Serial is a podcast from Serial Productions, a New York Times company, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings.
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It’s Baltimore, 2022. Adnan Syed has spent the last 23 years incarcerated, serving a life sentence for the murder of Hae Min Lee, a crime he says he didn’t commit. He has exhausted every legal avenue for relief, including a petition to the United States Supreme Court. But then, a prosecutor in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office stumbled upon two handwritten notes in Adnan’s case file, and that changes everything.
A strange letter appears outlining a plot by Islamic extremists to infiltrate Birmingham schools. Hamza and Brian visit the supposed mastermind of the plot, and he tells them he did take over a bunch of schools – just not for the reasons in the letter.
Hamza and Brian think the source of the Trojan Horse letter might be hiding in plain sight. After learning about the petty personnel dispute that probably gave rise to the letter, they’re even more bewildered about how it ever could have been taken seriously.
In a state of surprise, Hamza and Brian leave a meeting with the man the Trojan Horse letter was first sent to. And they learn about an internal investigation report that local officials have kept hidden, but which they think could contain a bombshell.
A series of frustrating interviews with Birmingham politicians leaves Brian and Hamza wondering if crucial information about the Trojan Horse letter was kept from officials in London. Then one rainy Friday afternoon, Brian hears back from a government source who wants to meet right away.
Hamza and Brian learn that the Trojan Horse letter wasn’t the only unsigned letter alleging an extremist operation was afoot in Birmingham. An interview with a couple who lodged complaints against their school starts out cordially, but six hours later, the atmosphere is so tense that not even an offer of tea can smooth things over. And Hamza stops pretending he’s not angry about what he’s hearing.
Hamza takes a long, hard look at what the government found when it investigated more than 20 majority-Muslim schools in Birmingham. And our two reporters have a confrontation – with each other.
Birmingham authorities struggle to explain why they disavowed their own findings about the Trojan Horse plot. But when Brian and Hamza make a discovery deep inside some court documents, everything suddenly makes sense.
A man banned from working in education in the aftermath of the Trojan Horse letter inspires Brian and Hamza to track down one last witness with him – in Australia. And all three travelers find their faith tested.
A mysterious letter detailing a supposed Islamist plot to take over schools shocked Britain in 2014. But who wrote it? From Serial Productions and The New York Times, “The Trojan Horse Affair,” an investigation that became bigger than we ever imagined. All eight parts are available now, wherever you get your podcasts. Search "The Trojan Horse Affair."
The Improvement Association PAC’s power in the county is threatened when an unlikely candidate enters the race for county commissioner. Plenty of people outside the PAC now have their own ideas about how to build Black political power here. Zoe examines what this election could mean for the PAC’s future.
With the PAC’s reputation suffering because of years of cheating accusations and resentment stirring within its ranks, a prominent member turns against the leadership. Nevertheless, Horace and his closest allies make a bold move by supporting a political upset at the center of the county.
Zoe delves into one of the most serious allegations against the Bladen Improvement PAC: an accusation about stealing votes from vulnerable people that goes back 10 years. In trying to track down the veracity of this particularly persistent rumor, she comes to understand how and why election cheating allegations are so sticky.
Zoe talks to people in the county who believe the Bladen Improvement PAC has been cheating for years. She tries to get beyond the rumors and into specifics, and comes face to face with the intense suspicion and scrutiny leveled against the organization. In the middle of another election, Zoe goes out with members of the PAC to watch how they operate and try to make sense of all these allegations against them.
Following a notorious case of election fraud in Bladen County, North Carolina, in 2018, the reporter Zoe Chace gets an invitation from Horace Munn, the leader of the Bladen County Improvement Association PAC, a Black political advocacy group whose name was dragged into the scandal. Horace asks Zoe to come down and investigate for herself and find out who is really cheating.