'Serial' Season 3 Starts with a Bar Fight, Covers Cleveland Criminal Justice System

September 20, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend

Exterior of a bar that was the scene of a fight covered in the new season of the podcast Serial

Photo by: @Serial (screenshot)

@Serial (screenshot)

Exterior of a bar that was the scene of a fight covered in the new season of the podcast Serial

CLEVELAND, OH — The third season of the true crime podcast Serial starts with a bar fight.

The first season of Serial, which is hosted by Sarah Koenig of This American Life, covered the case of Baltimore teenager Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Season two followed the court-martial of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Season three, which launched today, is focused on the criminal justice system in Cleveland. It opens with the case of Anna, a 21-year-old woman who punched a police officer trying to break up a March 2017 bar fight. Surveillance video from the fight shows a man repeatedly smacking her on the butt as she stands at the bar.

After she turns around to confront him, a fight started. It turned into a huge brawl, and she ended up hitting a police officer — and was then charged with assaulting that officer.

As the third season progresses, it will focus on more ordinary cases in the Cleveland criminal court system, which will range from aggravated murder and armed robbery to DUI and marijuana possession.

Each episode will focus on multiple cases in one courthouse and will be co-hosted by Emmanuel Dzotsi.

Koenig and her producers spent a year researching the cases.

In an audio trailer announcing the third season, Koenig pointed out that Syed’s trial “was not typical in any way.” He had a private defense attorney, no criminal record — and “rarest of all,” a six-week trial.

Extraordinary cases like Adnan Syed’s are not what’s filling America’s courtrooms. To tackle the criminal justice system, Serial would need to look at something different: ordinary cases,” a release announcing the third season started. “Going beyond true crime cliches and TV police procedurals, the upcoming season lays out, in the starkest terms, how the criminal justice system really works.”