There’s never a dull moment in crime shows, full of blazing cops and determined goons. They have always been the lifesavers on boring weekends.
A new series from Brazil has started streaming on Netflix, with similar goals in sight.
The Brazilian show is eight episodes long and runs for almost eight hours.
Does the purported crime, action, and adventure series deliver? Here is my review.
Criminal Code Synopsis
Brazil’s federal police uses a new method to mark and catch criminals involved in deadly heists across the country.
As simple as it might sound, the cops have a task at hand, which gets tougher when lawbreakers come up with a sturdy plan.
Will the goons get away or the cops have the final laugh?
The show is created by Heitor Dhalia, Bernado Barcellos, and Leonardo Levis. It stars Maeve Jinkings (Suellen), Romulo Braga (Benicio), Thomas Aquino (Sem Alma/Soulless), Alex Nader (Isaac), Pedro Caetano (Rossi), and Guilherme Silva (Moreira).
What Works for Criminal Code?
Mostly, cops are given some hidden cinematic powers in fictional creations. They have it easy, thanks to a masterplan, or an unabashed combat skillset.
In Criminal Code, makers try to keep things as genuine as possible. They emphasize a naturally authentic portrayal of cops.
Unlike typical crime dramas, this series abstains from gratuitous hand-to-hand combat scenes, opting instead for a realistic emphasis on the intense battles fought with bullets—a reflection of real-life law enforcement challenges.
The prevalence of guns over fistfights aligns with the series’ commitment to realism.
Criminal Code distinguishes itself by firmly owning its narrative. The exploration of its tale is exhaustive, delving into intricate plot twists, captivating turnarounds, and committed storytelling until the last thread unravels.
The creators exhibit a palpable conviction in how they unfold the narrative, with particular praise for their commendable attention to plotting heists.
Furthermore, the writing skillfully captures the lives of the characters, offering a poignant glimpse into the world of law enforcement.
The series encapsulates the sacrifices made by cops who dedicate their all to a single case, often leaving scant time for personal lives or familial connections.
On the excitement front, well, Criminal Code is intermittently gripping, largely due to its storyline.
How are the Performances?
Maeve Jinkings plays Suellen in a pretty composed yet sensational manner. She creates a bond within the plot for her audience to connect with.
The lack of rigidity helps Jinkings in drafting an upright cop who is ready to be on the frontline without caring for her life.
Romulo Braga as Benicio does nothing wrong. Be it his intensity or humor, he covers all the fronts with ease.
I think he is one of those actors who speak more with their body language than their expressions. Braga develops a character who has vengeance at his heart and still manages to bring other emotional elements for a complete outing.
Thomas Aquino, portraying Sem Alma (Soulless), captivates with a quiet demeanor that paradoxically renders his character fearless in Criminal Code.
He uses tranquility to his benefit and combines it with ambient ferocity.
What Doesn’t Work for Criminal Code?
To be candid, the narrative sprawl in Criminal Code’s eight episodes makes it feel more like a twelve-episode venture, resulting in a ponderous viewing experience.
The initial focus on a heist undergoes a shift towards large-scale organized crime, introducing a multitude of gang leaders, DNA analysis, rogue cops, and revenge-driven police officers.
Unfortunately, this abundance of elements becomes overwhelming, transforming the show into a perplexing maze rather than an engaging thriller.
Regrettably, Criminal Code exhibits a lack of restraint in introducing new characters, failing to underscore their significance adequately within the overarching narrative.
While some are touted as the best in the business, their roles remain insubstantial.
The opportunity to streamline the storyline and trim an hour from the series duration is missed, leaving the audience grappling with unnecessary narrative clutter.
I have, for the first time, come across a crime show that doesn’t have any personal dramas, focuses mostly on a cat-and-mouse chase between cops and goons, and still feels slow and tardy.
Especially after the first four episodes, Criminal Code encounters a stumbling pace. For a general viewer, watching an eight-hour-long show means a lot.
Unless the pace is consistent, they may consider leaving it altogether in the middle.
Once the pace goes down, the show not only loses momentum but also sees a decline in excitement, a waning of the intriguing setup, and a palpable absence of the anticipated thrill factor.
Stream or Skip?
Watching Criminal Code demands a significant investment of time and focus to connect the narrative dots.
If you possess both, the Brazilian series might offer a worthwhile streaming experience. Otherwise, a straightforward skip might be the pragmatic choice.