) and why Adnan didn’t testify (his lawyer knew he was guilty).

Why would Jay lie about some of the details? To minimize his involvement. To avoid the police uncovering some of his drug-related activities (maybe this is why he mentioned the pool hall to Chris but not to Jay). Because he was nervous. Because the police pressured him to match his story to some of the evidence.

On the other hand, maybe it was Jay. Maybe he did it alone, or maybe Jenn or Stephanie was more involved. Either way, it’s driving me insane not only because I now have to wait 2 weeks but also because it seems likely that we will never know the right answer unless they are holding back a real whopper.

Now excuse me while I go find my tin foil hat.

What are your theories about Serial? Do you agree with my assessment?

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