In the new Netflix true-crime docuseries Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta?, Argentine filmmaker Alejandro Hartmann tells the story of what is considered one of the most infamous unsolved murders ever to happen in Argentina.
In 2002, 50-year-old sociologist María Marta García Belsunce was found dead in her bathtub at home. Initially, her death was ruled an accident, but an autopsy later proved she had been shot in the head five times. Her husband Carlos Carrascoa became the prime suspect and was sent to prison but was released when prosecutors could not provide enough evidence. The investigation, which made all the headlines during that time, led to other probable causes for her death, but never led to the truth.
During an interview with Variety, Hartmann explained why he felt like the case was ripe for a Netflix documentary. “I thought we had to do something big with this,” Hartmann says. “We knew that neither the prosecutor nor the family had ever talked publicly before, so I took the project to [Argentine producer] Vanessa [Ragone].”
Ragone, who had produced the Oscar-winning film The Secret in Their Eyes, says the story also deeply resonated with her.
“There was a great deal of social tension around this case, which has exploded on social media since the show aired,” Ragone told Variety. “People felt challenged again by a social class that sometimes believes that they can handle things as they see fit, shirking questions of common sense and justice.”
For Hartmann, justice came with getting to the truth—something he says all the interviewees tell “their version” of in the series. This includes his interview with Maria Marta’s widow Carlos.
“I try to come from the naivest position possible,” he says, “[I hope] to create empathy by being in that moment and believing the person in that moment.”
Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta? is currently streaming on Netflix.