Is Burning Body a true story? Real events of Netflix Spanish drama about murdered Barcelona police officer

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The shocking 2017 killing of policeman Pedro Rodrigues inspired the Netflix series

New dark Spanish crime drama Burning Body, which landed on Netflix today (8 September), follows the murder of a member of the Guàrdia Urbana, the police force of Barcelona.

The eight-part series is inspired by a disturbing real life crime that shook Spain’s second city in 2017, when the burned body of officer Pedro Rodrigues was discovered in the boot of his burned out car.  

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Investigators uncovered a major scandal inside the police force itself, as the two people ultimately charged with the killing were fellow officers who were having an affair.

The true crime has everything a good Netflix drama needs; murder, sex, and betrayal. This is the chilling true story of the Guàrdia Urbana murder: 

José Manuel Poga as Albert Lopez in Burning BodyJosé Manuel Poga as Albert Lopez in Burning Body
José Manuel Poga as Albert Lopez in Burning Body

Is Burning Body a true story?

The premise of the Spanish-language drama is taken straight from the crime reports of the real murder of Rodrigues, and the year of the crime and names of the victim and the killers have not been changed for the show.

However, Netflix has billed the series as a fictionalised account of real events, so much of what is seen in Burning Body has been created for dramatic purposes.

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The crux of the story is the killing of Rodrigues in May 2017 and the burning of his body in an attempt to cover up the crime.

In real life, Rodrigues could only be identified by the chassis number of his vehicle and part of a prosthetic that did not melt when his car was set on fire. His car was discovered in the Foix reservoir, a few miles west of Barcelona.

A murder investigation was launched and two suspects were taken into custody - Pedro’s girlfriend Rosa Peral, and her ex-partner Albert Lopez, both of whom were also Barcelona police officers.

Investigators believed that Albert and Rosa had been having an affair and planned to kill Pedro after he found out.

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Burning Body is based on a shocking 2017 murderBurning Body is based on a shocking 2017 murder
Burning Body is based on a shocking 2017 murder

Both Rosa and Albert accused each other of the murder - Rosa claimed that Albert killed Pedro and forced Rosa to help him dispose of the body by threatening to kill her children.

However, Albert alleged that he and Rosa had begun an affair and that she was scared of Pedro finding out. He says that Rosa and Pedro must have gotten into an argument in which she killed him and that when he arrived at her property, he found Pedro already dead. He then claimed that he helped Rosa get rid of the body out of his love for her.

What happened to Rosa and Albert?

During the police investigation it was discovered that Rosa and Albert had been in touch several times by phone on the night before the murder, and concluded that they had both conspired to kill Pedro and to cover up their crime.

In 2020, the pair were found guilty of murder by a jury - Rosa was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and Albert was given a 20 year sentence. The killers appealed their sentences, but their prison terms were upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court.

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