Mexican Police Drama Called Blatant Pro-Government Propaganda by Critics

The message behind Televisa's "El Equipo" is "so obvious that it's offensive," writes one of Mexico's most prominent TV critics.

MEXICO CITY -- Critics here are lashing out at a new Televisa police series, suggesting it is blatant pro-government propaganda that aims to shape public opinion on Mexico's controversial drug war.

Alvaro Cueva, one of Mexico's most prominent TV critics, wrote of the Televisa production El Equipo (The Team) that the message behind the program "is so obvious that it's offensive."

Mexico's ongoing drug war has claimed more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets last weekend here in the nation's capital to demand an end to the drug war, and they called on Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna to resign. 

The first of 15 one-hour episodes of El Equipo aired Monday in a primetime slot. Executive produced by Pedro Torres (Big Brother Mexico), the drama follows four elite federal police officers as they battle organized crime. The weekly political magazine Proceso described the program as a television commercial mixed with propaganda and melodramatic content, or in other words, "advertainment."

Televisa says the program is inspired by true stories. Be that as it may, Cueva says the characterizations of the cops and bad guys seem completely out of touch with reality.

"The federal police are good-looking, athletic, sensible … and well-dressed," he pointed out. "The criminals, on the other hand, are ugly, dark-skinned, pot-bellied, heartless and dress awfully."

Televisa had no immediate comment.