Queen of the South (TV series)

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Queen of the South
Created by
Based onLa Reina del Sur
by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Written by
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Cameron Duncan
  • Alejandro Martinez
Production company(s)
Original networkUSA Network
Original releaseJune 23, 2016 (2016-06-23) – present
External links

Queen of the South is an American television crime drama series. It premiered on June 23, 2016, on USA Network[4] and is an adaptation of the telenovela La Reina del Sur, which airs on USA's sister network Telemundo, and is in turn is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte.[5] On September 6, 2016, USA Network renewed the series for a second season which premiered June 8, 2017. On August 10, 2017, USA renewed the series for a third season, which premiered on June 21, 2018.[6] On October 1, 2018, it was announced that the USA Network had renewed the series for a fourth season.[7]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Alice Braga as Teresa Mendoza, a poor woman from Sinaloa, Mexico who becomes a wealthy woman by building a vast drug empire
  • Veronica Falcon as Doña Camila Vargas, Don Epifañio's estranged wife and head of the North American branch of the Vargas Cartel in Dallas, Texas
  • Justina Machado as Brenda Parra, Teresa's best friend, Chino's wife, and Tony's mother (season 1)[8]
  • Peter Gadiot as James Valdez, Camila's right-hand man[9]
  • Hemky Madera as Pote Galvez, a lieutenant in the Vargas Cartel[10]
  • Gerardo Taracena as Cesar "Batman" Guemes, Don Epifañio Vargas' right-hand man (seasons 1–2)
  • Joaquim de Almeida as Don Epifañio Vargas, Camilla Vargas' husband, head of the Vargas Cartel (see: Sinaloa Cartel), and a candidate for the governor of the Mexican state of Sinaloa (seasons 1–2)[11]
  • Jon-Michael Ecker as Raymundo "El Güero" Davila (season 2, recurring season 1)
  • Nick Sagar as DEA agent Alonzo Loya
  • Yancey Arias as Alberto Cortez (season 3, recurring season 2)[12]
  • Idalia Valles as Isabela Vargas daughter of Camila and Epifañio Vargas



SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113June 23, 2016 (2016-06-23)September 15, 2016 (2016-09-15)
213June 8, 2017 (2017-06-08)August 31, 2017 (2017-08-31)
313June 21, 2018 (2018-06-21)September 13, 2018 (2018-09-13)

