This month has been a stellar one for true crime fans. Not only did Netflix just drop a brand new series — Making A Murderer, which we’ve all been binge-watching like no one’s business — but our fave crime-solving podcast, Serial, just came back with its second season (!!!).

However, all the excitement and intrigue can make it difficult to remember that we’re talking about real life people here — and that the lives of those people can easily be affected by these popular series and podcasts. For example, following the immense success of Serial‘s first season, Adnan Syed’s case was reopened after 15 years. Now, just four weeks after the first episode of the second season, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has made his first appearance in military court.

If you haven’t been following the second season, Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan back in 2009, then was captured and held hostage by the Taliban for close to five years, until he was released as part of a prisoner swap in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Though Bergdahl claimed the reason he left was to alert others of the conditions on base, his fellow soldiers claimed he was deserting. Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, which could land him a possible life sentence.

Earlier this week, Bergdahl made his very first appearance before a military judge, deferring entering a plea. He also has not decided whether he wants to face a court-martial with a jury or with a judge. He then left the courthouse without taking any questions. Judge Col. Christopher Fredrikson has scheduled a pretrial for January 12th.

Bergdahl is still defending his choice to leave his post on the grounds that he was going to bring attention to leadership issues that he felt were putting his unit in danger, according to Financial Spot. However, the fact that he may face light punishment is infuriating many military soldiers and officials who say that soldiers risked their lives to find him after he left his post.

Perhaps Serial will change the life of Bergdahl like it has Syed, but we’ll only find out in January. Until then, we’ll have to keep on listening.

(Image via Twitter.)