While it plays by the genre rulebook, this is nonetheless an eye-opening true-crime series.
Arriving on the back of several relatively innovative true-crime shows — including The Confession Killer and Don’t F*ck With Cats — Nisman: The Prosecutor, The President & The Spy (Netflix) might seem a little mundane. Playing straight from the genre playbook, the six-episode limited series deploys all the talking heads, facts, figures, and archival footage you might expect. But don’t let that put you off. The series boasts a legitimately intriguing true-crime story — one of Argentina’s most notable — and a compelling central question that hovers over proceedings throughout.
That question is a pretty simple one: Was Alberto Nisman, a former Argentine prosecutor who was found dead in his apartment right before he was due to testify in a years-long investigation into the 1994 bombing of Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA, a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, murdered? But this question doesn’t have a simple answer. Presumed to be a suicide at the time, contradictory evidence uncovered much later suggested possible murder; Nisman: The Prosecutor, The President & The Spy, like all the best true-crime, leaves audiences with enough context to draw their own conclusions but never reveals a definitive answer.
The series is dense with information, all of it subtitled for international audiences, and the comprehensive exploration of the case is compelling throughout. It’s the kind of consistent and well-crafted documentary that knows how interesting its case is and is content to allow it to spin its own complex web. Sensationalistic flourishes aren’t necessary and wouldn’t be welcome anyway. This is nuts and bolts stuff boasting an impressive level of depth and degree of restraint. Genre fans will leave satisfied.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.