Donate to RAICES Texas’s Family Reunification and Bond Fund.

How Curb Your Enthusiasm helped a man beat a murder charge

Long Shot is the incredible true story of how Juan Catalan’s life was saved by the HBO comedy series.

October 03, 2017

During its six year hiatus, Curb Your Enthusiasm became known as a gold standard of televised comedy, and the announcement of its ninth season, which premiered last Sunday on HBO, gave way to the ecstatic response you'd expect. However, there's a new documentary now streaming on Netflix that will only add to the mythic status of Larry David's program: Long Shot, a new 40 minute short true crime doc from filmmaker Jacob LaMendola.

ADVERTISEMENT

Long Shot tells the story of Juan Catalan, a machinist arrested in 2003 and charged in the shooting death of 16-year-old Martha Puebla. Prosecutors accused Catalan of killing Puebla in retaliation for her testimony against his brother in a murder case, but Catalan had an alibi: the evening of the shooting, he was watch the L.A. Dodgers play baseball with his daughter and some friends.

Despite ticket stubs from the game and testimonies from people who saw him there, the prosecution pressed on with its case. But one day, Catalan told his lawyer Todd Melnik that he had seen a television crew at Dodgers stadium. That crew, as Melnik would later discover, was shooting an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm the very same evening that Catalan was there. Melnik convinced HBO to allow him to search through their footage from that evening, and caught a glimpse of Catalan and his daughter just a few feet away from Larry David. That footage saved Catalan from jail, and resulted in a $320,000 settlement from the city of Los Angeles.

It's a nail-biting story, far too close to catastrophe for comfort, but undoubtedly stranger — and more cosmically aligned — than any fiction you've seen this year. Watch Long Shot on Netflix.

How Curb Your Enthusiasm helped a man beat a murder charge