Kate del Castillo and Rafael Amaya in Telemundo's 'La Reina del Sur'

From the beginning we’re captivated!  We find a docile, yet street smart, hopelessly in love, but never too gullible, Teresa Mendoza.  She’s somewhere in between running for her life, finding out there is no one left in her world that she can trust, and reminiscing through the early years of her relationship with boyfriend and narco, El Guero.  He teaches her how to shoot a gun, who and what to fear, and exactly what to do in case she gets that dreaded call telling her that he’s been killed.

Basically, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!

And we find out from Teresa that her life before Guero really has been no picnic, as she explains to him in one scene.  All the men in her life before him have only mistreated and abused her…so absolutely she’s willing to go in al todo por el todo with her new narcotraficante boyfriend who treats her like a Reina.  Only despite all of his warnings she seems not to have truly grasped the seriousness of their lifestyle until he’s dead and she’s jumping over buildings to avoid getting shot herself.  Definitely no Reina del Sur at this point, Teresa seems more a common rancherilla from Culiacan. Yet the beauty of Kate del Castillo’s acting prowess is that even in Mendoza’s ingenuity we can see that fiera who will later steal the show…as La Reina del Sur, of course.

Del Castillo is excellent as Teresa Mendoza, all at once sweet, innocent, brave and unrelenting.  A perfect match to her tosco but real lovable, and loving Guero of a boyfriend, played impeccably well by Rafael Amaya.  Maybe it’s their undeniably Mexican accents and slang, or just the way the pair make ojitos at each other, but their chemistry is definitely on fire.  Towards the end of the first episode veteran actor Humberto Zurita makes his appearance as El Guero’s only trusted ally and padrino, Epifanio Vargas. The cliffhanger, whether or not he will betray Teresa’s trust by killing her or having her killed by one of his men?

Therein lies my only true complaint about the new Telemundo series.  Can we avoid the obvious cliffhangers?  We all know she’s going to survive, just show us how she does it and give us all the action!

Kudos to Telemundo for snagging La Primera Actriz Kate del Castillo, as well as an all-star cast, including Zurita, Amaya and Camila Sodi.  You can definitely tell this is the network’s most costly original program and their investment seems slated for quite the success.   Univision even added an extra hour of their Triunfo del Amor, starring Cuban heartthrob William Levy, to compete par to par with La Reina del Sur’s Monday night premiere.  Like always, it’s all about the ratings for the networks…but I for one am coming back for more Reina and less Levy running around shirtless for no apparent reason.  ¿Apoco no?