'Serial' drops season 2

Serial fans, your time has come. On Thursday, Sarah Koenig's insanely addictive podcast returned for its much-awaited second season. This year, Koenig and Co. focus on controversial soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who left his Afghani base in 2009 and spent five years in Taliban captivity. In 2014, he was released in exchange for five Taliban fighters, a move immediately criticized over rumors that Bergdahl was a traitor who switched sides. Bergdahl claims he was a young, egotistical soldier who wanted to alert commanders about leadership problems in his platoon that could endanger his comrades in arms. The first season of Serial, detailing the trial of Adnan Syed, accused of killing his high school girlfriend, dealt in similarly murky waters. Was he innocent or guilty? That season was downloaded nearly 100 million times and earned a Peabody Award. Koenig, who lives in State College, Pa., says that although there was a firestorm around Bergdahl - in October, Donald Trump insinuated that Bergdahl should have been shot - the sergeant himself is a cipher and has never spoken. Until now. This season, Koenig teamed with screenwriter Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty), who is working on a movie about Bergdahl. Boal gave Koenig access to 25 hours of interviews with Bergdahl. In the first episode, Bergdahl talks about what was going through his mind the night he decided to leave his base with only three liters of water, two knives, a camera, a journal, and vacuum-packed chicken: "I'm going, 'Good grief, I'm in over my head.' Suddenly, it really starts to sink in that I really did something bad," Bergdahl says. "Or, not bad, but I really did something serious." Of course, in perfect Serial fashion, the episode ends on a cliffhanger that makes you curse the heavens it's not already next Thursday. Serial can be listened to via Pandora, iTunes, www.serialpodcast.org, or any other podcasting service.

'Americans' in love

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys: Juiciest on-set love affair in all of TV? The costars of FX's fabulous show The Americans fell in serious like. Good thing, too, 'cause they play married spies who hop in the sack a lot. They tell Closer Weekly they laugh a lot together. Matthew, who spent his 41st b-day with Keri and a bottle of plonk, says he likes to "keep it different," lovin'-wise. Whoooa.

Compiled by Inquirer staff.