The much-anticipated second season of was released in December 2015. The subject of Season 2 was met with widespread skepticism. Vastly different from the popular murder-mystery story that Season 1 investigated, Season 2's focus on the story behind the U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 before being captured by the Taliban and subsequently released in 2014, was contentious due in part to the controversial views of the soldier's departure from his post and also because of the high-profile court martial proceeding for his alleged desertion.
One critic asserted that Koenig presented the story of a murder involving two minority teenagers and their cultures through a lens of white privilege, "a white interpreter 'stomping through communities that she does not understand' ". Another critic added that Koenig had employed the "" trope in her descriptions of Syed and Hae Min Lee, and that Jay was then portrayed as a "stereotypical urban black youth". A rejoinder in pointed out, " is a reflection on a murder case and the criminal-justice system reported over 'just' a year, which is to say, it is researched with more effort and depth than 99 percent of journalism produced on any beat in America... Most of all, the response to mistakes should never be to discourage white reporters from telling important stories."
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A critique from the journalism community was more qualified. First noting that some people believe there is a "podcast renaissance", the reviewer from observed that even though podcasts are not new, they are not yet mainstream.
Calling the characters "rich and intriguing", noted similarities to the film (1988), and described the podcast as "gripping" and the story as "thrilling", while applauding the series for giving "listeners a unique opportunity to humanize the players".