So it isn’t a surprise that “Ang Probinsyano’s” pilot episode has pulled off a 41.6% nationwide ratings. Afterall, you don’t get named “Hari ng Teleserye” for nothing, and truly, Coco Martin’s return on Primetime has proven one undeniable thing: he still is “The King”.
Incidentally, Martin’s return also marks ABS-CBN’s continuing effort to immortalize the works of another king, one that everybody knows and recognizes as the one and only king of Philippine Cinema: Fernando Poe Jr. And if it only doesn’t coincide with the beginning of “election season”, one wouldn’t suspect about the show’s timing other than its intention to inspire, which the show has right away pulled off in its very first episode, the same way most Dreamscape-produced shows do.
FPJ’s “Ang Probinsyano” is right on point, and it makes so much sense, hitting social issues of national relevance that currently shroud the philippine politics, particularly the PNP, in mystery.
At its core, “Ang Probinsyano” tells the story of a young police officer, Ador de Leon. His journey to joining the national police fills most of the proceedings, which don’t shy away from the actual experiences that most aspirants go through. The writers don’t seem to sugarcoat its narrative, exposing the dark facets of their material straight away. Surrounding the central character, are Ador’s family, friends, and rivals he will inevitably clash against in the coming episodes.
The conflict between Ador and his imminent rival, Joaquin Tuazon (Arjo Atayde, is brewing right through their whole journey in the academy, ensuing of a lot more intense complications between the two. It is also quick to introduce Carmen, played by returning Kapamilya actress, Bela Padilla, who is eventually going to be Ador’s wife.
There is an instant romantic connection between them, but there is no hint it is going to get a bigger chunk of the story, which seems okay as of the moment considering the immense expanse that the story is likely to cover. Adorably, it sheds light on the role of Ador’s family in his life, introducing the endearing character of the queen of Philippine cinema, herself, Miss Susan Roces. Her character represents every loving mother (on this case, she’s a grand mother), whose utmost dream is to see her son’s dream come true. Joining her is the rest of the show’s stellar assemblage of supports, including Albert Martinez, Agot Isidro, Dennis Padilla, and Ana Roces.
But again, the real star of the show, is the one bearing the title role, Coco Martin. There is no question about his capacity here, and he truly shines in pulling off his role effortlessly. Not only he embodies the very same qualifications to become a policeman—kind-hearted but fair, brave but not heartless—but more importantly, Martin delivers his character with commendable credibility. He pulls off his fight scenes with so much ease, performing breathtaking stunts like a real action star does.
It will not be totally forgivable to disregard the production value of the show. For a pilot episode I’d give props to the production team. The visuals are sweeping, with stunning aerial shots being the most commendably noticeable. The trainings in the academy are also beautifully documented, mostly thrilling and teeming with tension, as those other well-staged action sequences.
While it is too early to tell where the proceedings will eventually go, and whether it is going to fully commit to the original source material, “Ang Probinsyano” is hitting the right tones, it’s a strong start for an advocacy show whose intention would seemingly go to as far as changing the nation.