Almost a year after we heard the last episode of Serial season one, the first episode of the podcast's second season is now online. The episode — titled "Dustwun" — is available to download from SerialPodcast.org and iTunes, and can also be streamed via Pandora. (Be warned though, at the time of writing, Serial's site seems to have been crushed by the traffic, and while there are links to the podcast's second season on iTunes and Pandora, they don't seem to be working in all regions.)
The second season focuses on the story of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
As previously rumored, Serial's new season will focus on the controversial story of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl — the American soldier who left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently captured by the Taliban. "Dustwun" begins with host Sarah Koenig describing Bergdahl’s return to the US in May 2014, when he was swapped for five prisoners from Guantánamo Bay. It then moves onto the unfolding reaction in the US, as questions arose as to whether or not Bergdahl was a deserter. In March this year Bergdahl was officially charged with desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy," although a decision about whether he will go before a court-martial has yet to be reached.
In the new episode of Serial, Bergdahl tells his story publicly for the first time, speaking to screenwriter Mark Boal. According to Vanity Fair, there will also be a "movie component" to the new season, with episodes of the podcast reportedly leading to a film by Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow. (Although a film by Bigelow — and a rival project by director Todd Field — will have to wait until Bergdahl's case is resolved before going forward.)
Some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers are not happy about the story being examined in this way. Speaking to Maxim in September, one former member of Bergdahl's unit said: "Anyone who tries to benefit from Bowe's situation has little interest in the truth [...] What happened in 2009 is both troubling and politically incorrect." Another, also speaking under the condition of anonymity, added: "I get it that Boal wants to make a movie and Serial is trying to make a nifty diorama for hipsters to marvel at, but I think it's the height of crassness for them to do this when it could potentially affect the legal proceedings."