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Series / Ang Probinsyano (2015)

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That Cop Show Filipinos adore since 2015.
Ang Probinsyano is a Philippine action series which started airing in September 28, 2015. It is a television series based on a 1997 film of the same name by famed action star Fernando Poe Jr. The series revolves around Cardo Dalisay who is a police officer and at times a vigilante and his pursuits against crime and corruption.

Like in the original film, Cardo Dalisay's twin brother Ador was killed while conducting a police operation. He poses as Ador in an effort to avenge his brother and take down the crime syndicate responsible for his death. The series then deviates from this.

After being successful in his initial goal, he starts his own family but had his son killed after a terrorist attack. He went undercover and joins the Pulang Araw with the intent of dismantling the rebel organization. There he learns the truth that it was just a faction led by Alakdan who was responsible for his son's death, and the actual organization was fighting for legitimate grievances.

He later forms a group called Vendetta, a vigilante group to fight against crime and corruption with former Pulang Araw members aligned to him. His group went against the Kamandag (lit. "Venom") terrorist group, a splinter group led by Alakdan, and a gun-running ring, both backed by politicians. The Vendetta took on the corrupt administration of President Lucas Cabrera who ascended to presidency as his predecessor Oscar Hidalgo went missing after an assassination plot.


Vendetta went on to restore Hidalgo as president and its members were pardoned and reintegrated back to mainstream society. Cardo was then reinstated in the police along with his former vigilante/insurgent comrades as part of a special task force.

The first season is currently available on streaming at Netflix, where it is known under the English title, Brothers.

Tropes found in Ang Probinsyano include:

