La Reina del Sur (telenovela)

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This article is about the 2011 television series. For other uses, see La Reina del Sur (disambiguation).
La Reina del Sur
La-reina-del-sur poster.jpg
Genre Telenovela
Created by Original Story:
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Version for television:
Roberto Stopello
Developed by RTI Producciones
Starring Kate del Castillo
Humberto Zurita
Rafael Amaya
Iván Sánchez
Cristina Urgel
Narrated by Kate del Castillo
Theme music composer Nicolás Uribe
Opening theme "La Reina del Sur" by Los Cuates de Sinaloa
Country of origin Spain
United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 63
Executive producer(s) Hugo León Ferrer
Martha Godoy
Aurelio Valcárcel Carrol
Location(s) Gibraltar, Spain
Sinaloa, Mexico
Running time 42-45 minutes
Original network Telemundo
Antena 3
Picture format HDTV, 1080i
Original release February 28, 2011 (2011-02-28) – May 30, 2011 (2011-05-30)
Preceded by Alguien te mira (2011)
Marido en alquiler (2014)
Followed by La casa de al lado (2011)
En otra piel (2014)
Related shows Señora Acero (2014)
External links
Official website

La Reina del Sur (The Queen of the South) is a Spanish-language telenovela produced by the United States television network Telemundo, in conjunction with the Antena 3 network and RTI Producciones. Based on a novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the drama depicts the rise of Teresa Mendoza (Kate del Castillo), a young woman from Mexico who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. La Reina del Sur was nominated for Novela of the Year, Favorite Lead Actress, and Best Bad Luck Video.[1][2][3] With a $10 million budget it was the most expensive telenovela ever produced by Telemundo.[4]


La Reina del Sur is the story of Teresa Mendoza (Kate del Castillo), a 23-year-old woman who is living with her boyfriend, "El Güero" (Rafael Amaya), a drug trafficker and rising star in the Sinaloa cartel. El Güero has been dabbling in his own trade, which is starting to cut into the cartel's profits, and is killed on the order of Epifanio Vargas (Humberto Zurita), the leader of the cartel. Teresa receives a phone call telling her to run. Teresa is unaware that El Güero's death was ordered by Vargas, mistakenly believing that he was killed by rivals in the organization. She trades El Güero's business ledger to Vargas in exchange for his help fleeing the country.

Arriving in Spain, Teresa is referred to work for Driss Larby, a businessman and low-level underworld operator in the Spanish enclave of Melilla on the North African coast. On the ferry, she meets Fátima Mansur, a prostitute who works at Driss' bar "El Yamilla." Teresa proves herself to be an invaluable asset by balancing Driss' books every night. Teresa meets Santiago Fisterra (Iván Sanchez), a Galician ("El Gallego") who works smuggling black market goods such as cigarettes across the strait of Gibraltar into Spain, and his friend Lalo. Teresa and Santiago begin dating, while Lalo dates Teresa's coworker Soraya. Knowing that Santiago is unhappy working the small time, Teresa arranges with Colonel Abdelkader Chaïb (Eduardo Velasco) to get Santiago into the hashish trade. The trade provides huge profits, and Teresa and Santiago move to Málaga.

A year later, Driss Larby is still smarting from Teresa's abandonment, and conspires with a Spanish Naval Officer, Cañagotas (Julio Pachón), who is on Chaïb's payroll, to have Santiago busted during a major drug run. Instead, Santiago crashes his boat into rocks at high speed and is killed, while Teresa is thrown free, arrested, and sent to jail. Santiago's crooked lawyer, Eddy Alvarez (Carlos Diez), subsequently liquidates all of Santiago and Teresa's property and spends it on his mistress.

