The return of Teresa Mendoza, the Mexican, who after becoming one of the largest drug traffickers in Spain –the Queen of the South- and disappearing without a trace, is now forced to return to this dangerous world in order to save her daughter’s life.
Teresa Mendoza disappeared eight years ago under the United States Government’s witness protection program after having politically sunk the Mexican presidential candidate Epifanio Vargas. And throughout this whole time, she lives in anonymity as Maria Dantes, in the village of Massa Marittima of Italian Tuscany. In the peacefulness of that place, she raises her little daughter Sofia, while teaching her tricks to defend herself in case, one day, enemies of the past manage to discover her location; because the past always returns when one least expects it, and because “it’s better to sweat while in training than to bleed in the battlefield.”
But unfortunately, the day Teresa wished would never arrive, did. It’s the day of the competition of the “Sbandieratori” of Massa Marittima and the little Sofia is ready to compete among hundreds of her friends. During a small distraction, Sofia disappears. At first, Teresa thinks it’s a game, until she begins to look for her. Little by little, the search becomes desperate. Nobody has seen her. Until she receives a call and her life turns around forever when she recognizes the voice: it’s her godfather, Epifanio. In order to get her attention, he lets her know he has brought her daughter to Mexico and she must go get her. The horrible nightmare she had since her daughter was born has come true. She’s Teresa again, the same one that ran away from Culiacan so many years ago...but this time she’s not that innocent girl, but instead is the Queen of the South.
Teresa returns to Mexico after fifteen years to meet again with Don Epifanio, who reveals to her the reason she kidnapped Sofia. He demands she design and execute a strategy to destroy the opposition candidate so he can win the Mexican Presidency. Teresa has no other option than to race against the clock to meets Epifanio’s demands. That’s why she digs up her past, and along with endearing characters from the first season, returns from her Golden retirement to her old drug trafficking business. But this time she’s willing to wipe out any obstacle that may come in her way because her daughter’s life is at stake.
TERESA MENDOZA – Kate del Castillo
Teresa has a survival spirit. Her experiences have forced her to be a distrustful person. She has learned to stand on her own. She has a past full of abuse and loneliness. She finds love with Güero Dávila. She discovers passion with Santiago Fisterra, the Galician, who opened the path for her to the drug trafficking world. She loses Santiago on a mission and she’s incarcerated. In prison she meets Patty O´Farrell, a fundamental character in her intellectual preparation and development around people with power. She then lives the betrayal of Teo Aljarafe, the father of her daughter, Sofia. Those were her four great loves: All dead. The last one murdered on her command. She now lives for her last great love: Sofia. And for her, she’s lived in anonymity for almost nine years in a remote place where she thought she could never be found. Teresa Mendoza is a great strategist and that is why she is being recruited again. Her intelligence, her prodigious memory and great intuition have made her a legend known as The Queen of the South.
SOFÍA DANTES – Isabella Sierra
She’s beautiful. Her features resemble those of her mother, Teresa Mendoza, without leaving aside the features of her Spaniard father, Teo Aljarafe. She’s a girl whose maturity, vivacity and intelligence make her appear older than she is. She was born in Massa Marittima where the story begins. That’s why Sofia doesn’t know of anything beyond the borders of Tuscany. She’s been educated in Italian but learned to speak Spanish from Teresa. She knows her mother as Maria Dantes, and is clueless about her mother’s past. Always in fear of her past catching up, Teresa has taught Sofia many tactics that the girl will put into practice throughout her time in captivity. She doesn’t have a paternal figure. In this past year Teresa has maintained an informal relationship with an attractive photographer. During her abduction, Sofia establishes a deep and emotional relationship with her kidnapper. As the days go by in captivity, Lupo becomes the father she never had. During her stay in Mexico, she begins to discover her mother’s true identity, Teresa Mendoza.
ERICK SHELDON – Eric Roberts
DEA Administrator. He’s the U.S. president’s right hand man, the mastermind of the secret operation that he’s preparing to elevate Epifanio Vargas to the presidency of Mexico. He’s the one who has organized everything to get Epifanio out of jail, clear his records and take him to the presidency. To achieve his purpose, he must put an end to Mexico’s most powerful cartel, the Juarez Cartel, commanded by Zurdo Villa, the financier of Epifanio Vargas’ opposition candidate.
