Movistar+ premieres the first series from Rodrigo Sorogoyen on October 16th
The bumper harvest of Spanish series this fall (‘Patria’, ‘Veneno’…) will be joined this Friday by ‘Riot Police’, the first series by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, created together with Isabel Peña. This new Movistar + production follows the investigations of internal affairs detective Laia Urquijo (Vicky Luengo), who’s investigating an eviction carried out by six members of the Puma 93 riot unit (Raúl Arévalo, Álex García, Hovik Keuchkerian, Roberto Álamo, Raúl Prieto and Patrick Criado) which ended in tragedy. However, the young cop will soon realize that what initially seemed like a potential breach, actually goes far beyond the tragic intervention.
With the show’s protagonists always in center-stage, ‘Riot Police’ grabs you from the start with its realistic and high-energy setting, complete with frenetic action scenes. With a few sequence shots and several wide angle scenes, camera in hand, Sorogoyen showcases his mastery behind the camera (‘Madre’, ‘The Candidate’) together with his regular collaborators – cinematographer Alex de Pablo, art director Miguel Ángel Rebollo and editor Alberto del Campo, among others-, the series gives audiences an up-close look at the physical and emotional anguish experienced by the protagonists during some pretty high tension moments. This commitment to realism is rounded off with a demanding filming schedule shot on location at nearly two hundred different venues.
But this six-episode thriller co-produced by The Lab and Cabello Films is not only sensational for its breakneck pace, but while avoiding cliches, above all because it shows a more human and intimate side of police who face the most extreme violence every day. As such, they’re depicted as parents, boyfriends, friends and even as ex-partners. The best thing about this portrait is that it’s honest and packed with nuances: there are neither immaculate heroes nor agents who wield the baton at the drop of a hat, but rather professionals who work under extreme situations with limited resources. We should point out at this stage that Sorogoyen and his crew spent hours observing and interviewing real-life members of Spain’s riot squad, or Police Intervention Units (UIP).
Those who fear that an excess of testosterone might dissuade them from engaging with ‘Riot Police’ will find an abundance of reasons to get hooked on the story: Vicky Luengo, who plays Laia in the series, a detective of incorruptible principle, is the true protagonist who puts the screws on the entire unit through her astute and ambitious approach, although later on her obsessive search for the truth also leads her to reach out to them. She herself is also not perfect, which makes her more attractive than your run-of-the-mill heroine.
Although both Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña defend the series claiming that it neither positions itself nor tries to moralize or instruct us, undoubtedly their portrayal of the reality faced by police and the violence will set aside the prejudices of many. Sorogoyen and Peña have already confronted us with systemic corruption in movies like ‘The Candidate’ and ‘May God Save Us’. And they do it again, brilliantly in ‘Riot Police’.