New on Chilean TV: torture and murder


A scene from "The Cardinal's Archives."



It was a big bet for a TV station — that Chileans, many of whom still remember years of dictatorship, would want to watch a show about torture and disappearances.

But so far it seems that is exactly what people want to watch.

"The Cardinal's Archives" ("Los Archivos del Cardenal") led the ratings when it debuted last week.

The show takes place in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It follows a team of lawyers and investigators working with the Catholic Church to discover proof of summary executions under the military dictatorship.

It is the first fictional series on public television to deal with human rights abuses under Pinochet, reports the Santiago Times. About 3,000 people died or disappeared during 17 years of military rule and almost 28,000 people were tortured, according to government reports.

The characters are fictional but the story is based on true events.

“It is very important that mass television is airing this. It is a good signal that the public debate over our (Chilean) historic memory will grow," Professor Eduardo Santa Cruz of the Universidad de Chile told the Santiago Times. "Chileans do not have much emotional distance from issues of the dictatorship, despite the time that has passed."

The detective serial includes 12 episodes in its first season. 

"I've always been a fan of the series 'Law and Order,'" screenwriter Josefina Fernandez told El Mercurio. "I started thinking about how to make a story like that."

Watch clips from the show:

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