Netflix isn't just about grounded superhero shows, political dramas, and quirky comedies. The company also tackles gripping real-life crime mysteries, like Casting JonBenet, and the critically acclaimed The Keepers and Making A Murderer. Each one has captivated audiences in their own way because of their thoroughness and quality. Good news for anyone hooked on these crime documentaries, because the streaming service is about to give us a new one: #LongShot.
The #documentary will detail the arrest and trial of Juan Catalan, who in 2003 was wrongfully accused of murdering a 16-year-old girl. The twist? He was exonerated thanks to the unlikeliest of reasons: A beloved HBO comedy series—more on that below.
It's as fascinating as it sounds, and you can get a peek of what to expect from the documentary right now, as Netflix has released the first trailer. Check it out:
The trailer, while impactful, only gives us a glimpse into how complicated and scandalous the whole ordeal was.
What Exactly Happened?
In 2003, Martha Puebla was gunned down outside her home in California. While the motive remained unclear, one suspected reason was her testimony in a gang murder case. Shortly after that, 24-year-old Juan Catalan –– brother of Mario Catalan, co-defendant in Puebla's case –– was arrested for the murder.
Catalan said he was at a baseball game in Dodgers Stadium at a time of the murder, and even provided his tickets as proof. Unfortunately, the case wasn't in his favor. His request for a polygraph test was denied, and the fact that he didn't fit the suspect's description was ignored. Catalan was expected to go to trial for capital murder, but the accused remembered something: A TV series had been filmed during the game.
He was right, and it turns out it was HBO's #CurbYourEnthusiasm filming the episode "Carpool Lane." In it, Larry David picks up a prostitute in order to use the carpool lane and avoid the traffic caused by the baseball game. The absurd humor was the trademark of Larry David, but it became a pivotal bit of evidence in Catalan's defense.
With this information, Catalan's lawyer, Todd Melnick, reached out to the Dodgers, who in turn contacted #HBO and gave Melnick access to the show's tapes of the crowd. During an interview with Good Morning America, the lawyer recalled looking for Catalan in the footage for a considerable amount of time before finally spotting him, eating a hot dog with his daughter:
"I went through about 20 minutes of tape, and I was beginning to get disheartened because I didn't see Juan in any of the tapes. And then, all of a sudden, there he was!"
On top of that, the Judge presiding over the case uncovered phone records that proved Catalan had called his girlfriend from Dodgers Stadium. With those two alibis, Catalan was cleared of all charges four years after his arrest, and he received a $320,000 settlement for his troubles.
So in a strange twist of fate, one of the most outlandish Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes saved an innocent man's life in a great example of reality beating fiction. Knowing the quality of #Netflix documentaries, and their thorough exploration of the subject, I can't wait to delve deeper into this story.
Long Shot will be released on September 29, 2017.
What's your favorite Netflix documentary so far? Let me know in the comments!