Netflix has just released an eight-part crime drama called Burning Body, inspired by the true events of the 2017 murder case of Pedro Rodriguez in Barcelona. Although the show is heavily inspired by true events and stays almost loyal to the key figures in the case, much of the storyline is fictionalized for dramatic purposes. The series presents a surprising twist, portraying Rosa Peral as a villain in stark contrast to the sympathy she evokes in the documentary Rosa Peral’s Tapes, released on the same day on Netflix.
The documentary had a clear purpose: to give Rosa Peral a chance to tell her side of the story and maybe show that she wasn’t guilty. It wanted to show, how her case was really complicated and how society often judges women unfairly in the legal system. Moreover, the documentary wanted to highlight, how someone’s personal life sometimes gets more attention than real evidence in court. In the end, it wanted to make us all ponder the moral aspect of the justice system, which sometimes blurred the line between who’s a victim and who’s a wrongdoer. It made us question our own ideas about what’s fair.
Meanwhile, the series, with its completely different and fictionalized outlook, kicks off with intriguing premises, but some may find it a bit too slow-moving, spanning eight episodes that can make it feel like a bit of a sleeper show. In that case, you may find the documentary far more intriguing and logical than the show.
Pedro’s murder and the grisly discovery of his burned body by the Fiox Reservoir in the woods serve as the central mysteries in the series. It’s revealed to be a meticulously planned murder, with Rosa portrayed as the mastermind and Albert as her willing accomplice. The series maintains the real names of the individuals involved, like Rosa Peral, Albert Lopez, and Pedro Rodriguez, which adds to the eerie sense of reality. However, unlike the actual case, where Rosa was involved with Ruben, in the series, her ex-partner is named Javi, another police officer under Mossoe. By introducing these characters, who are somehow connected to the police force, the series successfully created a tight-knit world of law enforcement to show how flawed and corrupt it could be. With the progression of the story, it also deals with several motives, the complicated relationships of Rosa Peral, and secrets in her life, making it a gripping premise for those who are die-hard fans of true crime mysteries.
Portrayed by Ursula Corberó, known for her role in Money Heist, and featuring several familiar faces, the series Burning Body takes a starkly different approach to Rosa’s character. In this series, it paints her as a sinister villain with seemingly no genuine motive behind the murder of her partner. This stark contrast from the documentary’s Portrayal is intentional, showing a creative twist in the narrative.
Here, Rosa is depicted as a cold-blooded murderer, leaving viewers questioning why she couldn’t have simply left her boyfriend instead of resorting to such extreme measures. Her daughter serves as a reminder of the moral implications of her actions, but she remains determined to carry out the crime and lie during the trial. In the series, Rosa becomes a femme fatale who actively keeps her daughter away from her biological father, seemingly disregarding her child’s well-being. So, in this storyline, Rosa Peral takes on the role of a true antagonist, while the documentary presents her as a victim. The series takes creative liberties, crafting a different narrative that challenges our perceptions and highlights several contrasting emotions regarding her character.
The way society and the justice system handle cases, where a woman is the alleged perpetrator, can be influenced by biases and preconceived notions about a woman’s chastity. In situations like Rosa’s, her relationships with multiple partners sometimes overshadow the need for strong evidence, which is also very evident in the series. Although, in the series or the fictionalized version of the true story in Burning Body, Rosa is depicted as the culprit, this kind of justifies her receiving a lengthy prison sentence at the end. However, it raises an important question: Did the series really care about the truth behind the murder case?
It’s essential to consider whether Rosa’s actions were truly motivated by criminal intent or if there were other factors at play, such as fear, desperation, or coercion. This case reminds us of the importance of a fair and thorough investigation, that goes beyond simply scrutinizing someone’s personal life. Justice should rely on concrete evidence and a careful examination of the facts rather than being swayed by societal biases or assumptions about a person’s character based on their relationships.
Many Spanish series, particularly those on Netflix, have a tendency to take a dramatic and exaggerated route, that sometimes detracts from the enjoyment of the story. Burning Body falls into this category, with a commendable standout performance by Ursula Corberó as Rosa and stunning and thought-provoking camera work. However, the writing leaves much to be desired, often veering into melodrama, much like those telenovelas where a femme fatale steals the show with her overdramatic tactics.
While the director certainly had creative freedom in shaping the characters and narrative, the story could have been more concise and comprehensible from the beginning. Instead, it introduces layers of complexity that can baffle viewers. Even those familiar with the true story presented in the documentary may find it perplexing to discern whether the series is portraying what actually happened or the director’s interpretation of the events.
In the end, Burning Body manages to make a convincing ending, but it could have benefited from a more straightforward and less convoluted approach. Burning Body had the potential to be a stronger series, if it had managed to find a more balanced pace and deliver a captivating ending. Given that the entire show took some creative liberties with the true story, it could have utilized that freedom to craft an ending that left the audience intrigued and surprised.
However, the challenge arose from the fact that the documentary had already presented the entire story on the same day, making it difficult for the series to hold the audience’s attention until the end. The series could have taken advantage of its fictional elements to offer a unique and imaginative conclusion, leaving us with something unexpected to ponder. Unfortunately, it missed that opportunity to fully capitalize on its creative potential and deliver a more satisfying and memorable conclusion.