‘The Playing Card Killer’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending: Will Alfredo Galan Sotillo Get A Bail?

In the second episode of the documentary, The Playing Card Killer was finally caught, but not by the police. The man, who identifies himself as Alfredo Galan Sotillo, confesses to the crime in a drunken state but woke up the next day to retract his statement. This stirs up some confusion, but the police are not keen on letting the man go. Thus, begins Alfredo’s trial. Will he be convicted, or will he be acquitted?


Alfredo’s lawyer, Helena Echeverri, claims that the statements that the man has made in custody cannot be considered to be true because she feels the police may have fed him words to suit their narrative. This seems like a plausible scenario because the investigative officers could go to any extent to frame the culprit. But again, unless Alfredo reveals that he was forced to make this testament, his confession stands as the main piece of evidence. As viewers, this back and forth of scenarios and legal jargon makes the documentary interesting for some time.

A psychiatrist was assigned to understand Alfredo’s mental health and the doctor had many things to say. He claimed Alfredo did not deny any of the charges against him, and ended up giving away information about many murders he committed other than the ones he is being charged with. This proves that Alfredo was probably a victim of childhood trauma that affected his adult life. Unstable mental health, in most cases, has been the reason behind people becoming serial killers, something that needs to be addressed as part of a healthy dialogue.


The police were also on the lookout for the Tokarev gun, which was not found on the culprit because he claimed to have gotten rid of it. The investigation team searched the wasteland near Puertollano, but the result did not come out in their favor. Serial killer cases are often ambiguous, and that’s why there is a possibility that Alfredo was not the culprit, but only the testimonies of the survivors would answer that question. There was a possibility of another killer who assisted Alfredo in carrying out the crime, but neither the police nor the documentary makers explored that aspect. The police probably did not entertain this idea, maybe because they did not want to lose focus on Alfredo and wanted to press charges at all costs. Such diversion would have cost them this case and Alfredo would have ended up getting acquitted.

The media trial also bothered the defense team because they had already made the call on Alfredo being the murderer This is the issue with every high-profile case around the world where the media’s narrative is considered the truth, and sadly, sometimes, it affects the court verdict as well. In this case, only the evidence, confessions, and survivor testimony would work, and the viewers can only hope the verdict is fair.


Was Alfredo Galan Sotillo Convicted For His Crimes?

The documentary takes us through the testimonies of Alfredo’s friends from the army, who believed him to be a shy and docile man who, over the years, started mixing up with the far-right faction. Their mission to war-torn Bosnia could also be considered a factor that altered the way he thinks. Army life surely does change a person’s mind, especially if they have served in wars. His time in the army could have changed his behavioral pattern and led to his being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Talking about mental health issues while serving in the army and after is a welcome topic of discourse that needs to be encouraged. In Bosnia, Alfredo, along with his bunch of mates, had purchased weapons from the black market, which were used to carry out his crimes, but this gun was not found by the police.

As the trial began, Alfredo changed his statements, claiming them to be lies. The confusion in his statements had not just caused disarray in the prosecution team, but it also made the viewers watching the documentary feel there needs to be clarity on what is happening. Either Alfredo’s mental health is making him go back and forth on his statements, or the defense wanted him to come across as confused so that it would have a so the outcome of the trial is in their favor.


Teresa Sanchez, the bar owner, agreed to testify from her home because she could not stand the sight of the man who killed her son. Unfortunately her testimony was not considered to be valid because in the line up of suspects before, she had recognised someone else as the man who killed her son. That’s why the prosecution did not do their job well because their evidence was refutable. Same was the issue with Ana’s testimony as well which came across as inconclusive. The lawyers in the documentary claimed the prosecution did not have money to fly her out from Ecuador, but one can see her testifying against the key accused in court. The makers of the documentary did not make this part clear.

The third survivor, Eduardo, was with Ana the night he was fatally shot in the face and had to go through facial reconstruction surgery. Eduardo’s dramatic testimony made sure Alfredo would remain behind bars for many years. But as a viewer, it is hard to understand why Eduardo’s lawyers resort to such a theatrical statement, keeping in mind the trauma he went through after his injury. By the looks of it, it was done to get the attention of the judge.


Alfredo was sentenced to 142 years of life imprisonment with no parole or prison privileges because of the nature of his crime and the fact that he had planned to execute more murders if he had not gotten drunk and surrendered. This puts the focus on theory, if police would have been able to catch Alfredo, the Playing Card Killer? Viewers would agree with Helena, the defense lawyer, that the police were nowhere close to catching the culprit. This again proves criminals are still miles ahead when it comes to the execution of the crime and are aware of the loopholes that could save them; meanwhile, the police are unable to get hold of the accused because of the same thing above. 

The last sequence of this documentary has everyone talking about how victims’ losses were not considered, and their demand for compensation from the state was disregarded. Since Alfredo was a military man, the state had some responsibility toward its victims. The families of the victims might have a point, but again, no state ever does anything extraordinary just out of compassion for its citizens. The last shot has the audience informed that Alfredo will be out of prison in 2028, and their family refuses to speak to the makers for obvious reasons. It would have been interesting to hear what Alfredo’s family had to say about this trial. But with all the narratives against him, Alfredo himself will not have the strength to speak up for himself. Thus ends the saga of an infamous serial killer.


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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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