The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez could get a second season on Netflix

Filmmaker says he'd "absolutely" talk to Gabriel's imprisoned mother and her boyfriend.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez covered the horrific murder of an 8-year-old California boy by his mother and her boyfriend.

Courtesy Netflix

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is the number-one U.S. show on Netflix as of Tuesday, according to the streaming service's own top 10 list. The disturbing six-part documentary series covers the 2011 murder of an 8-year-old California boy by his mother and her boyfriend, and their ensuing trials. It's a heartbreaking and hard-to-watch series, though it would seem to come to an ending with the sentencing of the two killers. But filmmaker Brian Knappenberger says Gabriel's story may not be over.

Knappenberger told Entertainment Weekly this week that during the making of the series, he gave Gabriel's mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, a special phone number where they could reach him. They never called, and both are now in prison, with Aguirre on death row. But Knappenberger still holds out hope one or both might reach out to him now.

"There are still so many unanswered questions," he told EW. "So if they wanted to talk to me, I would absolutely talk to them on the record."

The series also covered the case of four social workers who were charged with being criminally negligent in Gabriel's case. An appellate court threw out that case in January, but prosecutors could still take that case to the California Supreme Court.

"This is still a very live story, so maybe this could lead to a season 2?" Knappenberger said.

In another recent EW interview, Knappenberger said he realizes the series is "a really difficult watch," but adds, "it's an important one."