Created by Aitor Gabilondo, Netflix’s thriller series ‘Muted’ revolves around the life of Sergio Ciscar, who got convicted of killing his father and mother. Since Sergio was a minor at the time of the crime, his sentence gets reduced and he becomes a free man. A psychiatrist named Ana Dussuel gets permission to spy on Sergio to evaluate his psychological condition, especially because he hasn’t spoken a word after the murders of his parents. The Spanish series progresses through the aftermath of Sergio’s release from the correctional facility and Ana’s investigation into his psyche. Since the show is startlingly realistic, the viewers must be curious to know whether the same is based on a real crime committed in Spain. Well, let us provide the answer!
Is Muted a True Story?
No, ‘Muted’ is not a true story. The fictional series, originally titled ‘El Silencio,’ is conceived by creator Aitor Gabilondo, who wanted to explore the reactions of different people upon putting a “violent” person at the center of a narrative. With this wish as the foundation of the narrative of the series, Gabilondo developed a story that revolves around an ex-convict who tries to reintegrate himself into society after the completion of his sentence and the aftermath of the same with regard to the people around or closely connected to him. To make his character intense, the creator added the attribute of silence, which can be “cowardly and violent” in his view.
The parricides that happen in the series may remind the viewers of the real-life story of José Rabadán, who killed his parents and his little sister with a katana when he was 16 years old, only for him to eventually get reintegrated into society. Gabilondo, however, had made it clear that he was not particularly inspired by the case. Although he admitted to getting inspired by the crimes committed by minors and the reportage of the same in newspapers, the creator was more interested in what happens to convicted criminals after they complete their sentences.
Gabilondo then connected the story of the ex-convict named Sergio to the show’s criticism of voyeurism. In the series, Ana monitors Sergio’s life day and night using the cameras she installed at his home to spy on him and learn more about his psyche. Through the particular storyline of the psychiatrist who constantly watches Sergio through the aforementioned cameras, the creator wanted to depict how screens have “colonized” the lives of people in a physically distant and progressively dehumanizing world. The show raises the question of whether it is possible to learn everything about a person just by observing through a set of cameras.
Although the series is fictional, Gabilondo’s exploration of themes such as voyeurism and surveillance resonates in reality as well. The creator depicts how observing others tells more about the person who observes rather than the subject of the observation. While Ana’s surveillance into the life of Sergio progresses, her true nature and characteristics get exposed, justifying Gabilondo’s perception of voyeurism. By focusing on the changes that happen to Ana after she starts watching Sergio, Gabilondo succeeds in turning the camera around to the voyeur instead of the subject of the same.
Gabilondo also explores the theme of silence through Sergio’s storyline. In an interview, the creator explained that society is not ready to hear about affairs that are uncomfortable and unsettling, which makes individuals like Sergio silent. Ana’s decision to watch him through cameras rather than have an honest talk with him shows how society seeks comfort in silence. Through Sergio, Gabilondo shows how monsters reside in silence, which causes severe repercussions. The fictional show’s focus on voyeurism sheds light on how screens have been replacing conversations in reality.
Although ‘Muted’ is not based on any real-life events or individuals, the themes it explores are highly relevant in reality. Through the explorations of the same, Gabilondo’s show asks us to question the reality of silences and observations.
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