After the 12th episode of “Serial,” the popular podcast from the creators of “This American Life” and hosted by the ever-curious Sarah Koenig was released, many devout listeners began to experience a void left by the true-crime story. Thankfully, The New Yorker offers fans of such stories a similar piece in the interim between seasons of the sensational podcast.
I have been an attentive fan of the long-form articles published in The New Yorker for some time now. While other articles often leave readers wanting more details in their storytelling, the lengthier structure of these writings concludes stories in a far more thorough way. For listeners of “Serial” who are looking for a similar story, I cannot give higher praise to Nicholas Schmidle and his investigative articles “Crime Fiction” and “Freedom for Tyrone Hood.”
The first article, “Crime Fiction,” gives an in-depth account of a Chicago-based murder case that left Tyrone Hood in prison for 21 years after a questionable confession and subsequent conviction. Similar to “Serial,” details of Hood’s conviction are explored and uncovered, all the while leading the readers through the crime retrospectively. The basis for Schmidle’s 2014 investigation lies in the weak details of the investigation and, more specifically, the possibility that the Chicago police coerced Hood’s confession from him.
After reading this article, published in the August 2014 issue of The New Yorker, I felt like many “Serial” fans felt at the conclusion of the first season: I had my opinions on the case, but I also had my opinions on the journalists. I was angered by the story’s lack of conclusion and was left wondering and concerned about the ultimate fate of Tyrone Hood.
However, unlike “Serial’s” conclusion and its fans’ reliance on other news sources for answers to their many questions, Schmidle followed through. In mid-January, The New Yorker published another article that caught my eye: “Freedom for Tyrone Hood.” While not as long as the original article, this issue’s content left me more excited than the first and far more pleased. While the circumstances of the case offered Schmidle an opportunity for conclusion that Koenig may not have had, his follow through and the ultimate justice served for Hood only amplified my admiration for the young staff writer’s skilled story-telling.
While the subject of the next season of Serial remains in question, Nicholas Schmidle’s investigation of Tyrone Hood’s conviction is a fantastic sequence of articles that mimics the style of “Serial,” all while offering his audience refined elements that Koenig was not able to deliver in her serialized crime podcast.