“Georgetown”: The true story of the Netflix movie – The murder of a well-known journalist by her younger husband

“Georgetown”: The true story of the Netflix movie – The murder of a well-known journalist by her younger husband
“Georgetown”: The true story of the Netflix movie – The murder of a well-known journalist by her younger husband

The Netflix movie “Georgetown” is based on the murder of a journalist and playwright that came to light after a New York Times article.

The new Netflix movie “Georgetown”, starring them Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave and Annette Bening, is a crime drama film based on Franklin Foer’s article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown” published in the “New York Times” magazine.


The film follows him Ulrich Mott, an Iraqi general married to a successful journalist and author Elsa Brecht. Due to his charming personality and military background, Ulrich Mott wields considerable influence over the people in Washington. However, his life is turned upside down when his well-connected and wealthy wife is found dead in their home.

Elsa’s daughter, Amanda, believes that Ulrich has something to do with her mother’s death. And indeed, when the investigations begin, a multitude of lies and deceptions are revealed that shock the townspeople.

“Georgetown”: Is the movie based on true events?

The answer to the question of whether the movie “Georgetown” is based on true events is “yes”.

The character of Elsa is based on Viola Herms Drath, a successful journalist and author who wrote eight textbooks in her lifetime and was a prominent figure in German-American relations for some three decades. She was married to Lt. Col. Francis S. Drath until his death in January 1986. A few years later, specifically in April 1990, Viola was united in marriage to Albrecht Gero Muth (Ulrich Mott in the film), an unpaid trainee who was 44 years her junior. Viola was 70 and Muth was 26 when they married.


Their marriage lasted two decades and Muth was like a companion to Viola. Although the couple slept in the same room, they apparently had their own separate beds. However, it is important to note that there were several instances of domestic violence with Viola and Muth was allegedly abusive and controlling. So when Viola’s body was found on August 11, 2011 in her bathroom, the police investigation revealed secrets that shocked the entire country.

Both violent and a liar

It turned out that Muth was not only violent, but also a liar. After the end of the Iraq war in 2003 he often disguised himself as a brigadier general in the Iraqi army. But when his claims were investigated, it was revealed that he was using a store-bought military certificate to fool everyone in his neighborhood. Muth had concocted an elaborate plan to trick Viola and the people around him into manipulating them and getting what he wanted. Actually he was unemployed and used to live on money that Viola gave him.

Connie and Francesca, Viola’s daughters from her first marriage, revealed in court that Muth frequently sent them e-mails to discuss things he wanted for himself after his wife’s death. In addition, he reportedly had similar discussions with Viola. Muth claimed that Viola had died after an accidental fall in the bathroom, but medical examinations proved that it was a homicide. Since there were no signs of the house being broken into, all the evidence “pointed” to Muth.


In addition, prosecutors also revealed that Muth Googled Mexican and Canadian border crossings as well as flights to Iceland shortly after his wife was killed. In January 2014 the Washington Supreme Court found Muth guilty of first degree murder and he was later sentenced to 50 years in prison. The shocking story of lies, deception and murder sounds surreal, but the movie “Georgetown” is based on this real-life murder case.

Who is the swindler Albrecht Muth who murdered his elderly wife

So actor Christopher Waltz plays a character based on Albrecht Muth, the crook who murdered his elderly wife Viola Herms Drath, in “Georgetown.”

He had been a crook for much of his life, but killing his wife was an act he could not escape.


German-born Muth climbed the social ladder by defrauding the elite. Drath – a writer and world figure 44 years his senior – was no exception. They met in 1982 when he was a teenage student at American University in Washington interning in the office of a Republican senator, according to the New York Times Magazine.

Drath, a journalist also born in Germany who moved to the US after meeting her first husband after World War II, was still married at the time. But when her husband Francis died in 1986, Muth re-entered her life and they married in 1990, when she was 70 and he just 26.

