A New HBO Documentary Series Will Revisit the Case Against Serial's Adnan Syed

It's being made by the director of true crime doco 'West of Memphis' and will have a score by Nick Cave.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 17, 2018

Nearly two decades after Hae Min Lee's murder, the Baltimore high school student's horrific plight continues to dominate the true crime landscape. After featuring on the first season of Sarah Koenig's grimly addictive podcast Serial, it's now forming the basis for a new documentary series, The Case Against Adnan Syed.

Announced by HBO, the four-hour effort will pick up where everyone's 2014 obsession left off, not only exploring 18-year-old Lee's death in 1999 and her ex-boyfriend Syed's conviction in 2000, but the latter's ongoing quest to have the extremely complex legal matter reassessed in the years since he was found guilty. Everything from Lee and Syed's relationship, to the original police investigation and trial, to the developments up until now will feature, with the film gaining exclusive access to Syed, his family and his lawyers.

The series couldn't come at a more crucial time for Syed, who was convicted of first-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison, and continues to fight his case through the courts. While he was granted a new trial in 2016, that ruling was subsequently appealed by the State of Maryland — only for the Court of Special Appeals to agree to vacate Syed's conviction and finally give him that retrial just this past March. A date for the actual retrial hasn't yet been set, however.

Splashed across the small screen, it's certain to make for compelling viewing — but if you think you've spent too much time mulling it all over across the past five years, filmmaker Amy Berg has you beat. Unsuprisingly given how complicated the matter is, the director has been working on the project since 2015. And, with her excellent doco background — with Berg helming 2006's Oscar-nominated 2006 Deliver Us from Evil, about molestation in the Catholic Church; examining the West Memphis Three's quest for freedom in 2012's West of Memphis; and tackling the sexual abuse of teenagers in the film industry in 2014's An Open Secret — her new venture is certain to be thorough.

Currently in post-production, The Case Against Adnan Syed will air sometime in 2019. Plus, as they did for West of Memphis, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis will provide the score.

Image: Adnan Syed via  Syed Family / Courtesy of HBO.

Published on May 17, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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