  • Action-Hogging Opening: The Nandiyan na si Cardo (lit. "Here's Cardo") opening sequence shows Cardo in several action-heavy scenes such as fighting on top a train, destroying a helicopter using a rifle, being involved in a car chase, and figuring out in a gunfight at sea.
  • Action Politician: Oscar Hidalgo, who would directly get involved in Cardo's operations during the Vendetta arc.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When he was briefly demoted into a traffic enforcer, Cardo becomes one of the "dancing enforcers". He really gets into the role that everyone, including his bitter rivals in CIDG, had a genuinely good laugh out of it.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The first seasons of the show are more or less an extension of the original FPJ film, up until Ador's killer Joaquin dies. The later arc of Emilio Syquia resurfacing as Gustavo Toralba may have also been inspired by the film's sequel. The Pulang Araw and the Lucas Cabrera presidential story arcs among others were not part of the original film.
  • The Alliance: At the peak of Vendetta, its members include not only former Pulang Araws, but as well as Cardo's various allies past and present.
  • All-Loving Hero: Despite his ruthlessness towards his enemies, Cardo is not above caring for his friends, loved ones and those who seek his aid.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In characters lifted from the original film, Carmen is Cardo's Love Interest, and Ador's widow is originally named Lily.
  • Always Identical Twins: Cardo and Ador who are both portrayed by the same actor.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Ador's full first name, Dominador.
  • Animal Motifs: Pulang Araw members uses animal names as their nom de guerre (e.g. Alakdan, Agila, Leon, Butetenote ) Homer Adlawan's motif being that of a scorpion is more prominent. His Pulang Araw nom de guerre is "Alakdan" which means "scorpion" in the Filipino language. His later group, Kamandag is Filipino for venom and also hangs a framed photo of a scorpion in his group's hideout. Later, Agila (Cardo's codename while with the Pulang Araws) is the name of the current Task Force.
    • It's also telling that some animal names coincide with the characters' morality: Leon/Lion, Lawin (Falcon), Agila, Tigre are the good guys, while Buwaya (crocodile), Alakdan, Bwitre (Vulture), Uwak (Crow) are the bad. There are subversions most notably Daga (Rat) who left the rebels to safely raise a family and runs a minor crime ring, yet he remains a loyal supporter until his death, even providing shelter for the rebels when they seek refuge in Manila. Tellingly, his death was indirectly caused by a fellow ex-Pulang Araw member, Kwago (Owl, a known predator of mice and other rodents).
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Lito arranges a funeral for Alyana who is gunned down to save Cardo.
  • Badass in Distress: Cardo and/or his cohorts wind up as such at times, but would eventually get themselves out of their predicament and thus save the day.
  • Badass Normal: Obviously...Cardo. Ranging from: running miles per hour to the overpass jumps on a bus.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Onyok and Cardo during the earlier arcs.
  • Bowdlerise: Due to restrictions in using the seal of the Philippines, a fictional insignia was used instead. The seal of the country in the show is almost identical to the one used by the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic..
  • Cain and Abel: Renato Hipolito and Romulo Dumaguit, complete with the former being a Green-Eyed Monster towards the latter for being Conrado Villegas' (their father figure) favorite and leadership of Pulang Araw.
  • Canon Foreigner: With most of the cast apart from Ador, Cardo and Carmen.
    • Canon Character All Along: Emilio Syquia, Cardo's biggest nemesis in the first half, would later adopt the name Gustavo Toralba, a baron in illegal mining. Toralba is also the name of the villain of Ang Pagbabalik ng Probinsyano film, also involved in illegal mining.
  • Christmas Episode: Given how this is a Filipino series and all, it's to be expected. In fact with the airtime of the show, a week-long string of Christmas episodes can be expected.
  • Cool Old Guy: Delfin Borja, who also happened to be Cardo's grandfather but also the former CIDG Director, joins Vendetta, and currently is a National Security Council advisor to the President.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Delfin Borja.
  • The Corrupter: Lily Ann Cortez, who manipulates Oscar to defeat Borja and Olegario.
  • Corrupt Politician: Several such as Lucas Cabrera, Renato Hipolito at the national level and Kapitan Bart and Congresswoman Gina Magtanggol at the barangaynote level.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lily Ann Cortez, who is ostensibly allied with the president but is actually a mole in the Palace bent at taking Oscar down.
  • Cowboy Cop: Cardo. Though his methods bite him back when he was chastised by his superiors for torturing an inmate whom they interrogated.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Councilor Gina and her cronies, whose hammy schemes and patently false allegations towards Flora and Cardo's family were, unsurprisingly, to no effect.
