Nisman: The Prosecutor, The President and The Spy is an eye-opening and surprising true crime documentary series. While it doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel for the genre, it does bring to light a controversial and shocking subject in an engaging manner. With all the usual array of archival shots, facts, figures and talking heads, this six episode mini-series comprehensively breaks down the topic with one big question hanging over the show – was Alberto Nisman murdered?
Before we get there though the series begins with an opening episode that sets the scene. In 1994 Argentina suffered its second bombing that changed the face of the country forever. The now infamous AMIA Bombing acts as the backdrop to which this series explores lead prosecutor Alberto Nisman in more detail. With suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and the bombing tying then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to perpetrators in Iran, Nisman’s death is particularly shocking given he was found dead in his apartment just before testifying and presenting evidence he’d uncovered.
From here, the rest of the episodes examine the case in more detail, with episode 2 asking whether Nisman’s death was a suicide or murder before progressing down the rabbit hole into a sticky web of deceit, controversy and eye-opening claims. All of this leads up to the final episode that sees three key players in the game still awaiting trial, including the aforementioned Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. If you’ve never heard of this case before, fret not – Netflix comprehensively breaks down the case piece by piece, with some informative graphics and plenty of interviews throughout to give this an engaging tone.
Admittedly I intended to binge through this yesterday but the material is really heavy and with each episode clocking in at a little over an hour (minus the first couple), I’d actually recommend spreading this out over a few days to really digest the material. There’s a consistency to the series too, building up layers of drama which mixes in nicely with the musical score, which uses a good amount of uneasy minor string segments throughout.
With the entire series told in Spanish, there’s a lot of reading to do throughout the show and this can be a little problematic when different archival texts and newspaper clippings flash up on screen. Having to flicker between the subtitles below newspaper clippings and back up again isn’t ideal but the series does do a relatively good job of trying to keep this to a minimum. It also helps that there’s some English speaking in here too, allowing your reading eyes a bit of a break across the lengthy episodes.
The usual balance of archival footage and interviews are used perfectly across the series too and all of this is presented in a really decent manner, ending things on an ominous and open note for the future. Whether those responsible will ever be brought to justice remains a mystery but for now, Netflix opens 2020 with another strong true crime candidate in its illustrious catalogue of titles.
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Verdict - 7.5/10