After investigating a murder on the outskirts of Baltimore, Serial will soon focus on another murky court proceeding, albeit one that has generated nationwide headlines: The Bowe Bergdahl case. Maxim first reported that Serial host Sarah Koenig was in attendance during Bergdahl's recent preliminary hearing in San Antonio, with Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal also in attendance; Boal is reportedly reteaming with director Kathryn Bigelow on a Bergdahl film and assisting on Koenig's investigative podcast. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the news.
The 29-year-old Bergdahl, whom Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings profiled in a 2012 article titled "America's Last Prisoner of War," went missing in 2009 when he abandoned his troop's barracks and was captured and held captive by the Taliban until May 2014. The U.S. military eventually negotiated his release as part of a prisoner exchange for five Taliban officials held in Guantánamo Bay. While initially receiving a hero's welcome, in March 2015, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for absconding from his outpost.
Bergdahl faces a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank, total forfeiture of payment and imprisonment for up to five years for the desertion charge and confinement for life for the misbehavior charge. According to The Washington Post, at the recent preliminary hearing, Bergdahl's lawyer said the army sergeant left his barracks in June 2009 armed only with a disguise and a knife in order to trek 19 miles away to another Army installment to speak with a general.
In a statement, NPR said, "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, especially since we're actively reporting stories, and having a bunch of wild speculation out there makes our job reporting harder. Doesn't feel very menschy. In any case, here's what I can tell you: The Serial staff is currently working on several things simultaneously: Season 2, Season 3, and some other podcast projects. For now we're not talking publicly about anything that we're working on."