Justice for Hae A serial podcast project

In the podcast Serial, by Sarah Koenig, teenage victim Hae Min Lee was strangled. Her body was later discovered in Leakin Park, a place known for discovering murder victims. The main suspect was supposedly bitter ex boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was later given the guilty verdict and thrown in jail. Although the basics of this story seem pretty standard for a murder case, this crime was far from ordinary. There are some pretty suspicious characters like the uncertain accomplice Jay, and the new beau Don, and even the streaker named Mr. S who discovered the body in the first place. But even through all the details presented, we never hear about what happened through the perspective of Hae's family. How did they feel about it? Would they be grateful for Sarah's hard work, or would they despise what she made them relive? I believe Hae's family did not feel justice thanks to Serial because of the treatment of the crime as fiction, Adnan's treatment of the relationship, and the podcast's followers.

Hae seen with friends on the night of her prom and playing lacrosse

The story goes over every detail the crime has to offer. The inconclusive police work, countless interviews, anything that could have made a difference on that fateful day. The story is frustrating but exciting, and even confusing at times. However, even though Sarah knows how to tell a fantastic story, that's all it sounds like. A story. Many serial fans found the fact that there were no interviews from anyone in Hae's family astounding. I mean, she interviews people that don't even really matter for the story, like some classmates and unreliable witnesses. The family in question held their silent treatment until late 2014 via Reddit when Hae's brother (we assume, he doesn't name himself in the post) typed out this chilling masterpiece.

TO ME ITS REAL LIFE. To you listeners, its another murder mystery, crime drama, another episode of CSI. You weren't there to see your mom crying every night, having a heart att[a]ck when she got the new[s] that the body was found, and going to court almost everyday for a year seeing your mom weeping, crying and fainting. You don't know what we went through. Especially to those who are demanding our family respon[d] and having a meetup... you guys are disgusting. Shame on you. I pray that you don't have to go through what we went through and have your story blasted to 5 [million] listeners.

The post also contained pictures of Sarah Koenig attempting to contact him which were later removed, seeing as they contained her personal contact information. No interview was ever granted and I'm not very surprised about that after reading the post. The issue of not taking this murder case seriously is understandable yet inexcusable, and it certainly didn't help Hae's family get a sense of peace and justice.

Awkward prom pics

Also, the reason that things went so wrong for Hae's family is due in part by having to remember how Adnan treated their beloved sister and daughter. Now, if you find yourself confused, then get ready to hear a bombshell that Koenig never really reported about; Adnan was super possessive. Why she skips over this fact I don't really know, but all the evidence is in Hae's diary.

The second thing is the possessiveness. Independence (indiscernible). I’m a very independent person. I rarely rely on my parents. Although I love him, it’s not like I need him. I know I’ll be just fine without him, and I need some time for myself and (indiscernible) other than him. How dare he get mad at me for planning to hang with Aisha?

It may seem like a simple teenage-craving-rebellion thing, but I truly don't think so. Especially not when Aisha Pittman herself tells Koenig her take on Adnan's behavior.

I think it was probably mostly normal, but things that, like, he kinda just always generally annoyed me, because, just the constant paging her if she was out, um, and he’s like, "Well I just wanted to know where you were." And it’s like, "I told you where I was gonna be." Um, if she was at my house, and we were having a girls night, he would stop by, like he would walk over and try to come hang out, and its just like, "Have some space!" Um, and it’s one of those things, at first it’s like, "Oh! It’s so cute! Your boyfriend’s dropping by." But then the tenth time, it’s like "Really"?
Adnan and Hae chilling with friends

The last factor that caused such an unjust life for Hae's family comes from Serial itself in the devilish shape of all of its followers. The conspirators of Reddit who come up with more and more crazy stories that could prove Adnan's innocence every day. The Twitter users that beg Koenig for just one more snippet of information they could use. Even the bloggers that pour over all the evidence that the Serial website has on its domain; free for the public to look at and pull from. Hae's family stated, for a brief interview with local paper The Baltimore Sun, a very moving quote.

It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed our family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae.

And it's painfully true; what are the number of articles talking about the murder versus the ones talking about Hae herself? Although it might be more fun to pretend to be private eye detectives then to commemorate the life of a simple teenager, think about how distressing and heartbreaking that bust be for the family.

What a looker! 17 year old Adnan Syed

After all this, some people might still claim the opposite. If Adnan was blamed for killing Hae, then they must hate him, and therefore want him to go to jail. Just like in another article from The Baltimore Sun which reports that Hae's family said the following.

The people who are seeking a new trial for her [Hae's] convicted killer have been misinformed by online discussion of the case at the center of the popular Serial podcast, and it is now more clear than ever that justice was served the first time.

Since it seems like Hae's family hated Adnan so much, aren't they happy that he was given the guilty verdict? While true, I'm sure revenge is a dish best served cold, the main cause for their anger and hatred is from having to relive all of what happened so long ago. Like another quote from the family about their thoughts on Syed's hearing for a second trial tells us that it "reopened wounds few can imagine".

Senior at Woodlawn High

Justice was not served to Hae and her family because of the treatment of the crime as fiction, Adnan's treatment of the relationship, and the podcast's followers. When Hae's brother spoke out about people who refer to the story as a kind of CSI episode, it opened my eyes to how heartbreaking the whole podcast must have been for that family. The fact that Adnan not only kept his relationship a secret but also was very possessive made them even more weary of him and the podcast's fans that just focused on the gory details what just the sugar on top. Hae's family would not have felt justice even if Adnan had only gotten one trial like he was supposed to. All in all, Hae is someone who is more important than just her murder, and hopefully her family can live in the peace that they deserve now that this nightmare is finally over.

In memory of Hae Min Lee
Created By
Jade Farmer


Me!! Me!!!!!

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