Adapted from the novels by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, the new Netflix crime thriller series “Belascoaran, PI” is a neat detective show with adequate amounts of humor and action. It follows the Mexican detective, Hector Belascoaran Shayne, as he leaves a settled life to solve crime cases and work against a heavily corrupt police administration, all while sipping his favorite Keli Cola. With three episodes adapted from three different novels, “Belascoaran, PI” is a tight and thrilling watch that is easy to recommend for light entertainment.
‘Belascoaran, Pi’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
Sometime in the 70s-decade, Mexico City saw a series of brutal murders of women returning home from work at night. Nobody seems too bothered about these crimes, though, as they are reported in the daily newspapers and then quickly forgotten. At this time, a man named Hector Shayne lives a settled life with a stable engineering job at General Motors and a rich high-society lifestyle. However, Hector is tired of this stage in life; he neither cares at all about working at an American company nor is he concerned about his wife’s wanting him to follow a healthy diet with less cholesterol intake. And so, Hector leaves it all—his job, his wife, and his house. With a genuine concern for the recent lack of safety for women in his city and an avid interest in detective fiction, Hector decides to become an investigator. Unlike a private investigator, though, the man does not want to be hired by anyone or get paid for this work and therefore calls himself a “personal investigator.” Hector buys a detective kit being sold for enthusiasts, and, strictly following the instructions and guidelines in it, he rents a small apartment to make it his office. He shares this space with a plumber named Gomez and starts to look into the case of the serial killer. Hector’s sister Elisa supports him on this new venture, and the man takes the name of Belascoaran from an uncle of theirs who had died in the Spanish revolutionary war. With the help of Elisa and Gomez, and a few others who are introduced along the way, Hector Belascoaran Shayne solves three crimes, bringing down a serial killer, stopping a potential scandal, and then putting an end to a corrupt police scheme.
‘Days in Combat’ Explained: Who Is Cerevro? Why Was He Killing The Women?
The new detective on the scene, Hector Belascoaran, visits the sites of the three murders and looks for clues there but only finds cigarette butts of a German brand, which does not lead him anywhere. He meets up with the police force too, but the dishonest officer Paniagua sums up the scene—he cannot hope to get any help or cooperation from them. In an effort to indirectly reach out to the murderer and give him some attention, Belascoaran appears on a popular TV game show where one can win a grand prize of money if they answer all questions on a topic of their choice, and the detective chooses his topic as “famous stranglers of the century.” As he crosses levels with his adept knowledge of the subject, Belascoaran speaks publicly of his intention to catch the killer on the loose and also gives out his office phone number for people to contact. This works well, as a man calls him up and recites cryptic verses to him, making it almost certain that he was the killer. The investigator takes help from Elisa and her friends and finds out that the verses hint towards a certain book that propagated the supremacy of races and was a favorite read of the Nazis. The murder spree continues all this while, with more women found dead, and at one point, the killer reveals his name to be Cerevro. Belascoaran also notices a young woman following him around, and looking into the matter, he finds out that this stalker is a professional car racer named Irene. Irene’s mother had been killed by the strangler, and she too was out looking for him, just like Belascoaran, and she had stalked the investigator, thinking that he might be the killer. Within a short while, the two make good acquaintances with each other, and Irene becomes the detective’s partner, both in his search for the killer and also in bed. A new lead comes their way when Belascoaran receives a phone call from the killer again and spots a man talking at the nearby public telephone booth. He chases this man and gets his hands on a trail that leads to the killer’s personal diary, and from there, he learns more about the man.
Cerevro had spent the early years of his life on a countryside ranch, where he had first developed a sociopathic interest in killing animals and then killed a local woman as well. Belascoaran and Irene visit this ranch and find a family insignia and the initials MT, which later become crucial clues. From the family name and also the German inscriptions in Cerevro’s diary, they know for certain that the man was of German origin, which also fitted with his supremacist beliefs. During all this while, the Mexican police force constantly tries to stop Belascoaran’s investigation and also harm him physically, and at one point, the detective has thoughts of giving up as well. His sister Elisa, who is a journalist by profession and an activist by passion, helps him out again by giving him support and also a good lead through a German colleague of hers. As Mexico was playing West Germany in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, a special screening of the game had been arranged by the German ministry for Germans living in Mexico, and the detective got hold of an entry pass for this screening from Elisa’s colleague. Having known that Cerevro might himself attend this occasion, which had a German nationalist air to it, or some clue leading to him might be found, Belascoaran and Irene go to the place. Here they do get hold of an address of a cheesemaker with the same MT initial, and this address also matches a hint Cerevro had earlier left behind.
