So much for suspense. Just days after the launch of season two of Serial, the U.S. Army has confirmed that it will refer the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to the highest level of military court-martial. Bergdahl is accused of “desertion and misbehavior before the enemy,” and could possibly face life in prison.
The motivations behind Bergdahl’s desertion have been questioned for years, and were finally being properly (publicly) investigated by Sarah Koenig and co. at Serial. Like that show’s first season, the second season of the podcast hoped to bring to light the humanity in Bergdahl while questioning anyone and everyone who has ever known the man. For what it’s worth, the first episode features a quote from Bergdahl that basically amounts to, “As soon as I left my post, I regretted it, and yet I knew I could never go back without having had a good reason to leave in the first place.” However, while the podcast’s first season’s ability to earn Adnan Syed another day in court perhaps gave reason for cooperation of those close to Bergdahl, the U.S. Army’s actions here kind of squash whatever possible hope a simple podcast could ever generate.
Because while, sure, it’s possible to come back from a court-martial decree of life in prison, it’s probably not so easy, given that, you know, it’s the United States Army. Desertion is not a thing that is taken lightly, especially when five Taliban soldiers were eventually exchanged for Bergdahl’s release from the terrorist group. It will probably be months, if not years, before an ultimate decision is made in Bergdahl’s case, but the public will surely spend the next few months forming its own judgment.