‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’ Season 1: Recap: Everything You Need To Know Before Watching Season 2

Comedy series are hard to find and crack. A good comedy show is harder in both regards. The comedic writing laced with satire and self-aware humor is the cherry on top of the sundae that is this show “Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery.” There is no way one would find this show dull or feel that it is lazy in its humor because, from the beginning, there is enough material for the writers in the show to convey, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly. Framed! is an Italian-language Netflix original that talks about two brothers-in-law who get caught up in a murder investigation unexpectedly and find it difficult to get out of it. Will they get out of it with the help of a detective show that Salvo is obsessed with, or will the show offer common sense to one of the characters to get out of the murky situation?

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Salvatore and Valentino are best friends first and family second. Salvo is married to Valentino’s sister, Ester, and they have been friends since high school. Salvo has been married for a while, and Valentino is a single man living with his overbearing mother. The mother is too attached to both her kids, much to Salvo’s chagrin, but he somehow accepts her as a part of the family. Directed by Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone, the six episodic miniseries is about a murder investigation that wreaks havoc in the lives of both, which will probably change the course of their lives from here on. The show opens with Salvo and Val being held at gunpoint by a stranger, and there is the unconscious body of another man in their van. The story takes us back to a few days ago when Salvo and Val, the local television repair guys, headed to the place of a certain Alberto Gambino. He had been shot dead inside his apartment in the bathroom. Unaware of this incident, Salvo and Val walk into the open apartment of Gambino without questioning who kept the door open and, most importantly, why. They are yet to discover the body. Salvo is obsessed with a crime show, “The Touch of the Killer”, and he has learned plenty of things about crime and crime scenes in general from the police dialogue in the show. “The Touch of the Killer” is his gateway to understanding how to maneuver around a crime scene. On the other hand, Val is a shy, goofy, and clumsy middle-aged man who follows whatever Salvo asks him to do.

Their friendship is old, and they trust each other to help them get out of any situation. In the apartment that fateful day, Val discovered the dead body of Gambino with two bullet holes in his back. Val discovers a gun with a silencer and believes he accidentally shot the man, while the reality is that the man was already dead before Salvo and Val walked into the apartment. Salvo, being a crime thriller freak, starts micro-managing the scene of the crime to make sure they aren’t further implicated in this murder. He asks Val to clean up all the places that they touched to make sure there are no fingerprints. Amidst all the chaos, Salvo created an alibi through his spouse, Ester, and Val’s mother, Antonietta. Unfortunately for Salvo, who is the more confident of the two, he receives disconcerting news in the form of a message left on Gambino’s landline phone. Ester leaves a message on Gambino’s phone stating she will come by his home for her husband, Salvo, who is not coming home anytime soon. Salvo is devastated to hear this piece of news over an answering machine, which breaks him completely. Val, the underconfident one, takes the responsibility of making sure they are not caught at the scene of the crime now that Salvo is physically and emotionally not in a state to think clearly. Unfortunately for Val, who has claustrophobia, he ends up running into a few kids on the staircase, and their car gets a parking ticket.

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Framed! goes on a rollercoaster ride from here on, where Salvo and Val try to find an alibi for themselves by heading to a convent on the outskirts to buy a box of pastries to make sure they are seen. This forms an alibi for them. The lengths and breadths to which Salvo and Val go to cover their tracks prove how broken the Italian judicial system is, which will throw innocent men like Salvo and Val behind bars without any proper investigation. There is also an emphasis on people preaching about the existence of God to make sure people like Salvo and Val fall into it. Salvo and Val do not believe in God as much as the older generation because they wonder if God would have put them in a situation like this. People’s obsession with God and all things spiritual, and using it to not confront the situation at hand is where the satire tropes work.

The case becomes all the more convoluted when the duo tries to get rid of the parking ticket, which would prove that they were near Gambino’s apartment building, and which would lead to Salvo being arrested for murdering Gambino as a crime of passion. Salvo discovered his wife having an affair with Gambino. The ordeal of the duo wanting to get rid of the parking ticket showcases the corrupt government system at hand, where no work can be done without influence or bribe. To get rid of the 29-euro parking ticket, the men end up spending more than 500 euros on the bribe itself. This is the reality of any country where justice can be bought and sold, and a government issued ticket can be nullified if once can afford it. Not one officer among the government officials tried to stop Salvo and Val from nullifying the ticket because all they wanted was to make some money under the table. Through one of the officers who took the bribe, he informs the mafia, for which Gambino worked as an accountant, that Salvo and Val were at Gambino’s apartment, and there is a chance they might have killed him. They are kidnapped by a bunch of no-gooders who pass themselves off as henchmen and keep arguing over silly matters. Salvo and Val quickly pick up that the men working for the Holy Father are not that smart, and that they are not even full-time henchmen. Most of them have another life and another job, and some are students in college. The chaos of a mafia family is accurately showcased, and the people who run it are in desperate need of an upskill when it comes to handling a situation such as this.