The two quickly drive to the address and find a big house with almost nobody inside. Belascoaran heads inside and comes across a collection of personal objects, and now Cerevro makes his entry. The killer’s real identity is indeed a German cheesemaker with the surname Martell-Topfer, and he explains how he had committed all the crimes because he considered women to be inferior beings. Not only were women unequal to this man, but he also kept supremacist ideas about race and national identity. Ever since he started the murders, though, he did not get too much attention either from the police or the media. It was Belascoaran, through his participation in the TV game show, in which he had even won the grand prize of 64,000 pesos, who had put an eye of attention on Cerevro. This had immensely pleased the man, as he wanted attention for himself and had considered Belascoaran to be a worthy opponent, one who had the mind of an equally superior race. Cerevro had also attended the shooting of the game show and had enjoyed playing this game of chase with the personal investigator. Now he intends to win this chase and kill Irene, and Belascoaran fumbles to help her as he gets stuck inside the house. It is Irene, though, who overpowers Cerevro and ultimately kills him with her car. When the police arrive, Paniagua coerces Belascoaran into not opening his mouth on this entire investigation of his. The police had earlier raided Belascoaran’s office and taken away a vault in which he had kept Cerevro’s diary, and now Paniagua offers to return all these items and not bring any charges against the detective (although he does not legally have any right to do so, the police do not care for laws here). Both parties agree, and Paniagua is awarded for bringing down the strangler. Belascoaran does not care at all for these accolades, though, as he enjoys doing what is right and his new profession as a personal investigator. On the way, he finds a lover in Irene and a good friend and assistant in Gomez, who gifts him a holster for a pistol, even though Belascoaran’s aim with a gun remains the worst any fictional detective ever has had.
‘Something Easy’ Explained: Why Had Virginia Been Kidnapped? Who Killed Barrera?
Some months later, a union leader by the name of Barrera is found shot dead in a public garden in Mexico City, and Belascoaran cannot help but investigate. He had earlier got to know Barrera personally as the union leader who worked at a rebar factory called Delex had been acquainted with Elisa over some union work. After sliding his way past the police lockup, as he is initially picked up from the garden known for public indecency, Belascoaran meets with his sister and starts his investigation into the matter. From people who had known and worked with Barrera, he learned of a man called Camposanto, who works as a head engineer at the Delex factory. At around this time, an attractive woman with a celebrity-like demeanor walks into Belascoaran’s office. From Gomez’s excitement after seeing her and then her own introduction, this woman is revealed to be a famous actress of the yesteryears, Marisa Ferrer. She seems to have come to Belascoaran for a completely different case, as she wants the detective to look into her daughter’s sudden questionable actions in life. Marisa’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Virginia, had recently fallen down from their house’s balcony and badly injured her hand. Although Virginia claimed that she had slipped and fallen accidentally, her mother had concerns that the young girl was trying to commit suicide, and she wanted Belascoaran to investigate and stop Virginia from killing herself. Worried by the possible loss of the life of a teenager and also egged on by the tremendous excitement of Gomez, Belascoaran takes up the case and decides to visit Virginia at her school.
He goes to the convent school and identifies Virginia quickly by her plastered hand. As the young girl is about to enter her school, though, a group of three rowdy boys around the same age as her gets hold of Virginia and harasses her to hand over something. Belascoaran intervenes and scares the boys away, but he does not reveal his true identity to Virginia. The next day, he accompanies the young girl from school to her house, and here she learns that the man is a hired detective appointed by her mother. The angry teenager walks away and confides herself in her own room as Belascoaran makes acquaintance with Marisa’s house and her live-in partner, Burgos. The protagonist has his own charming ways of making bonds with anybody, and he uses this charm to assure Virginia that he is, after all, on her side and not her mother’s. From her, he learns of a young man named Arturo, who used to be her boyfriend till a couple of days back when they broke up because Arturo was apparently only engrossed in bowling. Belascoaran visits the bowling alley but cannot find anything wrong with Arturo, and things stall for a moment before Virginia is kidnapped in front of her school. Belascoaran gets the number of the car that had taken the girl away from a local street vendor and uses a source in the police to track it down. While waiting for the information, he and Irene go over to the convent school and talk to the nuns there, and they get their major lead. As it had happened, Virginia had gotten hold of a bunch of photographs of her mother, Marisa Ferrer, indulging in intimate sexual acts with various high-society men of the city. Belascoaran learns that these photographs had been taken by Burgos, the boyfriend who used to be a producer at one point in time, without the consent of Marisa, and he had been using them to blackmail the men with important social roles, such as a priest or a lawyer. Virginia had found the photographs and also got to know about Burgos’ role in them, and when she confronted him, the man threw her down from their balcony. Virginia had also told her erstwhile boyfriend, Arturo, about the photos, and he had then plotted a plan with his friends to steal those photos and make money for themselves. They had forced Virginia to hand over the photos to them, and she had denied doing so, only for the photos to be found by the nuns and be confiscated. While the photos are kept safely away, Belascoaran and his team rescue Virginia from the teenage kidnappers, and they also bring to light Burgos’ pathetic acts, for which he is jailed. In the end, Marisa and Virginia have a happy reconciliation, and Belascoaran destroys the remaining photographs, wanting to save Marisa’s honor, but a particular photograph of the woman alone makes him feel like the actress actually had knowledge about the photos being taken and she was part of the extortion plan too but had now pinned the blame on Burgos alone to protect herself.
