"Serial," the longform podcast series that became a phenomenon last year, released its highly anticipated second season Thursday with a new subject: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

The first episode, titled "Dustwun," was released early Thursday morning with the story of how Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, left his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban. Initial celebration over Bergdahl's freedom after five years in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees turned to intense debate over accusations that he was a deserter.

Rumors have been going around that "Serial" would take on the Bergdahl case. The series' inaugural season focused on the 1999 murder of a Baltimore high schooler.

"Serial" lets listeners hear from Bergdahl directly, using audio from hours of interviews he conducted with Mark Boal, the screenwriter behind "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

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