A Movie is out on Netflix over how a Brazilian Pundit got popularity on South American TV and in Politics. Wallace Souza was seen as that regions Nancy Grace and Chris Hansen but he was also being accused of staging or creating crimes in some of the allegations.

Suppose that, in a future season of Line of Duty, the reveal turned out to be that the organised crime syndicate had been using hitmen to kill drug dealers in a conspiracy with a Crimewatch presenter to raise ratings for the show. Social media would surely be filled with shark-jumping memes. Yet it is possible that such an absurd sequence of events happened for real in Brazil. This strange tale is the subject of Killer Ratings, an astonishing documentary series that has just dropped on Netflix.

At a time of moral panic over television ethics in Britain, an even more extreme example can be found in the story of Wallace Souza, host of Canal Livre (English translation “Free Channel”) , which became the most-watched news show ever in Amazonas, a state in north-west Brazil.

Souza’s shtick as a TV presenter was “defender of the public”. There is a recognisable pious relish in a clip where he confronts a criminal, live on camera, with the accusation: “You murdered a citizen in front of a child.” Another highlight of Souza’s showreel was a sequence in which holed-up gangsters agree to negotiate in person only with the TV star. They took him hostage, but the public’s defender talked himself free just in time to come live to the studio to report on his ordeal.