About Season Two
In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.
President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier's parents at his side. Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory.
Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.
Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.
For this season, Sarah Koenig teams up with filmmaker Mark Boal and Page 1 to find out why one idiosyncratic guy decided to walk away, into Afghanistan, and how the consequences of that decision have spun out wider and wider. It’s a story that has played out in unexpected ways from the start. And it’s a story that’s still going on.
Season Two aired in the winter of 2015-6 and is now complete. Listen again from the beginning.
Sarah Koenig was a newspaper reporter for ten years, covering mostly politics and criminal justice. In 2004 she took a producer job at This American Life. She started Serial with Julie Snyder in 2013.
Before creating Serial with Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder was the senior producer at This American Life. She has received numerous awards for broadcast excellence, including four Peabody Awards.
Dana Chivvis was a fellow at This American Life before joining the Serial team. She was also a reporter and digital producer at NBC News, and a photo editor at National Geographic.
Ira Glass is the creator and host of This American Life, which has won the highest honors for broadcast excellence.
Kevin Garnett was a research fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. He received a JD from Fordham Law School in 2013. He does not play basketball.
Whitney Dangerfield was a senior staff editor in the Opinion and Sunday Review sections of the New York Times. Before that, she was a writer/researcher at National Geographic Magazine.
Kristen Taylor was a senior producer of Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines and is the founder and editor of Saucy Magazine.
Kate is a sound designer and re-recording mixer. Beyond Serial, she makes noises for film and television, recently Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog and the Emmy-winning documentary We Could Be King.
In addition to her work on Serial, Emily Condon manages This American Life. She’s been with TAL since 2009.
Seth Lind also runs operations for This American Life. He is the creator of Cast Party and director of the video This American Life: Live at BAM.
Elise Bergerson has been with This American Life and Serial since 2012. Prior to this, she worked in conflict resolution at, among other places, the United Nations.
Kimberly Henderson joined This American Life and Serial in July 2015. Before that, she worked as a program associate at McColl Center for Art + Innovation.
Page 1 is a media company founded by Mark Boal to explore the intersection of reporting and entertainment. It has a first look deal with Annapurna Pictures.
Mark Boal is the Academy Award winning writer and producer of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker.
Megan Ellison is the founder of Annapurna Pictures, a film production and finance company focused on high-quality, innovative content.
Hugo Lindgren has been the editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine and acting editor of the Hollywood Reporter.
Jessica Weisberg is an editor and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Elle, and other publications.
Sami Yousafzai is a journalist who’s been covering militancy in the Afpak region since September 2001.
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Mitchell Hall
SOC Mitchell Hall is a retired Navy SEAL operator and a recipient of Silver and Bronze Stars.
Jonathan Leven is a veteran production executive and co-producer of Zero Dark Thirty.
Irwin Rappaport is a Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer who represents studios, production companies, and producers.
Mitchell Adwon has been working in the film industry for four years.