Episode 5: Rio's Playboy Killers
July 24th, 1977, Rio, Brazil. A toothache keeps construction worker Luiz Gonzaga de Oliveira awake at night. Through a crack in the wall of his shack, he glimpses a VW Brasilia parked almost in front, and notices two men suspiciously carrying a large suitcase. Hours later, shortly after dawn, a corpse is found on the rocks off Avenue Niemeyer. Luis phones Radio Globo with the plate number.
Two days earlier, Claudia Lessins Rodrigues is on her way to a party in Leblon and says goodbye to her parents, Hilton and Maria, in their home in Copacabana. She is also the sister of Marcia Rodrigues, a famous actress known from the movie ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. It is the last time her family will see her alive, as she is later identified as the corpse.
Famous Detective Jamil Warwar, starts investigating the crime. The autopsy report declares that Claudia died from strangulation and severe beating, but there is no evidence of drug use. The police trace the Brasilia to a man named Michel Frank, son of Mondaine Swiss watchmaker Egon Frank, and a wealthy playboy and cocaine dealer.
Charged with the crime, Michel flees to Switzerland, and is never tried. The crime shines a light on the growing drugs trade in Rio in the 1970s, the corruption of the police during the military dictatorship and the advantages afforded to wealthy Europeans living in the city at the time.