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The Mechanism
Also known asThe Mechanism
O Mecanismo
GenrePolitical drama
Created by
Written by
  • Elena Soarez
  • Sofia Maldonado
Directed by
  • José Padilha
  • Felipe Prado
  • Marcos Prado
  • Daniel Rezende
Country of originBrazil
Original languagePortuguese
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Production locations
Production companyZazen Produções
Original release
ReleaseMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23) –
May 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)

O Mecanismo (transl.The Mechanism) is a Brazilian political drama television series created by José Padilha and Elena Soarez, directed by Padilha, Felipe Prado, and Marcos Prado, and written by Elena Soarez. The show depicts Operation Car Wash (Portuguese: Operação Lava Jato), an ongoing police taskforce that discovered a widespread corruption scheme involving the Brazilian government and several prominent engineering firms.[1][2] The series premiered all episodes of the first season March 23, 2018, worldwide, on Netflix.[3]

On May 28, 2018, the series was renewed for a second season.[4] The second season premiered on Netflix on May 10, 2019.


Marco Ruffo (Selton Mello) is a Federal Police agent obsessed with the case he is investigating. When he least expects it, he and his apprentice, Verena Cardoni (Carol Abras), are already immersed in one of the largest diversion and money laundering investigations in Brazilian history. The proportion is so great that the course of investigations completely changes the lives of all involved.[5]




In April 2016, Netflix announced that it would produce an original, still untitled series that would follow the investigations of Operation Car Wash.[6] The series was produced by José Padilha, Marcos Prado and the production company Zazen Produções and written by Elena Soarez and Sofia Maldonado. The series was directed by José Padilha, Felipe Prado, Marcos Prado and Daniel Rezende.[7]


The Mechanism started its production in May 2017. Filming locations included the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Brasília.[8]


The first season of the series hold a approval rate of 80% in the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 ratings.[9]

Cassio Starling, in a criticism for Folha de S. Paulo, said that "As was clear from both " Elite Squad ", in addition to the box office success, Padilha seeks to provoke social responses, make the public react to anesthesia and automatic slogans .The enormous attention focused on Lava Jato, on the effects of investigations on the present and the immediate future of the country, could not escape the opportunism of Padilha. Therefore, “The Mechanism” developed little by little, almost insidiously, another plot, which justifies after all, the title. By introducing this fundamental question Padilha reaches a dimension, in fact, more political and less police, more daily and less exceptional. "[10]

Fábio de Souza Gomes, from Omelete, wrote that the program presents tiring fiction, unnecessary parallel plots, but has outstanding performances. He also commented that "although it doesn't seem a little forced, [Selton] Mello improves a lot throughout the series and manages to lead the story well in the shadows while [Caroline] Abras creates a complex and strong detective who seeks to find the corruption behind the country "He added that" The Mechanism could have been much better than it actually was. "[11]

Adolfo Molina, from Observatório do Cinema, summarizes that "The Mechanism is a failure as a representation of historical facts in Brazil for trying to seek exemption from the bias and failing, and a work of fiction also fails to fall into this trap."[12]

Ritter Fan, from Plano Crítico, wrote that "The scripts of the episodes, all written by Elena Soarez, are beyond didactic, with endless repetitions that hit the same monkkey practically every chapter like" fighting cancer does not leave anyone unscathed And things like that. In the field of performances, Selton Mello once again shows that he is one of the best Brazilian actors of his generation, even considering his irritating inability to speak out, his trademark since the beginning that makes understanding what he babble quite complicated. " He praised Enrique Díaz, saying that the performance "immediately resembled that of Robert Knepper as T-Bag, in Prison Break, that is, a rascal and rascal shaped to make us hate him, but at the same time we love him." He concluded by saying that "The Mechanism is a series with potential, but that it is not fully realized."[13]

Similarities with real life events

Despite the recurrent disclaimer at the start of each episode, declaring the screenplay is loosely based on a true story, with characters and events adapted for dramatic effect, many characters and companies depicted (but not all facts regarding them) can be easily traced to the actual people and companies involved in Operation Car Wash. Some such associations are:[14][15][16][17]

Character/Company Counterpart Actor
Petrobrasil Petrobras
Constructor OSA OAS Group
Constructor Miller&Brecht Odebrecht
Roberto Ibrahim Alberto Youssef Enrique Diaz
Judge Paulo Rigo Judge Sérgio Moro Otto Jr.
Former President João "Gino" Higino Then-Former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Arthur Kohl
President Janete Ruscov Then-President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff Sura Berditchevsky
Senator Lúcio Lemes Senator Aécio Neves Michel Bercovitch
Vice President Samuel Thames Then-Vice President of Brazil Michel Temer Tonio Carvalho
Mario Garcez Brito Márcio Thomaz Bastos Pietro Mário
João Pedro Rangel (Pepê) Paulo Roberto Costa Leonardo Medeiros
Ricardo Brecht Marcelo Odebrecht Emílio Orciollo Netto
Lorival Bueno (OSA CEO) Léo Pinheiro, then OAS Group CEO Sidney Guedes
Attorney General (no name in the show) Then-Prosecutor General of Brazil Rodrigo Janot Lionel Fischer
Prosecutor Dimas Donatelli Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol Antonio Saboia
Maria Tereza, Miller&Brecht Personal Assistant Maria Lúcia Tavares, then Odebrecht Executive Assistant Anna Cotrim
Police Chief Verena Cardoni Police Chief Erika Marena Caroline Abras
Agent "China" Newton Ishii, agent of the Federal Police of Brazil Fábio Yoshihara


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
18March 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
28May 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)

Season 1 (2018)

