Cromo is a suspenseful murder mystery from Argentina with cases of environmental and human harm due to corporate negligence as a central storyline. It is not getting much media attention or promotion from Netflix. That’s too bad, as it’s a worthy addition to the foreign TV series on Netflix, and one of the better TV shows we’ve seen from Latin America.
Like Occupied, the popular show from Norway, the Cromo TV series uses an ecological issue as the starting point for its story. Here, an unknown (at least, initially) source of water pollution is killing fish and causing other problems along the river near Corrientes, Argentina. The suspicious death of research biologist Valentina (Emilia Attias) prompts her husband Diego (Guillermo Pfening) and a close friend Simon (German Palacios) to begin investigating her death, though each also has to come to terms with her passing as they decide how far and deep they want go with their inquiries.
Along the way, there are several other significant characters, including Nina, one of Valentina’s students; corporate mogul Victor, who also happens to be Nina’s father; and a pair of sisters in Corrientes. Even though there is little glamour here, the women are unfailingly beautiful. Despite tromping through the woods and marshes, Valentina looks strikingly similar to Angelina Jolie in a Louis Vuitton ad, with hardly a speck of mud in sight!
Equally beautiful is the scenery, with shots of both Antartica and the riverine setting near Corrientes that look to be straight from a nature series. By contrast, there is little special about the inhabited areas. And, when the action moves to Buenos Aries, everything becomes dull with a blue tint.
Watching the Cromo TV series, we found some similarities with the first season of Bloodline. Though Cromo kept our interest, it moves at a slow pace, though it’s not as languid as the Netflix original series. Both shows feature the beauty, and sometimes the menace, of an aquatic environment. Cromo also has some unnecessary melodrama, which thankfully doesn’t last for long. And, like Bloodline, Cromo takes awhile to find its footing; midway through, things pull together and keep moving – often unpredictably – until the end.
The Cromo TV series was created by Lucia Puenzo and Nicolas Puenzo. According to an interview with Nicolas, part of the intent was to highlight environmental damage caused by international corporations in Argentina. Cromo first aired in fall 2015 on TV Publica, the Argentine public TV network. It has 12 episodes, each around 35 – 40 minutes. It’s not the best Netflix has to offer, but we found it to be a refreshing change, and a glimpse into part of the world most of us have not seen.
The Cromo TV series trailer below shows part of the opening scene and the series credits.