In prison, Teresa meets Patricia O'Farrell (Cristina Urgel), the wild child in a wealthy Irish-Spanish family whose exasperated father has abandoned her after having had to bail her out of trouble too many times. The two become fast friends—although the bisexual Patricia clearly wants more. Upon release, Patty reveals to Teresa that she knows where a half ton of cocaine was hidden by her late boyfriend, and plans to sell it back to the Russian mob. During the negotiation, it becomes clear to the Russian mob boss, Oleg Yasilkov (Alberto Jiménez), that Teresa's business smarts would be a valuable asset to him. Teresa negotiates the retrieval of the cocaine from its hiding place, under the nose of the confounded Spanish police, the first of many successes in her new career as a rising drug lord.

DEA agent Willy Rangel (Cristian Tappan) travels to Spain, where he begins working with Flores to build a case against Teresa, who is rapidly becoming the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. Backed by Yasilkov, and with the assistance of Teo Aljarafe (Miguel de Miguel), a lawyer and occasional lover of Patty, she opens Transer Naga, a shell company set up to disguise her true business. Shortly afterward, three assassins arrive from Mexico, bent on seeking revenge against Teresa. With Oleg's help, one of them is executed, one escapes, and one, "El Pote" (Dagoberto Gama) eventually becomes her personal bodyguard. Teresa and Teo grow closer, despite her reservations about it, and eventually embark on a relationship.

In the meantime, Willy has brought his assistant, Veronica (Sara Maldonado) to Spain to pose as a love interest for Patty in order to gain access to Transer Naga. Willy also pressures Teo into turning informant, threatening to reveal to Teresa that Teo has been skimming from the company. As months pass, Teresa and Teo attract media attention, and Patty, dumped by Veronica and jealous of Teresa replacing her as media darling, begins a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol. Stalking Veronica in an attempt to get her back, Patty learns the truth about her ex-girlfriend: that she works for the police and has been using Patty to take down Teresa. Distraught, Patty drives the car off of a cliff, killing Veronica. On awakening in the hospital, she tells Teresa everything she knows, then commits suicide.

In Mexico, Epifanio Vargas has been working as the chief of campaign for the next presidential election. His nephew (who is, in fact, his son) Ramiro (Salvador Zerboni) arranges for the candidate to be assassinated, ensuring that the candidacy will go to Vargas instead. Spurred on by the fact that the head of the Sinaloa cartel is about to be elected president of Mexico, the DEA changes tactics and offers Teresa immunity against prosecution if she agrees to testify against Vargas and destroy his political career. At the same time, Vargas asks Ramiro to bring Teresa back to Mexico under the guise of extending an invitation to attend his candidacy, but in reality to execute her because she is the only person still alive who knows about his criminal past.

Oleg presents Teresa with evidence that Teo is a police informant. Teresa sets a trap for Teo and confronts him with the truth, after which Pote executes him. Finding that the Spanish police are trying to obtain an arrest warrant and do an end-run around the DEA, Teresa accepts the immunity deal and agrees to testify against Vargas who, she realizes, has been her enemy all along. On her return to Culiacan, Vargas tries at first to plead with Teresa not to testify but, being unsuccessful, orders her assassination in a raid on the safe house where she is staying. Teresa narrowly escapes, shooting Ramiro in the chest point-blank after he has killed Pote. The next day, she leaves the police station in triumph and Vargas is led away in handcuffs.

A short coda shows a heavily pregnant Teresa, seven months later, living a life of peace and quiet in a seaside villa somewhere in Spain. A high shot of her walking along a pier, holding her belly and smiling, ends the series. In the last few episodes it is established that the show has taken place over the span of approximately thirteen years.


The program's premiere on February 28, 2011, was the network's highest rated premiere for a telenovela to date.[5] The program frequently dominated its time slot, even over English language programming on other major U.S. networks.[6] La Reina del Sur completed its 63 episode run on Telemundo and its 13 episode run on Antena 3 simultaneously on May 30, 2011. The final episode was the highest rated broadcast in Telemundo's 19-year history (4.2 million viewers), and beat all of the English language U.S. television networks to earn the number one slot in the 18-49 adult demographic.[7] The program's success spurred Telemundo to launch its first campaign to gain the series an Emmy Award nomination.[8] A one-night special featuring several cast members aired on May 31, 2011, and marked the Telemundo debut of noted Latina television personality Cristina Saralegui.

