In its first three seasons, “Under Pressure” has built a reputation as an excellent medical series, the best ever made by Brazilian television. There are several reasons for the success, but the first, and perhaps more important, was the idea of setting the action in a public hospital.
Since the beginning, the program has been structured around three main axes: the difficulties of practicing medicine in a SUS hospital, the family dramas that led patients to need help and the personal histories of doctors outside the workplace.
The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the plan to record a fourth season in 2020. The irony has not gone unnoticed: a medical series affected by a real health crisis.
But soon the idea for the special “Under Pressure: On Duty Covid” came up – a way to break with the traditional model of the series, but keep its spirit.
Transporting all the action to a field hospital during the pandemic, in a situation of social isolation, the program lost two of its axes – the stories of patients and doctors. And he put all his files in the third element – the routine inside a public hospital.
The first episode was overwhelming. Basically focused on the impact that the pandemic caused on the health professionals themselves, it took the emotion to the extreme when transforming the doctor Evandro (Julio Andrade) into a covid-19 patient.
As I wrote in “Folha”, even though I was being manipulated by screenwriter Lucas Paraizo and his team (Marcio Alemão, Flavio Araujo and Pedro Riguetti), the viewer wept with pleasure in this cathartic episode. He wept with anger, sadness and even joy.
The second episode of the special, shown on Tuesday (13), has moved in other directions. It showed the irresponsibility of those who ignore the risks of the pandemic, exposed the dedication of a nurse (Roberta Rodrigues) to the relatives of patients and sought to explain to the public what makes a person decide to become a doctor.
While Evandro fought for his life in intensive care, a long flashback showed a key moment in his life. Still young, Evandro (played by Ravel Andrade) met the doctor Samuel (Stepan Nercessian), helped save his own mother (Fabíula Nascimento) and had the click that led him to decide to become a doctor.
The episode still has two other moments of impact. The first, the decision by Carolina (Marjorie Estiano) to participate in the emergency surgery to which Evandro, her husband, is submitted.
And the second (sorry for the spoiler), the doctor’s return to work, in the final scene. That’s when he, once again, gives a militant speech: “We need to defend public health, we need to believe in science. Only then will we have a more just world, a more human country.”
“Under Pressure: On-call Covid” represented a small detour from the series, but highly justified in the context. And he fulfilled with glory the difficult mission of informing and raising awareness without neglecting to entertain.