The Patients of Dr. Garcia (also titled as Los pacientes del doctor Garcia), is a Netflix spy thriller series based on Almudena Grandes’ espionage novel of the same name. The series covers the period following the Spanish Civil War, when Francisco Franco seized power and ruled Spain. Following the war, Guillermo Garcia Medina, a Republican, assumed a false identity to reside in Madrid. His former patient and close friend, Manuel Arroyo was a Republican ambassador who embarked on a risky expedition to join a clandestine organization run by Clara Stauffer. Clara Stauffer, a Falangist and Nazi supervisor, was assisting Third Reich war criminals and fugitives to flee to Argentina through this secret network; thus, Manuel took the identity of a convicted soldier to ensure his escape. Guillermo Garcia assisted his friend Manuel by joining a transportation company working for Clara, but the soldier whose identity Manuel utilized to escape returned to Madrid. Hence, let’s see what drastic measures Garcia would take to protect his pal, Manuel.
‘The Patients of Dr. Garcia’ Season 1: Recap
The Patients of Dr. Garcia begins in 1936 in Madrid, Spain, at the start of the Spanish Civil War, when numerous soldiers were killed on the battlefield and others were gravely injured and transferred to hospitals. One of the practicing medical professionals giving those patients the best treatment possible was Dr. Guillermo Garcia Medina. He was helping them regardless of the political and social backgrounds of those soldiers because, as a doctor, he wanted to save as many lives as he could. Guillermo was a Republican who lived next door to a refugee, Amparo. Being a childhood friend of Amparo, Guillermo assisted her during the war by letting her stay at his house, but later the two of them grew close to each other.
After a year had passed, a diplomat named Rafael had been severely shot and was being taken to the hospital. As the commissioner of public order had sternly instructed that Rafael must not die, Guillermo was asked to attend to the patient. Rafael eventually made it through a stressful operation and several blood transfusions, but under the orders of the commissioner, the hospital authority listed him on the records as deceased under the name Felipe Sanchez. Rafael was brought to Guiellermo’s home, where he revealed his true identity. He was a republican ambassador by the name of Manuel Arroyo who was spying on military intelligence. Romero, one of the military operatives, was notified of Manuel’s plans and gave the order to murder him. However, the assassination attempt on Manuel failed, and later Romero was slain by the commissioner instead. Manuel decided to leave as soon as he recovered. After he left, Guillermo and Amparo got married and had a son together. Guillermo’s blissful married life didn’t last long.
After Franco won the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the Francoists seized power and started committing atrocities like slaughtering unarmed civilians in the street. Guillermo also lost his position at the hospital. During this time, Amparo fled with her son to the Francoists and sought refuge on Clara’s side. Guillermo was distraught because he had lost his family and had been deceived by the love of his life. Manuel had already returned from exile and provided Guillermo with a new beginning. Manuel owed Guillermo his life for sparing him from death, so he repaid the favor by giving him a new life. He gave Guillermo the alias of Rafael Cuesta, allowing him to reside in Spain and wiping all memory of his prior occupation and Red identity. With no family or close friends by his side, Guillermo seized the opportunity to start his life over for the better.
Who Was Adrian Gallardo? How Was He Killed?
Clara Stauffer intended to present a show of unity between the Nationalist army and the Falangists. As a result, she set up a boxing match and enlisted Navarro, an imprisoned soldier who had previously excelled in boxing, to participate. Adrian Gallardo, a nationalist Spaniard who had just enlisted in the military following the war, was selected to participate in the match. He reluctantly agreed, but it wasn’t until the match that he realized Navarro was unbeatable. Because of this, Adrian cheated in the fight by striking Navarro in his groin and defeating him on the orders of his senior commander. Clara was unable to accept the defeat, and thus Navarro was once again imprisoned with no possibility of release. Later, in 1943, he recognized Navarro as a fellow soldier who joined the military. He had been released from jail only for volunteering in the army. When the two of them collided, they began fighting, almost getting discharged from the force. While all of this was going on, the Nazi SS organized a mission and tasked some of these soldiers to start shooting at the captive Jews. Adrian was one of the chosen troops tasked with massacring the Jews.
Throughout The Patients of Dr. Garcia Season 1, we see Adrian is an ordinary guy with an uncomplicated perspective, rather than being nefarious. He didn’t want to murder people, but he did want to train to be a great soldier and defend his country and his values. He felt terrible for the Jewish woman who was going to die as he aimed his weapon at her, but he did pull the trigger nonetheless because he knew that if he didn’t, he would be taken out by the SS. Adrian and Navarro battled side by side in the conflict against the Russian forces. The two of them have not yet made amends; instead, they are looking for an opportunity to kill each other. Fortunately, Adrian grasped the chance. While hiding from the Russians in a chamber, he admitted to Navarro that he had wrongfully defeated him. However, later, in order to escape the battlefield, he killed Navarro, assumed his identity, and surrendered to the Russian forces. Although he was not sent to Russia, he was held as a prisoner of war. He abandoned his previous life as Adrian, who killed the captives in a Nazi camp, and took the identity of Alfonso Navarro. Adrian became a fugitive in the books, and no one knew he had been taken by the Russian military. Adrian was really not charged with any crime since he was identified as Navarro, meaning he would soon be released from jail and sent back to Madrid.
