She has tackled injustice and abuse in the film industry and the Catholic church. The Oscar-nominated director reveals why she is telling the shocking story hit podcast Serial failed to cover

The Maryland court of appeals this month overturned a decision to grant Adnan Syed a new trial for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The story of Syed’s conviction in 2000 was brought to the world’s attention by the podcast Serial, which launched in October 2014. Its presenter Sarah Koenig examined the evidence against Syed, and steadily built a case that his conviction might have been unsound, though she kept listeners guessing as to her theories about his guilt or innocence until the very end.

Serial was a phenomenon and an unprecedented hit. In 2017, the producers revealed that its episodes had been downloaded over 175m times. Its release coincided with the beginning of the appeals process for Syed, and the decision to deny him a new trial appears to have blindsided everyone involved.

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