‘Muted’ Characters, Explained: Why Were Marta & Ana Attracted To Sergio? Is Sergio Really A Psychopath?


Despite the plot in Netflix’s Spanish crime drama series Muted is heavily dependent on its set of characters, the individuals we see on screen are mostly not too convincing. There is surely no finality with respect to the characters, meaning the show does not state any obvious matters about its characters, and so the viewers are given the space to figure them out on their own. However, the conclusions that can be reached after such an analysis of the characters are not very satisfactory and instead lay bare their simplistic mindsets and motivations. Like most other things in this series, the characters in Muted are also presented in a more complex manner than they actually are.

Spoilers Alert

What Is The Reason Behind Marta And Ana’s Attraction To Sergio?

When the character of Marta is first introduced, her strange relationship with Sergio Ciscar is also made clear—the young woman used to regularly write to Sergio while he was in jail, and Marta seemed interested and attracted to the man. Marta had a boyfriend named Eneko in her life, but she still chose to keep writing to Sergio, probably even intimate and private letters, and she kept a desire to meet Sergio once he was released from prison. Marta and Eneko’s relationship was not exactly the best either; Eneko had recently cheated on his girlfriend with a friend of Marta, and the latter had found out about this. After a seemingly rough patch, Marta decided to forgive Eneko and move on with their relationship, but how genuine this forgiveness was can be questioned. Meanwhile, Marta kept in contact with Sergio, and she was one of the first people he contacted after he was released from prison. Sergio’s reason for doing so was not any romantic or sexual interest but simply because Marta could have known where his younger sister Noa was. Six years ago, when Sergio’s family was intact, Marta used to work as a piano teacher for Noa, and therefore he presumed that she would have Noa’s details. Upon being contacted, Marta immediately responds and also gives Sergio a phone number that she knows to be Noa’s, but the brother is unable to contact her.

As Ana puts it, Marta suffers from hybristophilia, which is an intense sexual attraction toward criminals. It can be argued whether Marta’s interest in Sergio was because of his committing the murders or whether it had existed before since Marta would visit Sergio’s house earlier to give Noa piano lessons. However, there can be little doubt that Marta’s attraction to Sergio only grew after his time in jail. After meeting with him in person to hand over Noa’s phone number, Marta understands that this attraction of hers is now holding a firmer grip on her. When Ana then says that she can feel a clear chemistry between the two, Marta is perhaps swooning, and she decides to get close to Sergio. Despite all the claims that she wants to help Sergio out of his situation and get him back to his normal and good self, Marta’s reason for getting close to him certainly seems to be her attraction towards him.

Marta’s relationship with Eneko is therefore affected by this new distraction, and after seeing Sergio kiss Marta, the boyfriend gathers a group and beats up Sergio at his own house. Eneko is more of a typical male figure who realizes the toxicity that would be part of his life if Marta remained his girlfriend, but he just cannot let her go. Eneko himself seems to still bear the guilt of having cheated on Marta with her friend, as he brings this up, saying that Marta’s affair with Sergio must have been her way to get back at Eneko. It is really hard to look past the very toxic and even cringy nature of this relationship between Marta and Eneko, especially when the boyfriend starts making strange efforts to get Marta back with him. Eneko approaches Marta’s parents, showers them with attention and concern, and then also leaks a video of him and Marta getting intimate so that people think it is Marta and Sergio and slander her on the streets. This is the man’s way of getting Marta to ultimately settle with him. It does seem to work in the middle when Marta stays away from Sergio and instead puts all her focus on Eneko. Even towards the end, Eneko proposes to Marta at a new apartment that he wishes to buy for themselves, and the woman is very close to agreeing. However, Marta now also finds the questionable video on Eneko’s phone and understands that he spread the rumor to get people on his side. In the end, Marta leaves Eneko, just like she leaves Sergio, and decides to go her own way. However, her decision to stay away from Sergio once and for all comes after a humiliating attack by Sergio. Marta is also deterred by the fact that Ana is also pursuing Sergio, and for this, she goes away from Sergio’s life.