Season 1 (2016)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
11"Piloto (Pilot)"Charlotte SielingM.A. Fortin & Joshua John MillerJune 23, 2016 (2016-06-23)1011.39[19]
While working as a money changer in Sinaloa, Mexico, Teresa Mendoza falls for drug dealer Güero. His murder a year later forces Teresa and her friend Brenda to flee from Güero's former cartel. They are separated during their escape; Brenda remains in Mexico while Teresa ends up in Dallas, Texas.
22"Cuarenta Minutos (Forty Minutes)"Matthew PennScott RosenbaumJune 30, 2016 (2016-06-30)1021.35[20]
Teresa must prove her worth to Camila Vargas, who rescued Teresa in Mexico but now holds her captive in Dallas. Epifañio Vargas continues hunting for Teresa. In Mexico, Brenda tries to hide from the cartel.
33"Estrategia de Entrada (Entry Strategy)"Scott PetersScott RosenbaumJuly 7, 2016 (2016-07-07)1031.26[21]
Camila tests Teresa's loyalty on a major drug operation. Camila makes a move to take over Epifañio's cartel. Teresa impresses Camila with skills she picked up as a money changer in Sinaloa. Brenda plots her escape from Mexico while hiding from the cartel sicarios.
44"Lirio de los Valles (Lily of the Valley)"Zetna FuentesScott RosenbaumJuly 14, 2016 (2016-07-14)1041.26[22]
Teresa's first solo drug run turns deadly. Epifañio realizes Teresa is in Dallas with Camila. Camila tries to win over her estranged husband's associates. Brenda and Tony make an escape to Dallas.
55"Un Alma. Un Mapa. Dos Futuros. (One Soul. One Map. Two Futures.)"T.J. ScottScott RosenbaumJuly 21, 2016 (2016-07-21)1051.22[23]
Teresa is tasked with infiltrating a wild party at a rival drug boss' estate. After witnessing a horrific event, Teresa advances her escape plans. Needing money to survive, Brenda discovers a business opportunity right outside her hotel. In Mexico, Cesar betrays Camila, revealing Camila's operation to Epifañio.
66"El Engaño Como la Regla (Deception as the Rule)"Dave RodriguezScott RosenbaumJuly 28, 2016 (2016-07-28)1061.22[24]
Teresa's delivery route puts her in touch with Russell, an immigration lawyer. Epifañio tips off the DEA about Camila's incoming shipment from Colombia. Caught in the DEA's trap, Teresa and James must race to escape downtown Dallas before law enforcement blockades shut down all roads. Realizing her cocaine supply is dangerously low, Camila grows desperate. Brenda's burgeoning drug enterprise creates a rift between her and her son Tony.
77"El Hombre Pájaro (The Bird Man)"David PlattBenjamin Daniel Lobato & David EhrmanAugust 4, 2016 (2016-08-04)1071.21[25]
Epifañio ensures his latest shipment to Camila is also intercepted by the DEA. Taking advantage of Camila's recent shortages, a rival cartel begins encroaching on Camila's territory. Teresa visits the immigration lawyer. To pay back the Colombians for their seized shipment and ensure future shipments, Camila sends James and Teresa to retrieve a stash of savings. They're attacked, but Teresa believes she knows who ordered the ambush. Brenda decides to sell more than just cocaine.
88"Billete de Magia (Magic Ticket)"David BoydGregg HurwitzAugust 11, 2016 (2016-08-11)1081.06[26]
Out of cocaine and desperate to supply her most demanding customers, Camila attempts a risky heist. Teresa goes undercover as a hotel maid, and must make a choice that will change her forever. Brenda and her crew try making crystal meth.
99"Coge Todo lo Que Puede Llevar (Take Everything You Can Carry)"Jamie PayneBenjamin Daniel Lobato & David EhrmanAugust 18, 2016 (2016-08-18)1091.05[27]
Camila assures her partners and local distributors that she is back in business and done with Epifañio. A man from Florida comes to avenge his brothers' deaths, not knowing Camila is responsible. Camila orders Maria, the hotel maid, killed. Still wracked with guilt, Teresa disobeys Camila and helps Maria escape. To recover a valuable piece of evidence and potential blackmail material, Teresa travels with Maria through the underground tunnel to Mexico.
1010"Esta Cosa Que Es Nuestra (This Thing That is Ours)"Scott PetersBenjamin Daniel Lobato & David EhrmanAugust 25, 2016 (2016-08-25)1101.20[28]
In Mexico, Teresa is met by Maria's irate relatives, who complicate her plans to retrieve Güero's notebook. After the failed attempt to kill Birdman, a member of the rival Jimenez cartel, Camila returns home to Mexico in order to protect her life. Epifañio vouches for Birdman's safety to protect Camila. James hunts down Teresa. Brenda severs ties with her street dealers.
1111"Punto sin Retorno (Point of No Return)"Constantine MakrisKyle LiermanSeptember 1, 2016 (2016-09-01)1111.16[29]
Teresa returns to Texas with Güero's notebook. Despite Epifañio's previous promises to the Jimenez cartel, Camila orders Birdman killed. Brenda tries selling the notebook to Birdman; she is present when James kills Birdman but escapes unseen and unharmed. Following an entry in Güero's notebook that they believe is a cash storage location, Teresa and Brenda return to Mexico. Camila visits Don Manuel Jimenez and offers to break a Jimenez lieutenant out of jail as reparation for Birdman's death.
1212"Quinientos Mil (Five Hundred Thousand)"David RodriguezBenjamin Daniel Lobato & David EhrmanSeptember 8, 2016 (2016-09-08)1121.12[30]
The coordinates lead Teresa and Brenda to a shocking find. Teresa and Brenda risk everything to extort money from Epifañio's men. James leads the attempt to extract a Jimenez cartel lieutenant from a DEA safe house. As the governor's election draws near and public scrutiny around Epifañio increases, Camila takes irreversible steps to overtake Epifañio's empire.
1313"Cicatriz (Scar)"Matthew PennScott RosenbaumSeptember 15, 2016 (2016-09-15)1131.35[31]
Epifañio retaliates against Camila's takeover in an unexpected way. Teresa escapes Epifañio's imprisonment, killing one of Epifañio's sicarios and forcing a second sicario, Pote, to drive to El Limpiador's ranch to rescue Brenda. Pote learns about Epifañio's actions on the radio. Realizing that Teresa saved his life by taking him prisoner, Pote renounces Epifañio and swears lifelong allegiance to Teresa. Camila and James meet Teresa and Pote on El Limpiador's ranch. Hidden in nearby weeds, a DEA photographer captures images as Teresa makes an offer to Camila. In a field office, another agent receives the photographs, and asks a surprising source to identify the conversation's four participants.

