"Undisclosed" is not "Serial."
The three lawyers behind "Undisclosed: The State vs. Adnan Syed" make this clear in the first moments of the new podcast.
There's no catchy theme music. No whimsical asides from Sarah Koenig, creator of the breakaway hit "Serial." Not even an ad for MailChimp.
"We like getting into the weeds and we plan on taking you with us," attorney Rabia Chaudry says early in the 45-minute episode. "This will not be a beautifully crafted narrative like 'Serial.'"
What "Undisclosed" offers is what lawyers do best -- a precise analysis of the myriad legal issues surrounding the case. And on Monday, it debuted at No. 3 on the iOs Podcast app's top audio chart.
It's financed by the Adnan Syed Trust, a legal fund created by those who believe the former Woodlawn High School student is not guilty of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend and classmate, Hae Min Lee. Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus 30 years; he hopes to appeal his conviction.
Chaudry, a national security expert and family friend of the Syeds, is the driving force behind the new podcast. She's joined by two other attorneys who have blogged extensively about the case: Susan Simpson of Washington, D.C., and Colin Miller of South Carolina.
The first episode focuses on the concept of confabulation-- or the tendency of the mind to misremember events. It will only make sense if you have listened, and listened closely, to "Serial." It's also a reminder that most legal work is tedious and detail-driven, not like courtroom drama presented in TV.
The attorneys pull out contradictions in the testimony of those who said they saw Adnan on the day Hae disappeared, Jan. 13, 1999.
Here are some of the contradictions they point out:
-Debbie, a classmate, said Adnan arrived late to school that day. However, school attendance records do not show he was late on this day, but was late other days in January.
-Debbie also believed that Woodlawn was following the "A" schedule on that day, but the school was indeed following the "B" schedule.
-Debbie also told detectives that she saw Adnan speaking to a guidance counselor at 2:45 -- the very time that police say Hae was murdered. Debbie said this in the first trial, which ended in a mistrial, but told a different story in the second trial in which Adnan was convicted.
-Krista, another classmate, recalled Adnan asking Hae in the morning to give him a ride after school and Hae agreeing. The prosecution contended that Adnan killed Hae after she gave him a ride.
-Krista later was told by Ayesha, another student, that Ayesha heard Hae tell Adnan she couldn't give him a ride.
-Becky, yet another Woodlawn student, said she saw Hae tell Adnan in the afternoon that she could not give him a ride after all. However, she was not asked about this in court.
-Adnan's track coach recalled speaking with the teen outside on a warm day in January toward the end of Ramadan. According to the attorneys, the only warm practice day near the end of Ramadan was Jan. 13. If Adnan attended the entire track practice, he could not have killed Hae at the time the state's key witness, Jay, said he did.
--There are a number of inconsistencies regarding a supposed visit that Adnan and Jay made on the evening of the killing to the home of Jay's friend Cathy.
The second episode, which will be released in two weeks, will take a similar detailed look on reports on how Hae spent her last day.