By Claire Groden
December 10, 2015

Serial is back.

The Peabody award-winning series broke podcasting records with its first season, which dissected a little-known murder case in Baltimore. Now, the Serial team is pairing up with filmmaker Mark Boal, of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker fame, and his Page 1 team to tell a story that “a gazillion people have heard about,” Sarah Koenig, the show’s host, writes in a blog post.

The second season is about another man whose guilt is hard to pin down: Bowe Bergdahl. The Idaho-native’s 2014 return to the U.S. after five years in Taliban captivity was immensely controversial, since the soldier deserted his post before being captured and was traded for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Serial’s second season tells Bergdahl’s story as he faces a court-martial for desertion that could mean a life sentence in prison. “But it’s also about all of the people affected by that decision, and the choices they made,” Koenig writes. “Unlike our story in Season One, this one extends far out into the world. It reaches into swaths of the military, the peace talks to end the war, attempts to rescue other hostages, our Guantanamo policy.”

The first episode, released Thursday, features Bergdahl’s explanation of the night that he left his post in eastern Afghanistan, slipping out into the desert.

Serial’s first season was the fastest podcast ever to reach 5 million downloads on iTunes, and it became the most popular podcast in the world.

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