  • Death of a Child: Cardo's son was killed in a terrorist bombing and Bubbles gets a miscarriage in a later episode.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Cardo when he took on the identity of his slain twin brother to pick up where the latter left off.
  • Disguised in Drag: Cardo as Paloma.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Renato Hipolito. Slighty played with since he allied with other criminal syndicates.
  • Drugs Are Bad: As shown when the Vendetta raided drug labs and mercilessly iced the living daylights out of them.
  • Dwindling Party: Cardo's team as Bungo kills them one by one.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Gina may have been a thorn on Lola Flora's back and a crooked politician to boot, but she draws the line at murder. Case in point, she tries to stop Bart from hiring mercenaries to kill Alyana when he lost the election.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Gina and Bart. Gina would at times harrass Flora and her family, to the point that she'd stoop low enough to be engaging in illicit gambling and other morally and legally questionable practices, albeit portrayed in a rather hammy if not comedic fashion. Captain Bart also does these, but is also willing to kill an enemy candidate, something not even Gina is on board with. At the end Gina and Bart got arrested for their crimes against their barangay, giving justice to the Dalisay/De-Leon family.
  • Evolving Music: After the Vendetta arc, the Nandiyan na si Cardo opening sequence had a lyric overhaul which understandably erases reference to the vigilante group now that its irrelevant.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The opening theme to be specific.
  • External Combustion: Vice-President Carlos Javellana ended up at the receiving end of a rather spicy tune-up to his SUV.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: Cardo poses as his deceased twin brother, Ador.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Downplayed with the Pulang Araw, who is very, very loosely based on the real-life Maute group who raided Marawi in 2017.
  • First-Episode Twist: Ador is the Decoy Protagonist the series focuses on in the first few episodes, before getting killed off and replaced by his twin brother Cardo. This is the very premise lifted directly from the source material.
  • First Girl After All: Glen (Cardo's Childhood friend), Carmen (Ador's widow), and Alyana (CIDG's contact in the media). Cardo's eventual wife is the latter, since she was also Cardo and Ador's childhood friend before Cardo got separated from his family and even met Glen.
  • Frame-Up: Cardo is framed for drug possession, serving his time at the New Bilibid Prison. Later Delfin by Lily Ann Cortez and Juan by planting drugs and millions of money.
  • Foreshadowing: Most of Lily's scenes which in front of Oscar acts nice but she is a scheming government official trying to take Oscar down.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Oscar Hidalgo. Due to Lily Ann's manipulations. He arrested Delfin Borja, fired Diana Olegario, scolds Elizabeth and reminds Cardo that it was the old days that Delfin is also good.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Lily Ann Cortez-Hidalgo, the new First Lady. Seduces Oscar Hidalgo into marrying her, and corrupting him until he almost definitely Took a Level in Jerkass, and using her position to not only continue illegal operations, but also to make life hell for Oligario and Borja, and by extension the rest of the pardoned ex-Vendetta heroes.
  • Happily Married: Ador and Carmen, Cardo and Alyana, Romulo and Diana.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Pulang Araw, whom Cardo originally infiltrated in order to avenge the death of his son. Upon realising that it was Alakdan's faction all along who was behind the mess, Cardo sympathises with them and their grievances, and they eventually reformed as a vigilante operation called Vendetta. It eventually got to the point where Hidalgo exonerated the group from their atrocities and gave the former insurgents an assignment as an elite task force group aimed at taking down criminals.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The Vendetta, later reformed as Task Force Agila.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Cardo when he was framed of committing a crime by Don Emilio's syndicate and when he infiltrated the Pulang Araw. Also the Pulang Araw themselves and later Task Force Agila.
  • Hypocrite: Councilor Gina and her cronies spare no time to point out and (ham-handedly) accuse Cardo and even his friends and relatives of causing mayhem and/or corruption in their town, yet Gina herself and her cohorts aren't any better off than the ones they're accusing. It didn't help that those whom she sees as her enemies work for the government and directly answer to Oscar Hidalgo.
  • I Have Many Names: Cardo, Ador, Paloma, Fernan, Agila, etc. Lampshaded in one of the openings.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • There's one an episode when Oscar Hidalgo escaped from crooked police officers under Lucas Cabrera's payroll. And that's despite the supposedly-deceased chief executive being in convenient range for assault rifle-toting gunmen and without any body armour to even protect him at all.
