How Trese’s Walking Dead Episode Addresses Police Brutality

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Trese, now streaming on Netflix, as well as a discussion on police brutality against minorities.

One of the most shocking episodes in Netflix's Trese comes when protagonist Alexandra Trese has to solve the mystery behind a zombie infestation in Manila. She's accustomed to fighting off creatures of the night but this desecration catches her off guard. Massacres around the city have led to a ritual where these bodies -- including women and children -- are being used as supernatural fodder. What ensues is a tale of horror and fear a la The Walking Dead, but there's a key twist to it that also addresses the timely topic of police brutality.

During the episode, Alexandra uses her connections to the underworld to assess the damage, realizing there's a puppet master at play as the zombies descend on Captain Guerrero's precinct. He was her father's close ally in the war that involved humanity and the mystical realm, helping him strike a balance and come up with the accords. She can't afford to lose this ally.

But Guerrero's team is pinned down at the station, realizing the zombies are relentless and hungry for the flesh of cops, in particular. Alexandra quickly discovers there are magical stones linked to the rise of the undead and along with her team -- Santelmo (a flaming head), the war twins Crispin and Basilio, and Hank -- she's able to stem the tide a bit until they get to the final relic.

It turns out this one is in the stomach of one of the men inside the jail, Raul. Captain Guerrero is stunned to learn Raul let himself be captured, and that he's the one signaling the zombies to attack. He hates the police for the brutality and injustice they mete out to the lower class, as seen with the cops ridiculing prisoners earlier in the episode. In fact, they seem to be corrupt as well, painting a picture similar to Fox's Gotham as Guerrero is lost on how to redeem them.

Raul is scathing in his remarks, telling the captain he bets he can't even remember the names of the criminals his men gun down, sometimes innocently and without proof. It's Trese's clear statement on systematic racism, oppression and how cops can abuse the power of the law to inflict punishment as a result. Raul hates how they pretend to be judge, jury and executioner.

But when Captain Guerrero starts recalling all their names, tearing up, Raul realizes he's one of the good ones. He can tell the boss is remorseful over how some people are framed and abused, such as Raul's brother, and it's clear the boss's hands are tied because no matter how much policy he lays down, the men beneath him warp it.

Raul ends up splitting up the stone and Alexandra uses her supernatural skills to stop the zombie broadcast and send the undead back to the afterlife, leaving Guerrero grateful that Raul has a heart. It leaves Alexandra, meanwhile, even more curious over the overlord who's pulling Raul's strings to destabilize the city in Trese.

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