‘Control Z’: A high school sleuth sets out to find a vicious hacker

‘Control Z’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 June 2020

‘Control Z’: A high school sleuth sets out to find a vicious hacker

CHENNAI: Hacking — whether into bank accounts, mobile phones, or email accounts — is an unfortunate reality of the modern age. The new Mexican eight-part series “Control Z”, available on Netflix, focuses on those who find themselves victims of hackers and who have their deepest secrets and weaknesses exposed as a result.

The subject has been dealt with before in films, but “Control Z,” created by Carlos Quintanilla, Adriana Pelusi and Miguel Garcia Moreno, gives its plot a Sherlockian feel, taking the audience inside a high school populated with affluent students sporting designer clothes and driving luxury cars. The environment is fraught with its own problems, which range from defiant and disrespectful youth to sexual misconduct. Not even the head of the institution is above scandal, and he yields to temptation — a misdemeanor that is soon out in the open.




“Control Z,” created by Carlos Quintanilla, Adriana Pelusi and Miguel Garcia Moreno, gives its plot a Sherlockian feel. (Supplied)

The hacker disseminates his juicy gossip — often true — among the students, taking advantage of a weak school wi-fi system to upload his messages through the account @allyoursecrets. Sofia (played by Ana Valeria Becerril), is a social outcast at her school, considered a freak because of her troubled past, having lost her father and spent time in a mental health facility. She has no friends until Javier (played by Michael Ronda), son of one of Mexico's biggest soccer stars, joins the school and befriends her.

Sofia has a knack for solving crimes, and when the hacker’s text messages take on a nastier and more personal tone, she decides to find out who is behind the account. Javier uses his social skills to help Sofia in a campus atmosphere where chaos prevails and relationships between students go haywire. Couples break up, and new personal ties are tested. But soon, Sofia too falls victim to the hacker. 




Three things that work in favor of “Control Z” are its developed characters, compelling performances and suspense. (Supplied)

Three things that work in favor of “Control Z” are its developed characters, compelling performances (Becerril and Ronda in particular) and suspense. The creators withhold the identity of the culprit until the very end.

The hacker’s motive, however, is a weak point to the series. Although the setting is a high school, there is very little classroom activity. Instead, rowdiness and sexual flings seem to dominate. Is this the norm in Mexican schools? If not, a bit of subtlety and authenticity could have lifted “Control Z” higher. But I suspect that in the name of artistic liberty, the creators opted for a dramatic portrayal of a school “detective” and her efforts to unravel a mystery. 


Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

Updated 05 August 2020

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

DUBAI: Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim revealed on Instagram that she underwent a six-hour surgery after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people and injuring thousands. 

“Half my face and my body were covered in blood,” said Njeim, who lives close to the port area where the explosion happened, captioning a video – shot by someone else – of her damaged apartment.

“I thank God first, who saved my life. The explosion was close, and the scenes you see do not do it justice. If you visit the house and see the blood everywhere, you would be surprised as to how we are still alive,” the star, who has two children, wrote captioning the clip that shows shattered glass, cracked walls and broken furniture strewn all over her living room.

According to her post, the star went down 22 floors, barefoot and covered in blood and sought help from a man who was in his car. 

“He dropped me to the nearest hospital, but they refused to admit me because they were packed with wounded people,” she said. “He dropped me to another hospital where they immediately took me in and I underwent a six-hour operation.” 

The 36-year-old actress said her children were not home and are “fine and safe.”

Multiple Lebanese celebrities have also taken to social media to share videos of their destroyed homes. 

Singer Haifa Wehbe shared, on her Instagram Stories, clips of the destruction that ravaged her home. “We are all okay thank God. My house is next to the explosion,” she wrote to her followers before asking them to keep her house helper, who got injured in her head and eyes, in their prayers.

Clips circulated on social media of Lebanese fashion designer Dalida Ayach, who is also the wife of singer Ramy Ayach, in the hospital being treated for her injuries. 

Singer Elissa, who recently released a new album, took to Twitter to share pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. “It affected the metals and the properties this time, but who will bring back the dead? Who will bring back Beirut?” the star wrote.

Singer Ragheb Alama’s house also got destroyed, but luckily, he and his family were on a trip outside the city.

The ateliers of renowned Lebanese designers have also been ruined, including Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Ralph Masri’s flagship stores.

Taking to his Stories, Kayrouz shared videos of the damage caused by the explosion to his atelier. “Our courageous team trying to save… what could be saved!” the designer captioned one clip of one of the atelier workers pulling out clothing from the debris.