Belascoaran, PI is a Netflix series based on the fictional detective created by Paco Ignacio Taibo II. Each episode is based on a different novel where the Mexican national solves a different case. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Hector Belascoaran Shayne is a man living in Mexico City who is miserable with his cushy suburban life and decides to abandon it completely to become an independent detective.
His first case involves the death of several women around the city at the hands of a serial strangler. During his investigation, he meets the girl with the ponytail, Irene who eventually becomes his lover. He works out of an office with some help from his landlord, Gomez.
Hector also makes enemies through the work he carries out, especially Paniagua, a corrupt member of law enforcement who constantly interrupts his investigations.
Hector eventually catches the strangler and his reputation is enhanced, handing him more opportunities to solve cases involving influential people like the actress, Marissa Ferrer, or expose a corporate scandal involving radioactive materials making people sick without their knowledge.
Luis Gerardo Méndez is highly charismatic in his role as Hector, who isn’t an over-smart detective but a regular individual with good instincts and a nose for details. Méndez carries the series in a performance that makes the character quite enjoyable.
Irene Azuela and Paulina Gaitan are the supporting women in Hector’s life, playing Elisa and Irene respectively. Azuela is the supportive older sister who helps Hector out in moments of need and offers good insight while Gaitan is the love interest who has a strong personality of her own that works well with Hector’s.
Silverio Palacios is the primary comic relief of the series in the form of Gomez the plumber and Hector’s landlord. He’s eccentric at times and his delivery is hilarious and shines on screen.
Belascoaran, PI employs several tropes of an old-school detective series and still manages to make them feel fresh and fun. The jazz heavy score and having Hector occasionally narrate with profound language are all parts of the series that make it delightful.
The comedy aspect of the series is handled as well as it never feels overdone. There’s a good balance struck between the humour and the drama of solving a serious case of murder. Hector is only quippy when required and doesn’t scramble the tone of the series.
The effects and editing department deserves credit for the magnificent way certain information is displayed on the screen as the story progresses. It’s visually attractive and never feels like too much.
The screenplay is extremely amusing with many references to several famous fictional detectives and their creators. They translate well in any language and maintain their quality.
Each episode is based on a different novel in the series with runtimes of close to 90 minutes. They feel like feature films rather than episodes and are a difficult task to watch in succession.
There are some moments when the severity of the situation isn’t given enough time to breathe or evolve. Elisa is shot while she’s pregnant but it has no long-lasting effect on her condition or frame of mind and even Hector takes losing an eye in his stride and literally walks it off soon after getting up.
Belascoaran, PI is a wonderful detective series that features a grounded and relatable protagonist. Luis Gerardo Méndez’s portrayal of Hector is witty and engaging and deserves recognition.
The acceptable adaptation in these episodes definitely warrants a crack at the other books in the series and the continued appearance of this intuitive investigator.
Director: Gonzalo Amat, Ernesto Contreras, Hiromi Kamata
Date Created: 2022-10-12 12:30