After winning countless devoted, and rather obsessive, fans by exploring the murky case of Adnan Syed last year, the reporters behind the wildly popular Serial podcast may spend an upcoming season digging into something far more high-profile: the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl went missing from his base under mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009, and was held in captivity by a Taliban ally until the American government brokered a prisoner swap in May 2014.
However, the deal to trade Bergdahl for five senior Taliban figures was criticized by some who argued he had intentionally deserted his command.
Bergdahl has claimed he left the base to draw attention to the troubling conditions in his service unit, but in May he was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and is now due to face a military trial that could see him imprisoned for life.
As first reported by Maxim magazine on Tuesday, Serial host Sarah Koenig and one of the show's producers were spotted at Bergdahl's preliminary hearing at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, last week.
Bergdahl's lawyer, Eugene Fidell, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that a "Serial person" had interviewed him for "30 seconds" at the hearing, but he couldn't remember who the reporter was.
Two former members of Bergdahl's unit also told Maxim they had been interviewed by Serial producers.
The podcast's second season will be released this fall, with a third season to follow in spring 2016. However, Emily Condon, a spokesperson for Serial, would not confirm if Bergdahl's story would be covered in either season.
"The Serial team hasn’t confirmed their topic for Season 2 yet," Condon told BuzzFeed News. "Over the last few months they've been reporting on a variety of stories for both Seasons 2 and 3 of Serial, along with other podcast projects."
Rabia Chaudry, a friend of Adnan Syed's who was interviewed for the first season of Serial, said the attention that Serial can bring to a story can be both a blessing and a curse.
"Media coverage was great, but exhausting," Chaudry told BuzzFeed News. "Online, both supporters and trolls are incredibly demanding. People will think they own the case, or story, or that you owe them something. They can get incredibly ugly."
In the meantime, here's this: