Belasocoaran, PI (Season 1): Review, Recap, and Ending, Explained: Netflix teams with Perro Azul Productions to visualize the re-telling of Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s ‘Todo Beloscoaran’ on-screen. The series is titled Belascoaran PI (Belascoarán, PI, a.k.a Private Investigator), with each part of the three episodes running at an average of 70 plus minutes and paced beautifully as we gallop through a Mexican rookie detective’s journey into the unknown and dangerous world of killers and the criminal underbelly of the 1970s in Mexico City.
While each episode is an independent novel of Hector Belascoaran Shayne’s adventures, we learn of what Mexico was like during the Women’s Liberal Movement and how women’s empowerment changed what men expected. While embarking on his true calling of being an independent detective, Belascoaran’s sister proves to be incredible support and foundation to his doubtful and anxious moments when he falls from grace to finding his adrenaline rush again. He finds love most unexpectedly after a failed marriage, and his life has a whole new purpose. Fuelled with a new fire, let us understand what Belascoaran makes of his new life and how he manages to arrest dangerous criminals. Prepare for heavy spoilers.
Belascoaran PI (Season 1) Review:
A Portrait of a Mexican Drunken Keli-Cola Rookie Detective
This three-part series of Season 1 is an incredible 70+ minutes long and could have easily been broken up into smaller parts. Surprisingly, time does not sneak up on you as you watch the first episode. Each part is an adaptation from several novels, and each episode is structured perfectly so that we can just disappear into the plot, the imagery, and the cadence of the episode.
Directors Gonzalo Amat, Ernesto Conteras, and Hiromi Kamata, with Writers Aura Garcia Junco, Augusto Mendonza, and Rodrigo Santos, bring a slick mystery drama portraying a political activist’s different novels to the screen and thrilling us with a saucy combination of Luis Gerardo Mendez as Hector Belascoaran Shayne, the lead character and Paulina Gaitan, his girlfriend Irene or The Girl in the Ponytail while in the 1970’s era of Mexico City.
While the love they share on screen is full of hot Mexican sauce between Belascoaran and Irene, Luis Gerardo Mendez perfectly characterizes a rookie detective on screen with his supporting actor Silverio Palacios, his landlord. The dialogues are synthetic and perfectly synergize with the story. The series captures your attention with humor and wit, as any great detective show should.
The narrative tries to stay detached from emotion and respite, and the characters experience setbacks that do not turn into introspection. With adventure always around the corner, the creators felt it unnecessary to spare time for emotion. Always maintaining it at a climax, the series almost feels like the narrative is a constant adrenaline rush, only until the season finale. While it may seem an effortless transition, we know what we can expect from a new season.
Belascoaran PI (Season 1), Part 1 Recap:
Belascoaran and His Girl with the Ponytail Hunt The Strangler
Based on one of the novels by Paco Ignacio Taibo II titled ‘Days of Combat’, we see an introduction to Hector Belascoaran Shayne’s world turning upside down as he answers his calling to serve people comes after a stale lifestyle with a wife whom he knows does not love him and an icky job. One would term it a mid-life identity crisis, but his mid-life crisis was still on its way from the curb.
At the time of this change in his life, the city of Mexico had a dangerous killer on the move. His elder sister Elise, a college professor and an activist against capitalism and westernization, confirms and blesses this transition that he makes. She even gives him a gun that his mother used during the time of the war. His aim is quite pathetic. However, with time, that changes for the better.
With a shabby and loud landlord named Gomez Letras, who introduces him to Keli-Cola and is an addict himself, Belascoaran buys a kit that takes him through the basics of being an investigator. Belascoaran follows up on all the cases involving the Strangler, who operates in remote dark places in the city. Belascoaran figures the only way to draw him out is to get onto a television show using the public eye. Dark events have Belascoaran visit a new crime scene. Slowly, he begins his sleuthing to investigate and find clues. Soon, we learn that Strangler’s name is Cerevro. The only clue he leaves behind is a cigarette butt with the initials HB of a German brand.