As part of Telemundo's changes in prime-time programming, Dama y Obrero ended on October 18, 2013. From October 21 to November 8, Telemundo temporarily aired 2 hours of Marido en Alquiler weeknights at 8pm/7c, replacing Dama y Obrero. On November 11, the network started rerunning La Reina del Sur weeknights at 9pm/8c, replacing one hour of Marido en Alquiler.[9][10] The last episode was broadcast on February 17, with En Otra Piel replacing it the following night.

La Reina del Sur is broadcast in several other markets, including Serbia, Colombia,[11] Chile,[12] Cyprus,[13] Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Albania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, (among others).


La Reina del Sur was announced by Telemundo as part of its 2010-2011 program year in early 2010. The majority of the program was shot in the fall of 2010 at Telemundo's studios in Colombia. Several actors and sets were simultaneously used for more than one production. Sets depicting Morocco in the telenovela El Clon were also used to depict Gibraltar and Fez during filming. Some scenes filmed in Colombia were also used in El Cartel 2: La Guerra Total.

Rafael Amaya shot some scenes for La Reina del Sur while also filming Alguien te mira. Sara Maldonado also did double duty for this and Aurora.

Footage was also shot on location in Mexico, Spain, Gibraltar, United States, and Morocco.

Opening credits and theme[edit]

The opening credits for the show were displayed after a lengthy cold open (generally 15–20 minutes into the broadcast). The credits featured a montage of scenes from throughout the series.

The theme song, performed by Los Cuates de Sinaloa, is a cover of Los Tigres del Norte's 2002 song, "La Reina del Sur". The cover version's lyrics recount the story of Perez Reverte's fictional heroine.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Kate del Castillo as Teresa Mendoza "La Mexicana", Girlfriend of Raimundo "El Güero" Dávila, a drug runner with the Sinaloa cartel, who is forced to flee to Spain when he is killed. Later involved with Santiago "El Gallego" Fisterra, a drug runner formerly involved with the Galician syndicate, who is killed during a high speed boat chase during which Teresa is arrested and sent to jail. On release, she establishes ties with the Russian mafia on the Costa del Sol and becomes romantically involved with Teo Aljarafe. Her publicity-shy manner and wealth draw the attention of the media, who dub her "The Queen of the South" ("La Reina del Sur") in tabloid publications. With the police closing in, she is offered the chance to escape prosecution if she testifies against Epifanio Vargas, back in Mexico, if she testifies against him and destroys his political career.
  • Humberto Zurita as Epifanio Vargas, Godfather of "El Güero" Dávila; head of the Sinaloan cartel, he enters politics as a senator from Sinaloa with ambitions to seek the presidency of Mexico. He is secretly the father of Ramiro "El Ratas" Vargas. When El Ratas (without Vargas's knowledge) arranges for the candidate for presidency to be assassinated, Vargas is nominated to take his place. With so much at stake, Vargas realizes that Teresa Mendoza is the only person still alive who knows details about his past business deals with the cartel.
  • Rafael Amaya as Raimundo Dávila Parra "El Güero", Seen mostly in flashbacks, El Güero is a rising star in the Sinaloa cartel who is killed by Epifanio Vargas' men, causing Teresa to flee into exile in Spain. Near the end of the series, it is revealed that El Güero was a DEA agent working for Willy Rangel, and that he was found out and ordered executed by Epifanio Vargas.
  • Iván Sánchez as Santiago López Fisterra "El Gallego", A Melilla-based smuggler of cigarettes and tobacco with former ties to the Galician syndicate (in Spanish, Galician is gallego, hence the nickname). Early in their relationship Teresa helps him break into the hashish trade and in return he teaches her the craft of smuggling across the Strait of Gibraltar. They are later married.
  • Cristina Urgel as Patricia O' Farrell "Lieutenant / La Teniente", A celebrity it girl from a wealth Irish-Spanish family known for her wild drunken, bisexual exploits, she meets Teresa in jail and finances her early operations after release. Patty is also in love with Teresa, and eventually begins dating Verónica, using her similar appearance and Mexican accent as a surrogate.

