My Serial Theories

WARNING: If you are still listening to Serial, this post contains SPOILERS!

Now that season one of Serial is over, here are my thoughts on the most likely scenarios:

Like Sarah Koenig, I agree that there isn’t currently enough evidence to convict Adnan from a legal perspective. There is just too much reasonable doubt about Adnan’s guilt. With that doubt, the jury should not have convicted him. That said, I’m leaning toward feeling that he is most likely guilty, but have my doubts and alternative theories.

Of all the possible suspects that Hae knew personally, no one had any real motive to kill her. From all accounts, Hae was pretty universally loved and wasn’t a girl with many enemies. No one in her circle had any reason to do her harm. That includes Adnan… a breakup just isn’t catastrophic enough to incite murder, even in the most extreme situations. We’ve all experienced heartbreak and it’s not easy on any of us; but Adnan would have had to be pretty crazy to turn a broken heart into motivation for murder. He just doesn’t seem that crazy. That said, lacking any possible motive from anyone else at all, Adnan is pretty much left as our only possible suspect. Jay’s recent interview does make Adnan’s motive seem a bit more plausible by implying that it may have been more of an unintended crime of passion rather than pre-meditated murder. If Adnan did it, Jay’s new retelling sounds like the most likely scenario.

I’ve heard a lot of “Jay did it” talk, but I don’t buy this at all. Jay had zero motivation to kill Hae and just doesn’t seem like a killer, especially with no motivation. After reading his recent interview, I’m pretty close to 100% sure it wasn’t Jay.

If not Adnan, I’m pretty convinced that we’re looking for a random serial killer such as Ronald Moore or one of the other un-named suspects the Innocence Project has identified. In the serial killer theory, Hae stopped for gas and was picked out by some psycho hunting for their next victim. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time… the victim of a more freak, random crime.

The trouble is that this still leaves the question of Jay’s motive. If neither he or Adnan had anything to do with the crime, why would he go to the trouble of turning on Adnan and implicating himself as an accessory? My answer to this is simply that false confessions are not uncommon under intense pressure during police interrogations. Jay could simply have cracked under some pressure and confessed to something that never happened.

Here’s how this scenario would have played out… The detectives were out of clues, but suspected Adnan. They found out that Jay had been with Adnan for much of the day Hae went missing. If Adnan did it, they suspected that Jay should know something. Jay wouldn’t have known much (if Adnan was innocent) but may have had some good reasons to want to please the police with a good story. Jay was a small-time drug dealer and made it clear that he often felt harassed by the police (his explanation as to why he didn’t notify them about the murder earlier). The police could have very easily threatened to make his life rough if he didn’t come clean about Adnan. He already had experience as a cooperative witness in a prior case. This experience would have made it clear to Jay that good things happen when you cooperate with the police and the prosecution… bad things happen when you don’t. Plus, it’s possible that Jay also suspected Adnan after hearing the detective’s theories. Jay was not with Adnan all day, so could have thought Adnan did commit the crime during the parts of the day that they were separated. So, it makes perfect sense to me that Jay would have filled in the gaps and concocted a story that implicated Adnan. It got the police off his back and he may have even believed the basic backbone of it. In Jay’s mind, better to be cooperative and be taken care of than be harassed as a drug dealer. So, he cooperated.

If this is the case, it explains why he knew where Hae’s car was. It’s very possible the police had already found the car and it would have been very easy for the police to leak this information to Jay. Keep in mind, I’m not implying there was any conspiracy going on here… merely that, in an attempt to solve a tough case, detectives employed pressure on Jay and helped feed him some information… and this worked out a bit too well. It would not be the first time something like this happened. False confessions are a reality.

So, if all of this is the case, it’s possible that we can throw out the more incriminating portions of Jay’s testimony, which are almost all of the tangible case against Adnan. If Jay’s testimony is indeed a false testimony under pressure, Adnan and Jay were just two teenage kids driving around the suburbs buying weed and getting high… nothing more sinister than that. This would leave the actual crime to someone else outside of the circle of suspects. Again, because Hae had so few enemies, I’m lead to believe the only motivation to kill her would have come from a random, sick, twisted individual. These types of murders aren’t as common as Dexter would have us believe, but it’s still a distinct possibility.

In Jay’s recent interview, he sticks pretty clearly to the narrative that Adnan did it and he was an accessory. This new telling seems significantly more clear and believable than any of his official testimonies, so doesn’t look good for Adnan at all. However, I don’t discount the possibility that the story he’s telling now is still a continuation of an earlier false confession. In any case, I’m pretty sure Jay genuinely believes Adnan did it. I must admit, I’m starting to find Jay more credible after hearing his new retelling of the story.

The only thing we can do now is wait on the Innocence Project‘s findings of the physical evidence to see if this sheds any new light on the situation. If Jay’s retelling is correct, Adnan’s DNA should have been left at the scene (an eyelash, hair, etc.). Only time will tell.

I’d like to close with these three thoughts that all Serial fans should keep in mind while we theorize. It can be fun to try to solve the mystery, but we should not forget that this is a real story with real people; not fiction.

  • Hae Min Lee is a real human being who lost her life. We should have respect for her (and her family) and find out who did harm to her so they can be brought to justice.
  • Adnan Syed is a real human being who may be falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. If he did and it can be proven, he deserves to be where he is. However, if he’s innocent, he deserves to be released from prison to live his life.
  • Jay Wilds is a real human being trying to live his life. We shouldn’t drag his name through the mud with wild theories that aren’t backed up with solid evidence. We have nothing to suspect he was more involved than he admits to, so let’s not ruin his life over this story.

So, let’s theorize, but remember to tread lightly and have respect for the real human beings involved.