In the time when Filipino viewers have become more engrossed with contents that do not only offer superb narrative and performances, but also have social relevance, Dirty Linen has already proven on its first week that it can keep pace with, or even surpass, the top-caliber series that we’ve watched on online streaming platforms.
Ever since it was unveiled by ABS-CBN and Dreamscape Entertainment last year, Dirty Linen has already piqued the interest of avid Kapamilya viewers because of its intriguing title, incredible powerhouse cast, and unique storyline. Thus, a lot of Kapamilya viewers, avid and casual alike, anticipated its premiere last January 23 – and it didn’t fail to get us immediately hooked just on its first five episodes.
The promising, nerve-wracking pilot week
Just on its pilot episode, it was easy to deduce that the series is indeed off to a good and strong start. It commenced by showing what happened on the eventful night of July 2, 2007, when internationally-acclaimed actress Dolly de Leon’s character Olivia, who worked as a nanny for the Fiero Family, got fatally shot by an unidentified person while frantically hiding in a cabinet and talking to her young daughter Alexa (Erika Clemente) on the phone. Leona (Janice de Belen) was the first one to see her bloody body, but instead of helping her, she was taken aback upon finding out that Olivia was pregnant and that her husband Carlos (John Arcilla) is the alleged father.
Her sister-in-law Feliz (Angel Aquino), husband Carlos, brother-in-law Ador (Epy Quizon), and mother-in-law Doña Cielo (Tessie Tomas) were aghast with the sight of Olivia drenched in her own blood. However, instead of rushing her to the hospital as what Feliz was insisting, they just watched Olivia die. To cover up the crime, Leona and Carlos dragged her to the car, while Feliz was left to clean up the trail of blood on the floor with a linen blanket. She tried to immediately hide and wash the dirty linen in the laundry, but their house helper Lydia (Ruby Ruiz) saw the disturbing amount of blood in the washer, which frightened her so much.
She, together with the other houseworkers Noel (Karl Medina) and Risa (Liza Diño-Seguerra) then saw Olivia’s body upon opening the compartment of Carlos’ car. Horrified, the three rushed to a service vehicle in an attempt to escape, but Ador was able to catch up with them, which led to their tragic death via road crash. Carlos ordered Ador to bury all the bodies together with the vehicle at a construction site, which eventually became Blazing Fiero Arena – the ruthless family’s cockpit arena.
After several days, Alexa mustered the courage to seek updates from the Fieros regarding her mother’s whereabouts by sneaking into the mansion, wherein she met the young Aidan (Enzo Pelojero) for the first time. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get any news about Olivia and went home just to witness her father (Arnold Reyes) succumb to heart attack.
The police later summoned the families of the “Missing 4” to claim that Olivia initiated a robbery at the Fiero mansion, which they all refused to believe. This enkindled Alexa’s fiery endeavor to know the truth behind the sudden disappearance of her mother and her co-workers, as well as to exact revenge against the Fieros.
Sixteen years after the crime, the Fiero family marked the 15th anniversary of the Blazing Fiero Arena by throwing a grand celebration, wherein Carlos gave away a lot of money to the attendees, a series of cockfights were held, and Doña Cielo serenaded the spectators. That eventful evening was also when the present-day Aidan (Zanjoe Marudo) and Alexa (Janine Gutierrez) crossed paths again through a road accident, which was eventually revealed to be orchestrated by Alexa and her friends as their way of kicking off their vendetta in the second episode.
Instead of simply accepting Doña Cielo’s hefty compensation for her hospitalization, Alexa asked them for a job. She was initially rejected since they didn’t have vacancies yet, but when one of the maids got fired, they immediately contacted her and got hired on-the-spot as “Mila Dela Cruz.” This marked the success of the first part of her mission with her childhood best friends Lala (Jennica Garcia) and Max (Christian Bables), as well as of Ronaldo (Joel Torre), in infiltrating the mansion and the beginning of their journey in seeking justice for the death of their loved ones and avenging them. Their first target is Ador, who they perceive is the “weakest link” in the powerful family.
We also got to revisit what happened to Alexa, Lala, and Max after losing their parents and how that tragedy led to their friendship and eventual separation due to the difficult circumstances they weren’t able to overcome as helpless kids. Many years later, Ronaldo (Joel Torre), the husband of Risa who’s one of the “Missing 4,” looked for them and successfully brought them together again in pursuit of launching his grand scheme that will topple the Fieros and shed light to the sudden disappearance of their loved ones.
How they seamlessly executed their brilliant ploys in order to get Alexa into the mansion were also revealed – from the road accident involving Aidan (Zanjoe Marudo) to the robbery that got one of the maids expelled.
Alexa was able to know more about the Fieros deeper through the stories shared by the other maids and her own observations, too. Ronaldo, a.k.a. Abe Matias, also does his assignment and witnessed how Carlos tortured one of their employees who embezzled money from their sabungan.
While she’s furious towards the Fieros, Alexa couldn’t help but feel sorry about Chiara upon witnessing how her mother Leona seemed to not care about her even though she has achievements. Thus, she thought of making a cake for her to celebrate her win. However, the irate and crestfallen Chiara didn’t appreciate it and even got mad at her.