EPIFANIO VARGAS – Humberto Zurita
He’s an enigmatic character, gentle and sure of himself. Every move he makes is premeditated. He’s an excellent actor, calculating, intelligent and with a profound gaze. But he’s always preserving his plain ways of a northern rancher. Three years ago, he was released from prison, where he was serving time for his connection to drug trafficking. Teresa Mendoza’s testimony was the key to his arrest. He only served part of his sentence because the DEA withdrew his extradition request, charges and indictment. Epifanio believes that he has been released from prison for bribing the judges, and does not suspect that the DEA cleared his file and allowed his release for a very specific purpose. In Mexico, he’s a hero, a victim of Yankees interventionist. He still has a weakness for Teresa Mendoza even though she has been responsible for having him end up in jail. This weakness for her has led him to make the mistakes that have cost him dearly. When he met her, she was with Güero Davila, and he felt a simple attraction, but that attraction then became a mixture of admiration and respect for the figure of Teresa Mendoza, whose sagacity and intelligence led her to become Queen from the South. Epifanio finds the town where Teresa took refuge with her new identity. He has Sofia kidnapped and uses her as a bargaining chip to force Teresa to return to be the Queen of the South and clear his path to the presidency, destroying the Juarez Cartel through a major operation. On the other hand, Epifanio, aware of the great power of the press and media, offers marriage to a beautiful and elegant journalist he met while he was in prison; a woman who comes from a family of politicians and whose brother is his current advisor and right hand.
ALEJANDRO ALCALÁ – Mark Tacher
He is senior advisor to Epifanio Vargas. He’s the counselor and mentor of his candidacy. Alejandro is some kind of political trainer because of his skill and prodigious mind. He studied law. He’s intelligent, clever and from a family of career politicians. He’s Genoveva Alcala’s brother. They’re both children of the Governor of Guadalajara. Alejandro is the man recruited by the DEA to prepare Epifanio for the road to the presidency. Genoveva is the one who introduces her brother to Epifanio. He’s an elegant man, with much class and knows how to behave. Alejandro is diplomatic and very sharp. He never loses his composure. He’s the one who prepares Epifanio and his image to reach the presidency. His personal life is an enigma. For eight years, he has had a clandestine relationship with a man younger than him.
DANILO MÁRQUEZ – Emmanuel Orenday
He’s handsome, athletic, determined and a good person. Danilo is honest, creative, relaxed. He met Alejandro Alcala when he was just beginning his architecture career. He’s of a humble origin, but educated in a family environment that instilled in him important values as a human being. Alejandro helped him continue attending college, paying for his career. He specializes in interior design and has the talent to create tasteful spaces. They keep their relationship secret and very discreet. He is manly, romantic and charismatic. Alejandro is the love of his life, but he is tired of continuing to hide and carry his relationship in the back room.
GENOVEVA ALCALÁ – Kika Edgar
She is a beautiful and elegant journalist who comes from a very good family. She is Alejandro Alcala’s sister and the daughter of the Governor of Guadalajara. When she began working, she worked in a publication that entrusted her to interview Epifanio Vargas in prison. She falls in love with Epifanio and when he gets out of prison he proposes to her and she accepts. She had a failed marriage from her past from which she had no children. She has fertility problems and this has caused her much frustration as a woman. Maternity is an idea that’s still hanging around in her head and, perhaps, Epifanio might help her achieve her desire to be a mother. She currently works at a television network that rivals the station where Marietta Lancaster works. They’re rivals in the professional field, but they have a close relationship on a personal level because Marietta was her teacher and she was her most advantaged student. Epifanio helps her rise as a presenter giving her leads and scoops. At first, her romance with Epifanio is hidden until he comes to an agreement with his ex-wife to sign the divorce and introduce Genoveva as the future first lady.
ANTONIO ALCALÁ – Eduardo Yañez
He is the patriarch of the Alcala family and Governor of Guadalajara for Epifanio’s opposition party. For obvious reasons, he feels betrayed by his two children. The rupture becomes even greater when he finds out of his daughter’s romance with Epifanio Vargas. He doesn’t even suspect that his son is gay. That would be a disgrace to his political lineage and his family name.
