Queen Of The South: Is It Based On A True Story?

QoS True Story Alice Braga
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The USA Network hit Queen of the South captivated fans for its realistic portrayal of drug and crime drama. With its compelling narrative, the series has now spanned to a fifth season. In this light, viewers can’t help but wonder if the show is actually based on a true story. Scroll down below as we share with you everything that we know.

Queen of the south season 5

Is Queen of the South based on a true story?

Queen of the South is an adaptation of “La Reina del Sur,” a Spanish novel written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. While the novel drew inspiration from real-life events in the drug world, it wasn’t entirely based on a true story. Hence, the Queen of the South isn’t too.

Moreover, a telenovela based on the same book also aired back in 2011. Thus, before USA Network created the show, they had to contact Telemundo, the broadcast company which first produced the adaptation. Producer David Friendly shared that in reply, he was told to get the green light first from the book’s author.

However, that wasn’t exactly easy. “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,” said Friendly. “I thought it was a terrific story.”

Eventually, he got his way, adding that “They got tired of my phone calls, I think, so they allowed me to option the book.”

Is Teresa Mendoza a real-life character?

Alice Braga plays the protagonist and drug queenpin Teresa Mendoza, described as “a poor young woman from the ‘barrio’ of Jalisco, Mexico who found a way to rise above her hopeless conditions — first by falling in love with a successful member of a drug cartel, then eventually by creating her own powerful drug empire and becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world.”

Since Teresa is a fictional character, Alice had to do a lot of work to try and become her persona. She shares, “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.” 

She added, “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 honor Teresa Mendoza from the book.”

Queen of the South has currently suspended production for its fifth season due to the coronavirus pandemic. An official release date for the upcoming installment is yet to be announced, too. Meanwhile, seasons 1-4 can be streamed worldwide on Netflix.

Ria Genteroy
Ria Genteroy is an English Language Studies graduate from the University of Santo Tomas. A media personnel by profession and a storyteller by heart, she aspires that her words spark meaningful conversations.