Serial, an investigative podcast from the producers of This American Life, became a pop culture sensation as it explored a previously-unknown murder case, and left listeners hungry for more. But the show’s forthcoming season is reportedly tackling a highly scrutinized subject: US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009 under mysterious circumstances.
According to Hollywood Reporter and Maxim, which first reported the news, Sarah Koenig will still be hosting the show, but she’ll have help this time from Mark Boal, the journalist-turned-screenwriter (and producer) who worked with Kathryn Bigelow on the movie Zero Dark Thirty. Boal and Bigelow are also reportedly making a movie about Bergdahl.
Koenig and Boal—along with Hugo Lindgren, the former New York Times Magazine editor who works with Boal at Page 1 productions—will presumably be searching for the true circumstances that compelled Bergdahl to leave the safety of a US military base in Afghanistan and make himself vulnerable to Taliban kidnappers.
Berghdahl, who was recovered by the White House in a prisoner swap that freed five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, is currently awaiting a decision by military officials whether he will be court-martialed for desertion.
No one involved with the podcast is willing to comment on the production; what we know so far comes from anonymous sources who say they saw Koenig and a Serial producer at a preliminary hearing for Bergdahl last week, and that Boal has been feeding material to the Serial research team.
Emily Condon, a production manager for Serial and its sister program, This American Life, told Maxim via email:
“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.”