Criminal Code, directed by Pedro Morelli and Heitor Dhalia, makes us privy to the kind of trouble the Brazilian and Paraguayan law enforcement authorities had to face due to the criminal activities happening in both places because of the open borders. The series takes inspiration from a real-life robbery that happened in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, back in 2017, though the makers have taken a lot of creative liberties to make the narrative more engaging.
Criminal Code is a chaotic mess, and as much as we understand the intentions of the makers, we cannot deny the fact that they have unnecessarily complicated the narrative. The screenplay was all over the place, and the makers just weren’t able to decide which subplot they wanted to take forward, which ones they wanted to leave behind, and what was going to be their main conflict. At first, it looked like it was going to be a revenge drama, but then multiple gangs came up, followed by various unnecessary detours where the backstories of characters were explored, which made it even more cluttered. In the end, Criminal Code was an underwhelming show that had a lot of potential, but the execution was never on par. So, let’s find out what happened in the story and try to make sense of it.
Why was Benicio named after the Organization?
Criminal Code is a story about a strip of land that separated Pedro Juan and Ponta Pora and about the people who took advantage of the fact that there was no security check-post on the border that separated the two countries, i.e., Brazil and Paraguay. A few months ago, a gang broke into Foz Penitentiary with the aim of freeing their criminals who were serving sentences. In the process, they killed a cop who happened to be the partner of one of the deadliest Brazilian federal cops, named Benicio. Soon after the prison break, the pro-guard heist happened, and Benicio was of the opinion that both incidents were linked. All the criminals who had escaped from the prison had been involved in different heists at some point in their lives, and a few of them even had expertise in that field. Benicio didn’t have a partner for the longest time, as nobody wanted to work with him because he didn’t have a very good reputation when it came to his way of working.
Finally, Rossi, the chief, decided that Suellen would join Benicio’s team, and both of them together started investigating the matter. Even when the robbers knew that the police were on the case, they didn’t stop their activities. Robberies kept happening, and Benicio and the entire police department were finding it extremely difficult to gather any evidence. The independent contractors were killed, and the main players were very cautious about not leaving any kind of trail behind that could lead the police to them. Benicio knew that these robberies were not being conducted by any one gang, but multiple gangs were executing this joint venture. Various criminal groups, for some unknown reason, had joined forces, and together they were known as The Organization. Benicio knew that the Organization was planning something big. He had a feeling from the very beginning of Criminal Code that these heists were not the endgame and that there was a larger plan.
Benicio found the CCTV footage from the Ciudad del Este heist, and he saw that a truck was present at the crime scene when the robbery was taking place. Benicio and Suellen found that a guy named Juarez was driving that truck. Through him, they got to know that there was a mansion from where the entire gang used to operate. The truck driver told them about a guy named Alvinegro, and coincidentally, the latter was in police custody at the time. The police raided that mansion, and that’s when they got a real breakthrough. That place was full of DNA evidence. Yuri, the forensics expert, was hopeful that he would be able to link at least a handful of them to some criminals who existed in their database, and the entire investigation depended on his shoulders. Benicio had made it his life’s mission to catch hold of the perpetrators and avenge the deaths of his friend and partner.
Who was the Ambassador?
We got to know about a godfather of the criminal world named the Ambassador, who was the arch-nemesis of the Organization. Moreira, the undercover agent who had been suspended of late, met his informant in Criminal Code episode 2, and through him, we got to know that back in the day, a man named Riyad, who was from Pedro Juan, was considered to be the king of the border. No illicit activity could happen without his permission, and the goods couldn’t be smuggled if Riyad didn’t want them to be, as he had a tight hold over the entire system. There were people who didn’t like him, but no one had the guts to raise a voice against this man.
Around this time, a young man came into the picture out of nowhere who wanted to bring about a shift in the landscape and exercise his control over the entire area. The Organization got Riyad killed, and soon, there was utter chaos and mismanagement in which people like the Ambassador thrived. The Ambassador and the Organization waged a war against each other, and the streets of Paraguay and Brazil witnessed one of the most volatile periods in their history. Soon, the Ambassador was caught by the police and probably sentenced to life imprisonment, but that didn’t stop the man. He had people on the outside, like Djeison, who were still faithful to him, and they made sure that the Ambassador’s orders were carried out. Benicio, Suellen, and even Moreira knew that the Ambassador knew about the heists, and he had a role to play in the scheme of things, though they were not able to find any incriminating evidence to prove their theory.
Why was Soulless working with the Organization?
