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The Real-Life Inspiration Behind Who Killed Sara

One of the newest crime drama series to hit Netflix is "Who Killed Sara," a mystery thriller that has had fans buzzing since it first premiered in March 2021. According to Deadline, the popular show is the streaming giant's "most popular non-English language title ever with an estimated 55M subscribers tuning in since its launch." The huge success of "Who Killed Sara" brought with it a quick renewal, and it's already been renewed for Season 3.

The original title of the show is "¿Quién Mató a Sara?" and it was filmed in Spanish. The ominous drama centers around Alex Guzmán (Manolo Cardona), a man wrongfully accused of killing his sister Sara (Ximena Lamadrid). Upon his release from prison for the conviction of Sara's murder, Alex does everything he can to find out who was the one to take his sister's life. The thrilling show is full of twists and turns and has many fans wondering if there's any real-life inspiration to Sara and Alex's story.

"Who Killed Sara" was partly inspired by the showrunner's childhood

Though "Who Killed Sara" is a fictional story, the show's creator, José Ignacio Valenzuela, revealed that certain aspects were inspired by his real life. A successful and prolific writer in Latin America, Valenzuela is known for the many novels and plays he's penned (via his website). According to Screen Rant, the writing skills run in his blood — the Chilean-born screenwriter has other writers in his family, including the children's book author Ana María Güiraldes. His family has given him writing advice over the years, including his aunt, who advised him to "lend the main character your past and your conditions and it is not going to get out of hand because you are writing about someone you know" (via ADN Radio).

Screen Rant also noted that the general style of "Who Killed Sara" was inspired by Valenzuela's love for whodunnits — not only is the plot a murder mystery, but the first episode opened with a quote from the iconic whodunnit author Agatha Christie. The many twists and turns of "Who Killed Sara" are reminiscent of classic murder mystery novels, and they perfectly reflect Valenzuela's affinity for the genre.

Valenzuela drew from his experiences as a gay man

"Who Killed Sara" touches on several important topics, including sex trafficking, political corruption, and issues that LGBTQ+ people face. As a gay man himself, Valenzuela chose to give gay characters, like José María (Eugenio Siller) and his partner Lorenzo Rossi (Luis Roberto Guzmán), struggles that have mirrored his own. Not only does José María's family not accept his sexual orientation, but he and Lorenzo struggle to have a child — much like Valenzuela and his husband did.

Valenzuela spoke to Imparcial about his experiences as a gay man in Chile, specifically the hurdles he and his husband faced as a couple. "Put yourself in my shoes, I am a gay man who has had to fight all his life to obtain certain civil rights that for some reason were denied to me, such as the right to marry, to be able to have children [...] In short, a number of rights that heterosexual people have for the simple fact of being heterosexual," he said. "And I had to fight a lot for that, the search for a daughter was a fight that my husband and I had to face for almost 5 years and it was very difficult."

Aside from his many successful books, Valenzuela has used his platform on "Who Killed Sara" to share struggles that LGBTQ+ people have to deal with every day. Though the mysterious crime thriller is not entirely based on a true story, the real elements add important layers and allow viewers to have important conversations about civil rights injustices around the world.