×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Serial’ Season 3 Podcast Premiere Date Set

Next installment of investigative series examines Cleveland's court system

The team behind podcast hit “Serial” are premiering the latest season of the investigative series — digging into the inner workings of Cleveland’s criminal-court system — later this month.

The first two episodes of “Serial” season 3 will debut Sept. 20, with subsequent episodes to be released weekly on Thursdays. Instead of telling a single story over the course of the show, as the first two seasons did, the third run will follow many different stories with some spanning two or even three episodes.

When “Serial” first launched in 2014, the spinoff of NPR’s “This American Life” became an overnight podcasting success. In the first season, Sarah Koenig narrated an investigation into the 2000 conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore. (The show led to a judge’s ruling granting Syed a retrial, which remains pending.) Season 2 of “Serial” documented the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was captured by the Taliban. The first two seasons of “Serial” have been downloaded more than 340 million times.

Now, with season 3, “Serial” tells the stories of ordinary cases as they wind through the justice system in Cleveland. Producers said they chose Cleveland because they were given an unusual level of access to record inside courtrooms, judges’ chambers, hallways and attorneys’ offices. For the latest season, Koenig and reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi — an Ohio native and former “This American Life” fellow — spent more than a year in the city, looking at small criminal cases like marijuana possession and disorderly conduct and more serious ones including felonies. The duo say they documented various manipulations, distortions and justifications that they say produced a disparity between what people did and what they were punished for.

The show comes from Serial Productions, formed by the podcast’s original producers in 2017, and is partnered with “This American Life,” which is produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. The executive producer of “Serial” is Julie Snyder, who also created the company’s “S-Town” podcast with Brian Reed that launched last year.

“Every case Emmanuel and I followed, there came a point where we thought: ‘No, this can’t be how it works,’” Koenig said in a prepared statement. “People who work in the system, or have been through the system, they know this. But millions more people do not. And for the past year I’ve had this urgent feeling of wanting to kind of hold open the courthouse door and wave people inside. Because things are happening — shocking things, fascinating things — in plain sight.”

Ira Glass, host of “This American Life” who serves as an editor for “Serial,” commented that even the early drafts of season 3 left him with “this dumbass, fanboy ‘OMG it’s ‘Serial’! feeling” that reflected Koenig’s “deeply ‘Serial’-ish, super-methodical, annoyingly well-reasoned investigation into the deeper truths that underlie all the stories.”

“Serial” season 3 will be available as a free download via apps including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, and also will be available free on Pandora via an exclusive streaming partnership. After subscribing, listeners will automatically receive all episodes as they are released. The new season is exclusively sponsored by jobs site ZipRecruiter.

The third season of “Serial” is expected to be around 10 episodes, but that’s subject to change. Listen to the audio trailer for season 3 at serialpodcast.org.

Pictured above: Emmanuel Dzotsi (l.) and Sarah Koenig

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • lenovo-mirage-camera_3

    Google’s VR180 Format Stalls After Camera Manufacturers Pull Back

    Google’s plan to establish a new immersive media format on YouTube and beyond has hit a roadblock: VR180, the stereoscopic video format that Google launched with big fanfare in 2017, has lost some of its key supporters, Variety has learned. Camera maker Yi has all but given up on launching its long-promised VR180 consumer camera, [...]

  • UMC-Marriage-Boot-Camp-Hip-Hop-Edition-WE-tv

    WE tv, UMC Reteam on Bonus Content for 'Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition' Season 2

    AMC Networks is touting the benefits of cross-pollinating content and promos across its TV and streaming properties. In the latest bit of synergy, the programmer’s WE tv announced the continuation of its partnership with sister company UMC (Urban Movie Channel) to produce a second season of “confessional” episodes for WE tv reality series “Marriage Boot [...]

  • Google Play Pass

    Google Launches Play Pass, Its $4.99 Apple Arcade Competitor

    Google officially launched its Play Pass game and app subscription service Monday morning. Play Pass gives users access to more than 350 premium games and apps for $4.99 per month. The launch comes just a few days after Apple unveiled it own game subscription service Apple Arcade. Apps and games included in this subscription do [...]

  • ESPN - Always Late With Katie

    ESPN Inks Facebook Deal to Bring Exclusive Shows and Content to Watch Service

    Disney’s ESPN is looking to expand digital reach across Facebook, under a new deal to distribute exclusive digital shows and content on the social giant’s Facebook Watch video platform. At launch, ESPN’s Facebook Watch lineup includes additional segments from “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” the late-night sports/comedy show premiering this week on ESPN2; exclusive versions [...]

  • David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Carolyn

    Emmys 2019: 'Game of Thrones,' Jharrel Jerome Lead Social-Media Buzz

    HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Jharrel Jerome, star of Netflix’s “When They See Us,” were among the leaders of social conversation during Sunday’s 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Facebook and Twitter. “GOT” picked up 12 Emmys in total for its final season, including outstanding drama series, while series star Peter Dinklage picked up his fourth [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Sets First Book-Club Pick for New Apple TV Plus Series

    Oprah Winfrey’s interviews with authors of her book club selections will be featured exclusively on Apple’s forthcoming Apple TV Plus service, and she’s announced the first book selection for the project: “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Apple teamed with Winfrey for Apple TV Plus series “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering Nov. 1 when the service [...]

  • NBC LX - Valari Staab

    NBCU Launches Digital News Outlet LX to Reach People Who Don't Watch Local TV (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s local TV division is taking a new tack to reach younger audiences that don’t tune in to its traditional newscasts. On Monday, NBCU’s 42-station local TV group is launching LX — a digital news brand that will produce original content for online distribution and, in 2020, via a live-streaming internet network and multicast over-the-air [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content