Crime Diaries: The Candidate (originally Colosio: Historia de un crimen) is a Mexican miniseries on the streaming platform Netflix. It centres around the assassination of 1994 presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio Murietta. The story follows several people on their search for answers: Colosio’s terminally ill widow Diana Laura as well as Miguel Montes García, a prosecutor appointed by the government to investigate the case, and local police officer José Federico Bénitez López. The series also shows the fate of the suspected assassin Mario Aburto Martínez.
All these characters are based on real persons. The show emphasises this by including original news footage from the 1990s. Then-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari and his cabinet also feature heavily in the show. The show goes to great lengths to make the actors resemble their real-life counterparts. Unlike for example in Narcos: Mexico, the characters’ names are never changed or omitted.
While the show casts doubt on the official explanation of Colosio’s death, it does not present the audience with a definitive answer. But the corruption within the PRI government under Salinas is a central topic. The audience is invited to remember the scandal and to question the official version of events. This does not mean that the show presents each character neutrally: The sympathetic characters are Diana Laura and Bénitez as well as Colosio himself. He is portrayed as an active fighter against corruption and for democracy. These characters do not show any real character flaws and always seem to make morally right decisions. Meanwhile, Salinas and his cabinet appear scheming and power hungry. The prosecutor Montes ultimately makes important evidence disappear in order to wrap up the case the way Salinas demanded. The audience learns nothing of those characters’ motivations.
The series is one of GUMELAB's case studies. It is suitable for analysis because it deals with political violence and corruption in recent Mexican history. Even though parts of the narrative are fictionalised, the show claims historical authenticity and seeks to educate about history. Talking about the show leads audience members to share their own memory of the assassination and their own interpretation of events.
Crime Diaries is the first television show on the topic of Colosio. A feature film was released in 2012 and a movie documentary was released on Netflix along with Crime Diaries. The miniseries is the first season of a new true crime show on Netflix. The highly controversial and political case was likely chosen because it promised to generate media attention for the show. Crime Diaries was released the day before the 25th anniversary of the assassination. At this point, Colosio had already become a relevant topic in Mexico again: The files concerning his case were released to the public in early 2019.
Written by Carolin Lange