Supporting Cast[edit]

  • Alberto Jiménez as Oleg Yasikov, Russian crime boss. He becomes Teresa's business partner after her release from jail, develops a brother/sister relationship with Teresa, and eventually harbors unrequited love for her. He is suspicious of Teo Aljarafe and orders him followed, leading to the discovery of Teo's betrayal. Not Alberto Jimenez the boxer.
  • Miguel de Miguel as Teo Alljarafe, Originally a friend and sometime lover of Patty O'Farrell, Teo replaces Eddy Alvarez as Teresa's primary lawyer, laundering money earned in the drug trade (for which Eddy conspires with Teo's wife Eugenia to have him killed). Unbeknownst to Teresa, he is working as a police informant and betrays her by assisting Veronica with leaking information to the police and the DEA.
  • Gabriel Porras as Roberto Gato Marqués "El Gato Fierros", A member of the Sinaloa Cartel contracted to kill Teresa after El Güero's assassination. During the pursuit, he rapes her and she shoots him in the face.
  • Salvador Zerboni as Ramiro Vargas "El Ratas", Nephew of Epifanio Vargas. Later it is discovered that is son of Epifanio and not nephew. Mentally unstable and sadistic, he is assigned to kill Teresa during her flight to Spain, but lands in jail instead. He is sent along with El Gato and Pote to Spain to finish the job, but is captured by the Russians instead. He manages to escape back to Mexico, but continues to harbor a deep hatred for Teresa. After discovering that Epifanio Vargas is his father (not his uncle), he arranges to have Antonio de las Casas, the candidate for president whose campaign Epifanio is managing, assassinated in the hope of both winning his father's approval and having his father named de las Casas's replacement as candidate for president. At Epfanio's orders, he stages a raid on the safe house where Teresa is staying in Culiacan. After he guns down Pote.
  • Sara Maldonado as Verónica Cortés/Santos / Guadalupe Romero, Officer in the US Drug Enforcement Administration, originally based in Mexico City but later follows her boss, Willy Rangel (for whom she appears to harbor feelings) to Spain. She is assigned to seduce Patty (for whom she develops genuine feelings) and infiltrate Teresa's organization. Her fake name while she is infiltrated is Guadalupe Romero.
  • Ezequiel Montalt as Jaime Arenas "Jimmy Arenas", Patty's boyfriend, is later killed by the Russians.
  • Lincoln Palomeque as Faustino Sanchez Godoy, Colombian drug lord who supplies Teresa and her rivals with cocaine.
  • Nerea Garmendia as Teo's wife. A vicious social climber more concerned with appearance than substance, she contracts Eddy Alvarez to have her husband killed. When their plot is discovered, she commits suicide.
  • Dagoberto Gama as Potequim Galvez "El Pote", Villain then good "Batman's" gunman, sent to Spain to hunt down and kill Teresa. Because Pote tried to stop El Gato from raping Teresa during her original flight from Mexico, she spares his life after he is captured by the Russians. However, Batman and El Ratas believe that he has betrayed them. He becomes Teresa's personal bodyguard and friend.
  • Alejandro Calva as César Güemes "Batman", Epifanio Vargas's second in command, he takes charge of the Sinaloa Cartel while Epifano pursues his political career. Vargas pushes him aside as his Number Two in favor of El Ratas, which makes Batman unhappy. In order to keep him in line, Ramiro executes Batman's family while he is outside the Shrine of Malverde waiting to warn Teresa that Epifanio will stop at nothing to prevent her from testifying. He is last seen outside the courthouse in Culiacán, watching Epifanio be taken away in handcuffs.
  • Cristian Tappan as Antonio Smith / Willy Rangel, Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, based in Mexico; he was El Güero's handler in the DEA and flies Teresa to San Diego during her escape from Sinaloa. He later moves to Spain to try to build a criminal case against her, bringing Veronica with him to pose as a love interest for Patty and infiltrate Teresa's organization. He is forced, against his better judgement, to offer Teresa a deal for immunity in exchange for her testimony against Epifanio Vargas.
  • Carmen Navarro as Marcela "La Conejo", Friend of Teresa and Patty from prison, she is hired as the receptionist at Transer Naga, the shell company set up as the legitimate front for Teresa's true business. Known as "La Conejo" from the brand of lye she used to poison her abusive husband and his mother.
  • Santiago Meléndez as Saturnino "Nino" Juárez, Former head of police, he was fired when found to be secretly working for Yasikov. Now works for Oleg and frequently with Teresa as an information gatherer.

