The rumors were true: Bowe Bergdahl is the focus of the second season of Sarah Koenig's podcast Serial, which helped reopen the case of convicted killer Adnan Syed. In the first season, the question was "Did he do it?" This time around, it's "Why did Bergdahl leave?" Listeners will hear Bergdahl speak about his alleged desertion in Afghanistan, reports the Guardian, his time in Taliban captivity, and rescue. The audio comes from Mark Boal, the writer and producer of Zero Dark Thirty, who conducted 25 hours of phone interviews with Bergdahl as research for a film. Bergdahl—who could face life in prison over charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy—gave permission for the recordings to be used by the Serial team, which has also completed "extensive additional reporting," per the New Yorker.
Though Bergdahl's story is well-known, it's not without mystery. Bergdahl's lawyers say he walked off base to spotlight the poor conditions soldiers endured, but his comrades say otherwise. Bergdahl's story "starts with one idiosyncratic guy, who makes a radical decision to leave his post, to walk away into Afghanistan. And the consequences of this decision spin out, wider and wider, until you find out that the picture is not at all what you expected," Koenig says in the first episode—released Thursday—which examines a Taliban-produced video of Bergdahl's release and the fallout back home. Bergdahl also speaks about losing his sense of self in captivity. "I would wake up not even remembering what I was. You know how you get that feeling when that word is on the tip of your tongue? That happened to me, only it was like, What am I?" he says. Listen to the full episode here. (Read more podcast stories.)