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Serial Podcasts Featuring Bowe Bergdahl Include 25 Hours of Interviews With Idaho Native


  • U.S. Army

The second season of the wildly popular podcast Serial
, produced by This American Life, was released early Thursday morning and, as expected, it features U.S. Army Sergeant and Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl.  

Maxim magazine first reported in September that the controversial ex-prisoner of war would be the centerpiece of the next season of Serial, but the podcast's producers remained cagey, saying, "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."

Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 from a combat post in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. He spent five years as a POW before he was freed in May 2014 following a prisoner swap that angered members of Congress and some members of his former unit. The Hailey native was released in exchange for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay. They were sent to Qatar and had to remain there for a year.

After an investigation into the circumstances of his capture, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy—counts that could lead to life in prison. Bergdahl's legal proceedings are far from over: a recommendation involving his case has been forwarded to U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where officials will decide whether Bergdahl will still face a full court martial from the U.S. Army.

In the meantime, National Public Radio reported this morning that Serial's new season focuses on Bergdahl and includes 25 hours of recorded conversations between Bergdahl and Hollywood screenwriter Mark Boal. The New York Times in September reported a feature film was also in the works. Boal, a screenwriter who penned Zero Dark Thirty, owns production company Page One and is expected to co-produce the film.

NPR's Eyder Peralta wrote the following Thursday morning, in announcing the new season of Serial:

"No matter how you feel about his case, it's stunning."
At one point during the just-released episodes, NPR reports, Bergdahl "explains that he left his post to stir controversy in order to get the attention of top military officials so he could explain problems he saw in the Army."

"Suddenly, it really starts to sink in that I really did something bad. Or, not bad, but I really did something serious," said Bergdahl.