Muth would later describe the union as a “marriage of convenience,” and it suited his goals as a social climber. The couple hosted so-called “high society” dinner parties at their home in Georgetown, mingling with the elite of Washington’s political and cultural scene. Muth was easily recognized in Georgetown because of his penchant for wearing fake military clothing and his habit of smoking cigars.


His self-confidence and relentless ambition took many forms: in 1999 he created a think tank known as the Eminent Persons Group, with the stated aim of bringing together political and intellectual leaders from around the world to advise the United Nations. He leveraged Drath’s social connections, as well as his own tenacious networking skills, to attract to the team legal figures from the world of international politics, such as former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, according to with the New York Times Magazine, although the group did not reach the heights of influence Muth had envisioned.

Many locals thought he was strange. His former neighbor Hayes Permar told the Washington Post in 2015 that Muth reminded her of both “Boo Radley,” the mysterious character in the literary classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the reclusive snow-shoveling neighbor in “Home Alone”.

At home Muth was as abusive as he was grand. He was convicted of beating Drath in 1992, establishing a pattern of domestic violence in their relationship. In 2002, he briefly moved in with his boyfriend—he had relationships with men throughout his marriage to Drath—only to have his boyfriend take restrictive measures after Muth allegedly threatened to kill him. And in 2006 he was arrested again for assaulting Drath, repeatedly hitting her head on the floor, having previously consumed heavily, according to the New York Times Magazine.


Muth disappeared from Drath’s life for a time and began sending letters to friends and acquaintances in the world of diplomacy and journalism claiming he was in Sadr City, Iraq, where he was serving as an adviser to Iraqi insurgent Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia group. In numerous e-mails muth presented himself as someone who tried to contain the group’s violence and broker peace in the war-torn country. Records show that he actually lived in Miami during that time, working as a hotel clerk, according to the New York Times Magazine.

Muth and Drath eventually reconciled, but the pattern of abuse continued, with tragic consequences. Muth strangled Drath, then 91, to death in their Georgetown home on August 12, 2011. A witness had accompanied a drunken Muth to his home hours earlier, and then in the early morning hours another witness heard “the faint a woman’s scream and a man’s laugh coming from inside the defendant’s house,” according to a Justice Department press release.

The next morning Muth called the police to report his wife dead, claiming to have found her on the bathroom floor. Investigators saw no signs of a break-in and there were visible scratches on Muth’s face, Washington’s ABC7 reported in 2011.


While Muth arrogantly told the agency shortly afterward that he did not believe he was a serious suspect in the investigation, he was arrested and booked for Drath’s murder.

The Muth trial

During the murder trial, the government presented evidence of Muth’s history of domestic violence against his wife. That includes a 2008 incident in which Drath eventually dropped charges against her husband, according to ABC7.

In addition, “Muth had made a number of statements over the years that indicated he wished to kill her,” the Justice Department said. “In the summer of 2011 Ms. Drath wanted to put an end to her abuse by the defendant and was trying to end the marriage. Also, even though Mrs. Drath specifically disowned Muth in her will, he constantly pressured her to give him money. After the victim’s murder and before her body was removed from the home, Muth presented a forged document to the victim’s daughter demanding $200,000.”


Muth was not physically present during the trial, nor at the sentencing hearing, because he did hunger strike, a move that did temporarily delay the Justice’s decision, the Washington Post pointed out in 2013. The hunger strike even landed him in the hospital, according to senior sources at the publication.

“The government alleged that Muth’s refusal to receive food was part of a manipulation designed to avoid trial,” they said, adding that Muth watched the proceedings via video.

Muth was convicted of first degree murder, with the aggravating circumstances that the killing was particularly heinous, cruel and inflicted on a vulnerable victim. He was thus sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2014.

At his sentencing, US Attorney Ronald C. Machen noted: “For the rest of his life Muth will not be able to disguise himself as an army officer or a member of the royal family and will not subject his wife to unbearable abuse. He will be a federal prisoner paying the price for his brutal crime.”


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Tags: Georgetown true story Netflix movie murder wellknown journalist younger husband

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