That night, Alexa had the chance to follow Ador and investigate about his mysterious whereabouts. Despite Lala and Max’s discouragement for her to not push her plan, she still went on and found out that he actually has a makeshift office outside the mansion premises. She was able to sneak into the red-lit room and discovered that he actually runs a pornography business, with the maid Stella (Rans Rifol) as the “star.”
As the bloody image of his nanny Olivia in his nightmare awakened him in the middle of the night, Aidan caught Mila running around in search of an open door and climbing up on one of the windows. Instead of reprimanding her, he helped with her wound and let her in using the spare key that he and Chiara use every time they sneak out.
Fans of the FranSeth tandem surely rejoiced when their characters Chiara and Nico finally met in the fifth episode. They accidentally bumped into each other at a mall, while Chiara was shopping and Nico was meeting his father Ronaldo, who’s known as Abe in the Fiero mansion.
Alexa was able to convince Stella to recruit her to her and Ador’s “business,” telling her that she’s in dire need of money. Ador agreed and Alexa was able to enter the red room and eventually lured him and knocked him down by putting a substance into his expensive wine. While he was unconscious, Alexa was able to copy the files from his computer to her flash drive, which Max picked up from the mansion the following day.
At their hideout, Max and Lala opened the files and stumbled upon a video wherein Ador could be seen doing “it” to the helpless Risa. Lala recorded it and immediately sent it to Ronaldo and Alexa, which truly infuriated the former upon watching it. Alexa was able to stop him from doing a drastic move that could ruin their plan and reminded him to not let his emotions get the best of him.
While they’ve been yearning to kill all of them, Alexa also reminded him that Ador is just a pawn and that it’s not the right time yet for them to fully execute their grand scheme. He must remain calm patient until that day comes.
Through the first five episodes, we’re able to get a glimpse of how problematic the relationship of the Fieros– with how Doña Cielo apparently sides more with her daughter-in-law Leona rather than her own daughter Feliz, how Leona seems to be indifferent towards Aidan and Chiara, how Carlos can’t stand on his own and just follows whatever his mom tells him to do, and how Ador is being belittled by his in-laws because he’s just a kristo or bet collector in their family’s cockfighting business. But in spite of these, were able to see the beautiful bond among siblings Carlos and Feliz and Aidan and Chiara.
Rave, positive feedbacks from netizens
Due to its thrilling and gripping premiere episode, Dirty Linen was able to easily captivate the attention of the viewers, who are looking for something new, refreshing, and exciting to watch. The stellar ensemble cast and their performances are the first things that the netizens pointed out in their tweets in the past weeks, as they gushed over the roster of premier and talented actors, which includes internationally recognized thespians Dolly de Leon and John Arcilla. They’re all praises to the performances of each of the cast members, from the main stars to the supporting cast members as well as to their unbelievable chemistry with another, which make them truly befit their characters.
They lauded lead actress Janine Gutierrez’s effective portrayal of a vengeful woman and how she’s able to effortlessly switch from Alexa to Mila. They’re also fascinated with how she’s able to effectively convey her emotions through her expressive eyes. “Mata-mata acting,” as how some netizens call it.
The same goes to Jennica Garcia, who even became a trending topic on Twitter after the airing of the third episode, wherein she’s able to impress the audiences with her acting prowess that either her fans weren’t able to see for quite sometime or just seen for the first time by other viewers. They regard her as a “gem” that’s waiting to be discovered or recovered.
Veteran actors John Arcilla, Tessie Tomas, Janice de Belen, and Epy Quizon were lauded for their effectivity as antagonists that we already love to hate just on the first five episodes. Joel Torre and Angel Aquino also got some love for their compelling portrayals of their characters that are so far admirable.
The performances of Francine, Zanjoe, Seth, Xyriel Manabat, Christian, and Raven Rigor, as well as the other supporting cast are unmissable, too! Of course, we should not also forget child stars Althea Olivienne Ruedas (young Lala), Enzo Pelojero (young Aidan), Erica Louize Clemente (young Alexa), and Justin Jame Quilantang (young Max), as well as seasoned thespians Dolly de Leon, Ruby Ruiz, Karl Medina, Arnold Reyes, and Liza Diño, who all gave us fantastic performances despite their limited exposures.
Aside from the cast, the netizens also commended everyone behind this promising teleserye, especially the writers, directors, and creators, for courageously putting out this kind of unique and powerful narrative and brave script that contain blazing and campy lines and dialogues that are surely going to leave a mark in the minds of the viewers. Besides, there were also netizens who noticed the seamless transition from one scene to another, the fitting musical scoring, and well-done CGIs that truly add up to the beauty of this series.
People also loved that the story is something that we, Filipinos, can really relate about as it touched the reality of our lives on how some of us can become slaves of money and how greedy people are willing to do everything in pursuit of getting what they want, regardless if their actions will inflict harm on other people.
Thus, it’s not surprising that Dirty Linen became the talk of the town in its pilot week as clips and videos of it uploaded across all platforms of ABS-CBN garnered millions of total views. Netizens has been talking about it for an entire week on social media, too, especially on Twitter, wherein its hashtags every night and several keywords related to it were among the top trending topics.
And here are some of the rave feedbacks that we’ve spotted on Twitter:
Don’t let yourself be left behind and watch the most controversial series at the moment! Watch Dirty Linen weeknights on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live and A2Z.