The Endless Night is based on the events that followed one of the deadliest nightclub fires in history, which killed 242 people. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
It is Mari’s 20th birthday, and after celebrating with her family, she plans to spend the night at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria with her two friends. On January 26, 2013, several youngsters like Mari, including Guilherme, Felipinho, Marco, and Beatriz, go to the same club.
Past midnight on January 27, the band playing music at the club brings out firecrackers, and soon, the ceiling catches fire. The fire extinguishers at the club do not work, and the fire cannot be controlled.
Panicked guests rush to the only exit of the club, causing a stampede. Unaware of the disaster, the bouncer does not open the gate immediately to let people out. Finally, people stumble out, but there are several casualties, with some still trapped inside.
The firefighters, paramedics, and police arrive at the scene to find utter chaos. Not equipped to handle such a calamity, the Santa Maria University Hospital struggles to manage so many emergency cases at the same time.
Some people arrive at the hospital but then die due to breathing issues. The doctors theorize that these are not cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The bodies of those 242 people who did not survive are moved to the city sports gymnasium to be identified by their families, while two severely injured patients, Grazi and Fernando, are moved to a hospital in Porto Alegre.
After looking for their missing children at the club and hospitals all night, Mari, Guilherme, Felipinho, Marco, and Beatriz’s parents find out about their deaths. The grieving parents hold their funerals.
Portella and Rocha, the deputies handling the case, find out that when the polyurethane ceiling caught fire, it released hydrocyanic gas, which was used to kill the Jews in the camps during the Holocaust.
The victims died of cyanide poisoning, which explains why so many of them found it hard to breathe even after coming out of the club alive. Grazi’s leg is amputated, and most of Fernando’s body is severely burned.
One of the club owners, Dedé, attempts to kill himself in the hospital. The musicians, who had escaped after the fire broke out, attend the funeral of one of their band members who died in the fire and are arrested. However, the police only get five days of temporary arrest for them.
At a gathering for the victims, their parents unite to provide support to the survivors and demand justice for their children. Fifteen days after the incident, the parents form the Association of Victims of the Tragedy in Santa Maria.
The police discover that the club’s ceiling was lined with flammable foam because it was a cheaper alternative. Similarly, as indoor firecrackers are more expensive, the band used cheaper outdoor firecrackers, which had gunpowder and were not suitable to be used indoors.
Furthermore, the working fire extinguishers were removed from their original place because Dedé thought it ruined the aesthetics of the club, and the other extinguisher was used as a joke at a birthday a few days before the incident.
In April 2011, the fire department inspected the club and asked them to install emergency lights and exits. The club was renovated, but these problems were not addressed. In fact, guardrails were installed after the renovation.
Another inspection of the club a few months later did not mention any of these issues and was signed by a firefighter who was not even present there.
A month after the fire, at the DA’s office, Guilherme’s father, Geraldo, further points out that the club was overcrowded that night with around 1000 people, and it was allowed to function despite the expired permits. The parents demand that the guilty parties be charged with murder.
The police receive a tip that the city hall is hiding documents that show 29 irregularities inside the nightclub, which were kept from them.
The police indict 28 culprits, but the DA’s office only accuses the club owners and the musicians of manslaughter with intent, which means that the case would be a murder case and not a case where it would be argued whether the negligence was an accident.
The parents are dissatisfied and want the politicians to be punished as well. Mari’s father, Pedro, records a prosecutor saying that one of the club owners had a deal with the city hall, but they cannot prove anything.
As a result of her research, Felipinho’s mother, Ana, discovers that the prosecutors had shut down the club because of the noise, and it was allowed to reopen despite the irregularities.
If the prosecutors accuse someone from the city hall, they will also have to go after one of their own, Hernandes Pereira.
The parents keep fighting for justice for a year, while Grazi and Fernando recover. Moacyr, Beatriz’s father, resigns from the post of the president of the association, and Ricardo, Marco’s father, takes over.
Two years after the tragedy, still fighting for justice, the parents accuse the prosecutors of corruption. They cover the city hall and various other locations of Santa Maria in posters, criticizing the actions of the mayor and the city prosecutor.
As a result, the parents face another hurdle in their fight; Ana, Ricardo, Geraldo, and Pedro are charged with defamation and slander, while Ana is also charged with impersonation.
They are offered a deal by the Prosecutor’s Office — all the charges will be dropped if the parents sign an apology.
The Endless Night ending explained in detail:
Are the charges dropped?
Ana, Ricardo, Geraldo, and Pedro decide not to sign the apology for the sake of their children, despite the possibility of facing prison time if they are found guilty.
Ricardo and Pedro must stop their case from going to trial by proving that their claims were not lies. It takes years for them to get there, but they fail to prove to the panel of judges what they claimed was the truth.
As a last resort, Pedro releases the prosecutor’s statement that he had earlier recorded, which turns the tide in their favor in the public eye. The courts dismiss all the lawsuits against the four of them.
Do the parents of the victims get a jury trial?
The parents find out that the trials of the four accused are being moved forward. The court will make the judgments without a popular jury that would have otherwise judged the intent.
A panel of judges fails to come to a decision on whether the case should be presented to a jury or not, which favors the defendants and results in the prosecutors appealing it.
The parents, who are tired of fighting for years, try to prevent the demolition of the club to preserve everything. Additionally, Ricardo collapses, and his doctors ask him to rest. Pedro then becomes the president of the association.
Six and a half years after the fire, the parents get a hearing on the appeal from the Prosecutor’s Office, requesting a trial by a popular jury for the murder of 242 people.
Pedro speaks up in court to elaborate on the difference between an accident and accepting a risk that could lead to many deaths. Hearing his statement, the judge upholds the appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office, allowing them to present the case to a popular jury.
Do the parents get justice?
Grazi and Fernando attempt to accept their changed circumstances and move on in life. Grazi tries to dance again, whereas Fernando tries to play his guitar.
The trial gets delayed due to the pandemic and then takes place in 2021. The jury sentences the four defendants to 19-20 years in prison.
However, nine months later, the Rio Grande do Sul Justice Court overturns this verdict for technical reasons, and the four defendants are freed.
A new jury is yet to be scheduled. It has been ten years since the fire at Kiss nightclub, and no one is held accountable for the incident.
Some of the parents have already passed away, while some are learning to live with their grief and move on, but the association is still fighting to get justice for their children and punish those who were responsible for their deaths.