Wallace Souza was a television presenter who hosted a news program titled Canal Livre which depicted all sorts of crime. In a horrific attempt to boost ratings, Souza ordered crimes to be committed, which he would cover on the show.
Souza believed that evil makes for good television and Netflix apparently agreed, creating a documentary series about Souza's life titled Killer Ratings. Here are 10 Things In Netflix's Killer Ratings You Might Have Missed.
10 Its Director Found Its Story Outlandish
Director Daniel Bogodo has said "What I thought I knew about Wallace Souza when I set out, turned out only to be the starting point of this extraordinary story. When I looked deeper I saw events that followed were full of the most jaw-dropping turns, twists, and shocks that would be deemed too outlandish in a Hollywood script."
The Netflix documentary format is perfect for this sort of story. If Killer Ratings was a regular television series, audiences would constantly be left wondering how much of Souza's bizarre story was altered for the screen, making it difficult for people to engage with the series.
9 It's Not The Only Series On Netflix About Wallace Souza
A Brazilian series called Pacto de Sangue (Portuguese for Blood Pact) was released in 2017 and was made available on Netflix. For those who are especially interested in Wallace and his life story, Pacto de Sangue is an interesting contrast to Killer Ratings, as the former is a more conventional scripted television series.
While it lacks the realism of Killer Ratings, it does boast a great performance from Guilherme Fontes as Silas Campello, a television reporter loosely based on Wallace Souza. Because Pacto de Sangue is merely inspired by Souza, it veers from the facts in (interesting) ways that Killer Ratings cannot.
8 Souza Was Extremely Successful
Souza's show Canal Livre ran from 1989 to 2009 and was a major rating hit for its entire run, despite the controversy it created. It was only canceled once Wallace Souza got in trouble for his crimes.
Despite the fact that he was convicted, the show still finds success in re-runs on Brazilian television. Such an airing might not fly on U.S. television; after all, the TV film that O. J. Simpson starred in just before his trial was never aired as the network behind it feared that airing the film would be distasteful.
7 Canal Livre Was Started To Combat Crime
Wallace Souza, upset by the prevalence of criminal gangs in his area, conceived of his show as an expose on the horrors of criminal gangs that would hopefully weaken their power by shining the spotlight on them.
The fact that a show that was initially designed to fight crime led to more crime is an irony so grand that it would be funny if not for all of the people that Souza harmed in his ruthless quest for fame and money.
6 Souza Wasn't The Smartest Criminal
Even though he managed to stay off the law's radar for many years, he wasn't the smartest criminal...a fact which is especially obvious since he was caught. He made himself seem suspicious because his camera crews were often able to discover crime scenes before the police did, suggesting either that Souza and his team had tremendous crime-solving skills or that Souza somehow managed to have insider knowledge of the crimes that he was covering on his news program.
Perhaps if Souza allowed the police to discover the crimes scenes he created before he discovered them, he would never have been caught, but a change of plans might have hurt his precious ratings.
5 Souza Never Went To Trial
After the police figured out what Souza was doing, they wanted to arrest him. He wasn't willing to be arrested so he ran from the law for three days before having a change of heart and turning himself in - though even after he turned himself in, he made the curious decision to proclaim and maintain his innocence.
Shortly afterward, Souza was hospitalized due to his chronic liver disease. He passed away before he was ever able to stand trial. Even as his career as a broadcaster came to an end. Souza still managed to make his life into sensational tabloid material.
4 He Had A Shady Past
Before becoming the worst broadcaster in the history of the world, Souza was a police officer. However, his career as a police officer came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for stealing petrol and committing pension fraud. While Souza became much more heinous later in his life, his early crimes probably should have precluded him from a career in journalism, a career that should have no room for frauds.
Then again, Souza's show wasn't exactly journalism in the strictest possible sense, as it often included bizarre puppet shows that sometimes became Internet memes in Brazil.
3 Souza Used His Platform To Become A Politician
Like many celebrities before and after him, Souza decided that he should use his notoriety to launch a political career. Despite his criminal past and the sometimes low brow nature of his program, Souza was able to win several elections, each one with a more sizable majority than the last.
Who better to fight corruption and crime in your area than a newscaster who rallied against it every night on television? It turns out that just about anybody would have been more suitable for that job than Wallace Souza - though, in all fairness, the people of Brazil would not be privy to that fact for some time.
2 Souza Was Unmasked By His Former Bodyguard
Shockingly, it wasn't one of Souza's political adversaries who unmasked him before the people of Brazil, nor was it one of the criminals that the brought to justice. He was unmasked by his former bodyguard, who told the authorities that Souza and his son were ordering the crimes covered on Canal Livre.
Souza responded to these allegations by claiming that his former bodyguard was not a credible witness as the bodyguard was being charged for several other crimes and perhaps wanted to use an outlandish claim to try to secure a better plea deal. Regardless of the bodyguard's motives, Souza still deserved to go to prison.
1 Killer Ratings Strives to Be Fair
While Wallace Souza certainly isn't a role model, the series Killer Ratings does attempt to portray him in a nuanced way. He did some awful things to be sure but maybe somewhere deep down in that horrific heart of his, he did want to lower the crime rate in Brazil and came to the terrible conclusion that he had to commit crimes to gain power and fight crime.
It's all very messy and reminiscent of Friedrich Nietzsche's famous quote: "Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."