Guillermo assumed the guise of Rafael Cuesta and, at Manuel’s request, was hired by a transportation company that worked with Clara Stauffer and other Falangist associates. Guillermo secured the position because of his multilingual education and sharp communication skills, and he quickly earned the respect of the company’s president, Gabino. Meanwhile, Manuel was plotting his escape from Spain and relocating to Peron’s Argentina. His lover turned associate, Meg Williams, who used to work for the US government, worked on giving Manuel a new identity to borrow in order for him to secure an unrestricted passage to Argentina. After doing some research, Manuel discovered Adrian’s identity. Adrian was a fugitive, so no one had really seen him and no one knew where he was. Therefore, Adrian’s identity came in handy for Manuel to borrow.
Guillermo, in the meantime, ran across Amparo, who was now working for Clara Stauffer. Guillermo, alias Rafael, accompanied Manuel, who took the name Adrian, to see Clara. Clara assured Adrian that she would look after him completely so that he could be securely transferred to Argentina. However, the real Adrian, who had been imprisoned under the guise of Navarro, was finally released and returned to Madrid. When he arrived, he discovered that someone had impersonated him. Adrian approached Rafael and informed him that he was the actual Adrian and had no relation to a man called Rafael Cuesta. Rafael was in great danger when he saw Adrian in front of him, so he had to make a decision he never thought he would make in his whole life. As a doctor, he had spent his whole life saving people’s lives, but now, for the greater good and to save his friend Manuel, he had to kill Adrian Gallardo. He shot Adrian to death, destroying all evidence that the real Adrian Gallardo ever existed.
How Was Manuel’s Fake Identity Uncovered? How Did He Survive?
Clara fell in love with Manuel, a.k.a. Adrian, while assisting him in fleeing Madrid. She made it clear to Manuel that she intended to pursue the connection. Clara contacted Manuel upon his arrival in Argentina and proposed to him, but Manuel declined, claiming that he had already fallen in love with another lady. The denial was too much for Clara to handle politely, so she began investigating Adrian more thoroughly. Later, she discovered in a brochure that Adrian Gallardo had once had a glorious career as a boxer and that the brochure even featured his picture. Clara felt deceived and instructed her collaborators in Argentina to murder Adrian, but before they could do so, the consular of the US embassy in Madrid seized Clara and threatened her with extradition if she did not leave Adrian safe and sound. Clara believed that because the US embassy had the support of the Spanish government, she would be unable to battle them. She told her associates to leave Manuel and forget about the whole thing—that such treachery had ever happened to them.
Although Manuel’s life had been spared, his relationship with Meg ended, and they separated since both of them at this point had different goals for their lives. Manuel desired to lead a decent life, while Meg still desired to stay active while working for the US embassy. Later, Manuel began dating Simona, and they got married. Guillermo was in the same boat. He met Rita, and they both fell in love. While working for a transportation firm, Rafael became engaged with Clara’s Nazi and Falangist allies, who used him to transfer stolen art from abroad. As a result, Rafael made a lot of money, which allowed him to start his family on a strong footing. Even better, Gabino chose to retire and entrusted the company’s management to Rafael. Rafael married Rita, and his family continued to thrive as time passed.
‘The Patients of Dr. Garcia’ Ending Explained: How Did Manuel Return To Spain?
In 1968, Guillermo had three children with his wife, Rita. Guillermo had no ties with Amparo anymore, and to respect Amparo’s decisions, he didn’t try to visit his son. Guillermo was notified one day that his son, Jose Antonio, had become a republican like his father and had been imprisoned. Guillermo confronted Antonio in prison, but he didn’t expect his son to recognize him. After losing touch with Amparo, Antonio never even got to see what his father looked like, and when he met him when he was a toddler, his mother withheld information about who Guillermo was. But as he grew older, Antonio learned from his birth certificate that Guillermo was his father. Guillermo bailed his son out and introduced him to his family. Rita and Guillermo’s three other children greeted Antonio with open arms. Guillermo’s life took a lot from him while also giving him as much as he had lost. Despite this, Guillermo never forgot about the people he formerly worked with. Manuel and Meg, his companion, were two important individuals in his life.
Following Franco’s death in 1975, several TV channels expressed their grief and condolences for the loss of Spain’s last dictator, but Guillermo realized that Spain would eventually undergo some changes. However, after 1975, Argentina experienced a military dictatorship. The armies were orchestrating investigations to discover and eliminate the subversives. As a result, Manuel and his family were in danger in Argentina. Manuel and Simona had a good life after their marriage and had three children together, but during Argentina’s dictatorship, Manuel became concerned about how he was going to protect himself and his family. Even the passport he had obtained in Madrid as Peter Louzan had expired, so he had no way of returning to Spain. His identity as Adrian had been engaged in the betrayal, and many of the Falangist accomplices were aware of it. As a result, it was time now for Manuel to leave Argentina, or his family may face severe repercussions. Meg ultimately intervened to assist Manuel. She had been in a relationship with another lady, but she couldn’t forget her time with Manuel. She met her former lover and dearest friend, Manuel, and assured him of her help. Manuel was eventually able to leave Argentina after renewing his passport, and he migrated to Spain with his family. At the very end of The Patients of Dr. Garcia, Guillermo arrived at the airport with his family to greet his friend, Manuel. Manuel and Guillermo finally saw one another after years apart, causing them to shed their tears and embrace each other.
The Patients of Dr. Garcia is an espionage thriller that feels more like a history book than a thriller. Throughout the series, we’ve been bombarded with details that sometimes flew over our heads. There was little suspense to keep the viewers hooked on the narrative. The narrative drags on for a long time, putting our patience to the test. However, each period has been masterfully portrayed with aesthetically pleasing visuals from 1936 to 1976, but that may not be enough to make an espionage thriller captivating. We believe that the producers should have concentrated on making the plot more attractive rather than cramming it with historical data.