The second season of Serial debuted on Thursday morning with a long-rumored focus: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who walked off his base in Afghanistan, was captured by the Taliban, and then held in captivity for five years.
Bergdahl has since been charged with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy, and could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted. It was reported in September that season 2 of the hit podcast would center on Bergdahl, but Serial producers did not confirm the storyline.
“In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he’s in over his head,” reads the description of the first episode of season 2, “DUSTWUN,” on the Serial website.
Season 1 of Serial focused on Adnan Syed, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Much like those episodes, which used interviews with Syed to tell the story, the new season of Serial includes extensive conversations with Bergdahl. Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal spoke to Bergdahl for research on another project, and those interviews are included in the new season.
As noted by the New York Times, the Serial theme has changed for season 2, and while MailChimp has returned there are other sponsors as well. Sarah Koenig remains the show’s host.
The first episode of Serial season 2 is available here.