HBO Doc ‘The Art of Political Murder’ Looks at Assassination of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi

Lead Photo: Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO
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The 1998 assassination of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi is the subject of the upcoming HBO original documentary The Art of Political Murder. Based on the award-winning book of the same name by Guatemalan-American author Francisco Goldman, the film follows the investigation into the case and how the murder links back to some of the highest levels of a corrupt Guatemalan government.

Bishop Gerardi was found beaten to death at the Church of San Sebastián in Guatemala just two days after a report was published blaming the Guatemalan military for 200,000 civilian deaths during the country’s civil war. Three army officers and one priest were convicted of Gerardi’s murder, but 22 years later, many questions remain.

“Bishop Gerardi was a figure of authority and power who listened to people,” the trailer for the film begins. “He represented justice in a country where there was no justice.”

The trailer explains how the crime scene where Gerardi was bludgeoned with a concrete slab was “very seriously mishandled” and that the murder quickly turned into “a media show put on by the government.”

Executive produced by George Clooney (TV’s Trial by Media) and Grant Heslov (TV’s Catch-22), The Art of Political Murder not only tells Gerardi’s story, but also those of the investigators who began to receive death threats themselves.

“Witnesses—either they’re murdered or chased into exile,” the trailer continues. “People had no idea what was coming.”

The Art of Political Murder premieres on HBO and HBO Max Dec. 16.