Season 2 (2017)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
141"El Cuerpo de Cristo (The Body of Christ)"David BoydNatalie ChaidezJune 8, 2017 (2017-06-08)2011.25[32]
To become Camila's partner, Teresa uses the information from Güero's notebook to broker a deal with an eccentric gun smuggler. Camila struggles to rebuild her empire. Epifañio unwillingly takes on a new partner he may not be able to control.
152"Dios y el Abogado (God and the Lawyer)"Nick GomezJason GanzelJune 15, 2017 (2017-06-15)2021.27[33]
To get the cash necessary to restart her business, Camila sets her sights on a high-stakes cartel horse race, but old enemies threaten to tear everything apart. Teresa is torn between joy and disgust when she encounters a ghost from her past. Pote warns Teresa that Camila is using expensive gifts and high-society events to distract Teresa. The DEA attempts to force Camila's lawyer to cooperate.
163"Un Pacto Con el Diablo (A Pact With the Devil)"Eduardo SanchezDailyn RodriguezJune 22, 2017 (2017-06-22)2031.08[34]
A flashback reveals what happened to Güero three months prior. Teresa and James come face-to-face with a group of American border vigilantes while attempting to destroy Epifañio's drug smuggling tunnels. Camila meets with her new lawyer. Güero escapes from DEA surveillance in order to speak with Teresa alone.
174"El Beso de Judas (The Kiss of Judas)"Ami Canaan MannBenjamin Daniel LobatoJune 29, 2017 (2017-06-29)2040.90[35]
Teresa's loyalties are tested when she and James are ordered to hunt down and kill a DEA mole. A wedding in Sinaloa brings together Camila, Epifañio, and Jimenez. A song reveals Epifañio's past to Isabella.
185"El Nacimiento de Bolivia (The Birth of Bolivia)"Nick CopusJoe LoyaJuly 6, 2017 (2017-07-06)2051.11[36]
Teresa, James and Güero travel to Bolivia in search of a new cocaine supplier: the mysterious and dangerous narco-cult leader El Santo. An old flame and a soldier waging a personal vendetta complicate their hunt.
196"El Camino de la Muerte (The Road of Death)"David BoydRyan O'NanJuly 13, 2017 (2017-07-13)2061.10[37]
Captured by narco-cult leader El Santo, Teresa embarks on a spiritual journey. The line between reality and illusion blur, with hallucinations leading to real-world consequences. Buena muerte, Teresita.
207"El Precio de la Fe (The Price of Faith)"Joe MenendezJorge A. ReyesJuly 20, 2017 (2017-07-20)2071.18[38]
With their payment deadline looming, Teresa and Camila search for a new cocaine distributor, but Epifañio threatens their plans. Epifañio becomes concerned when El Santo's symbol is found near his sleeping daughter.
218"Sacar Con Sifón el Mar (Siphon Out the Sea)"Bronwen HughesTina MabryJuly 27, 2017 (2017-07-27)2081.16[39]
After an elusive drug distributor refuses to accept Camila's business, Camila sends Teresa, Pote, James, and Güero to Chicago to give Devon Finch's tastemaker a mind-changing sample of their coke. After capturing James, a DEA agent witnesses Cortez' brutal methods. A heated telephone disagreement between Epifañio and Camila has lasting consequences for Epifañio.
229"Sólo el Amor de Una Madre (Only the Love of A Mother)"David RodriguezTina Mabry & Dailyn RodriguezAugust 3, 2017 (2017-08-03)2091.02[40]
Camila and Teresa meet with Devon Finch to negotiate a deal, unaware they're being followed. An uncharacteristic blunder forces Camila and Teresa to run from hit men, but the experience deepens their bond. Still shaken by his health scare, Epifañio offers Boaz a proposal during a funeral in Sinaloa.
2310"Que Manden los Payasos (Send in the Clowns)"Loni PeristereJason Ganzel & Jorge A. ReyesAugust 10, 2017 (2017-08-10)2101.18[41]
Epifañio plans to leave the cartel world for good, and insists on some fiery revenge as part his retirement. When Teresa competes with James for Camila's trust, she begins to question everything. Kelly Ann, the wife of Camila's lawyer, searches through her husband's documents for evidence to incriminate Camila, but finds something that changes Teresa's life. Battle lines are drawn and Teresa goes on the run to flee Camila.
2411"La Noche Oscura del Alma (The Dark Night of the Soul)"Tina MabryBenjamin Daniel LobatoAugust 17, 2017 (2017-08-17)2111.24[42]
With Teresa and Kelly Ann on the run, James's loyalties are put to the test. An oversight enables Agent Loya to track down the two fugitives. After a showdown with hired guns, Teresa realizes the time for running is over.
2512"Todas las Horas Hieren (All Hours Hurt)"Eduardo SanchezRyan O'NanAugust 24, 2017 (2017-08-24)2121.24[43]
With Camila in jail, Teresa aims to take over her business. Teresa recruits a street gang to help her steal the remaining cocaine and cash that Camila has stored. El Santo dispatches an assassin to ensure Teresa either pays or dies. Camila's transfer to a maximum-security prison is interrupted. The sins of the father haunt Epifañio as Isabella and her friends go missing.
2613"La Última Hora Mata (The Last Hour Kills)"David BoydNatalie Chaidez & Ryan O'NanAugust 31, 2017 (2017-08-31)2131.33[44]
Camila and Epifañio realize Isabela hid a clue to her whereabouts in the ransom video. Teresa gets a nasty surprise when she goes to collect Devon Finch's payment for the cocaine. James realizes Camila no longer needs him. And in a dramatic final showdown between Teresa and Camila, a shocking sacrifice causes the two women to realize only one queen can reign.

