Queen of the South: Is Queen of the South based on a true story?

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The cast and crew of Queen of the South was in the middle of making the fifth season earlier this year when filming came to a halt. The fourth series came out last year on USA Network but dropped on Netflix in May. A release date for the upcoming season has not yet been revealed.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Queen of the South.

At the end of season fur, Teresa Mendoza (played by Alice Braga) had made it clear that she was now the one with all of the power.

She headed to New Orleans to build up her influence and made a deal with a Russian drug boss to help consolidate her power.

By the end of the show, there was no going back as Teresa became the undisputed leader of the drug cartel.

Queen of the South also lost two key characters but regained another.


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Judge Lafayette (David Andrews) kidnapped Oksana Volkova (Vera Cherny) before asking for Javier Jiminez (Alfonso Herrera) in exchange.

Javier and Judge fought, surrounded by onlookers who were ready to see Javier killed.

Javier was covered in gasoline but before his body went up in flames, he grabbed Randall Green (Cory Hart) and they both went up in flames together.

In the final few moments of the series though, fans saw the return of James Valdez (Peter Gadiot) who arrived at the warehouse with a bullet wound to his abdomen.

He warned Teresa there was someone out to get them just before the episode came to an end, setting the show up nicely for season five.

Is Queen of the South based on a true story?

Queen of the South is based on Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s best selling novel La Reina Del Sur.

While the book did take inspiration from real life events in the drug world, the plot is not a true story, thus, neither is Queen of the South.

So Teresa going from poor young woman to drug lord didn’t happen in real life.

However, actress Alice Braga who plays Teresa was inspired by true stories.

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Speaking to Distractify, Braga said: “I watched a bunch of documentaries about the powerful women of the cartel world, like Cocaine Cowboys, and there is a real ‘La Reina del Pacífico,’ which is ‘The Queen of the Pacific,’ which exists in Mexico, so I tried to read about her.

“[I was] kind of inspired by true events, but trying to base myself on the character from the book, which I think it’s a wonderful character.

“So I tried to at least get the human being she is, like the core of the character, even though the journey is different from the book — trying to honour Teresa Mendoza from the book.”


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Prior to being able to make the series, Executive Producer David Friendly had to try and get permission for the English rights to the story from the author which wasn’t an easy task.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Friendly said: “For about a year, literally, I spoke to his agent in Spain every day begging him to let me make an offer for the English rights to the book. I thought it was a terrific story.

“They got tired of my phone calls, I think, so they allowed me to option the book.”

Queen of the South is available to watch on Netflix.

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