This Friday, May 28, Amazon Prime Video premieres ‘Parot’, a series whose complex plot serves as a none-too-shabby account of the difficulty of correctly solving so many open fronts. In the first place, this thriller was presented as a particular cop show set in 2013 when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) annulled the controversial Parot doctrine. This ruling led to the release of dozens of prisoners, “murderers, rapists and terrorists” as the series repeatedly reminds us on different occasions that, shortly after being released, started showing up dead, murdered in the same way as their victims.
The investigation of the case falls to Isabel Mora (Adriana Ugarte), an upstanding policewoman who also frequently insists on the need to comply with the law, “for better and for worse.” Well, she herself was raped by one of the released prisoners, the aristocrat Julián López de Haro (Iván Massagué), who, far from reintegration, takes advantage of his freedom to finish off the woman who sent him to prison.
All three storylines, the murderer of released prisoner who decides to take justice into his own hands killing at will, the trauma from our protagonists rape, and the search for revenge on her attacker, are all blended into the first episodes of ‘Parot’ but without the series’ true intentions becoming clear, as it doesn’t delve into the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Spain, which declared the Parot doctrine illegal, or the controversy it aroused in the media and society. Rather, it limits itself to presenting the opposing views of legal experts Isabel and her partner, the investigator Jorge Nieto (Javier Albalá), who would prefer not to investigate the case and leave the gorilla mask-wearing murderer to kill all the undesirables released he or she desires.
When it comes to Isabel, what is striking is that the entire dramatic dimension of the character is marked by her rape. She is an overprotective mother with a teenage daughter, Sol (Nicole Wallace), and who she refuses to allow to go out with her friends from fear that her daughter may suffer a similar attack. She has no personal life because, in the words of her mother, Andrea (Blanca Portillo), she has never been capable of having a healthy relationship with a man since. But Isabel has become a strong woman, no less than a member of the force, to face her past.
With the release of López de Haro, the trauma Isabel believed she had overcome comes back to haunt her and the series doesn’t skimp on unnecessarily graphic and aestheticized images of the rape. In the scene itself, a young, pure, and innocent Isabel attends a costume party at the aristocrat’s spectacular mansion dressed as a white and virginal fairy. There, her attacker awaits her, wearing a devil mask with huge horns and is presented as a psychopath. Few niceties. And again, when the young woman tries to commit suicide as she feels she cannot endure the consequences she’s suffering after the aggression, our actress is incomprehensibly idealized, wearing the purest of pure white dresses as she throws herself into a crystalline lake, her hair fluttering as she slowly sinks, as the soundtrack underlines the drama of the scene.
To top it all off, Isabel’s mother, a therapist who studies anxiety among hardened criminal prisoners, finds herself getting involved in a bizarre relationship with Plaza (Michel Brown), one of the released rapists who, unable to deal with the fear of the real world after prison, becomes completely dependent on her. “This is nuts”, Portillo exclaims in the trailer. And of course, she’s right.
‘Parot’ certainly tables a wide range of debating topics, from sentencing of criminals convicted of serious crimes and how much time they should serve, to their potential reinsertion. But instead of asking questions, the series tends to portray the most extreme views encouraging audiences to choose from the gray scale in the middle. That aside, what’s perhaps even more worrying is that sexual violence is once again wielded as a narrative resource, even after the #MeToo movement and series like “I May Destroy You”, which, far from depicting the perfect victim, explores the myriad of consequences rape survivors are forced to live with. Their doubts, revictimization, and feelings of guilt. It remains to be seen if future episodes will delve deeper behind any of the many doors episode one opens up.
Created and written by Pilar Nadal together with Alonso Laporta, Olga Salvador, Mauricio Romero, Luis Murillo and Luis Murillo Arias; Directed by Gustavo Ron and Rafael Montesinos for TVE, in a co-production with ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) which will distribute it internationally, all 10 episodes of ‘Parot’ are set to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, May 28th. And they’ll also be available in the future on Spain’s national TV network, TVE. Release date yet to be confirmed.