‘Serial’ podcast returns as first episode of second season is released

'This American Life' spin-off became a massive hit when launched last year

Cult podcast Serial has returned with a second season, with its first episode released on Thursday (December 10).

Hosted and co-created by Sarah Koenig, Serial is a spin-off from US radio show This American Life. Season One, which followed the investigation into an unsolved murder that took place in Baltimore in 1999, became a massive online hit last October.

Season Two will tell the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a US army sergeant who spent five years in Taliban captivity after leaving his post in Afghanistan. He was later charged with desertion.

It is the first time that Bergdahl has spoken publicly since being released as part of a prisoner exchange in May 2014. Episode one, titled ‘DUSTWUN’, examines a video of Bergdahl’s release before investigating the political fallout that followed.

In a statement released with the first episode, Koenig and the Serial team write: “This story – it spins out in so many unexpected directions. Because, yes, it’s about Bowe Bergdahl and about one strange decision he made, to leave his post. (And Bergdahl, by the way, is such an interesting and unusual guy, not like anyone I’ve encountered before.) But it’s also about all of the people affected by that decision, and the choices they made.”

“Unlike our story in Season One, this one extends far out into the world. It reaches into swaths of the military, the peace talks to end the war, attempts to rescue other hostages, our Guantanamo policy. What Bergdahl did made me wrestle with things I’d thought I more or less understood, but really didn’t: what it means to be loyal, to be resilient, to be used, to be punished.”

Stream/download the first episode of Serial Season Two here.

As well as the new season, another edition is also in production. Season Three will follow in spring 2016.