Patches: That's fair. The jazzy style of season one was a huge risk that paid off huge reward. Replicating the experiment might look a little cheap, not to mention feel terrible for Koenig. I remember a joke she cracked during a 2015 talk at the Brooklyn Academy of Music: "I really miss the days when nobody gave a crap what I was doing." But that's probably true! How do you snoop when everyone's watching? I get the sense that Koenig's biding her time with season two, piggybacking off Boal's reporting, facilitating this story in podcast form, an effort to keep the Serial machine running while she researches a more personal season three. The Bergdahl cases is anti-internet, in a way. Gone are teenage characters (super relatable), the high-school backdrop (super nostalgic), the meme-worthy evidence (super tweetable), and the gory details (super Law & Order: SVU marathon on TNT).
But I do think there's something for the clue-finders, here. Anna, you said you believe Bergdahl. I mostly do, too. And yet his early reflections still startled me. (1) He seems like a crazy person for agreeing to talk to Boal at length before his trail and (2) he has a serious hero complex. Because walking off the base and forcing a DUSTWUN is idiotic! There's one reason I think digging deeper and deeper into the documented (and undocumented) narrative can still "reveal" something: Bergdahl stands to be court-martialed in trial. He could receive a life sentence. Would he deserve it? And based on the first few episodes, do you find yourself caring?
Silman: I do think the show stands to do some really interesting and important storytelling. Kind of like how Making a Murderer is riling people up by exposing the flaws in America's criminal justice system, I think that as Bowe's trial progresses, Koenig -- who is a pointed, but sympathetic storyteller -- has the chance to unsettle all these military myths about duty and loyalty and individualism and patriotism and punishment and all the themes she's scratching at right now. Bergdahl's DUSTWUN caused this massive clusterfuck (not an official military term!) that endangered so many lives and cost so many valuable resources. People want to see him punished (and killed, if you believe her interview subjects). But I found episode three, "Escaping," which delved into the details of Bergdahl's torture and captivity, really affecting. I don't want to see the poor guy go to jail and suffer more than he already has.
One of the best parts of season one was getting to "know" Adnan and really feel like we were on the other line with him, and as the trial unfolds, I certainly think listeners will get more invested as they get to "know" Bergdahl, and as we see his legal fate unfold in real time. That said, I miss the element of intimacy that came from having Koenig and Adnan speak. Having Bergdahl filtered through Boal's recordings creates detachment.