One day, Isaldo, the cart lady, spots a stranger following Belascoaran in the street. She tells him, and he tries to chase the person, but they get away. With some luck, he spots someone who has taken a picture at the same moment as he is chasing after the person. That picture leads him to a racetrack because his landlord recognizes the person’s jacket. He finds Irene, a race girl practicing her driving prowess on a racetrack. He only remembers her as The Girl in the Ponytail. She reserves her name for the moment but stays consistently in touch with Belascoaran.
Irene, The Girl in the Ponytail, has a deep and dark history with the Strangler. Belascoaran slowly understands her need for vengeance and allows her to join him in the investigation while sharing an intimate connection with her. With the police trying to throw him out at every step of the investigation, Belascoaran evades arrest and must deal with the killer independently. The killer reaches out to him and recites verses of poetry. This puzzles him, but he knows it is a valuable clue. After getting hit by a car and confirming his need for a gun, Belascoaran grows restless.
The murderer gets better at his enticing as time goes by. A receipt is dropped from the killer’s coat as Belascoaran pursues after him during a call the killer makes to him. At the dry cleaners, he finds a crucial piece of information with the coat. A diary of the killer, reminiscing his kills. He continues his search for the murderer despite receiving a staggering $64,000 on the television program. He nearly captures the murderer at the show. The killer manages to escape while Belascoaran and his girl pursue him. Isaldo, the cart lady, is discovered dead outside his apartment the following day. Belascoaran learns that she has been strangled. On seeing her dead, his entire world collapses around him.
Belascoaran and Irene find the initials MT on the diary and on the killer’s coat leading them to an old factory space where the killer resides. While Irene waits outside, Belascoaran enters the compound with his gun raised, slowly moving towards the basement where he can hear the radio on full volume giving updates about the rookie detective’s win on the show. While Cerevro, the killer, discusses the trophies he collected from his victims while killing them, he tries to tempt Belascoaran. The rookie detective does not accept and has his killer at gunpoint.
When they both spot someone running outside the window, Cerevro escapes and traps Belascoaran in the room. With a crowbar, the rookie opens the door just in time to stop Cerevro from strangling Irene. Irene takes the lead and gets into the car when the Belascoaran throws him off Irene. She rams Cerevro into the shutter of his garage twice, killing him. The end of the episode slowly leads into the next episode, where we see two gay men in a park sharing their sexual impulses when they see the dead body of a Union captain at a factory named Renato Barrera, a friend of Elisa’s, Belascoaran’s sister.
Belascoaran PI (Season 1), Part 2 Recap:
Belascoaran Kills Two Birds With One Stone
This episode is titled ‘An Easy Thing’; we delve further into Belascoaran’s life as he takes on another case. This time, he knows the person. Renado Barrera’s body is found in a park where gay men frequently visit their lovers and share intimate moments. In a comical moment, the police also raided the park and arrested Belascoaran. After he is released on bail, Belascoaran pays the bail amount for a prostitute as well whose pseudonym is Crystal. After Gomez, Belascoaran’s landlord, playfully calls him gay, Marissa Ferrera, a famous actress, avails of Belascoaran’s services to repair her relationship with her daughter. With two cases in hand, Belascoaran finds it difficult to balance everything on his plate. When he starts following Marissa’s daughter, Virginia, close to her convent school, he notices three guys harassing her, and he steps in and helps her.
After shooing them off, he knows something is completely off. Some people knew Barrera was gay and informed Belascoaran of a man he would speak to frequently. Camposanto was a big engineer at the plant where Barrera worked. As we follow a linear narrative, Belascoaran sleuths around Camposanto’s office to find a planner where he is scheduled to meet Barrera a day after he is murdered. A big lead for the rookie detective. There was a motive for the killer. On seeing Camposanto, he tries to question him but is immediately interrupted, and security guides him out of the building.
After meeting Marissa’s husband Burgos, a famous Mexican producer, Belascoaran tries to follow Camposanto and finds his nemesis Commander Paniagua, head of the Mexican Police force, talking to him. Camposanto seems deeply perturbed, and Belascoaran decides to leave his contact at his house address. At the same time, tragedy strikes, and Virginia is kidnapped. Resentful of doing two cases at one time, Belascoaran is lucky when the shopkeeper who keeps a stall opposite the convent school hands him the car plate number of the kidnappers. He tries to convey his apologies to the mother, who is drugged and unconscious. He gets a call from Gomez telling him Camposanto wants to meet him immediately at a hotel.
