The Kids of Rutherford County
From Serial Productions and The New York Times in partnership with ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio, “The Kids of Rutherford County” is reported and hosted by Meribah Knight, a Peabody-award winning reporter based in the South. For over a decade, one Tennessee county arrested and illegally jailed hundreds, maybe thousands, of children. A four-part narrative series reveals how this came to be, the adults responsible for it, and the two lawyers, former juvenile delinquents themselves, who try to do something about it.
Mara Davis • Paste Magazine • Nov 17, 2023
"We learn this is not an isolated incident. This series investigates how this happened, who the adults responsible for it are and why two lawyers are determined to do something about it."
Patricia Nicol • The Times UK • Nov 12, 2023
"...this is an eye-popping piece of Southern gothic true crime. While listening I kept thinking of Louis Sachar’s YA novel Holes, set amid a flyblown Texan youth correctional facility. Extraordinary."
Nicholas Quah • Vulture • Nov 8, 2023
"At the heart of The Kids of Rutherford County is an utterly horrific subject...The Kids of Rutherford County also stocks its narrative with some truly vivid characters...the series then switches gears and turns into something resembling legal noir. This is what I mean by legal noir: Nothing ends up straightforward, nothing turns out so clean."
Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian • Nov 5, 2023
"Two offputting factors: first, the Serial presentation style, right down to presenter Meribah Knight’s vocal fry and the show’s heavy use of music; and second, the story. Luckily for wimpy me, the story opens out from the individual tales of these children...As you’d expect from Serial with the New York Times, this is proper investigative reporting, and I’m glad I persevered. Great pacing, excellent interviews and a real cause: anyone can get over an over-Serialised presentation style for that."
PR Staff • PodcastReview.org • Nov 1, 2023
"The latest four-episode series is a story of structural injustice, told with the spare narrative style we’ve come to expect from this team. But The Kids of Rutherford County departs from previous series in a few ways. There are no dead bodies, no murdered women."
Keelin • Mentally? A Magpie. • Oct 26, 2023
"Set in a courthouse with a “feudalistic feel” that had a history of over-incarceration of minors, this story is shocking. Paced and produced as you would expect from these production companies, there’s an emotional ride ahead of us with some brilliantly crisp audio from these teams. The nature of this will be heartwrenching, and infuriating, and might not even come to a resolution."
Sarah Larson • New Yorker • Sep 29, 2023
"...remarkable series ...Knight tells the story via several compelling characters..."