The Case Against Adnan Syed: how to watch HBO true crime documentary in UK, who’s in it - is it on Netflix?
The Case Against Adnan Syed is an HBO true crime documentary about a student accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee
The 1999 killing of an 18 year old student in Baltimore began a legal drama that is still unfolding nearly two decades later. The 2019 HBO true crime documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed explored the conviction of the chief suspect in the case at a time when he was serving a life sentence for the murder.
However, more than three years after the release of the documentary, Adnan Syed has been released from prison after his conviction was vacated, though he is still not in the clear yet.
What is The Case Against Adnan Syed about?
The four-part documentary series revisits the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Adnan Syed and his girlfriend Hae Min Lee were both students at Woodland High School in Baltimore in 1999.
One day Lee disappeared after school and a major police search was undertaken to find her.After a six week search Lee’s partially buried body was discovered and a homicide investigation was opened.
Syed, then aged 17, was arrested two weeks later and went to trial that same year - it ended in a mistrial.
Syed went to trial again in 2000 and a jury found him guilty of strangling Lee - he was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.
In 2018, Syed refused a plea bargain in which his sentence would have been shortened if he pleaded guilty.
At the time that the documentary aired in 2019, Syed was still serving his life sentence at the maximum security Patuxent Institution state prison in Jessup, Maryland.
Who is in the documentary?
The documentary miniseries features Sarah Koenig who is a producer on the Serial podcast.
Anne Yao plays Hae Min Lee and Rabia Chaudry plays Syed’s attorney.
Private investigator Tyler Maroney, Adnan Syed, and several others who were involved in the case also feature as themselves.
Who is Adnan Syed?
Syed was 19 years old when he was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend.
He spent 23 year behind bars for the crime but always maintained his innocence - in 2016 his original conviction was vacated (made void) and he was told he would have a new trial, though he would not be bailed before the trial.
In 2018, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and denied a retrial. The Supreme Court also rejected Syed’s appeal for a retrial the following year.
In 2022 Baltimore prosecutors stated that new evidence undermined Syed’s conviction - his conviction was vacated again on 19 September and he was released the same day.
However, this does not mean that Syed, now aged 41, is innocent, and Judge Phinn has ordered a new trial. It is not known when Syed’s retrial will take place.
What is the Serial podcast?
The Serial podcast is a popular true crime investigative journalism podcast which follows major legal cases each season.
The first season of the podcast, released in 2014, focused on the Hae Min Lee murder case.
The podcast cast doubt on Syed’s conviction, though it did not suggest that he was innocent either.
Season one episodes of the podcast were downloaded 100 million times and brought renewed attention to the case.
Partly because of the podcast, the case was reopened, eventually leading to Syed’s conviction being vacated for the second time.
How can you watch The Case Against Adnan Syed in the UK?
The Case Against Adnan Syed is not available to watch on Netflix in the UK, but there are other ways to watch the show.
All four episodes are available to watch on streaming service NOW TV.
You can also stream the episodes on Sky Atlantic with Sky TV. To do this you need To Sky TV’s Entertainment package which currently costs £22 per month on an 18 month contract.