Serial's alleged subject for next season: Bowe Bergdahl

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According to a Maxim report (and confirmed by Deadline), we know who season two of Serial will be about: Sarah Koenig and her team will reportedly focus on the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a United States soldier who was held in captivity by the Taliban after going missing in Afghanistan under mysterious circumstances in 2009.


The popularity of Serial, a podcast spun off from This American Life set to return this fall, surprised podcast fans and newcomers alike when it debuted in October 2014. The show, which re-reported the alleged murder of Hae-Min Lee by her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, transcended the medium's niche culture and launched itself into the (relative) mainstream, becoming the first podcast to reach five million downloads on iTunes and earn a reference in a New Yorker cartoon. (Probably.)

And what could be perceived as a way to better insulate the podcast and its reporting from criticism, Deadline reports that the forthcoming season will serve as the lead up to a new movie about Bergdahl by Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal; the writer "will be among the on-air voices and backstage journalists" in Serial season two. (Bergdahl was charged with assertion earlier this year.)

Maxim cites "several anonymous sources," as well as someone who claims they spotted Sarah Koenig at a hearing to determine whether Bergdahl will be "tried in a court-martial." Serial producer Emily Condon, however, did respond somewhat defensively when confronted about Bergdahl's potential presence in the second season:

We'd very much appreciate if fellow journalists would give us some room and not feel the need to attempt to dig into and try to figure out what you think we might be doing, especially since we're actively reporting stories, and having a bunch of wild speculation out there makes our job reporting harder. Doesn't feel very menschy. In any case, here's what I can tell you: The Serial staff is currently working on several things simultaneously: Season 2, Season 3, and some other podcast projects. For now we're not talking publicly about anything that we're working on.

Maxim also quotes a couple members of Bergdahl's former unit in Afghanistan, both of which are unhappy that Koenig's reporting this story and one of which is quoted calling Serial a "nifty diorama for hipsters to marvel at."

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.