Season 3 (2018)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
271"La Ermitaña (The Hermit)"David BoydNatalie ChaidezJune 21, 2018 (2018-06-21)3011.24[45]
While hiding in Malta from now-Governor Camila Vargas, Teresa has begun building a drug empire of her own in Europe. Isabella's engagement to Kique Jimenez moves forward. Teresa strikes a deal with a dangerous, but technologically advanced, money launderer.
282"El Colgado (The Hanged Man)"David BoydBenjamin Daniel LobatoJune 28, 2018 (2018-06-28)3021.02[46]
While running from the sicarios Camila sent to Malta, an old acquaintance of Teresa's reemerges offering help, but his true intentions are unclear. Pote's loyalty to Teresa costs him everything he values. In Mexico, Cortez convinces Boaz Jimenez to add heroin to his cocaine shipments without Camila's knowledge, and without giving her a cut of the profits. Camila opens Casa Para Los Niños Orphanage.
293"Reina de Oros (Queen of Gold)"David GrossmanRyan O'NanJuly 5, 2018 (2018-07-05)3031.02[47]
Teresa puts her life and her developing empire on the line when she attempts to rescue girls being trafficked by her new European business partner and money launderer. Camila allies herself with the DEA in an attempt to use their resources against Teresa. James and Pote are involved in a not-bank-robbery.
304"La Fuerza (The Force)"Darren GrantMark ValadezJuly 12, 2018 (2018-07-12)3041.22[48]
Fleeing Europe, Teresa looks to starts anew in Phoenix, Ariz. Before she can, she must deal with a commission of cartel bosses and a corrupt local sheriff. Kelly Ann helps Teresa find a headquarters to start her mail order cocaine business. Boaz Jimenez makes an attempt on Camila's life.
315"El Juicio (The Judgement)"Eduardo SanchezJorge A. ReyesJuly 19, 2018 (2018-07-19)3051.12[49]
An old enemy lays siege to Teresa's new Phoenix property — a winery that serves as a front for cocaine processing — and Teresa's crew is on their own when La Comisión refuses to help. James questions Lil T's loyalty. Teresa finds passion with an old friend, before her past catches up to her.
326"Los Enamorados (The Lovers)"Rebecca RodriguezDailyn Rodriguez & Fernanda CoppelJuly 26, 2018 (2018-07-26)3061.09[50]
Teresa tries to escape her captors with the help of an unexpected ally. James and Pote confront Pecas. Despite her mother's instructions, Isabella visits Teresa in captivity. Teresa faces the loss of someone that has been with her since the beginning.
337"Reina de Espadas (Queen of Swords)"Meera MenonTony PuryearAugust 2, 2018 (2018-08-02)3071.09[51]
Still processing a deeply personal tragedy, Teresa battles a mutiny within her own ranks. Taza tries to convince La Comisión to honour their prior deal with Teresa. Pecas continues to balance La Comisión and Camila, but a bloody message is sent to inform him his time playing both sides is running out. Kique becomes the latest pawn in Cortez's game.
348"El Carro (The Car)"Ben Hernadez BrayBenjamin Daniel LobatoAugust 9, 2018 (2018-08-09)3081.05[52]
Frustrated at La Comisión's multiple betrayals, Teresa makes a deal with the devil in a bold move to take over drug distribution in Phoenix. Pecas uses Lil T and Tonto to deliver a deadly reply to Teresa's previous threat. King George and Bilal realize their luck has run out. After seeing Kique's body, Isabella joins force with Cortez.
359"El Diablo (The Devil)"Eduardo SanchezStory by : Dailyn Rodriguez & Mark Valadez
Teleplay by : Mark Valadez
August 16, 2018 (2018-08-16)3091.19[53]
Teresa uses Kelly Ann's high-society connections to contact an ambitious politician. Pote and James attempts to turn Bedoya of La Comisión against Pecas and the others. George tries to barter for his and Bilal's freedom, but realizes Cortez has prevented Bilal from ever being free again. Kelly Ann begins to dip into Teresa's cocaine stash. Isabella betrays Camila.
3610"La Muerte (Death)"David BoydStory by : Natalie Chaidez & Ryan O'Nan
Teleplay by : Ryan O'Nan
August 23, 2018 (2018-08-23)3101.14[54]
The narco-cult leader El Santo summons all his high-level distributors, including Teresa, to Bolivia. A Judas is among his ranks, and El Santo will not rest until they are found and killed. Teresa risks her life to prove her loyalty, but loyalty only goes so far.
3711"Diez de Copas (Ten of Cups)"Nick CopusFernanda CoppelAugust 30, 2018 (2018-08-30)3111.18[55]
Teresa and Pote hunt for a mole inside the operation and gain a valuable piece of technology. With Camila on the run, flashbacks reveal how Camila and Epifañio first met. Teresa severs ties with Lil T. A terrible choice must be made as damning evidence reveals the mole as someone Teresa holds dear.
3812"Justicia (Justice)"Laura BelseyDailyn Rodriguez & Ryan O'NanSeptember 6, 2018 (2018-09-06)3121.14[56]
With her Bolivian cocaine connection destroyed, Teresa makes a deal with her sworn enemy. Cortez is targeted. Teresa tries freeing a friend from his cage. Camila is trusted with a once-traitorous piece of technology, though it's uncertain if she's aware of its presence.
3913"El Mundo (The World)"Eduardo SanchezNatalie Chaidez & Benjamin Daniel LobatoSeptember 13, 2018 (2018-09-13)3131.22[57]


