Cops find ‘The Crown’ fake corpse in river, nearly start murder probe

Props from the fictional Netflix series “The Crown” almost resulted in a real-life murder investigation.

While shooting on location for Season 5 in February, thieves stole two large trucks full of antique props from the set and even dumped some of the pieces in a nearby river.

One of the items discarded was an incredibly realistic dummy corpse that was going to be used in Episode 6, which includes a flashback in which the Romanovs, a Russian royal family, are shot and stabbed by Bolshevik revolutionaries.

The executioners later bury the corpses in a mass grave in the woods before Queen Elizabeth II asks Russian leader Boris Yelstin to give the family a proper burial.

“I think the most amusing bit was the police were treating it as a murder inquiry because one of the dummies, the prosthetics, was floating face down in the river next to where the theft had been, so they immediately thought, ‘We’ve got a murder,’ but actually it was just a rubber body,” set decorator Alison Harvey told Variety of the discovery. “That took a bit of time to work out.”

The cast of "The Crown" season 4
Season 5 of “The Crown” returns Wednesday.
Des Willie/Netflix

“Finding the antiques was not their priority because they [thought they] had a murder to investigate,” production designer Martin Childs added.

The dummy looked so much like a real dead body, Harvey said, that police were confused when it was discovered in the water.

“It was worth £13,000 [$15,000],” she said of the prosthetic. “It was absolutely identical to a naked [dead] person. It was probably quite alarming for the police actually when they fished it out.”

The crew members called the robbery a “sad moment,” but Harvey said some props survived because one of the trucks got lost along their escape route.

“[It] wasn’t parked where the theft took place,” she explained, adding that they had to get creative to dress the set. “We had some pieces that we owned that we brought in, supplemented it, but whether it would have been a better set with those bits, I don’t know.”

The cast of "The Crown."
The show’s set producers called the heist a “sad moment.”

She also confirmed that “none” of the other antiques have been recovered as Childs remembered the one prop they used to make do.

“It was a really, really ghastly thing to happen but we made use of mirrors to help us through that because the other thing mirrors do is double up the amount of stuff you’ve got in the set,” he revealed.

Season 5 of “The Crown” drops on Netflix Nov. 9.

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