No. in
TitleEnglish titleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Lava Jato"Car WashJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
The family of federal delegate Marco Ruffo is being threatened after he tries to frame Roberto Ibrahim for money laundering.
22"Halawi"HalvahFelipe PradoElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
10 years later, Verena continues to investigate Ibrahim and the doleiros who work with him.
33"Ventos Frios Vindos do Sul"Cool Winds from the SouthFelipe PradoElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
The Federal Police team works hard to carry out an operation with multiple targets, but important evidence disappears.
44"Fundo Falso"False BottomMarcos PradoElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
Guilhome gets some unexpected help. Verena goes after João Pedro, and Judge Rigo reflects on a decision that can change everything.
55"Olhos Vermelhos"Red EyesMarcos PradoElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
Verena has a feeling she can not trust anyone else. Ibrahim's wife is furious to find out what her husband has done in jail.
66"Eles Sabiam de Tudo"They Knew It AllMarcos PradoElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
To force João Pedro to speak what he knows, investigators are seeking charges against his family. But a leak puts the whole operation at risk.
77"O Último Respiro"One Last BreathDaniel RezendeElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
The "Clube dos 13" (Club of 13) rush to close an agreement with the attorney general. In dealing with a sewage problem in the neighborhood, Ruffo has an epiphany and understands the origin of everything.
88"Juízo Final"DoomsdayDaniel RezendeElena SoarezMarch 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
Verena receives devastating news. Ruffo reevaluates his priorities. Dimas and Cláudio learn of the fate of Operation "Juízo Final" (Doomsday).

Season 2 (2019)

No. in
TitleEnglish titleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
91"De onde vem a lama?"Where Does the Mud Comes From?José PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Ruffo gets a valuable price from the secretary of the 13th contractor, Ricardo Bretch. Verena and Guilhone find themselves under investigation.
102"Del Este"Del EsteJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Vander's illegal wiretap pays off. When Ibrahim's new venture gets off to a bad start, his money-hungry wife makes a fatal error.
113"Adictos"AddictsJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Ruffo gets a surprise when he visits his wife at the ranch, and later makes a deal with Maria Tereza, who is followed home after picking up her son.
124"O grande ilusionista"The Great IllusionistJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Disciplined as ever, Bretch gets to work on a plan and gives his wife instructions. To find Ibrahim, Ruffo follows another trail Luz Maria has left.
135"Ponte da Amizade"Friendship BridgeJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Following the cigarette lead, Ruffo heads to Paraguay. When Guilhome learns Ruffo is pursuing Ibrahim alone, he sets out to find him and bring him back.
146"Réquiem"RequiemJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Verena finds herself at Ibrahim's mercy. When Eva is unable to convince Bretch to talk before Ibrahim does, she calls a political ally for help.
157"O fim e os meios"The Ends and the MeansDaniel RezendeElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
When Tom Carvalho tells Verena and the DA's office about shady deals involving former President Gino, Rigo issues orders that ignite a public firestorm.
168"Canastra Suja"Dirty CanastraJosé PadilhaElena SoarezMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Rigo is unable to ignore the new wiretap recording. The prospect of Thames becoming president spurs Verena to find a way to break Bretch's silence.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Golden Trailer Awards Golden Trailer Best Foreign (TV Spot/Trailer/Teaser for a series) Nominated [18]
2018 São Paulo Association of Art Critics Awards Best Director José Padilha Nominated [19]
2019 Associação Brasileira de Cinematografia TV - Best Cinematography Episode: Juízo Final (Doomsday) Nominated [20]


  1. ^ "Série sobre Lava Jato dirigida por José Padilha é anunciada pela Netflix". Pop & Arte (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  2. ^ "Começam as filmagens de O mecanismo, série com Selton Mello sobre a Lava Jato". G1 (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  3. ^ The Mechanism — Official Trailer [HD]. Netflix. 2018-01-18. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  4. ^ "Netflix anuncia 2ª temporada de O Mecanismo para 2019". UOL (in Portuguese). 2018-05-28. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  5. ^ "O Mecanismo" (in Portuguese). AdoroCinema. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Netflix anuncia série sobre Operação Lava Jato para 2017". O Estadão (in Portuguese). April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "Começam as filmagens de 'O mecanismo', série com Selton Mello sobre a Lava Jato". G1 (in Portuguese). May 15, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Começam as filmagens de 'O mecanismo', série com Selton Mello sobre a Lava Jato". G1 (in Portuguese). May 15, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  9. ^ The Mechanism: Season 1, retrieved 2021-04-17
  10. ^ Starling, Cassio (24 March 2018). "Trama paralela a conflito policial torna 'O Mecanismo' uma série política".
  11. ^ "O Mecanismo | Crítica". 26 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Crítica | O Mecanismo – 1ª Temporada". observatoriodocinema.uol.com.br. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 2021-04-17.
  13. ^ planocritico (2018-03-25). "Crítica | O Mecanismo - 1ª Temporada". Plano Crítico (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-04-17.
  14. ^ "Quem é quem em 'O mecanismo', série da Netflix inspirada na Operação 'Lava Jato'". 14 March 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  15. ^ "O mecanismo: A série que quer mostrar para o mundo como funciona a corrupção". 23 March 2018. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  16. ^ Pernambuco, Diario de (23 March 2018). "O Mecanismo encara o desafio de retratar a corrupção brasileira". Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  17. ^ "O Mecanismo: mapeamos todas as referências que você não percebeu". Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  18. ^ "GTA19 NOMINEES (2018)". Golden Trailer Awards. Archived from the original on 2019-02-18. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  19. ^ "Séries ultrapassam novelas e lideram indicações da APCA aos melhores da TV". Universo Online. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Associação Brasileira De Cinematografia Anuncia Os Finalistas Do Prêmio ABC 2019". Associação Brasileira de Cinematografia. Archived from the original on 2019-04-27. Retrieved 2019-04-29.