    • Thrown in spades especially in later arcs, where scores and scores of "Black Ops" operatives fire countless rounds at Cardo and his cohorts, but are instead at the receiving end of Cardo and his cohorts' ammunition.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The full title of the series is "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano" to remind viewers that the series was originally based on the Fernando Poe Jr. film.
  • Interspecies Friendship: For Caryok, a stray dog named after Cardo and Onyok, whom they took care of until he was given back to his previous owner.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Though this eventually led Cardo and his task force in hot water for their, ahem, less than ethical techniques.
  • Killed Off for Real: Basically when an actor leaves the show, this is commonly what happens to their character. Even if they were a major character.
  • The Leader:
    • Heroes: Ricardo Dalisay, Delfin Borja, Romulo Dumaguit, Oscar Hidalgo,Alyana Arevalo-Dalisay, Flora Borja, Diana Olegario
    • Villains: Tomas Tuazon, Lucas Cabrera, Renato Hipolito, Homer Adlawan, Dante Madarang, Gina Matanggol, Lily Ann Cortez
  • Legally Dead: Oscar Hidalgo, who was presumed dead after an attack on him and his family.
  • The Mole: Cardo, multiple times notably when he joined the Pulang Araw. He also did this in relatively more minor story arcs such as when he poses as a woman to infiltrate a prostitution ring. And Lily in the post-Vendetta arcs.
  • Moe Couplet: Cardo and Onyok, famously labeled as "Kanyok", endeared many fans to their adorable interactions.
  • More Dakka: Oh, this show is made of it. It's rare, if ever, to see an episode without Cardo or any other Mook go guns blazing.
  • Mythology Gag: Cardo's alias while in the Pulang Araws is Fernan, a.k.a. Fernando Poe Jr., the original Ang Probinsyano.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Lily Ann Cortez. To the point where she uses charm to manipulate Oscar into taking drugs and also costs Delfin and Diana's jobs. And also the head of a drug syndicate and uses her power to let the country filled with drugs.
  • The Mutiny: Borja's men on the CIDG got set up and later arrested.
  • Never My Fault: Most of the villains blamed/framed the heroes for this.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The so-called "Black Ops" units Cardo and his cohorts frequently encounter in recent episodes are far cry from actual black operations run by government agencies, which tend to operate from the shadows and are for the most part disavowed by their superiors due to the dubious legality of such schemes. The "Black Ops" personnel in the show on the other hand operate out in the open even when there are scores of bystanders in plain sight.
  • On the Next: After each episode proper the "Abangan" (Next time on...) segment is shown. Along with rolling credits select moments of the next episode is shown to build up hype for the next episode. If it's a Friday episode the preview will cover the next five episodes of next week.
  • Previously on…: Virtually every episode except the first. The series starts with the "Ang Nakaraan" (Previously) segment showing select and brief moments from the previous episode.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted with Cardo, his crew and most others, though there has been scenes with crooked or just downright lazy or incompetent cops being shown (and given a lesson the hard way, no less).
  • The Purge: The Armed Forces launching a full assault on the Pulang Araws' mountain stronghold, killing most of its members as well as some innocent civilians they're protecting. Coincidentally, around this time Cardo/Fernan has been finally accepted by the Pulang Araws as a comrade and allowed to go home, but when he sees the approaching forces he chooses to go back and warn the rebels. This also led to his identity being exposed to both sides: to the general public that he's still alive and now aligned with rebels, and for the Pulang Araws thinking he betrayed them. The scene of the Pulang Araws' decimation is in the opening theme song as a sort of grim reminder.
  • Playing Both Sides: Lily Ann Cortez. Serves as the first lady of the Philippines and a head of the drug syndicate.
  • Put on a Bus: On rare occasions, characters whose actors left the show were not Killed Off for Real.
    • Onyok went back to his real mother, Rowena, at Lola Flora's suggestion after Rowena went to get her son again.
    • Pinggoy, Alyana's friend and cameraman during her reporter days, becomes a news reporter. Despite this, we never see a news reel that features him since he got the position.
    • Marikit Flores owns a hair salon across the street from one of Lola Flora's houses. Her son, Dexter, was also good friends with the children. The two stayed behind when Flora's family decided to move from their home.
    • Paco (Paquito's father) makes a near literal example as he becomes a Jeepeny driver. He's essentially driving the bus he was put on.
    • Catherine Cabrera, Lucas's wife, flies to America to subside her hurt emotions after her son Marco was killed. No mention of her has been made since, even when her husband and stepson were killed.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: When Lito Lapid, who played as Romulo Dumagalit, had to run for a seat in the Philippine Senate, his character was killed off due to Philippine law restrictions on candidates' appearances in public television. The same went for Jhong Hilario who played Alakdan, where he was also killed off when he ran as a city councillor in Makati. Hilario's bid for public office also resulted in him leaving It's Showtime for a while due to said legal restrictions. Regardless, Lapid and Hilario's previous notoriety in the show resulted in them being elected due to name recognition alone.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Cardo and Ador are raised under the care of Lola Flora.