On the other side, Belascoaran visits the Delex factory and meets with Camposanto, but the engineer does not reveal much about Barrera’s death, and the detective instead gets to know the owner of the factory, Cuesta. From the get-go, Cuesta seems like a strong-willed capitalist boss who does not mind doing any evil for his own benefit, and he also seems to have a direct link to Barrera’s killing. However, Belascoaran needs to find solid evidence about all this before he can lay any blame, especially since the police force is totally in Cuesta’s pockets. The detective follows Camposanto around, but the engineer is killed by the police officer Paniagua’s men soon, before he can reveal anything to Belascoaran. The detective himself is attacked directly by Paniagua as well, as he is shot at by the police officer from a moving car on the street, and as a result, Belascoaran permanently loses vision in one of his eyes. While this loss of eyesight miraculously turns Belascoaran from a lousy shot to a brilliant sharpshooter, he finally discovers the true nature of Barrera’s death. The corporate boss, Cuesta, had been building a hospital with the rebar from his business and was even getting the Pope to visit and bless the opening of this hospital. The only problem was that these rebars that he was using and dealing with were all radioactive in nature. Cuesta had bought these radioactive metal rebars for cheap and was now using them to earn profits and also build goodwill for himself. The union leader, Barrera, had found out about this and was preparing to take the necessary steps against Cuesta and had even spoken to his friend Camposanto about it. While Barrera was killed by the police on orders of Cuesta, Camposanto remained silent as he himself had developed horrible cancer from working so close to radioactive rebar. Perhaps because he knew his days were now numbered, Camposanto had decided to talk to Belascoaran and therefore had to be murdered by the police before he could do so. Cuesta admits to working closely with the corrupt Paniagua in doing all of this privately to Belascoaran, but the detective secretly airs his confession to a local radio show over the telephone and brings an end to Cuesta’s evil intentions. However, despite Paniagua’s direct involvement in this, no serious action is taken against him, and the officer faces no consequence for it, which further highlights the extreme corruption Belascoaran intends to fight against.
‘There Won’t Be a Happy Ending’ Explained: How does Belascoaran uncover a grand governmental scheme?
On an October night, Gomez discovers a dead man wearing a Roman outfit inside the washroom of their office building and informs Belascoaran of the same. By now, they have also been joined by a third professional sharing the same office apartment, a sewage treatment expert by the name of Javier Villareal. The three of them take a look at the body, and Belascoaran recovers a key from it before they go over to a café next door and discuss the potential danger to them. Finding a dead body in their office building would give the police a very easy opportunity to put them in jail, so they decide to remove it and take it to the morgue. Before they can do so, though, the dead Roman is lugged away in a large refrigerator by two men, and an envelope has also been left behind for Belascoaran. With a note that orders the detective to stay out of the crime, the envelope also contains a two-way flight ticket to Los Angeles and back, and it is evident that the sender wants Belascoaran to stay out of their way for a few days. From then on, he notices a couple of mean-looking men in formal clothing always snooping around near his office building and seems to have decided to take the vacation to Los Angeles, as he tells Irene. However, as it turns out, Belascoaran only wants his lover to be out of any trouble, and while she flies off to Los Angeles, he stays back in Mexico City and starts his investigation. Going over to the government morgue, he finds the dead Roman there, along with another body of a man who had been killed in the exact same way. From this second man, he finds an address and, talking to his friends, Belascoaran finds out that both the men, named Leobardo and Augustin, used to work at a cabaret in San Juan de Letran. The detective now follows this trail and meets with a charming woman called Kassandra, who performs at the cabaret and who also happens to be the wife of a famous late performer called Zorak. This man, Zorak, had made an immense name as a performer of magic and other unthinkable feats and had tragically died after falling from a helicopter during one of his performances a couple of years back. While Kassandra openly claims to Belascoaran that her husband did not die by accident but was instead murdered, the detective tries to think of a link between the deaths of Zorak, Leobardo, and Augustin.
