A new Mexican “telenovela,” or soap opera, is aimed at boosting the image of Mexico’s federal police and their fight against drug trafficking.
“El Equipo” (The Team) uses attractive actors and dramatic action sequences to glorify “los federales” and debase their drug trafficking opponents, as Time reports. The show flits between the cops’ daily battles against organized crime, and the drama of their interpersonal relationships at home and on the job. (See trailer below).
Fans and supporters praise the new series, saying that it will improve the bad reputation of law enforcement in Mexico. Yet critics accuse Televisa, which produces the show, of being nothing more than a propaganda machine for the Calderon government, which is under increasing pressure over its use of federal and military forces to put down drug traffickers. Recent protests have opposed Calderon’s hardline tactics against drug gangs, claiming that this approach has actually worsened violence in Mexico.
Calderon insists that the media needs to make clearer who the true heroes and villains are. Mexico has for some time been saturated by culture that glorifies narcos, from magazines about the gangster life, “narcocorridos” that sing the praises of drug kingpins, to the TV soap opera hit “La Reina del Sur,” (The Queen of the South) which sympathetically follows the life of a beautiful drug trafficking “queenpin.”
“El Equipo’s” producers claim they are trying to show a Mexican public, jaded from years of scandal and police corruption, that the police should be admired instead of despised. The soap opera follows a cast of glamorous young federal officers in their daily fights against ugly and dishevelled drug traffickers. At the same time, it aims to humanize the police officers by showing their struggles on the job.
However, it may take more than one hit soap opera to convince the Mexican public that the police are indeed the good guys.