  • Reformed Criminal: Most notably Ramil Taduran a.k.a. Manager. From a drug kingpin in Bilibid to one of Cardo's most steadfast allies in and out of prison. He and some of Cardo's ex-teammates in Cebu willingly surrenders to the police and returns to prison but he's a changed man. He breaks out again but only so the inmate gang can rescue Cardo from Emilio Syquia's clutches and becomes one of the founding members of Vendetta, getting pardoned and eventually becoming an honest policeman along with the other members of the vigilante group.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Part of the show's appeal is that of the crimes in the series being based around those occurring in the country, particularly petty theft and drugs.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Oscar Hidalgo. Until his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Homer forming "Kamandag" without the more honorable members of Pulang Araw knowing. After building up his forces (which Homer even boasts as having greater resources and numbers than the Pulang Araws), most of them get wiped out by Cardo all by himself.
  • Rebel Leader: Leon Dumaguit, Homer "Alakdan" Adlawan and Ricardo Dalisay to name a few.
  • Red Shirt Army: A particularly egregrious example happens during the assassination attempt on Romulo Dumaguit. The multitude of soldiers and cops guarding the hospital where he is held in are all gunned down by a bunch of private mercenaries hired by the Big Bad. The kicker? The mercenaries are all at full strength by the time they fight Vendetta and Borja's reinforcements its implied they suffered no casualties at all.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Colonel Bernardo, the man who recruited Cardo into continuing his brother's mission, is now Delfin Borja, Cardo's great-uncle.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Cardo has been through this several times throughout the series, the latest being his quest to avenge Alyana's death.
  • Serial Killer: Eric/Erwin and Jane, played by Paolo Avelino and Judy Ann Santos, respectively.
  • Ship Tease: Cardo and Alyana, Romulo and Diana.
  • Sixth Ranger: Some police assets of Task Force Agila. Benny still counts until his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pretty much the show's bread and butter.
  • The Syndicate: The Big Bad Ensemble of the series in various forms.
  • Through-the-Years Credits: The title sequences of the series counts.
  • Title-Only Opening: Initially this was the case as with other Philippine television series. But this was later replaced by a extended version showing a montage of scenes showing Cardo's graduation from the police academy and his select pursuits.
  • Token Minority: Elizabeth, played by Whitney Tyson who is of African-American descent.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cardo's favorite food is Kare-Kare.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Lily Ann Cortez to Oscar Hidalgo.
  • The Usurper: Vice-President Lucas Cabrera staged an assassination plot on President Oscar Hidalgo, allowing him to take office and thus continue his illegal activities with impunity. The plot was partly successful, with the general public believing that either Hidalgo is already dead at worse or missing at best. Cabrera then momentarily assumes presidency but was later killed by Cardo and Vendetta to return Hidalgo to his position.
  • Vice City: The locales where Cardo and his cohorts have sworn to protect and serve.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Senator Hipolito was initially this as Director of the National Defense Agency. He used the government's successful campaigns against the Pulang Araw group to boost his own image.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating:
    Gina, Bart, Cronies: "We did it before, we do it again."
  • We Help the Helpless:
    • Cardo and his cohorts cite this as their motive for why they do this thing of theirs.
    • As a meta-example, Coco Martin has been praised for this when he offered supporting roles to former actors who fell on hard times, a few of them namely comedienne Whitney Tyson, whose career declined and reduced to just appearances in town fiestas following a Broke Episode where she lived in a shanty under a bridge, and Baron Geisler, an actor who previously gained notoriety for his alcohol-fueled run-ins with the law, alleged sexual harassment on a number of actresses and repeated rehab attempts. It also helps that Martin himself came from a blue-collar background, having previously served as an overseas Filipino workernote  in Canada prior to entering show business.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Cardo has had a falling out with Hidalgo following the death of Alyana, and has vowed to put even President Hidalgo's head on a silver platter.
  • You Killed My Father: Emilio Syquia. Cardo eventually finds out about this from Alyana's father Teddy, and avenges his father's death.

Alternative Title(s): Ang Probinsyano