The first season of this podcast absolutely exploded, and perhaps quite rightly because it sated a thirst for an honest look at the flawed US justice system. The first episode managed to release 8 days before the Netflix hit, Making a Murderer, and the audience was clearly there for both.
Season 1 investigated the case of Hae Min Lee's murder at the age of 18, and the subsequent inditement of Adnan Masud Syed. Season 2 took a different approach detailing the apparent dessertion and Taliban capture of the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. With Season 3 we see a step back into the arena of the US judicial system but in far more broad a manner than its' debut.
Attempting to document the day to day of courts throughout the entire country is unfeasible but the expansive look at the judges, prosecutors, defenders, and accused in Ohio over a year made for an impressive overview of what ultimately proved to be a deeply flawed and disheartening pursuit of "justice".
Having already shown my hand I have no problem in explicitly saying that this 9 episode podcast run left me despairing of the lingering archaic hunger for retributive punishment. I would go a step further than even the show creators and say that, as somebody who sees free will to be an illusion (and not even a good one), the notion of punishment for its' own sake leaves me feeling ill.
If a person has no choice in the brain with which they were born, the parents to whom they were born, the environment in which they grew up, or any other factor crucial to their development, how is one justified in inflicting suffering on this person for no other reason than because "it is what is right"? Put somebody in jail because it keeps other people safe, punish them because it has been statistically shown to deter others from acting similarly, but don't just deprive them of their freedom because that is what we do and we haven't thought hard enough about an alternative.
I suppose, ultimately, I see a fundamental lack of actual effort put into the rehabilitation of these criminals. We take a not insignificant portion of the population, mark them as unworthy of help, and then throw them into a cage.
Do I recommend season 3 of Serial? Despite how saddened I felt afterwards I do, but only in so much as it motivates more of us to speak out against a clearly broken approach to the noble goal of increasing safety, decreasing crime, and maximising the wellbeing of our population.
It's not working guys, and so why have we decided that it can't be fixed?