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‘Serial’ season 3 podcast based on Cleveland cases

The cultural phenomenon 'Serial' podcast is putting the spotlight on Cleveland.

CLEVELAND -- The wait is finally over for fans of the wildly popular podcast “Serial.”

On Thursday, September 20th two new episodes will drop, with producers confirming the new season takes place in Cleveland.

Produced by “This American Life” and Chicago Public Media, previous episodes have reportedly been downloaded more than 340 million times.

The series has won every major broadcasting award and achieved results.

Listen to the season 3 trailer:

The first season turned the conviction of Adnan Sayed, accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend, into a national phenomenon and led to a new trial. The second season looked at Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who went missing in Afghanistan.

Now, two years later, “Serial” is back with a close look at the criminal justice system.

Host Sarah Koenig said they chose ordinary cases and picked Cleveland because of their freedom to openly record. Cleveland.com noted Koenig first here recording the trial of Douglas Shine, accused of murder at a barbershop in late 2016.

Cleveland Scene reports she will also examine the cases of Avielle Wakefield, a 5-month-old who was shot, and Jesse Nickerson, whose beating led to the termination of two police officers.

Koenig told the magazine it was difficult to work with the city and that there will be no on-record interviews with the Mayor’s Office or police department.

“They chose Cleveland, because they were given extraordinary access to record inside courtrooms, judges’ chambers, back hallways and attorneys’ offices," a press release reveals. "Koenig and reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi spent more than a year there, looking at small criminal cases like weed possession and disorderly conduct, all the way up to the most serious felonies. They documented how justice is calculated -- the manipulations, the distortions, the justifications, the gap between what people did and what they were punished for.”

The first two episodes of season three will be released Sept. 20 with new episodes released weekly on Thursdays.

“Every case Emmanuel and I followed, there came a point where we thought: No, this can’t be how it works,” Koenig said. “And then we were like, Oh! Oh my god. This is how it works! This is how it happens! People who work in the system, or have been through the system, they know this. But millions more people do not. And for the past year I’ve had this urgent feeling of wanting to kind of hold open the courthouse door, and wave people inside. Because things are happening -- shocking things, fascinating things -- in plain sight.”

Reporter and OSU graduate Emmanuel Dzotsi, who worked on “This American Life,” helped with the project.

Listeners can hear Serial for free via podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Serial is also available for free on Pandora. After subscribing, listeners will automatically receive all episodes as they are released.

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