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'Serial' is back! Season 2 focuses on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's alleged desertion

The highly anticipated second season of the hit podcast "Serial" debuted Thursday morning.
/ Source: TODAY

The highly anticipated second season of the hit podcast "Serial" debuted Thursday morning, and those who were hooked on last season's did-he-or-didn't-he real-life drama now have a new subject to follow.

The focus this time is Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier who was stationed in Afghanistan when he was captured and held by the Taliban for almost five years — longer than any other American. But that's not the only part of his story that's in the "Serial" spotlight.

(FILES)This US Army file handout photo obtained shows Private First Class(Pfc) Bowe Bergdahl, before his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan. US officials have confirmed March 25, 2015 that Bergdahl will be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for leaving his post in Afghanistan before being captured and held by the Taliban for five years. Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan in June 2009. In May 2014, the US released five Taliban militants held in Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl's return. AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / US ARMY == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: \"AFP PHOTO HANDOUT- US ARMY \"/ NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS NO A LA CARTE SALES / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==--/AFP/Getty ImagesAFP - Getty Images

A major point will be what happened just before that — when he simply left his post.

After Bergdahl's return to the U.S, which came as part of a controversial prisoner exchange involving five members of the Taliban, the Army charged him with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy.

MORE: 'Serial' podcast rivets nation as it revisits 15-year-old murder case

But now, for the first time, the soldier's side of the story is coming out publicly, in his own words.

Bergdahl has granted "Serial" host and co-creator Sarah Koenig access to his phone interviews with Mark Boal, a screenwriter working on a film about the topic.

In the first episode, titled "DUSTWUN" — which is military shorthand for "duty status: whereabouts unknown" — Bergdahl opens up about why he chose to take on a DUSTWUN scenario and what his thoughts were after walking away.

“Suddenly, it really starts to sink in that I really did something bad,” he explained. “Or, not bad, but I really did something serious.”

His account will continue to unfold over the course of the season.

Episodes of the first season of "Serial" have been downloaded over 100 million times.

Follow Ree Hines on Twitter.