MARIETTA LANCASTER – Anna Ciocchetti
She’s pretty masculine and has a strong character. She’s a Mexican journalist who has earned great prestige for her work. In the past, she was a college professor but now she only holds conferences or Master Classes at the university. She’s specialized in investigative journalism. She has a prime-time television program. She has conducted a thorough investigation of Epifanio Vargas and launches a controversial multi-episode program that will dismantle Epifanio’s lies sowing doubt about the past of the flamboyant candidate for the presidency. She’s looking for the truth. Her political party affiliation is with the right wing. She smokes very often. She has great appreciation for Genoveva Alcala, Epifanio’s fiancée.
MARIANO BRAVO – Eduardo Santamarina
He’s the candidate of the opposing party to Epifanio. He is a right-wing populist. He’s linked to unions and drug trafficking. He wants to change the country. He’s better looking, younger and even taller than Epifanio, which forces Epifanio to use platforms in his shoes. He has a more presidential appearance and more elegance. Bravo is the stone in Epifanio’s shoe that he must remove at any cost.
ZURDO VILLA – Flavio Medina
He’s handsome, fun, self-confident, singer and a bit of an actor. Zurdo is a fan of Pancho Villa. He is the most powerful drug trafficker in Mexico, Head of the cartel that is financing Mariano Bravo, opposition candidate of Epifanio Vargas. He orders to compose a corrido called the Black Madame…He’s obsessed with Teresa Mendoza. Deep down, Teresa is his platonic love. His real last name is Gonzalez, but he calls himself Villa because of his admiration for Pancho Villa. He’s good looking, handsome in his almost-peasant simplicity. His dream finally comes true when he meets Teresa Mendoza, and he does everything necessary to please her and sleep with her until he finally achieves it. Without realizing it, due to his obsession for her, Teresa begins to get information from him to eliminate him as she was ordered as a condition to recover her daughter.
CARMEN MARTÍNEZ – Patricia Reyes
Carmen is a woman of humble origin. She and Epifanio have been separated but have never divorced. They have two children –who are now adults- and their granddaughters. She has ever known another man in her life and she holds on to the hope that Epifanio will come back to her and the presidential candidacy is the ideal moment. At least that’s what she thinks when she imagines herself as Mexico’s first lady. She’s a scorned woman. Epifanio has cheated on her with his sister-in-law and his only son, Ramiro, was born from that relationship and was later killed by Teresa Mendoza. She feels humiliated by Epifanio’s contempt and the deal he offers her to sign the divorce papers. After Epifanio’s new betrayal, she unites her objectives with those of Teresa Mendoza.
VIRGINIA VARGAS – Vera Mercado
She’s the daughter of Carmen and Epifanio, a woman with pronounced Mexican features. She’s Jimena’s mother. She’s always been by her mother’s side since her father Epifanio left the house and still lives with her. Her greatest pride is her daughter, who will also be her biggest headache when Virginia discovers her daughter’s romance with the late Güero Davila’s nephew.
JIMENA MONTES – María Camila Giraldo
She’s a beautiful girl, naive but Smart, sincere and correct. She hates politics and everything related to it. She’s Epifanio Vargas granddaughter. She studies economics and finance at the same university Ray studies and where the journalist Marietta Lancaster teaches. She falls in love with Ray Davila ignoring he is Güero Davila’s nephew, the man her grandfather ordered dead when he found out he was an undercover DEA agent.
CÉSAR “BATMAN” GÜEMES – Alejandro Calva
His relationship with Epifanio ended badly in the first season, but business is business and the rules were not invented by him, they were already written when he arrived. He has a double game, his own revenge, a double agenda. At first, he is in charge of kidnapping Sofia, and then he is the one who gives the order to assassinate her, fulfilling the wishes of Epifanio and Alejandro Alcala. In Culiacan, he is in charge of Epifanio’s dirty work, his trusted man as in the past; he is a lord of the old guard. He is one of the very few men of word left in his line of work. He wants his team to maintain a low profile, but it’s impossible and that drains him. He has a place for norteña music, a “table dance”. When he meets Sheila, he falls in love with her from the first day.