Critical response[edit]

Queen of the South's first season received mixed to positive feedback from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 69%, based on 16 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Queen of the South enlivens an overdone premise with action and narrative vigor—and shows hints of intriguing potential."[58] On Metacritic, the first season scored 59 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[59]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired Avg. viewers
18–49 rating
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Thursday 10:00 pm 13 June 23, 2016 (2016-06-23) 1.39[19] September 15, 2016 (2016-09-15) 1.35[31] 1.22[60] 0.39[60]
2 13 June 8, 2017 (2017-06-08) 1.25[32] August 31, 2017 (2017-08-31) 1.33[44] 1.16[61] 0.38[61]
3 Thursday 9:00 pm 13 June 21, 2018 (2018-06-21) 1.24[45] September 13, 2018 (2018-09-13) 1.22[57] 1.13[62] 0.37[62]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2017 Imagen Awards Best Supporting Actor - Television Peter Gadiot Won
Best Primetime Television Series - Drama Queen of the South Nominated
Best Actress - Television Alice Braga Nominated
Best Actor - Television Joaquim de Almeida Nominated
Best Supporting Actress - Television Veronica Falcon Nominated
2018 WIN Awards Film or Show Written By a Woman Natalie Chaidez Won
Drama Series Queen Of the South Nominated


Internationally, the series premiered in Australia on Showcase on August 4, 2016.[63] German TV channel DMAX is showing the series since June 14, 2017.[64]

Source material[edit]

Pérez-Reverte, author of the novel, has stated that a great source of inspiration were Mexican drug ballads,[65] country-polka songs that tell the stories about real life Mexican drug lords.

One of the real life characters that inspired the novel is Sandra Ávila Beltrán,[66][67][68][69] known as the Queen of the Pacific, famous for being one of the first female drug traffickers to reach the level of "Boss" in the Mexican cartels, a place usually reserved for men.[70]


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