He finds Camposanto bleeding on the hotel room floor with his last words,’ Dr. Luis Mediesta.’ He remembers seeing Commander Paniagua in the parking lot, knowing who is behind this, and running back to his car. After finding out that the number plate belongs to a bowling alley where Virginia’s ex-Arturo works, it suddenly comes back to him. Meanwhile, Belascoaran must quickly find out what Camposanto’s post-mortem reveals. Dr. Amada Luna reveals that he had vicious tumors that would take his life any day, and the bullets were his savior. This makes him suspicious of possible metal poisoning. He takes his new associate, Javier, a civil engineer, and his equipment to the Delex factory to discover that the rods meant to construct a new hospital emit radiation, putting all in contact at severe risk.
Elisa and Belascoaran visit the nuns at the convent school and persuade them to help Virginia no matter the consequences. The Nuns find some common sense and reveal a package of photographs. These secret photographs show Marissa Ferrer engaging in sexual intercourse with Bishop Lecuona, the city’s celebrated priest, and high public figure. These photographs unravel a scandal that Belascoaran is not ready to deal with yet. In a precarious position, he tries to get his head around it, but suddenly a car comes out of nowhere and shoots at him. Mostly, he misses the bullets until one of his left eyes is struck, and he falls unconscious.
He wakes at the hospital, and Irene is sitting next to him. Showing no respite, he wakes up and immediately makes a call to Gomez about the last 48 hours that he was unconscious. With the missing photographs, he has no leverage, which puts Marissa and Virginia at risk. He decides to get Gomez and Javier, his two associates, to call up every single hotel in the city and threaten to blow the place up until the girl is found. Then the three of them, Elisa, Irene, and Belascoaran, get into the car and drive through the streets to use Crystal’s network of prostitutes to find Virginia.
Finally, when they do, they bring Virginia back home to explain calmly to Marissa that Burgos was responsible for throwing Virginia off the balcony when he wanted to use those photos to sell to the media. He had installed a camera to record the acts. When Virginia found them, she hid them, but the news got out about the pictures. After losing one eye, Belascoaran discovers he has better aim with his gun with only his right eye.
It is time to confront the general manager of the Delex Factory, and Belascoaran breaks into his house. He waits for Javier Cuesta to enter and surprises him with a direct confession. When he confesses to everything, and after confirming all that he knows, including killing both Camposanto and Barrera, Belascoaran takes the phone’s mouthpiece and disconnects the line. He then turns on the radio, and we hear Cuervo, an RJ on a radio show known as ‘The Hour of the Crow,’ speak plainly that the General Manager has admitted to killing two people. Belascoaran returns to burn the pictures to safeguard both Virginia and Marissa. Towards the end, we see a man dressed in Roman attire enter Belascoaran’s building, and he is pulled into the toilet and knocked unconscious.
Belascoaran PI (Season 1) Part 3 Recap:
Belascoaran Revives an Urban Legend
A new mystery begins when Belascoaran and the team find a dead man in Roman attire on a latrine on their office floor. After pulling a key and some money out of his sock, Belascoaran also receives a ticket to Los Angeles with a note saying, ‘Stay out of it.’ Confused but charged with courage, he decides he is going to Los Angeles for answers. After asking his girlfriend Irene about joining him in Los Angeles, he is introduced to his new pet Rataplan, a grey rabbit.
Belascoaran learns as the narrative progresses that the victim’s name is Leobardo and that he works as a performer in a renowned theatre for theatrics. At the joint, he meets actress and performer Kassandra, who tells him an odd tale. Augustin was another performer who perished alongside Leobardo. Belascoaran follows the joint owner backstage, knowing he is the best person to ask about these individuals after Kassandra makes a toast to both on stage. Kassandra tells Belascoaran a strange tale of her husband, Zorak, a legendary performer. He died a strange death due to an accident with a helicopter, but Kassandra believes he was killed.