“KIRA” NICOLE FOREMAN – Paola Nuñez
She is a chameleon. She is tall and Caucasian. Physically, she resembles Patty O’Farrel. She speaks several languages. She masters weapons, technology and is trained to build explosives. She’s trained for any extreme mission. She’s the one that opens the path for Epifanio, illegally eliminating everything that legally hinders him without Epifanio knowing about it. She leads a double life: The normal girl in love with Jonathan Peres and the cold-blooded assassin. She is a mercenary, infiltrated by the DEA. Epifanio believes he has hired her, but she has been placed by Erick Sheldon of the DEA through Alejandro Alcala. She’s a woman who sleeps with any man she wants and if it’s necessary, with a woman too. Men are disposable to her. She’s a nymphomaniac. Her task is to kill Epifanio’s opponent. She is the daughter of an American and a Mexican. Her mother takes care of her autistic son and she provides the money for his education and treatment.
OLEG YASIKOV – Antonio Gil
He’s retired in Moscow from his life as the head of the Russian mafia, but out of loyalty to Teresa, he returns and resumes his networks to help his best friend. He meets with the president of Russia to ask for authorization to go back to Mexico, but he is not granted permission. Oleg decides to flee from Moscow accepting all the consequences that this brings to him and his family. Oleg and Teresa have a platonic relationship. It’s almost a friendship between two men. Oleg accompanies Teresa and between the two they rebuild their organization. Oleg’s family suffers a failed attempt of murder. Teresa decides to go separate ways and leave him out to protect him and his family, but it is Oleg who insists on paying the debt of honor he has with Teresa. He’s going to pay for that choice very dearly.
“LUPO” FRANCESCO BELMONDO – Raoul Bova
He is tall, handsome, former military, mercenary, speaks several languages even though he’s a man of few words. His observation capability is well trained. He always has an escape route in case of an emergency. He looks like a marine. After Sofia’s escape, he’s shot in the back for protecting her. Sofia removes the bullet and saves him. He had a miserable childhood. He was abandoned by his parents as a child and went through several orphanages. All the families that adopted him ended up giving him back after a while due to his cold, calculating and not very empathetic character. This man is an enigma. His heart is closed to love because he has always preferred to end his relationships before they got serious to avoid love commitments. He believes he wasn’t born to love. He prefers to live alone and commit to his career as a mercenary to whomever pays him best. That is why he’s hired by Epifanio through Batman to kidnap Sofia. What nobody knows is that this woman will end up being the love of his life. And Sofia will be the trigger for that change. The Stockholm effect when he kidnaps the girl changes his destiny forever.
FAUSTINO SÁNCHEZ GODOY – Lincoln Palomeque
He is Colombian, attractive, narcissist and cunning. He has pleasurable sex with Teresa with no strings attached. He’s the one who provides drugs to the Zurdo Villa’s Juarez Cartel. To him, business comes first and he isn’t fooled easily.
ABDELKADER CHAIB – Eduardo Velasco
He is Moroccan military and Teresa’ ally. He’s helped Teresa out of many complicated situations. He had an intimate relationship with her during her time in Melilla. Teresa considers him a gentleman. He currently holds a very high position in the Moroccan government.
SISO PERNAS – Miguel Ángel Blanco
He is the eldest son of Pernas clan. After his father’s death, he became the head of the Galician band. He has unsettled matters with Teresa. And he begins to collect his debt as soon as he discovers Teresa has reappeared. From the beginning of the story he will cross paths with her and try to settle their unresolved business. Siso will be one of Teresa’s main enemies.
AHMED – Abdelali El Aziz
Ahmed comes to America with the group that Teresa Mendoza creates to fulfill Epifanio Vargas’ task. He will be linked to Batman Güemes at his table dance and he’ll be an unconditional servant to Teresa. He’s secretly in love with Sheila and will be part of the love triangle with Batman.
SHEILA – Cuca Escribano
Sheila forms part of the group of allies that Teresa brings to Mexico to dethrone Zurdo Villa so that she can ensure a loyal group around her. At first, Sheila will work undercover at Batman Güemes’s bar in Culiacan. From this, a fun love will emerge between these two disparate characters amid bullets and attacks.
