Serial podcast is being made into TV show by The Lego Movie directors

Sarah Koenig’s crazily successful true crime series is heading for the small screen

Matilda Battersby
Thursday 01 October 2015 12:27 BST
Adnan Syed is serving life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999
Adnan Syed is serving life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999

A podcast so popular it achieved unprecedented success is to be made into a television series by the directors of The Lego Movie.

Sarah Koenig’s award-winning 12-part podcast Serial became a global phenomenon after it aired in October 2014 and was downloaded more than 77.6m times.

The series investigated the case of Adnan Syed who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Hae Min Lee, 18, and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000.

It cast into question his conviction as Koenig looked into police reports, interviewed witnesses and posited theories about the murder of the Baltimore high-school student who was strangled in 1999.

The Lego Movie directors are adapting Serial for television

The podcast, which is a spinoff from This American Life, topped the iTunes charts almost overnight becoming the fastest-downloaded podcast in the platform’s history, and earning a Peabody Award for journalism.

Now the Lego Movie directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are working on a TV series charting the making of the podcast.

However, the small screen adaptation of Serial will not follow the case of Syed and Lee, but will instead focus on another crime worthy of fresh investigation which is yet to be agreed upon.

Koenig and Julie Snyder, who co-produced and narrated the podcast, will executive produce the TV series alongside Lord and Miller.

“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at Serial,” Snyder told Deadline.

“Developing a show with them is exciting because we feel like we speak the same language, only they’re smarter than us.”

Serial focused on the investigation into the 1999 murder of high-school student Hae Min Lin

Koenig and Snyder revealed earlier this year that they are working on a second and third series of Serial.

Syed was convicted aged 18, and now 34, has always maintained that he is innocent of the murder of his girlfriend.

Three months after Serial aired he was granted permission for an appeal despite having had multiple appeal requests rejected in the previous 12 years.

Jay Wilds, a classmate of the convict and Lee, was the main witness in the case having told police that he helped Syed to bury her body and led the authorities to her missing car. His claims were

In August, Justin Brown, Syed’s defence lawyer, filed a court motion regarding an important document that he says casts doubt on mobile phone data that was central to his client’s conviction because it placed him at the location where Lee's body was found a month after her murder.

The second series of Serial will investigate the mysterious disappearance in Afghanistan of an American soldier who was then held captive by the Taliban for five years.

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