Netflix continues to surprise its audience. While it faced a significant downturn at the beginning of the year due to its new account policy, it has been gradually recovering throughout 2023, thanks to various projects, including the new season of Black Mirror and the successful One Piece live-action adaptation. The platform has continued to grow, both internationally and domestically.
The latest major project undertaken by Netflix, once again starring Úrsula Corberó after her successful role in “Money Heist“, is “The Burning Body”. It’s a rather unique series for one specific reason: it’s based on a true story. Despite having a thriller tone and appearing surreal in many ways, it is one of the few series based on real events produced by Netflix Spain.
But what exactly is this story? Here’s a brief summary of the “The Crime of the Urban Guard“, the viral crime that led to this Netflix adaptation.
The Crime of the Urban Guard, explained
On May 4, 2017, a runner who was out for a jog near the Foix reservoir in Barcelona made a shocking discovery: he came across a burned-out car. Inside the trunk was the charred body of Pedro Rodríguez, a 38-year-old officer from the Traffic Unit of the Urban Guard. Initial identification proved difficult due to the charring, but the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) found clues in numbered screws from a previous surgery on his back.
Investigators began contacting people close to Pedro, who was on sick leave and had been previously suspended for assaulting a motorcyclist. Patricia, his ex-wife and mother of his child, reported that Pedro had failed to show up to see their son, which was unusual. She also revealed that Pedro had a new relationship with Rosa Peral, a woman known in his workplace for a ‘revenge porn’ scandal.
Investigators pointed to Rosa Peral and her lover, Albert López, as suspects in the murder, and what’s curious is that both of them were Pedro’s colleagues in the Urban Guard. However, there were already indications that they were unorthodox police officers. In 2008, Rosa had faced problems due to the leak of an intimate photo, but the author couldn’t be identified. They also faced a previous investigation for the death of a street vendor in 2014, but they were ultimately acquitted.
In the end, in 2017, Rosa, Pedro, and Albert found themselves in a complicated love triangle. Rosa’s divorce from her husband Rubén, also a colleague in the police, had resulted from a relationship filled with infidelities, including an affair with Albert. This love triangle culminated in Pedro’s murder and the arrest of Rosa and Albert.
The jury trial began in February 2020. According to the prosecution, Rosa and Albert premeditatedly murdered Pedro to reignite their relationship. However, during the trial, they accused each other. Rosa claimed she was innocent and that Pedro had died due to jealousy on Albert’s part, while Albert asserted that Rosa had killed him and asked for his help in disposing of the body.
In the end, eight out of the ten jury members found them guilty. It was believed that they had planned the murder together and used Pedro’s phone after hitting him while he slept. They then moved the body near Rosa’s ex-husband’s house to incriminate him. Rosa and Albert were sentenced to 25 and 20 years in prison, respectively, for murder with treachery and the aggravating factor of kinship. Additionally, they were ordered to pay €885,000 in compensation to the victim’s family.
The sentence was upheld by both the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and the Supreme Court, which supported the idea that both acted together to end Pedro’s life, regardless of who the actual perpetrator was.
A series that matches the magnitude of the crime
It’s clear, considering the famous true crime documentaries on Netflix, that the platform could see this story as a compelling subject for a series. It wasn’t clear whether it would be a documentary or fiction, but they ultimately chose the latter with a great series starring Úrsula Corberó and Quim Gutiérrez.
Both actors, at the peak of their careers in acting and with strong connections to Netflix, star in a chilling thriller, full of suspense, and even more captivating when you realize it’s based on reality. Undoubtedly, a Netflix-worthy series that has everything it takes to succeed worldwide.