Criminal Code review: Procedural slog gets better as it concludes

Criminal Code follows Federal agents working hard to solve bank robberies and get to the offenders before they execute an unprecedented organized effort. The series is currently streaming on Netflix.


Benício seeks revenge against the gang member named Soulless for killing his partner Santos. Months later, he finally gets partnered up with Suellen, who is ready to partner up with a rogue agent like him to get on the field.

Benício and Suellen inadvertently let Soulless slip out of their hands, as the DNA match for him arrives only after he’s been let go from custody. Rossi allows the two detectives to lead the investigation into the Proguard robbery and the prison break that led to Santos’ death.

The two detectives follow Roleta, who plans a new robbery with Soulless but is killed before that can come to fruition by other corrupt cops.

Soulless goes ahead with the robbery and pulls it off, before Benício and Suellen, along with DNA analyst Yuri and a suspended detective sent by Wladimir, spoil their escape.

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Soulless plans another robbery with the Ghost Gang as Benício and Suellen uncover his real name, past, and family.

Soulless reaches the Ambassador’s Hacienda with the spoils of robbery as the Organization and Ambassador’s men plan for their biggest effort yet — to break the Ambassador out of his captivity at the Tacumbú Penitentiary.

Rossi and his superior Wladimir move to extradite Ambassador well before that but a mole inside Rossi’s department derails their effort as the gang members manage to slip Ambassador out of their grasp.

Benício has a tense confrontation with Soulless and apprehends him. Rossi is praised and allowed to form a team to go after the Ghost Gang. Suellen separates from her husband and João the mole is caught, as Criminal Code concludes.


Thomás Aquino brings a lot of intensity to his antagonist with more shades to his character than are visible at first glance.

Maeve Jinkings goes toe-to-toe with other intense co-actors as Suellen and shines both in the role of a cop obsessed with the adrenaline of high-stakes situations and of a struggling mother and wife.

Rômulo Braga is eccentrically intense and animated as the rogue detective who’d violate any order to hunt down his late partner and friend’s killer. It can be rather hilarious to watch him get uncomfortably close to other characters during several instances.


The final episodes of Criminal Code take the show on a thrilling high that may make some forget how slow and uneventful the show had been at times before that.

The methodical nature of the investigations is commendable, even if it comes at a cost of runtime and drags things out until they become a chore to follow.

The performances though not exceptional, are effective and do manage to lend significant emotional weight to an otherwise mechanical affair.


At over an hour’s worth of runtime for each episode, the show really takes its time to build up to the thrilling parts. It’s so indulged in the slog of the process that it gets bogged down by it.

The Ghost Gang’s entry into the narrative doesn’t seem as seamless even though they later prove to be the most formidable antagonists for the cops.

Speaking of formidable characters, it’s impossible to not find Moreira compelling, but one wishes they could get more of the trauma and past life that informs Moreira’s actions and the drive of a daredevil.

It’s confounding as to why Criminal Code doesn’t stick to a narrator to explain away the rigorous parts of the process and the exposition, which would give way for the show to be more creative with its visuals and storytelling.


A police procedural slog that gets significantly better near its end, Criminal Code has a lot of great things to offer but only when consumed episodically and not in a binge.

Criminal Code
Criminal Code review: Procedural slog gets better as it concludes 1

Director: Heitor Dhalia, Pedro Morelli

Date Created: 2023-11-14 13:30

Editor's Rating:

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