Stars: Tainá Müller, Camila Morgado, Eduardo Moscovis
Good Morning, Veronica is terrifying, mostly in very mundane ways. It features murders and a criminal conspiracy to be unraveled by an intrepid police clerk, but these things are the expected beats of any old crime thriller. Where this one excels is in the banality of its true horror, which is the domestic abuse of women by men who claim to love them.
This manifests in several ways, but primarily in a plot that runs parallel to the main investigation. It’s that investigation that kicks off the series and keeps it moving, but the brutal story of Janete, a prisoner in her own home and essentially the captive of her psychotic husband, Military Police Colonel Brandao, anchors it firmly in reality.
When each episode ends with a message encouraging anyone who has experienced similar abuses to reach out for help, it’s obviously addressed at people very much like Janete, and not the titular Veronica.
This isn’t to say that Veronica, a clerk with a complicated family history who becomes embroiled in the serial exploitation of women through a dating site after witnessing one of the victims commit suicide in front of her, isn’t interesting on her own terms.
Some baggage notwithstanding, she’s relatively well-adjusted as such heroines go, with a stable home life, including a husband and two children, an avuncular relationship with the soon-to-be-retired police chief, and a pally working arrangement with her useful colleague, Nelson.
She isn’t defined by her trauma in the way that some characters like this are, but that trauma affords her a degree of empathy that is of great value when it becomes increasingly obvious how little the police are interested in these crimes committed against vulnerable women.
While Veronica’s case and Janete’s plight begin as separate story strands, they naturally weave together as the eight-episode season progresses, united by a common theme and then by the plot itself. Good Morning, Veronica is very good at building the usual tension around, say, Veronica creeping through a perpetrator’s house, or a brutal act of kidnapping, violation, and murder, but it’s exceptional at highlighting the kind of hot-and-cold abuse Janete experiences at the hands of Brandao. A spilled sauce at the dinner table is excruciating – perhaps even more so than any of the actual murders that occur.
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This isn’t a fun show, entirely by design. But its purpose is to highlight that not only do these things happen, they happen regularly and often in plain sight, to people you might know. It’s an effective story, both as a crime thriller and a cautionary tale, and it comes with a recommendation, though also an accompanying warning to be wary of its content, depending on your sensibilities.