Failed justice or injustice on American soil is kind of unexpected. A high school senior Hae Min Lee was murdered in 1999 and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was declared as the convict. Even after the lapse of two decades, people are still unsatisfied with the decision and HBO decided to broadcast a mini docuseries on the case. Over a 100 million people are already following the case proceedings since 2014 and sharing their own theories on the murder suspects.
Let’s delve deeper into the story.
Hae Min Lee: the Victim
Hae Min Lee was a Korean-American teenager, a high school senior at Woodlawn High School in Maryland, US. Born in South Korea, she however spent the last years of her life in USA as her family emigrated to the States in 1992. Just an ordinary teenage girl who played lacrosse and field hockey passionately, was found missing on January 13th 1999. Her family filed the missing report with the police when she failed to pick up her cousin.
A half buried female body (victim of murder by manual strangulation) was discovered on February 9, 1999 in Leakin Park, Baltimore. It was formally identified as Hae Min Lee.
Adnan Syed: the Convict
Adnan Syed, a Pakistani-American, was a student in the same Woodlawn High School where Lee was studying. He was in fact Lee’s ex-boyfriend. Syed, a famous athlete and A-Grade student, was found to be the prime suspect when Hae Min Lee was found dead, even though their relationship lasted only for a few months.
Syed was accused for Lee’s murder after police got an anonymous tip that Lee’s ex-boyfriend should be investigated. Police also had a confession of one of Syed’s acquaintances who claimed to help Syed in burying Lee’s body.
Arrested on February 28, 1999, Adnan Syed was declared a convict of Lee’s first-degree murder a year later. He got a life sentence plus 30 years of jail time.
Inside the Infamous Lee and Syed’s Relationship
To cut the story short, Lee and Syed dated for almost 7 months. The docuseries episode 1 Forbidden Love puts a light on what kind of relationship Lee and Syed had. As the name indicates, the first episode is all about the pre-murder and forbidden relationship of Lee and Syed.
It sheds a light on how close Syed was to his family, but being a Muslim he had to keep his relationship hidden from his parents based on religious grounds. On contrary, Lee was not so close to her family. She preferred staying outside with Syed, instead of spending time with her family.
They had a few break ups during their relationship together before they finally broke up for good. Soon after, Lee started dating Don, a colleague from her workplace. She was still dating him at the time she disappeared.
Forbidden Love has not touched Lee and Don’s relationship much. However Lee’s classmates can be seen in the episode discussing how close Lee and Syed were and how devastated Syed was after Lee’s murder news.
HBO’s decision of exclusive copyrights on the documentary
The documentary is not available on Amazon, Netflix or any other streaming network. It can only be viewed on HBO TV, HBO Go and HBO Now. HBO probably decided to keep exclusive copyrights as the docuseries is expected to go viral just like the podcast Serial.
Sarah Koenig started the investigative journalism podcast titled Serial in 2014 whose season 1 was based on investigating Lee’s murder. The podcast has been downloaded more than 100 million times.
The case against Adnan Syed follows everything that happened after Serial. Based on Serial, Syed was able to file a petition before a higher court against the previous court’s decision. Apparently the evidence against Adnan Syed was inconclusive. The only concrete evidence they had was Syed’s acquaintance claiming to have buried Lee’s body with Syed.
What to expect in next episodes?
The docuseries has 4 episodes, one coming out every Sunday this March. Three of the episodes were sent to the critics for their review however, the 4th and final episode will only be available to everyone on 31st March.
The critics have not really liked what they have seen so far as same reviews. Most have failed to include a tiny yet vital information about Lee in their reviews.
Lee was sexually abused during her childhood, and it was someone from her family who did it. That is the reason she avoided being with her family. Since we do not have the copies of other episodes, we have to wait and see what the coming episodes bring forth.
The case is 20 years old and therefore, HBO’s attempt of covering it all in 4 episodes is pretty extensive.
If you want more details on the case, you can check out the website dedicated on the case of Adnan Syed.