United States broadcast[edit]

  • Release dates, episode name & length, and U.S. viewers based on Telemundo's broadcast.
Air Date Number Episode Title Rating Duration
28.02.2011 001 Correr para vivir 2,400,000 45 minutes
01.03.2011 002 Vía de escape 2,841,000 40 minutes
02.03.2011 003 Detener inocentes 14.1
03.03.2011 004 Juego de suerte 12.6
04.03.2011 005 Vendida por droga 11.6
07.03.2011 006 Honor herido 12.1
08.03.2011 007 Venganza Mexicana 12.0
09.03.2011 008 Escapar del destino 12.6
10.03.2011 009 Deseo Gallego 12.8
11.03.2011 010 Pesadilla de tráfico 11.3
14.03.2011 011 Jugar con la vida 11.0
15.03.2011 012 Matar por amor 11.5
16.03.2011 013 Sacrificio de amor 11.4
17.03.2011 014 Carrera de Hachís 11.3
18.03.2011 015 Víctima de tortura 10.5
21.03.2011 016 Amor a la Mexicana 12.4
22.03.2011 017 Misión cumplida 11.8
23.03.2011 018 Amar con locura 11.7
24.03.2011 019 Amor mortal 11.8
25.03.2011 020 Pelea de Sudacas 11.3
28.03.2011 021 Objeto de deseo 13.7
29.03.2011 022 Mala suerte 12.9
30.03.2011 023 Libertad peligrosa 13.9
31.03.2011 024 Tesoro de mafia 13.6
01.04.2011 025 Apuesta rusa 12.4
04.04.2011 026 Tráfico de influencias 14.5
05.04.2011 027 Enemiga mortal 14.5
06.04.2011 028 Camino de ceniza 13.4
07.04.2011 029 Víctima de su Juego 13.5
08.04.2011 030 Muerte por amor 12.7
11.04.2011 031 Culpable de masacre 13.7
12.04.2011 032 Pistas señaladas 14.4
13.04.2011 033 Escape de suerte 13.3
14.04.2011 034 Mexicanos a la brasa 14.3
15.04.2011 035 Morir o vivir 13.5
18.04.2011 036 Pacto de muerte 14.9
19.04.2011 037 Salvar reinas '14.7
20.04.2011 038 Guerra de Reina 3,058,000
21.04.2011 039 Atracción desmedida 2,725,000
25.04.2011 040 Vida doble 2,989,000
26.04.2011 041 Seduccion mortal 2,796,000
27.04.2011 042 Ajustar cuentas 3,054,000
02.05.2011 043 Alianza sangrienta 2,752,000
03.05.2011 044 Venganza de Reina 2,725,000
04.05.2011 045 Enemigos cercanos 13.7
05.05.2011 046 Celebrar divorcios 13.1
06.05.2011 047 Marcar territorio 12.7
09.05.2011 048 Despedida suicida 13.7
10.05.2011 049 Primera plana 13.0
11.05.2011 050 Deseos de traición 13.0
12.05.2011 051 Sin salida 12.9
13.05.2011 052 Amor ciego 11.5
16.05.2011 053 Engaño fatal 13.7
17.05.2011 054 Abismo extremo 13.5
18.05.2011 055 Víctima mortal 13.2
19.05.2011 056 Amor suicida 13.2
20.05.2011 057 Arma blanca 12.7
23.05.2011 058 Traición certera 13.4
24.05.2011 059 Juego de estafa 13.8
25.05.2011 060 Estafa mortal 14.9
26.05.2011 061 Escape y amenaza 14.3
27.05.2011 062 Última huida 13.3
30.05.2011 063 Final impactante 4,200,000

