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Brazilian Behemoth Globo Hits Content Americas With ‘Justice Misconduct,’ About ‘Whatever Is Left of a Person’s Life after Justice Takes its Toll’

Brazilian TV behemoth Globo presented its world premiere preview of Brazilian series “Justice: Misconduct” at Content Americas, while also spotlighting its 2024 slate, presenting via sleek fast-paced sizzle reels its array of ever popular telenovelas such as “Crossed Paths,” “Land of Desire,” and “Perfect Love” alongside teasing the continuation of its successful “Justice” series.

“Justice: Misconduct,” the series created by Manuela Dias, is a narrative of moral complexity and human connection framed by the dilemmas surrounding the notion of justice.

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Season 1 debuted in 2016. Set against the richly textured backdrop of Recife in Brazil, the series unfolded through interconnected stories of characters navigating the turbulent waters of justice and redemption. Season 2 takes that success, building four new stories through its run. It switches geography too, an idea from director of the series Gustavo Fernández, placing the stories in Ceilândia, Brasilia and its environs. The first season’s success was highlighted by its nomination for best drama and actress at the 45th International Emmy Awards in 2017, showcasing the global appeal of Brazilian television.

Some original characters do return but most are fresh stories boasting a strong cast including Murilo Benício (“Internal Affairs,”) Paolla Oliveira (“Sweet Diva”) and Juan Paiva (“Um Lugar ao Sol”).

In the preview episode, we meet Carolina played by Alice Wegmann (“Rensga Hits!”) who returns to her hometown and family with her boyfriend Renato played by Filipe Bragança, reuniting with Wegmann having both starred in Emmy winner “Orphans of a Nation.” There she is thrust back into the trauma of a decade earlier surrounded by the toxicity and power her uncle (Murilo Benicio) still wants to exert over her. She grapples with her family’s wishes to keep a crime of abuse “in the family” or seek to heal through exposing the assaults she’s experienced.

The announcement of Season 2 comes as part of Globo’s strategic expansion of its original content offerings on the international stage. Globo’s participation in Content Americas shores up its commitment, with “Justice” serving as a prime example of the network’s ability to produce content with potential to play well with audiences worldwide.

Alongside “Justice: Misconduct,” Globo unveiled a robust lineup of Globoplay Originals series for the international market, including an adaptation of Fernanda Torres debut novel ‘The End,’  about five macho friends in Rio’s Copacabana  who reflect on their hedonistic glory days as age hits; “Carved In Stone,” a doc on Rio’s gambling underworld with Pedro Bial attached; and “Living On A Razor’s Edge,” created by José Junior (“Anti Kidnapping Unit”) a series inspired by Brazilian sociologist and activist Herbert de Souza’s a key figure in the political movement out of ‘60s Brazil to mobilize the poor. Julio Andrade (“Under Pressure”) is set to star.

Angela Colla, Globo’s head of international business and co-productions, highlighted the importance of Content Americas as a platform for showcasing Globo’s varied content library and exploring potential co-production partnerships.

“Content Americas is the first event of 2024 and we will reinforce all our possibilities and business solutions in this market. Our telenovelas have a lot of recognition, mainly in Latin America, and we continue to launch our successes,” Colla said.

She added: “Also, it is important to highlight that we have a varied portfolio, with series, documentaries, as well as formats that can be adapted for local productions. These are titles to win over all types of audiences, with themes that the audience is looking for. In addition, Content Americas is also an opportunity to have talks with potential partners aiming at co-production projects,” said Colla.

Variety caught up with Manuela Dias prior to the world premiere

“Justice: Misconduct” maintains its successful format but introduces new cities and stories. How did you approach preserving the essence of the original series?

Dias: ’Justice: Misconduct’ tells four stories that intertwine because they take place in the same city, at the same time. The protagonist of one story may be a supporting cast member in another, or show up as an extra in a third story. Just as we are the main characters in our story and, at the same time, extras in other people’s lives, like the motorcycle delivery man who made a delivery to our house today. For this delivery man, we are extras with no name and no story.