MARCELA “LA CONEJO” – Carmen Navarro
La Conejo travels to Mexico with Teresa and will continue being the mother Teresa never had. She is very loyal, and would prefer to commit suicide before betraying her friend. La Conejo will be the one who helps Teresa get in touch with Oleg Yasikov in Moscow. She continues her obsession of falling in love with handsome and muscular young men.
WILLY RANGEL – Christian Tappan
He’s about to be retired from his responsibilities as a veteran DEA officer. He’s not aware of his agency’s secret operation in favor of Epifanio Vargas. When Teresa Mendoza reappears after eight years, he decides to investigate Teresa’s request himself. His connection to the office is Jonathan, who will be his ally until the end. He has always been secretly in love with Teresa.
JONATHAN PERES – Tiago Correa
Jonathan is a second-generation Cuban-American. Although he speaks fluent Spanish, his first language is English. He always wanted to be a federal agent for the DEA and is fulfilling his dream. He’s the most outstanding officer of his generation. He’s eager to grow within the agency. Willy has adopted him as his pupil and has taught Jonathan a lot, for example, how to break laws without it seeming illegal. He’s aggressive and strong when he should be and his best weapon is to appear harmless. Karate gives him the power to use violence only when it is extremely necessary. He’s smart, technologically and physically very well prepared. He’s a chameleon. He knows how to use his gallantry in his favor. Jonathan has an affair with Kira without imagining that she is a double agent.
CAYETANA SEGOVIA, VIUDA DE ALJARAFE – Luisa Gavassa
She is the mother of the late Teo Aljarafe, grandmother to Sofia. Her great obsession: to find Teresa to avenge the death of her only son. She’s hired different detectives to find her, but none of them have been successful. Finally, she hires a special DEA agent, without Teresa being aware of it, to find her whereabouts. Once Cayetana receives information about her whereabouts, she sends it to Teresa’s worst enemies...among them, Epifanio Vargas and Siso Pernas, so they can get rid of her. She has two granddaughters from Teo and Eugenia: Paloma and Rocio. Cayetana doesn’t know of Sofia’s existence, who is the daughter of Teresa and Teo and therefore, also her granddaughter. She has spent the last eight years instilling in her own granddaughters a feeling of hatred toward Teresa, their father’s murderer.
PALOMA ALJARAFE – Agata Herranz
She’s not as graceful as her sister. She’s quite bitter, like her grandmother. Her Spanish lineage is very dominant in her. She’s Teo Aljarafe’s eldest daughter; Cayetana’s favorite granddaughter, because of her great resemblance to her father. Despite her youth, she harbors feelings of hatred towards Teresa, nourished by her grandmother. She is classic and conservative. Paloma is a Law student. She aspires to be a lawyer just like her father. She has constant confrontations with her sister Rocio, the rebel of the family.
ROCÍO ALJARAFE – Sara Vidorreta
She is also of Spanish lineage but without complications; she is a liberal millennial. Rocio is Teo’s second daughter. She’s a teenager who drives her grandmother Cayetana insane. She is rebellious and conflictive. She enjoys antagonizing her grandmother and sister. She’ll feel empathy for Teresa and will resort to her, looking to escape from the prison in which she feels entrapped in by her grandmother.
RAY DÁVILA – Alex Speitzer
He’s a handsome and athletic Mexican-American, the “quarterback” of his college football team, the hunk all the girls want. He’s is a Computer Science student in the United States. He’s a genius with new technologies and communications. Ray is Güero Davila’s nephew, with whom he maintained a relationship like that of a father and son. He felt great admiration and respect for his uncle, even after his death. Güero was killed when Ray was only 14 years old and it was a hard blow for him and his mother. He falls in love with the granddaughter of Epifanio Vargas, the man who ordered the murder of his uncle, but he doesn’t know of this family bond and the murky past that involved the clarification of this crime. Teresa recruits him to work on everything related to technology in the company she undertakes in Mexico when she returns to business.
• La Reina del Sur is an original story by Arturo Perez-Reverte and adapted to television by Roberto Stopello. Season 2 is slated to launch during the 2018-2019 season (date and time TBC).
• Production took take place in Colombia with some scenes shot in Russia, Spain, Italy, Romania, Guatemala and Washington, D.C.