‘The Asunta Case’ 2024 Review: A Thrilling Retelling Of A Decade-Old Case That Still Fascinates

The Asunta Case is a brand-new Netflix original miniseries that chronicles the murder of Asunta Yong Fang Basterra Porto in 2013 and the subsequent trial that followed for her parents, who were accused of killing their own adoptive daughter. This is yet another addition to Netflix’s true crime gallery that proves they know what they are doing when it comes to the genre. Just a few weeks ago, Netflix covered the hijacking that happened in the 1970s in Colombia through The Hijacking of Flight 601.  There is no dearth of true crime stories that this streaming giant has covered. The Asunta Case was released on April 26, 2024, and it was created by Ramón Campos, Jon de la Cuesta, Gema R. Neira, and David Orea.


The show begins with ex-couple Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra filing a missing persons case for their daughter Asunta at a local police station in the town of Santiago, Spain. Rosario initially claimed to have left her daughter at home before heading to her and the ex-spouse’s holiday home and coming back to see her daughter gone. Two drunk men found Asunta’s body near a sidewalk, and the police confirmed her death. The investigation, spearheaded by officers Cristina and Rios and the assistant district attorney, Malvar, found discrepancies in the accounts shared by Rosario and Alfonso. The visit to their apartments and the holiday home, followed by the evidence gathered, helped the police conclude that the parents were responsible for the murder of their adoptive daughter for a reason unknown in the beginning.

As the show progressed, the investigative officers and the Assistant DA noticed that Rosario was on heavy medication due to her depression, and Alfonso was the one who was administering it. This led the police to conclude that reasons connected to the medicines would be the motive behind the murder but they needed evidence to back their claims. Were Alfonso and Rosario charged with murder? Who killed Asunta? Were the police successful in uncovering the motive and proving their claims? These questions and many others were covered as the show extensively covered the case that shook Spain back in 2013.


The creators clearly knew what they were doing when they wrote the show, and kudos to them for not diverging from the subject matter and sticking to the actual plot. This is the biggest plus point about this miniseries. The screenplay takes a straightforward route and refuses to divert itself from the subject matter. Though there are subplots in the show, somehow all of them are layered in such a fashion it allows the viewers to immerse themselves in the storytelling.

The Asunta Case is inherently about parenthood. Several characters in the film must deal with their children or parents in their respective personal lives. Judge Malvar was living with his aging father, who was becoming difficult to handle, but being a son, he took it upon himself to take care of him while being super busy with the Asunta case. Cristina, the investigative officer, was planning to have a child of her own with her husband, and as a result, she dealt with her own set of anxieties that came with the anticipation of being a parent. Rios, the other investigative officer, was raising his granddaughter with his wife, and it is implied he does not have a steady relationship with his daughter. Alfonso, the accused father, also had a strained relationship with his father and depended on him from time to time for monetary support. The different forms of parent-child relationships helps the viewers to come to terms with the pain Rosario and Alfonso could be dealing with. Every parent and their duty towards their offspring is considered sacred, and if he or she violates the relationship, they will be hunted down viciously. This idea was explored deeply as the show covered the subject of how the media and the public opinion of the parents dramatically changed as this case came into the limelight. This would remind a lot of Indians of the “Aarushi Murder Case” and the debacle of an investigation that accused the parents. The witch hunt by Indian media back then was severe, and subsequently, nothing has changed over the years.


The Asunta Case does not take sides but bases the story and screenplay on the trial that took place, as many revelations about the couple come out one by one as the investigation carries on. It also makes sure the viewers do not take sides, as to date no one knows who killed Asunta, and the couple accused claimed innocence all the while. If you google the case, many will be aware of the status of the couple, how the investigation took place, and how it ended for everyone. The climax of the show was stretched as it began to focus on unnecessary elements. It felt like the writers and the director wanted to keep adding scenes just to increase the run time of the climactic episode. It did not add to the edge-of-the-seat thriller vibe. The concern regarding shows based on real-life true crime stories is that viewers will immediately Google the incident, trying to know the result of the trial. There was no need for the writers to try hard to create suspense about something people might already be aware of. Despite a stretched ending, it does not hamper the entire show.

The screenplay worked very well from an emotional angle. It is hard to watch the ex-couple go through an ordeal and how they react to the accusations. There is no mockery, and the show represents their feelings well. The writers have packed in a lot of sentiments, especially in the last episode as Alfonso and Rosario are put through questions again. The show explores the mental health of the mother figure, Rosario, who was suffering from depression long before her daughter disappeared and died. Rosario’s anxiety and panic attacks were palpable, and the writers stuck to not judging her, and treating her as a mental health patient. The show also throws light on the fact that families and people are very different behind closed doors, and to take everyone at face value would be a grave mistake.


The direction by Jacobo Martínez is excellent. The direction hardly derails from the actual narrative and does not confuse the viewer. The screenplay goes back and forth plenty of times between the current timeline and the timeline that included events that occurred when Asunta was alive. Jacob’s direction allowed them to form a judgment of their own, just like the jury on the trial in the show. The direction needs to remain on track and not overindulge itself in the name of experimental filmmaking. Sometimes, simple filmmaking is effective. There is no happy ending to this show, and it leaves a lump in the throat as many feel like two different things when the parents are deemed accused at the court of law.

The editing of the show is smooth, as the transition between the two timelines is seamless, and it does not confuse the audience while watching it. Kudos to the screenplay, which allows the editing to remain seamless throughout the runtime of the show. The dialogues are excellent, and there is a sense of realism attached to them to get a grip on what we believe may have gone down in Spain in 2013.


The performances are the highlight of the show, as all the actors embody the roles assigned to them and make them their own. Candela Peña, as Rosario Porto, has made this aching woman a part of her body and delivered a role that not many would have been able to pull off. Candela becomes her, and it would be hard to separate her performance from that of the actual mother figure, who was put through an ordeal that was difficult to watch. Candela’s mental breakdown as Rosario was heartbreaking to watch and trigger warning for those who suffer from anxiety and other mental health issues.

The writers added layers of did she or didn’t she elements, which come out well in the show. The same could be said about Tristán Ulloa as about Alfonso Basterra, who was looked down upon as a terrible man. Tristan’s role as a madly in-love control freak husband is scary, and he comes across as a father who may or may not have harmed his daughter. Tristan’s performance of a man who is running for ways to control his life and that of Rosario is brilliant and terrorizing. Overall, The Asunta Case is a thrilling retelling of the real-life incident that changed the lives of many people involved in it.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
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.

Latest articles