Having discovered that Telecinco’s website features an on-demand viewing service, I recently watched the TV series Homicidios (2011), which stars Eduardo Noriega as Tomás Sóller, a psychologist turned university lecturer, who becomes an associate consultant in a police investigation into a serial killer. Over thirteen episodes, the series follows Sóller and the team as they attempt to track down the man responsible for the various murders they are investigating. Things become increasingly personal, as the killer’s contempt for Sóller in particular is revealed, as the team and their loved ones are specifically targeted by the killer, and as Sóller becomes more and more involved with head of the team, and ex-lover, Eva Hernández (Celia Freijerio). The series’ conclusion is simultaneously satisfying and frustrating. While the mystery man behind the killings is revealed and brought to justice, the characters and their lives have been completely upturned by their experiences investigating these crimes. Watching the series’ closing images, the viewer is uncertain whether Sóller and Hernández will be able to rekindle their romantic relationship, a narrative thread which has pulsed throughout the series.
I found the series entertaining, gripping, and thrilling. I didn’t watch it with the intention of blogging about it, or of thinking/writing about it in any way. However, as the series went on, I found myself thinking specifically about the way in which violence was visualised. (This is perhaps in part because I have been thinking about violence more recently in relation to my PhD research (and beyond) – see here and here for examples of how I’ve been dealing with this theme). As a series centred on serial killing, it is unsurprising that violent events are frequently depicted in each episode. What interests me about this series’ representation of violence is the ways in which these events are replayed throughout the episode. This often happens in the form of audiovisual playback, in a meta-televisual/-filmic gesture that draws attention specifically to the ethics of visualising violence. For example, the perpetrator frequently records the violent acts he commits and sends the footage to the police unit, or leaves it for them to find, so that they can re-watch the footage, as is the case with Helena (Esmerelda Moya)’s murder, or when the perpetrator films Helena’s killer, tied up and beaten, before sending the video to Sóller.
The recording and re-watching of violent acts and events imbues the series with a meta-narrative/microcosmic dimension. Just as we, the spectators, are watching the representation of violence through the audiovisual medium of television (or through an on-demand viewing service, in my case), the police officers investigating the serial killings vicariously experience the violence enacted through these audiovisual recordings. As I near the end of my doctoral project, I am beginning to think about the possible directions my research might take beyond the horizons of the PhD. I think the reason Homicidios grabbed my attention in this way is because I am becoming more and more interested in questions of ethics and aesthetics in representations of violence. These issues are most certainly at stake in Homicidios.