Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery: Is the Italian Show Based on a Real Case?

Image Credit: Oriana Palermo/Netflix

Originally titled ‘Incastrati,’ Netflix’s Italian series ‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’ revolves around the mysterious murder of Alberto Gambino. Salvo and Valentino, two best friends and colleagues, get framed as the murderers of the dead accountant, making them try their best to prove their innocence. Salvo and Valentino eventually get abducted by the Holy Father, the Sicilian Mafia leader for whom Gambino was working. The crime series, which progresses through the aftermath of the abduction, is highly rooted in the culture of Sicily, making one curious about the true origin of the show. Well, here’s what we can share about the same!

Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery is a Fictional Story

No, ‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’ is not based on a true story. The show was fundamentally conceived by Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone, who wrote and directed the series while playing Salvo and Valentino respectively. The renowned Italian comedy duo was wondering what would happen if two “morons” walked into an apartment and saw a dead body, only to clean their fingerprints and leave instead of calling the cops. Using the same basic plotline, Ficarra and Picone conceived Salvo and Valentino, who walks into Gambino’s apartment to find him dead. The series progresses through the hilarious ways in which they try to escape from the intricacies that arise due to Gambino’s murder.

Image Credit: Dario Palermo/Netflix

The foundational storyline Ficarra and Picone came up with for the show isn’t based on a real-life murder. However, the duo’s show is significantly rooted in the reality of Italy, specifically Sicily, as a satire. Ficarra and Picone used the intricate tale of Gambino’s murder to comment on the various sociological elements in Sicilian society, starting with the Mafia. In an interview given in March 2023, Picone said that the political aspect of the series explores the Mafia’s presence in Sicily even if it isn’t an obvious or explicit one. The writers placed this subtle presence of the criminal organizations in the series through the character Padre Santissimo AKA the Holy Father.

Like the criminal organizations that supposedly hide in Italian society, Santissimo, the Mafia leader, hides in society as a doorman. Due to his profession, nobody finds him significant, which gives him enough freedom to commit crimes as the Holy Father. Through the character, Ficarra and Picone show us how criminals or criminal organizations hide in Italian society. The comedy duo also offers a critique of the legal system that favors criminals in Italy or any country for that matter. In the second season, Salvo plans meticulously to help Santissimo’s associate Primo Sale to escape from prison, only for the latter to ironically walk free from prison over an unacceptable reason.

Image Credit: Oriana Palermo/Netflix

‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’ is also a critique of modern-day journalism. Reporter Sergione’s attempts to over-sensationalize every crime that happens in the locality to spread fear among the public and Bellomo’s reliance on lies to increase viewership can be paralleled with the way a group of journalists works to increase viewership or readership without following any ethical code. Through these two reporter characters, Ficarra and Picone’s show depicts how reality is extremely different from the supposed reality projected in the media, including news channels.

Ultimately, ‘Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery’ is the end product of Ficarra and Picone’s attempts to find comedy in a serious subject matter or genre like the thriller. The Italian writers were also inspired by classic American procedurals to conceive the murder mystery part of the narrative. The influence is evident in ‘The Touch of the Killer’ and ‘The Look of the Killer,’ two television shows that motivate Salvo to unravel the mystery behind Gambino’s murder. To conclude, Ficarra and Picone’s show is a combination of the thriller genre, satire, and comedy, reflecting the Italian society of contemporary time.

Read More: Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery Season 2 Ending, Explained