Streaming

This New Netflix Docuseries Is Just Like The Staircase

Who Killed María Marta? revisits the 2002 murder of an Argentine socialite.

By Justice Namaste

If you obsessed over The Staircase in 2018, you have a new true crime show to add to your watchlist: Netflix's Carmel: Who Killed María Marta?, which revisits the case of María Marta García Belsunce. After the Argentine socialite was found dead in her bathtub in 2002, it was assumed she'd slipped and fallen and her death was ruled an accident. But after her stepbrother pushed for a more thorough investigation, five bullet holes were discovered in María Marta's head – changing the case from a deadly accident into a serious crime.

Eventually, suspicion turned to María's husband Carlos Carrascosa, who prosecutors alleged killed María because she discovered he was laundering money for Mexico's Juarez drug cartel and wanted to cover it up. (Carrascosa has denied the money laundering claims and maintained his innocence in connection to María's death.) He was found guilty of aggravated homicide by bond in 2004 and sentenced to life in prison, but was later acquitted in 2016.

This bears an obvious resemblance to The Staircase, which documented the similarly high-profile trial of Michael Peterson, a novelist convicted for killing his wife Kathleen Peterson in 2001 after she was found dead on their staircase. (Peterson has maintained his innocence). Though the original docuseries came out in 2004, filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade released two sequels to the original story. The first in 2013, after Peterson was released from prison pending a retrial. And the second in 2017, while Peterson was debating whether to take an Alford plea deal — an option he ultimately took and which allowed him to be released from prison. Netflix made all 13 episodes available in 2018.

The streaming service hasn't announced any plans for a second season of Who Killed María Marta, but if it generates anywhere near the same kind of buzz that The Staircase did, it could similarly continue. After all, María's case is still unsolved, and if interest in the show results in new leads, it seems likely that Netflix would consider green-lighting additional episodes.