Merciless (2014) Review

Realising that I hadn’t watched a foreign language drama for quite some time, I headed over to the Walter presents category on All4 and scrolled until I came across the Brazilian crime thriller series, Merciless. From the description, it had all the things I look for in a good TV series: crime, murder, puzzles, policemen (and women) etc. So I began watching the series with high expectations and they were met!

The series follows Edu, an aspiring politician and psychopathic serial killer as he tries to carry out his political ambitions whilst evading capture. Those in charge of catching him are Dias, the police commissioner and Vera, an FBI trained forensic psychologist obsessed with trying to figure him out. The series becomes an intriguing game of cat and mouse between Edu and the police as they desperately try to the find the killer, only to realise that he is a lot closer than they thought.

I have to begin this review by saying that Bruno Gagliasso absolutely killed it (excuse the pun) as Edu. He expertly manages to switch from this charming, charismatic and kind man who everybody likes to the brutal, cruel and downright creepy killer that committed those savage murders of young women. It is absolutely fascinating to watch how his personality changed depending on who he was speaking to, each shift contributing to the mask that hid his true self. Furthermore, watching the character narrowly avoid detection had me on edge the entire series.

Additionally, it was fun to see Dias and Vera clash on how best to catch the killer who, unbeknownst to them, was right under their noses the whole time. Dias’, ‘by the book’ approach was frustrating at times, especially since it seemed to be motivated by his desire for a promotion. Similarly, Vera’s impulsive decisions, though understandable, often put her in danger as well as jeopardise the case against him. Nonetheless, the different methods of investigating allowed for an interesting dynamic to develop between the two characters.

On the flip side, I have to say that I was not a fan of the romantic aspect of Dias and Vera’s relationship for it seemed quite counter-productive in their search for this barbaric murderer. I’m all for romance and that, but when you’re trying to catch a savage serial killer, I don’t think it’s the time for you to be working out your relationship issues.

Furthermore, at times, I felt like there was a disconnect between the choice of music and the scene it featured in. On several occasions, in very tense moments, a rock-style song would play. As a consequence, the scene would loose some of the tension, brilliantly built up for that moment. Often, I felt like a softer, more sinister choice of song would have better suited the scene than the song that was chosen.

Overall, Merciless was an excellent export to the UK with fabulous acting from all characters involved and a captivating plot that had me on the edge of my seat for the entire duration of the series.

If you liked the series, or have anything to add, feel feel to leave a comment 🙂

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