The Case Against Adnan Syed: HBO documentary airs as appeal is denied

A collage of Adnan Syed photos from The Case Agaisnst Adnan Syed
Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee are the focus of a new HBO docu-series. Pic credit: HBO

The first part of HBO’s new documentary series, The Case Against Adnan Syed, aired last night on the network. The case, which was brought into the spotlight by the podcast Serial, is now being examined once again by a fresh set of eyes.

The documentary picks up where the popular podcast Serial ended. The case was covered during the podcast’s first season, telling the story about Adnan Syed, who was found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The crime happened back in 1999 when Hae Min Lee was an 18-year-old Baltimore County high school student.

You can see the trailer for the documentary series below. Part 1 of the series is available on HBO’s website.

The documentary series started airing on Sunday but an appeal in the case was denied on Friday. Adnan Syed’s appeal asked for a new trial, but Maryland’s highest court decided against his appeal. This reserved a decision, which was made by the courts last year.

Adnan Syed has served a life sentence since 2000 after he was convicted of killing Hae Min Lee, a former girlfriend. Syed has always maintained his innocence and told his story on the Serial podcast.

Interestingly, last year, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that Syed had received ineffective legal counsel during his trial almost 20 years ago, arguing that his murder conviction should be outright vacated. After Friday’s ruling, it appears that he’s set to continue his prison sentence.

After the HBO documentary aired, people appear to have mixed feelings about the case.

Amy Berg is the woman behind the documentary. She’s an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker and she’s worked on documentaries before, including the West of Memphis documentary that focused on the West Memphis Three.

In an interview with Esquire, Berg talked about her interest in the case and how the podcast Serial inspired her to dig into the case even more.

“Adnan and I both were very intrigued by the podcast. But for me, there was something interesting about the fact that Adnan had never tried to come up with another story to defend himself or to say where he was. I had never heard of a case like this where the convicted that people were championing wasn’t defending himself in a strong way,” Berg explains.

The Case Against Adnan Syed premiered on HBO last night at 9/8c. Part 2 of the documentary series airs next Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.

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