In addition to the city, each of the four stories includes a crime that lands someone in jail. The series sets out to investigate whatever is left of a person’s life after justice takes its toll. Both seasons share exactly the same format, but in different cities and with four completely different crime stories. Both seasons also feature the character Kellen, played by Leandra Leal. The 7-year time lapse between the two seasons is an actual passage of time that was incorporated into the character’s life.

The choice of Brasília and Ceilândia as main locations is intriguing, both are strictly planned urban environments. How did these settings influence the narrative and visual style of the series?

Over half of the episodes take place in Ceilândia, with Plano Piloto in the background. This exchange of the narrative space with the hegemonic space communicates with one of the series’ main goals throughout all seasons, which is locating the narrative point in characters from a historical backdrop. The voracity of everyday life flattens the human landscape and makes people into roles, stripping them of their inner characteristics and personal stories and, therefore, their importance. This viewpoint choice aims to restore this human landscape.

You’ve previously said that ‘Justice’ is more about the concept of justice rather than the law itself. How do the stories in Season 2 explore this theme, and what do you hope viewers will take away from it.

Laws are temporal, cyclical, and cultural, and, for that very reason, often unfair. Furthermore, there are irreparable crimes, such as murder. Nothing that can be done, not even the terrible death penalty, will restore life to the primary victim. And, if justice is already flawed in theory, its practices and the entire criminal system contribute even less towards a restorative process in society. Thinking about justice is also thinking about forgiveness and revenge. Is there any justice in revenge?  I believe that these are relevant questions because much of our idea of civilization is linked to the possibility that there is Justice on Earth or, at least, a kind of Supreme Court of Divine Justice, in which cases that have eluded us here would be resolved. As an author, I hope that people question the reality of our country and review their concepts and prejudices. But, above all, the dramaturgy of “Justice: Misconduct” sensitizes people to have more empathy and respect for others, as all people are complex beings with their pains and dreams.

You collaborated with Walter Daguerre and João Ademir on the creation of this season. How did this collaboration shape the series, and were there any significant creative debates or breakthroughs during the process that felt distinctly different to season 1?

Audiovisual is always a team effort and collaborators make all the difference. Walter participated in the first half of the process. Then I carried on without a team of writers, but with an incredible researcher and anthropologist, Aline Maia. João Adhemir is a screenwriter from Brasília who joined at the final phase of the process, working directly with me in localization and prosody. In addition to the script collaborators, the partnership with Gustavo Fernández who directed “Justice 2: Misconduct,” was decisive to the final product. So much so that the idea of bringing the series to the Ceilândia-Brasília hub was his. Also, Zé Luiz Villamarim, director of the first season and current director of dramaturgy at Estúdios Globo, was an active and decisive partner throughout the process.

The series features a mix of established actors and new talents. How did this diverse casting contribute to the storytelling, and what were the challenges and rewards of working with such a varied group of actors?

Strictly speaking, they are not exactly “new” talents. They are incredible and very experienced actresses and actors who were outside the audience’s most well-known circle. This opening is fantastic and we can all benefit from it. Actresses like Gi Fernandez or Belize Pombal, the protagonist of one of the stories, are a gift to any author and director. The freshness and originality of her scene reading is incredibly thought-provoking and very challenging. At the same time, writing for actors like Murilo Benício, Paolla de Oliveira, Marco Ricca and the young and brilliant Alice Wegmann… is another incredible privilege, their immense repertoire transforms the text, which is a delight for any playwright. I feel very accomplished with this cast, the result of dedicated work from our producers Marcella Bergamo and Ingrid Amaral.

There seems to be a growing regional focus in Brazil’s productions, are you feeling optimistic about the opportunities available to creators in the industry?

There is a due, general and historical outcry for audiovisual and all types of narratives to immediately open up to diversity and the inclusion of new points of view. I am part of this outcry. It is already crystal clear that whoever tells the story affects how the story is told. Actual institutional incentives must be created so that historically silenced voices may update the country’s history by retelling their stories and all the stories they want. The advancement of technology has led to an intense democratization of the means of audiovisual production, now it is also up to political will to create incentives in every way so that this process can be boosted and reach an increasingly larger audience.

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