The Retrievals

Podcast Trailer

Publisher:
Serial Productions, The New York Times

The Retrievals

4.9/5

Critic Rating

Dozens of women seeking to become mothers came to a fertility clinic at Yale. A (five-part) narrative series about the shocking events that unfolded there. From Serial Productions and The New York Times.


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Alex Jhamb Burns • Vogue Dec 7, 2023

"...the podcast is much more an exploration of mismanagement than it is a criminal investigation. While listening, I noticed myself wincing through many vivid descriptions of pain—and its subsequent dismissal. Burton deftly tells a complex story with emotion and care."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Eliana Dockterman • Time Nov 22, 2023

"Sometimes a podcast grabs you by the lapels and demands your attention. The Retrievals is a masterwork in investigative reporting...extraordinary tale...It's a disturbing commentary on how we as a society perceive the quest for pregnancy and motherhood."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Fiona McCann • Irish Times Sep 10, 2023

"I cannot but feel this podcast viscerally. In my bones, in my blood, in my womb. And if you are personally in possession of one of the last of these, you might want to prepare yourself ..."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Nicholas Quah • Vulture Aug 17, 2023

" The Retrievals, is simply incredible. I can’t stop thinking about it. The Retrievals is less of a traditional investigative piece than one might expect. But what’s so formalistically intriguing is the way The Retrievals favors a softer touch. Burton functions as an empathetic observer shepherding the tale with discernible distance. The Retrievals, to me at least, is how its quiet approach does allow for a somewhat ambiguous mental space where one can mull over murkier territory."

See Full Review


Score: 4.9

Keelin • Mentally? A Magpie. Aug 16, 2023

"This is one of those podcasts that has that top-tier production. The host is calm, metered, and empathetic. The interviews are heartwrenching and poignant. The story takes you through the journey and you feel every breath of these patients, underscored with beautiful music that emphasizes every beat...There’s a true crime parallel here, an unsolved mystery that feels like it has all of the elements to solve it. The detectives just can’t grasp it, just like this society can’t quite grasp what we’ve done to ourselves."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Lizzie O'Leary • Slate Aug 7, 2023

"I pictured myself as a patient who desperately wanted to be believed. This so easily could have been me. In a way, it was. When I was just a girl...it’s really a show about pain. And how the medical system is built to minimize, explain away, or simply dismiss women’s pain completely...what Burton captures perfectly, is the fault in the system itself. The Retrievals’ series finale, Burton manages to succeed where many other seasons of Serial have failed. There is no hand-wavy meditation on the nature of a crime, or a place, or on humanity and how we all weave narratives to our liking. There is actually a conclusion offered..."

See Full Review


Score: 5

The Crime Writers Squad • Crime Writers On Aug 3, 2023

"Serial Production's "The Retrievals" brings together many important threads. Women's pain. The horrifying tale of fertility patients whose fentanyl was swapped for saline...the podcast made Toby and Kevin ponder to what extent we should feel sympathy for a nurse with substance use disorder - and for the children affected by her possible imprisonment - and how to balance justice for the victims whose cries of pain she could hear. The story is filled with bitter ironies."

See Full Review


Score: 4

Jenny McCartney • The Spectator Jul 22, 2023

"This podcast...takes its time without ever wasting ours. The calm, clear tones of the narrator, Susan Burton, guide the listener intelligently through the many compelling layers of the story, and different varieties of pain."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Anna Leszkiewicz • New Statesman Jul 19, 2023

"...it is a forensic and gripping story of a medical scandal and its consequences, foregrounding the experiences of the women themselves – a dozen of them – who give thoughtful and moving testimony. But Burton uses this disturbing incident as a route into questions of motherhood, institutional responsibility, and the myriad ways in which women’s pain – physical, emotional – is minimised and disbelieved."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Patricia Nicol • The Times UK Jul 16, 2023

"It is this minimising of female pain and experience — not just by the medical staff — that makes this a gallingly universal story. Burton’s skilfully presented series is a beautifully produced, thought-provoking listen."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Fiona Sturges • Financial Times Jul 9, 2023

"As is customary with Serial podcasts, the production is elegant and unobtrusive and the storytelling unhurried and thoughtful. Burton maintains a quietly solemn tone even though what she reveals is deeply troubling. Because while The Retrievals tells an unusual tale of medical malpractice, its power lies in its familiarity. This podcast is not a comfortable listen, but, in foregrounding the voices of female patients, it is, in this instance, worth the pain."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Jul 8, 2023

"The Retrievals is a distressing tale...but the show quickly turns into an exploration of how contemporary medicine treats female patients: when, and if, women’s concerns are heard. Burton does an excellent job, and this grim tale, which I’d usually hesitate to recommend, is an immensely rewarding listen."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Ximena Smith • Radio New Zealand Jul 8, 2023

"In true Serial fashion, [the show]… digs into the bigger picture around this story. It frames a lot of the narrative around the stories that we tell ourselves to rationalise things, so it considers some of the stories that the women told themselves to make sense of what happened [to them at the clinic]…. All of it links to the broader themes of how we think about women’s pain and how that gets treated in the health system."

See Full Review


Score: 5

PR Staff • PodcastReview.org Jul 6, 2023

"...horrifying experiences...The podcast goes on to reveal what went wrong in these procedures, and attempts to understand why these women were met with such disbelief when they reported their experiences to the clinic. Burton spends time exploring the dissonance each woman encountered between their own pain and what they were told was within the realm of possibility."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Devin • Podstack Jul 6, 2023

"...it wastes no time launching you into a cruel story that reflects what can happen when we don’t take women’s pain seriously. The way the first episode builds up the story is done so carefully that you are so focused on feeling empathy for the women, that the truth about what was happening creeps up on you like a sudden drop on a rollercoaster. It’s so hard listening to these women recount the pain, followed by the ways they basically gaslight themselves, but it quickly switches to anger as you and the women learn the truth."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Hannah Verdier • The Guardian Jul 6, 2023

"Once I started listening it became clear that this series wasn’t really about unravelling who put a series of would-be mothers in danger. Rather, it’s about why the clinic did what they did, how they got away with it for as long as they did and how the women dealt with their actions...a particularly powerful one."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Lauren Passell • Podcast The Newsletter Jul 3, 2023

"I have never been more physically uncomfortable listening...It’s not true-crime, it’s true-horror."

See Full Review


More In Health & Wellness

The goop Podcast

The goop Podcast

Cadence13, Goop, Inc.

Score: 3.8

Go to Podcast

Dishing Up Nutrition

Dishing Up Nutrition

Nutritional Weight & Wellness, Inc.

Score: 4.0

Go to Podcast

The Second Circle

The Second Circle

The Second Circle

Score: 5.0

Go to Podcast


More In Society

Unf*cking the Future

Unf*cking the Future

iHeartPodcast Network, Imagine Audio

Score: 5.0

Go to Podcast


More In True Crime

Carruth

Carruth

Charlotte Observer, iHeartPodcast Network, McClatchy Studios

Score: 5.0

Go to Podcast


More In Women

Bad Bridget

Bad Bridget

Queen's University Belfast

Score: 5.0

Go to Podcast