Koenig and crew didn’t make any grand statements about whether or not Adnan Syed is guilty, nor did they really come to any conclusion. For much of the episode, Koenig rehashed some of the information that we already knew (but with some newer bits, like — finally — insight from Don, Hae Min Lee’s boyfriend at the time of her murder who paints a clearer picture of Hae, and more information about the mystery of Best Buy’s phonebooth — there may have been one in the vestibule — and other small things). She went over some details and the phone logs. She tried, once again, to ask Adnan to recall his exact schedule, and Adnan, once again, can’t remember. So Koenig is just as confused as the rest of us. “If you asked me to swear that Adnan Syed is innocent, I couldn’t do it,” she says. “I nurse doubt. I don’t like that I do, but I do.” The most concrete opinion we get from her is that “most of the time” she thinks he didn’t do it. Then: a curveball about a serial killer who may have done it, though the chances are very slim (and he has since committed suicide). So, again, no conclusion. At least, not yet.
Even so, Serial remains a remarkable experiment in journalism, especially when it comes to the tense, mystery-building episodes of its half-season. Over time, it became a series that knew it couldn’t solve a 15-year-old crime and prove a man’s innocence, thus freeing him from the jail cell where he’s spent nearly half of his life. Instead, it became more about the abundance of uncertainties and flaws within the criminal justice system, the frustrating gray area that a case like Adnan’s can get trapped in — perhaps for the rest of his life — and how there are always more questions than answers.