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8 Burning Questions about Serial

The true crime drama podcast may be over, but our investigation is just beginning. What puzzling detail left you stumped?


Alas, fellow earbud sleuths. Serial, the massively popular true crime podcast, concludes tomorrow. Sarah Koenig and Co. covered a lot of ground in their extensive investigation of Adnan Syed and the death of Hae Min Lee. And for every question raised, three more popped up. Here are 8 burning questions about the case that may never be solved.

8. What’s the deal with Don?

Hae had a new boyfriend at the time of her death – a 20-year-old LensCrafters employee by the name of Don. While Don’s boss provided an airtight alibi – Don was at work on the afternoon of Hae’s disappearance – there are still plenty of questions we’d love to ask the last man in Hae’s life.

7. Does the Best Buy phone actually exist?

In our era of CCTV cameras and bottomless digital records, it’s maddening to spend so much time on the existence of a city pay phone. According the prosecution, Adnan called Jay from a Best Buy pay phone at exactly 2:36 just after he murdered Hae, setting into motion their fateful burial trip to Leakin Park. Yet investigators never really bothered to examine the phone during their 1999 investigation; and Koenig was unable to prove it existed. If the mysterious Best Buy buzzer is indeed a ghost, it would punch a huge hole in the timeline presented by the state.

6. Who is behind the mysterious phone call tip-off?

In Episode 4, Koenig discusses a mysterious caller who phoned the police after Hae’s body was found, informing them of Adnan’s involvement. Despite a few oddly observed details scribbled down by the cop who took the call – young male, Asian accent – the individual’s identity remains a mystery. Was this merely a crank caller that happened to hit the nail on the head? Or did he truly know Adnan killed Hae?

5. What about Jay’s ever-changing story?

It’s impossible to ignore the drastic twists and turns in Jay’s testimony – times are flipped, locations shift, and monumental details are conveniently altered in subsequent versions. Koenig even explores the possibility that police coerced Jay into providing them with the damning details they needed for their case. How could a story riddled with holes play such an integral role in the conviction of Adnan Syed?

4. 90 seconds to kill a person?

In Episode 5 “Route Talk” Koenig and producer Dana Chivvis recreate the bloody timeline advanced by the state in their case against Adnan. While Sarah and Dana are able to complete the trip from Woodlawn High to Best Buy in time for the fateful 2:36 phone call – much to Adnan’s shock – the reenactment leaves absolutely no room for error. Three minutes are slated for Adnan to murder Hae, remove her body from the front seat of her car, and transfer it to the trunk. Feasible? Yes. But incredibly hard to believe.

Related: Best of the Lineup: The Creepiest True Crime Books

3. How did Mr. S really spot Hae’s body?

Episode 3 introduced us to the strange Mr. S – a Baltimore man with a predilection for streaking who discovered Hae’s body in Leakin Park. Questions abound about Mr. S – authorities administered two lie detectors to the man, and he failed the first one. Yet the biggest question revolves around exactly how Mr. S spotted Hae’s body buried amidst the bramble and brush of Leakin Park. Was it a one in a million chance, or did Mr. S know where to look?

adnan syed serial

2. Why didn’t Adnan try to call Hae?


Adnan’s Story

By Rabia Chaudry

In a heated exchange during last week’s episode, Adnan pushes back at the public for retroactively scrutinizing his behavior in the days after Hae’s disappearance. Perhaps the biggest question that’s dogged him: Why didn’t he try to call Hae once she vanished? Adnan’s answer is that he kept in constant contact with friends and family throughout the ordeal. Yet the absence of a single phone call or page continues to hurt his case in the court of public opinion.

1. What did the Innocence Project discover?

In Episode 7, Koenig sits down with the Innocence Project, a student clinic from the UVA School of Law that investigates possible wrongful convictions. The organization found all sorts of problems with the state’s case against Adnan – “mountains of reasonable doubt” is how one representative put it. In November, it was reported that the group uncovered an entirely new suspect in Hae’s murder, and is poised to formally request a new investigation. Naturally, Reddit sleuths are on the case. Is the killer someone Serial never even considered?

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Courtesy of Serial and This American Life