On the other side, Ana starts off as a mere psychiatric specialist who wants to study the personality of Sergio Ciscar. Soon she starts to find ways to prove that Sergio is not actually a psychopathic killer but was forced to commit the crime because of his unusual circumstances. It is increasingly apparent that Ana herself is attracted to the young man, and her experiment to record Sergio at all times might be linked to her own obsessive interest in him. At one instance, Ana looks at images of Sergio falling asleep in his bedroom on all the monitor screens in front of her, as she herself seems to go to sleep at her desk. There are also times when Ana watches Sergio take a shower, implying that the woman might have some sexual interest in him as well. This is made extremely clear later on when Sergio and Marta get physically intimate in his house, and Ana watches over the entire scene with a voyeuristic approach and pleasures herself. The way in which Muted presents these scenes is also a clear indication that these sexual matters are an essential element of Ana’s experiment. Whether Ana had actually started the experiment solely to satisfy her attraction or whether she had ended up growing attracted to the young man through her experiment can be debated. But in the end, Ana is ready to leave everything behind, including her husband and daughter, whom she had already grown very distant from, for the sake of Sergio. The ending that Muted provides can be seen as either Ana getting killed by Sergio or her pushing Sergio to death, and either way, Ana entirely gives in to her fatal attraction.

Is Sergio Ciscar Really A Psychopath?

The character of Sergio Ciscar, the protagonist in Muted, is the one most affected by the show’s plot twists, especially the one at the end. For the first many episodes, Sergio’s actions in the past are made to look like he was really just a victim of his circumstances. Born an extremely intelligent boy with an IQ much higher than average people, Sergio seemed to have grown up without much trouble until his teenage years, when he started to show an extreme lack of empathy towards his family and grew distant from them. But this distance and feeling of animosity were only for his parents, as Sergio remained very loving and attentive towards Noa. It is not like he suffered from a “savior complex” or any such issues, as Sergio is never protective towards anyone else later on. He does not even reciprocate the apparent love and concern that Marta shows for him in the end. Therefore, his love for Noa is to be taken as a genuine feeling.

The most dangerous part of Sergio’s psyche, which seems to be the root of all his problems, is his immense anger and subsequent loss of right judgment. When angered and made to feel threatened, which is very often recorded through the heartbeat monitor on his ankle, Sergio does not think twice about being violent, as is seen in the interactions with Marta’s father on the street and also with Eneko. But there are also times when Sergio does manage to stop himself, and overall, it seems like he chooses violence only when he is not scared of his opponent. In the situation when he catches Mikel following him around and realizes that the police have been keeping an eye on him, Sergio does not cause any harm to Mikel, as everyone else thought he would. Instead, the protagonist only tells Mikel not to follow him around and then walks out of the car. When the whole picture is painted by the end of Muted, this decision to let Mikel go seems like an intelligent choice on Sergio’s part.

By the end, when Noa reveals that Sergio had actually killed both his parents because he wanted his mother to stop giving him medicines, the protagonist does turn out to be a cold-minded, psychopathic killer. Unlike what the series had been projecting him to be, Sergio was no innocent victim but rather a shrewd criminal who had been planning his escape from the law all along. However, there is also enough room to draw a different conclusion—that Sergio was actually suffering from a slew of mental illnesses that made him believe that he was innocent and that he had killed his parents only to protect himself and his sister. It could be that Sergio actually misremembered the entire scene on the night of the murder, and he really did think that he was not to blame. After all, the psychiatric evaluation that Ana had begun was to find out this very answer—whether Sergio was mentally sick or whether he was just pretending to be so. By the end of Muted, we get no answer, though, as the entire psychological experiment turns out to have been a grand conspiracy of the expert Ana to gratify her own hybristophilia. Whether Sergio was a psychopath seems to have been left for us to decide, with little evidence or logic to find out, and Muted disappoints the most in this very aspect.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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