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Nominated Result
Premios People en Español[14]
Best Telenovela
La Reina del Sur
Best Actress
Kate del Castillo
Best Supporting Actor
Humberto Zurita
Rafael Amaya
Best Villain
Salvador Zerboni
Rafael Amaya
Newcomer of the Year
Cristina Urgel
Iván Sánchez
Kate del Castillo and Iván Sánchez
Premios TVyNovelas
Best Series/Series Favorite
La Reina del Sur
Best Production Favorita For Foreign National
Best Villain Of Series
Humberto Zurita
Premios tu mundo 2012
Novela of the Year
La Reina del Sur
Favorite Lead Actress
Kate del Castillo
Best Bad Luck Video
Amor que mata


USA (Telemundo)[edit]

The first episode, broadcast on February 28, 2011, attracted 2.4 million viewers, making it the most viewed premiere for any telenovela on the network.[15] Over the course of its run, La Reina del Sur frequently dominated the 10 PM time slot for broadcast television (even over the major U.S. networks) among the 18-34 age demographic.[16] The final episode, broadcast on May 30, 2011, was Telemundo's highest rated broadcast in its 19-year history, attracting nearly 4.2 million viewers and dominating its time slot among the 18-49 demographic, beating out the English language networks.[7]

Spain (Antena 3)[edit]

For the Spanish market, the telenovela was edited down to 13 episodes. It premiered March 14, 2011, at 10 PM with an audience of 3.19 million viewers, making it the second most watched program of the evening, and the most popular program broadcast on a privately owned channel.[17] The series continued its run on Wednesday evenings at the same time, winning the top position for the time slot, attracting 16% of television viewers (over 3 million).

México (Galavisión)[edit]

Premiered April 4, 2011, at 10:30 PM, with a 42% share. It is the most watched television show in the Metropolitan area of el Valle de Mexico (Mexico City) with an average daily rating of 22 points. It even outperforms Televisa's "El canal de las estrellas"...The novela gets a national rating of 15 points. It is the 5th most watched show on Mexican television. On May 19 LRDS peaked at 16 points becoming the 2nd most watched Telenovela in the country and the 3rd most watched show. On May 24 LRDS hit another high with 16.5 points on a National level. It hit another high of 17 points nationally on June 1 and it got 25 points in Mexico City. On June 7 LRDS continued to soared in ratings with a 17.4 National Ranking and a 26.1 in Mexico City [18]


  2. ^ Premios tu mundo 2012: Categorías y Nominados
  3. ^ Lista de ganadores de la primera edición de los premios Tu Mundo
  4. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (1 April 2011). "How the Telenovela Is Beating the Networks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Ng, Philiana. "Telemundo's 'La Reina Del Sur' Telenovela Has Strong Launch". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Ng, Philiana. "Telemundo's 'La Reina del Sur' Tops Broadcast in Ratings". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Gorman, Bill. ""La Reina Del Sur" Draws Best Audience Ever For Telemundo Entertainment Program, Averaging Nearly 4.2 Million Total Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Keneally, Tim. "Telemundo Launches Its First Emmy Campaign; Will Tout 'La Reina Del Sur'". The Wrap. 
  9. ^ Novelas de Telemundo: nuevo horario
  10. ^ "La Reina del Sur" vuelve el 11/11 a Telemundo
  11. ^ "Anuncian estreno de La Reina del sur en tv colombiana". El Universal. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "La Reina del Sur llegó a Chile este lunes". prlatam. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  13. ^ La Reina Del Sur lands in Cyprus - Telemundo Internacional
  14. ^ Premios People En Español 2011
  15. ^ "La Reina del Sur", estreno más visto de la historia de Telemundo
  16. ^ La telenovela 'La Reina del Sur' triunfa en EEUU
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ 4 de abril el estreno de La reina del sur en México por Galavisión

External links[edit]