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Serial Podcast: Episode 1 ‘The Alibi’ – Summary

Photo Source: The Independent

Serial is told by Sarah Koenig, whom looks at the case of a once Seventeen year old. On January 15th 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School, in Baltimore, disappeared after failing to pick her younger cousins up from school. A month later, Hae’s body was discovered in a park in Baltimore, by a maintenance man. The cause of Hae’s death was manual strangulation which later resulted of the arrest of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed for her murder. Adnan has been in prison ever since.

There was never any physical evidence that suggested that it was Adnan who had killed Hae, but the States case against him painted him a negative light. They suggest that even though Adnan and Hae were dating, Adnan wasn’t supposed to be dating at all, due to his parents being conservative Muslims. This meant their relationship was kept secret and the state used this against him in two ways. Firstly, he had put everything on the line for Hae, including Family, so when they had broke up, he had nothing left and was outraged and killed her. Secondly, they pointed out that he was a good liar, playing the ‘good Muslim’ role at home.

Jay, was a friend of Adnan’s and together, they would both participate in illegal actions, such as smoking weed. Jay had a story to tell about Hae’s death, blaming Adnan. From Jay’s account, him and Adnan were shopping, when Adnan claimed that he had to leave because he was going to “kill that bitch”, referring to Hae. Adnan left Jay his car, so that he could pick him up after the murder. After the incident, they both drove to Leakin Park to bury Hae’s body.

When Sarah first meets Adnan, he is 32 and has spent half of his life in prison. Adnan denies anything from Jay’s story and claims that his relationship with Hae was a “high school love, where he was upset when they had broke up, but he was never obsessed”. Adnan tells Sarah that he was hanging out with Jay on January 13th, but doesn’t remember what they did. It was Jay’s Girlfriends Birthday, and Adnan wanted to make sure that Jay had got her a gift, so offered Jay his car in the early morning, so that Jay could go shopping. Adnan went back to school after visiting Jay and claims he was either at the Library or Track Practice.

Adnan was convicted of a first degree murder and later that day tells his close family friend Rabia that a girl named Asia Mclane wrote a few letters to him, claiming that she remembered seeing him at the public library after school. Lawyer at the time, Cristina Gutierrez never contacted Asia Mclane as an Alibi, even though she knew about her letters.

Sarah reaches out to Asia after a prosecutor states that Asia undermined her own statement, claiming that she was receiving pressure from Adnan’s family, asking her to write the letters. However it seems that Asia doesn’t understand why Adnan was arrested in the first place. According to Asia, she has a clear memory of the day; her boyfriend was late picking her up from the library, when Adnan walks in. They speak and Adnan tells Asia that him and Hae had broken up, which according to Asia, he seems very calm about. Unfortunately, the judge ruled on the partition for Adnan’s case before Sarah spoke to Asia, and his case was denied.

Below: Season 1, Episode 1 – The Alibi Podcast. 

For more Information and to listen to more Podcasts by Serial, visit the website here

A London Journalism Student, blogging about the life and community in Dulwich.