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Four women, one murder, and numerous instances of “Wait, what?!?” are the stuff of Death in León, a Spanish Making a Murder-esque episodic docu-series.

Death in León
Death in León — Image © JWProductions, courtesy of Amazon

Death in León, a true-crime non-fiction miniseries, is gripping — filled with unforgettable characters, a compelling narrative, and top-notch production values, including the haunting theme music and title sequence that are reminiscent of Nordic noir crime dramas.

Except in Death in León, the people are real and the story, which made national headlines in Spain, is true.

At the center is Isabel Carrasco, the then-president of the Diputación Provincial de León (Provisional Government of León) who, on May 12, 2014, was assassinated in broad daylight on a public footbridge in the province’s capital city of León.

Arrested and charged with Carrasco’s murder are Montserrat Gonzalez, the 55-year-old wife of the chief of police in nearby Astorga; Triana Martinez, the 35-year-old daughter of Montserrat and an ex-León government employee who had worked for Carrasco; and Raquel Gago, a friend of Triana, a local policewoman, and the person who turned in the murder weapon.

These are the cold, hard facts, but they don’t make Death in León the engrossing program that it is. What does are the interviews, archival footage and recordings, and court testimonies that create for us the backstories — of the powerful, controversial, feared, and vindictive Carrasco; of Montserrat, Triana, and their extremely close mother-daughter relationship; and of Triana’s relationship with Carrasco before, during, and after it went completely sideways.

Who is telling the truth and who is lying? Is Raquel Gago a murderer, an accomplice, or neither? Was evidence overlooked or suppressed? Does “reasonable doubt” have no bearing whatsoever in a murder trial in Spain?

These are just some of the questions that arise during the four-part docu-series. Even if you got them answered, though, you probably still wouldn’t understand any more about the murder and related events at the closing credits than you did during the opening scenes.

There is no presenter, on screen or off, providing commentary in Death in León. What you see and hear are directly from the people involved in the murder case and trial, as well as family and friends of the defendants and the victim, politicians and journalists, and series director Justin Webster.

I had no idea of what to expect when I hit play for the first episode, but this was short-lived as I got sucked into the story in the first 90 seconds.

Death in León is currently streaming in the US on Prime Video US. If you have access to the Kanopy streaming service, log into your account to see if your library is offering this title.

Viewers across the pond can binge-watch the miniseries on Prime Video UK.


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Euro TV to Watch: Utterly Riveting ‘Death in León’
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