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Val is in love with his childhood friend Agata, who shows up at their high school reunion. This is where he comes to know she is also a police chief, looking into the murder investigation of a certain Gambino. Now that the mafia is behind Salvo and Val, they arm-twist Val into spying on Agata and feed them information about what Gambino told the police before being killed. Gambino had turned into a police informant in his last days, but someone from the mafia caught up with him and killed him.

Val is clearly in love with Agata, but to make sure his sister Ester and mother remain alive and safe, he will have to trail her and ask for information without harming Agata. Both Salvo and Val are on the right path when the children on the staircase of the Gambino family’s building recognize the duo, which makes them prime suspects in the murder investigation. Agata is livid, Val is heartbroken, and Salvo is trying to make sure none of them are harmed by the police or the mafia. Val offers to cooperate with the investigation by trapping the said mafia into believing, especially the Holy Father, that there is a mole in their group, someone close to the Holy Father leaking information.

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Here Salvo was supposed to be the smarter of the pair, but Val takes charge of making sure the Holy Father is caught by the police. Agata does not trust them, but since she, her boss, and their entire force have been at it to catch the Holy Father for years, they want to take this as an opportunity to make sure Val and Salvo are on their side. To test their honesty, they are followed by placing a GPS tracker on them. Hoping the GPS tracker would help them follow Salvo and Val’s location, the Holy Father and his team turned out to be smarter than they had thought. He makes his men switch cars at desolated spots just to confuse people who might be tracking them. The Holy Father is a big name in the Sicily underground, and he will have to make sure his identity is not revealed, and that there is no one following Salvo and Val now that the duo has been informed that they will be meeting the said boss. The Holy Father turns out to be a man who wants total anarchy, where no government takes care of the people, and the mafia controls the requirements of the people. He also turns out to be the person who was the doorman of the building Gambino lived in, working there just to keep an eye on the ins and outs of Gambino. However, he was not able to crack much about Gambino’s double-crossing and the amount of information he shared. Gambino was simply killed for working with the police. The police briefly lose the duo, but Agata catches up by tracking the actual car that was supposed to be carrying the duo, but the said henchmen held Ester hostage. Salvo and Val are rescued just in the nick of time by the police following the henchmen, but the Holy Father is not caught. He again disappears into thin air like a thief in the night, and Agata, who has been angry with Val all this time, sees the fact that he is ready to put himself in the line of fire for her and her investigation.

Salvo and Val are finally cleared of suspicion in the killing of Gambino. Salvo has divorced Ester, Val is moving in with Agata, and the men are still best friends and running to repair business when a ragged-looking full-bearded Holy Father jumps in front of their car, and they are held hostage by the same henchmen who had brought them to the Holy Father. The henchmen hold them hostage, which connects to the beginning of the show. The henchmen have some unfinished business with Salvo and Val, who double-crossed them and informed the police, which leads them to make a major crackdown on the mafia and their dealings. The Holy Father and the key henchman had to run away. By the looks of it, being on the run does not suit that mafia boss and his sidekick. This makes the henchman want to exact revenge on the duo, which is fair, but will Salvo and Val survive this time?

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What To Expect From Season 2 Of ‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’?

“Framed! “A Sicilian Murder Mystery” will surely start from where the show ended. Salvo and Val are held at gunpoint for double-crossing the Holy Father; and because of them, the said mafia is now down in the dumpsters and on the run. There will be more of this Holy Father plot that will be explored, and hopefully, the humor will not be affected by the time the next season comes out. Satirical humor is what elevates this show, and it would be interesting for the makers to expand on that horizon. There will be more dynamics explored with Salvo starting to date someone, Val and Agata getting together to know how they fit in as a live-in couple, and obviously how well or badly Salvo and Val help the police nab the Holy Father and, through him, another bunch of mafioso ruling Sicily. Salvo and Val’s chemistry is something to look forward to too, and their comic timing works perfectly. Salvo and Val are true-blue brothers who would take a bullet for each other. Their friendship has lasted for years and has transcended all their troubles, the biggest being the murder investigation that almost changed the course of their lives. But Salvo and Val made sure to stay strong instead of choosing to abandon each other. I’m hoping this will remain the theme of the next season as well.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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