Netflix's baffling defense of a woman who dismembered her rich husband

After playing it relatively straight and even-handed for its first three installments, the final chapter of Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime goes overboard making plain its allegiance to Elize, whose sob story involves not only accusations that Marcos said nasty things to her while also cheating on her, but that as a child, she was sexually assaulted by her stepfather. Director Capai recreates that long-ago scene through Elize-POV shots, as well as embellishing her pained commentary with evocative images of the wind blowing through window curtains—gestures that are meant to endear us to Elize’s terrible plight and, in doing so, to bolster her justifications for slaying her spouse. According to Elize (and the docuseries), she feared for her life and, having already experienced abuse at the hands of a callous man, simply took measures to protect herself. As for the dismemberment issue? She was a trained nurse and skilled hunter and marksman (courtesy of Marcos’ training), and therefore she was just following her natural instincts.

This might be convincing if the underlying facts of Elize’s case didn’t so starkly contradict her narrative. Contrary to her account of shooting Marcos from a distance while standing in front of him, forensics confirmed that Marcos was actually gunned down from a high rear angle at close range, execution-style. Furthermore, there was zero proof that Marcos had ever been, or on the night of his death was, cruel and abusive; Elize’s claims were just one-sided (and self-serving) conjecture that ran contrary to everyone else’s portrayal of him (including the friends featured in the series). Her explanation for dismembering and disposing of Marcos was suspiciously vague. And most damning of all, Elize had two significant motives: vengeance for Marcos’ cheating, and a desire to inherit his wealth, which would allow her to continue living the lavish “princess” fantasy she’d enjoyed with him.

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