In a move that suggests the golden age of true-crime content is also being established in Spain, Madrid-based Onza Distribution has pounced on worldwide rights outside the country to smash hit series “Crímenes” (“Crimes”), by Catalan journalist Carles Porta.

Broadcast since 2020 on Catalunya’s public broadcaster TV3 under the Catalan title of “Crims,” the true-crime series’ first two-seasons topped free-to-air TV primetime slots in the region, snagging peaks of 22% audience share.

Since January, adapted as “Crímenes” into Spanish language, it launched nationwide on leading paybox Movistar Plus’ premium channel #0 and its VOD service, also generating an enthusiastic audience response.

Onza Distribution is presenting “Crimes” to international buyers for the first time ever at MipTV, which runs April, 4-6 in Cannes.

With the combination of documentary material and the necessary fictional resources, “Crimes” recounts a series of criminal offenses extracted from recent real-life events in Spain.

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Courtesy of Onza Distribution

It invites the viewer to draw their own conclusions from the cases, based on the facts presented with precision, but not forgetting that it’s also entertainment.

The true stories were selected for their social impact, the profile of the accused, the complexity of the plot or their surprising resolution.

“True crimes are experiencing a great time. On the one hand, thanks to the podcasts explosion, titles like ‘Serial’ and ‘Criminal’ made this TV sub-genre fashionable; on the other, the era of Peak TV has made global platforms sign up for this success,” said Laura Fornelio, sales manager at Onza Distribution.

“Since, above all, the landing of Netflix in Europe, we have seen hits like ‘Memories of a Murderer’, ‘Wild Wild Country’ or more recently ‘Ted Bundy Tapes’ go viral. It’s a TV sub-genre that appeals to all kinds of audiences and more and more we’re seeing non-English-language true-crimes successes like ‘Carmel,’” she added.

A Televisió de Catalunya production in collaboration with Goroka and True Crime Factory, “Crims” is the TV version of the homonymous radio program at Catalunya Ràdio, directed and presented by Porta, which earned a 2021 Ondas Award before impacting TV audiences.

“Crímenes” boasts a narrative style that drinks deeply from the international true-crimes mentioned above.

Stylistic elements, according to Fornelio, include “very fast editing, high angle [shots] and multiple resources that immerse the viewer completely in the story. An impeccable technical turnout, accompanied by fast-paced and intriguing narration.”

“The interviewees are not mere external investigators to the crime, they are their own protagonists. This brings the story very close to the viewer, creating empathy and rigour. There is a precedent set with this TV sub-genre and, specifically, with ‘Crimes,’ so we are betting very strongly on it,” she added.