Suddenly he goes straight to the airport and asks for a refund on the air ticket while Irene calls him to board the flight. When he gets his refund, he blows her goodbye while she blows him a middle finger kiss. Belascoaran feels he needs to understand Zorak a little more and decides to pay a visit to RJ Cuervo at the radio station. When Cuervo explains who Zorak is as a personality, he lets the public know that he is with Belascoaran. Commander Paniagua feels a sense of rage listening to the radio station and sends his men to shoot Belascoaran and his associate, Javier, in a paper market alley.
After learning that he is not safe in his apartment anymore and informing his sister Elisa as well, Belascoaran decides to take Rataplan, his rabbit, along with him and tail Commander Paniagua hoping he will lead him to Captain Mutt, Zorak’s ex-bodyguard, and owner of the parlor. Belascoaran finds Kassandra bleeding after being shot when he finds him and his guards. He tries to rescue her but cannot get her out of the building.
Having knocked out one of the guards before getting into the apartment, Belascoaran gets into the car and drives to a forest. He makes the guard strip down and interrogates him while he hugs the tree buck-naked. After the guard confesses to following orders for leaving a dead Roman in Belascoaran’s office building and escapes into the wild, the rookie detective understands he must go on the offensive against his archnemesis. He takes the guard’s car and blows it up in front of the Mexican Police station.
Belascoaran, PI (Season 1), Part 3 Ending, Explained:
After learning he has nowhere to go, Belascoaran makes his way to Irene’s house, climbs from the outside, and lands on her terrace. The door is locked. He awaits her return, and she eventually lets him in. But after seeing an article about Kassandra in a hospital, he knows she is unsafe there and decides the next morning to set her free. The following morning, he puts on a lab coat and goes straight into the hospital, and knocks out the guard to gain access to Kassandra. Kassandra is in denial of whether her husband was killed due to his dangerous connections, and Belascoaran begs her to see his perspective. He sets her free by putting her on a plane to a safe place.
These interferences further anger the Mexican police. When Belascoaran is with his sister outside her building, there is a drive-by shooting, and Elisa is hurt with a wound on her thigh and needs immediate medical attention. Since they both are not safe in their own houses, they go to Irene’s house and take shelter for the night. Belascoaran comes up with another plan. To bring back the dead. But differently.
He hires Gomez, his landlord, to don a costume resembling the one Zorak wore while on TV. On the rail tracks, he would do a well-known act. He would be able to stop a locomotive by putting out his hand, violating the laws of physics as we know them. With Javier in the driver’s seat of the train, the train halts almost exactly at Gomez’s palm. They both enjoy their little secret until the cops try and chase them down. While this worked as a perfect distraction, Belascoaran burst into Commander Paniagua’s office, demanding an explanation for why he was involved in all these matters. Soon he understands that while Zorak’s associates saw him as a new Sherlock Holmes, the Roman and Zorak were not related in any manner. But Belascoaran realizes he shot two cops to release Kassandra, which puts his life at risk. Even serious jail time.
Before the face-off ends, Belascoaran looks out the window, and Commander Paniagua pulls out his gun to shoot Belascoaran dead, but the rookie detective finds his aim within seconds and kills the Commander with a headshot. Everything has changed, and he will be the most wanted man on the Mexican Police Force List. He escapes through the window of the Commander’s office. He lands on the ground, and the policeman who escaped in the wild holds him at gunpoint. Because Belascoaran let him live, the policeman says the score is settled and allows him to run away before the police force comes chasing after him in the next few minutes. Irene reaches on time and rescues him on her bike.
At the beginning of this episode, Elisa is pregnant but unsure of whether to keep the child. Towards the end, she decides that she will keep it—a beautiful baby girl. But Belascoaran wants to get drunk with his mates and celebrate his new triumph. When he is about to buy a bunch of Keli-Colas, another drive-by shooting takes place; this time, he is the target. He collapses on the cart of bottles as shards of glass spray the air. But he opens his eyes again, and we know even death will never get him.
While this season ends, the creators bring a fantastic series to the fore and entertain us thoroughly with a slick and witty Spanish man maneuvering evil and good to his advantage. While this is also a lengthy read, there is nothing more to say except that every minute of this series is worth soaking in visually. Take some time and watch it. Save your time reading this article even though you have reached the end. (This should have been my first paragraph.)