At present, Kassandra stays with a man known as Captain Mutt in an arrangement that is more professional for her than romantic. Belascoaran tries to talk with Mutt since the latter had been Zorak’s personal bodyguard, but Mutt avoids any such interaction. On one of the following nights, the detective and Javier are attacked by two armed men who try to kill them. Once they are dealt with, Belascoaran discovers that the men belonged to the Mexico City Metro Transportation security force, meaning that they must have gotten the order from the police department. Belascoaran now goes to check on Kassandra in her private residence and shockingly finds the same Metro security agents to have killed Captain Mutt and trying to frame Kassandra for the same. Belascoaran intervenes and kills the agents to ensure Kassandra’s safety. The police arrive and take the dancer to the hospital, where she is kept under constant vigilance, but our detective manages to find his way into the hospital as well. Knowing that the police also do not want to keep Kassandra safe, Belascoaran helps the woman escape the hospital and then the country. The reason why the Mexican police were after Zorak’s widow and the reason for the death of the two men that started it all gradually becomes clear when Belascoaran discusses it with Elisa. Along with this, a grand scheme hatched against Belascoaran is also revealed, as more attempts to kill the detective by the police and Metro security follow.
Along with being a popular performer, Zorak had also directly trained a paramilitary group called The Hawks. In 1971, the Hawks opened fire on a group of protesting university students and killed them on the indirect orders of the Mexican government since the Hawks’ training had been funded by the government. This particular bit about the Hawks (or Los Halcones) and their massacre of students is factual, and where ‘Belascoaran, PI’ ties its fiction with this fact is in Zorak having trained the Hawks. However, Zorak then was a loose cannon who could tell anyone about the government’s involvement in the massacre, so the authorities got him killed and staged it as an accident while showing tricks on a helicopter. Zorak’s close associates and followers, Leobardo and Augustin, had wanted to do justice to their leader by revealing the conspiracy and so had decided to pursue and hire Belascoaran. But, Captain Mutt had spilled news of this to officer Paniagua, probably to ensure his own betterment, and the police officer had then got the two followers murdered. In the end, when Belascoaran confronts Paniagua about all this, the ruthless police officer reveals that he had planted the body of Leobardo, the Roman, in Belascoaran’s washroom and then left the plane tickets at his office only to scare him away from the case, as he believed the man had already hired the detective to investigate Zorak’s death. However, Belascoaran reveals with astonishment that he had never been approached by Leobardo or Augustin and that neither had he known about Zorak’s death. As it turns out, the entire fiasco had taken place because of a misunderstanding on the part of the police that Belascoaran had already been hired. Nonetheless, it is certain that Paniagua would have anyway murdered the men in order to hide his and the police’s connections with the Hawks and Zorak’s death, and he had later also gotten rid of Captain Mutt to erase any possible links. The plane on which our detective was supposed to return to Mexico City from Los Angeles had he accepted Paniagua’s offer had also crashed and blown apart. Although Paniagua claims that this was a coincidence and he had no part to play in it, it might very well be that the corrupt officer had tried to kill his arch-nemesis and staged it to be a flight accident. Belascoaran is shocked by the pure evil intentions of Captain Paniagua but is not surprised, and he contemplates how he has killed Metro security personnel because of a case that stemmed from misunderstandings and misjudgments. As the police now try to kill the detective, Belascoaran shoots Paniagua dead and then escapes the place.
‘Belascoaran, PI’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne?
For some time now, Belascoaran’s sister Elisa has been pregnant and has been contemplating whether to keep it or not. She finally decides to become a mother and let the child in her grow; her brother had always wanted this. Belascoaran himself also proposes to Irene to get married, and she agrees. Later that day, the man goes out to a shop by the street where the news program talks about how the police chief had resigned from his role after the police’s connection with the Hawks and the Metro security had been made public. Around the same time, a car rolls up by the side of the street, and the men inside, definitely hired by the police or the Metro security, open fire at Belascoaran. The detective is shot and wounded as he falls to the ground. In a background narration, he admits that it was very tempting for him to give up and remain to lie, waiting for death, but the tone with which he says all this suggests that he does not die after all. Although ‘Belascoaran, PI’ does not make it clear what happens to the titular investigator, the general feeling is probably that he survives. This unusual detective had always remained respectful of others and had collected enough good karma through his actions, if there even is something like that, and we can only hope that he does survive the fall.
“Belascoaran, PI” is a 2022 Drama Thriller series streaming on Netflix.