The DNA evidence that the police had gotten from the Organization’s hideout came in handy as they got to know about a man named Felipe Reis, who was involved in the robberies. Benicio and Suellen, disguised as husband and wife, went to stay in the same hotel where Felipe was vacationing with his wife and friends. Benicio and Suellen knew that they needed to get information from them so that they could build up a strong case and put them behind bars. Suellen got very close to Felipe’s wife, Cynthia, and the former caught her red-handed with drugs in her possession. Cynthia felt scared, and she told whatever she knew about Felipe’s involvement in the crime. Felipe had met a man named Turcao, who used to provide arms to the Organization. Felipe and Cynthia were arrested, and Suellen and Benicio went to have a word with Turcao with the hope of finding some information that would lead them to the members of The Organization. But before they could interrogate Turcao, the Ambassador’s army arrived at the scene and killed him. Benicio and Suellen went to the prison where Turcao had spent some time to check if there were any inmates with him who were a part of the Organization. They struck the jackpot as they found a file on the mystery man, Soulless, and they realized that he was at the prison at the same time when Turcao was serving his time.
From the very beginning, Soulless was considered to be the mastermind behind the heist, and Benicio and Suellen had come really close to catching him once. They got to know that Soulless’ real name was Wellington Pereira, and he was not with the Organization out of his own free will. Soulless once used to be the most feared assassin, but things changed after he fell in love with his lawyer, Monica, whom he later married. Monica gave some information about the Organization to the police officers, though she had no clue that it would add her name to the Organization’s hit list. Soulless had almost decided to quit the Organization, but he had to change his decision because he wanted to save his wife’s life. He made a deal with Bigode and offered to provide his service if they left his wife out of the equation. So once again, for his family, Soulless picked up arms, though every wrong action of his burdened him with guilt. Soulless knew that maybe he would never be able to get salvation for the sins he had committed, but he didn’t have a choice, as the life of his family was at stake. Benicio and Suellen found out about Soulless’ backstory, and they started keeping track of his wife’s movements. Soulless didn’t like that fact, and with the intention of killing Benicio and Suellen, he made a trap. He intentionally allowed the police officers to track his location and then left a bomb there to kill them. Fortunately for Benicio and Suellen, two other local cops reached there before they could. The local agents lost their lives, and that’s when Benicio and Suellen got to know that it wasn’t going to be so easy to stop this man.
What was the Organization’s big plan?
Towards the end of Criminal Code, there were a lot of theories made by the police officers to assess what exactly the Organization wanted to do. Benicio and others believed that the robberies were being committed only so that they had the funds to execute a large-scale plan. The police officers connected the dots, and they came to the conclusion that they probably wanted to take over an entire town, but more importantly, what they figured out was that the Organization and the Ambassador’s team weren’t going against each other anymore. There was a truce, and the two teams stopped attacking each other as they realized that they could achieve much more if they combined their resources and manpower. The plan was to not only rob banks and take charge of an entire town but also to make the Ambassador escape from prison. The police officers didn’t know if they were even equipped to deal with such a situation, but they didn’t have time to make preparations as they knew that if the Organization was successful in its endeavors, then it would be a huge problem for them.
How did Moreira catch Guilherme?
Moreira was the only person in the entire police force who had been able to enter the Organization, and he had been an undercover agent for the longest time. Benicio had doubts about him and his allegiances at the beginning of the Criminal Code, but soon, he realized that behind the mysterious and, at times, obscure ways and means of the man, there were just pure intentions. Moreira had been suspended, but he was still active, and he had been working with Bigado and other members of the Organization. Moreira wanted an out and so he faked his death in front of the gang members, as he knew that was the only way he could survive.
Later, he joined the Ambassadors’ team, risked his life, and provided valuable intel to Rossi and the entire police department. Moreira had his eyes on Guilherme for a very long time, and he knew that the latter was up to something. Guilherme had been lured in by Amaro, who worked with a man named Isaac, who was one of the leaders in the Organization. Isaac was the head of the ghost gang, and it was said that he never left any evidence and had the ability to vanish into thin air after every crime he committed. The Ambassador had also heard about him, and probably that is why he had decided to join forces and work as a unit. Isaac got all the information from Guilherme, and he used it to stay a step ahead of the police force. Moreira busted Guilherme, but it was already a bit too late. Moreira proved to the people who doubted his loyalty that his conscience was not for sale and that he would do anything to keep his country and his fellow countrymen safe from such predators.
Did the Ambassador escape from prison?
During Criminal Code‘s ending, Soulless and Djeison, the big guns of the criminal organization, were finally put behind bars, but the Ambassador and Isaac were able to make a narrow escape. There was a mole in the police force who worked for Isaac, and when both sides came face-to-face in combat, he took the opportunity and fled with the Ambassador to Isaac’s hideout. It was considered to be a huge victory, especially for the forensics team, as for the first time, DNA evidence was used on such a large scale, and it revolutionized the way things were done in Brazil. The forensics team even got the DNA hit of the year award, but still, Benicio, Suellen, Moreira, Rossi, and others knew that their job was only half done as the key players were still on the run, and in the future, they would once again try to destabilize both countries and try to build their lost empires. We believe that the makers could come up with another season of Criminal Code where we would get to witness what the Ambassador and the Ghost Gang do next and if the police force was able to get the better of them this time or not.