La Doña walks a fine line between gritty crime drama and soap opera (a crime opera?), which is perhaps why it is so addictive. One of the latest Telemundo additions to grace our Netflix screens, it’s been nominated for a load of Premios Tu Mundo Awards – including Favourite Series, Best Bad Boy, and Perfect Couple. But if you need further convincing, here are our ten reasons to tune in. *Warning* Mild spoilers ahead.
1. The plot
The major plot line in La Doña revolves around the eponymous character Altagracia (aka La Doña, played by Aracely Arambula). She’s a ruthless businesswoman who is seeking revenge on the gang (Los Monkeys) that raped her when she was a teen (leaving her pregnant), and murdered her parents and boyfriend. It’s this experience that is meant to make us sympathise with her plight. I say “meant to” because, well, she definitely has her unforgiving qualities.
While she’s hunting down the men, Monica (Danna Paola) moves to Mexico City, seeking treatment for her ill father, Lazaro. Of course, it’s a small world, and Lazaro is Altagracia’s ex-husband. And naturally, we find out fairly early on that Monica is actually the child that Altagracia abandoned. But neither of them know that. Yet. AND to complicate things one final time, while we know Altagracia was pregnant with her rapist’s baby, poor Lazaro was lead to believe Monica is his child. So naturally, we are left wondering a) when will Lazaro and Monica learn the truth and b) who’s Monica’s biological father?
2. The most awkward love triangle ever
To follow on from item one, not only do Monica and Altagracia not know who the other truly is, they’ve both got major heart eyes for the same super good-looking lawyer and women’s rights defender, Saul Aguirre (our fave, David Choccaro). Thus creating the most awkward love triangle ever. Interestingly, Saul and Altagracia are nominated for Best Couple at this year’s awards, but not Monica and Saul. I’m only half-way through the series, but I ship Monica and Saul, so this is disappointing.
It’s not a telenovela top ten post without mentioning the clothes. Honestly most of the characters could be their own item on this list. But to keep the list to ten, my two faves are:
Altagracia who wears the MOST inappropriate work attire EVER. And has a collection of wigs that she rotates on a daily basis.
And then there’s Braulio’s vest collection. Which I like to refer to as business in the front, party in the back – i.e. boring suit fabric at the front, and then floral silk at the back. It’s just so much at odds with his personality – which is hard as nails, scary, and smiles only on occasion (and even then, it’s creepy).
4. The black magic
I love when telenovelas bring black magic into the storyline. And La Doña well and truly brings it. Altagracia has a secret cave behind her wardrobe, where she lights candles, burns sage, mixes potions, and pours honey and rose petals over her naked body all in the name of either hunting down Los Monkeys, or to bring Saul’s affections to her. There’s even random black birds flying around in there. And there’s her aunt, Yesenia the psychic (or self-confessed witch), who has visions, conducts other creepy rituals, and carries her tarot cards in her handbag. Yesenia is a GREAT character to watch.
5. Location, location
Most of the telenovelas I’ve watched are set in Miami, so this one is a welcome change – set in Mexico City. I love seeing shots of the city square.
There’s also the tenement that Monica and Saul live in. I’m guessing this is meant to be some sort of low-incoming housing, but honestly it looks great. They all have rather large-looking apartments, with fabulous stained glass windows. Plus there’s a leafy courtyard that sees everything from romantic rendezvous, large-scale brawls, and even a spot of laundry.
6. The theme song
The theme song is one of the catchiest tunes you’ll hear in a telenovela. It’s called Yo Soy la Doña sin Dueño and is sung by none other than Aracely Arambula – aka Altagracia herself. For some inexplicable reason, it’s super upbeat which often clashes majorly with the drama that always seems to happen just before the opening credits start rolling.
7. The romances
Aside from the most awkward love triangle ever (see point 2), there are several other romances that will keep you going. I won’t give away spoilers here, but some are gross, some are sweet, and pretty much all of them highlight social class barriers – which seems to be a standard telenovela trope. A notable absence though, is ship songs. Which I think tells you that the romances aren’t high on the storyline priority list.
8. David Choccaro
There’s not a lot of eye candy in La Doña. This is probably most noticable if, like me, you’ve started watching this one straight after Tierra de Reyes which was bursting at the seams with attractive men. But luckily, David Choccaro as Saul Aguirre is super fine! And looks aside, he’s a great actor. Usually with telenovelas, if someone has played a bad guy in one, I find it really jarring when they’re a good guy in the next. And vice versa. But I am not having that issue with David Choccaro. He was our amazing Diego in En Otra Piel, then a murderer, pretending to be disabled in La Casa, and now he’s back as the hero in La Doña.
9. Large numbers of creeps
There might not be much eye candy, but there’s no shortage of creeps in this. Braulio, in his party vests, is for sure a bad guy – he’s Altagracia’s right-hand man, he abuses his wife, and beats up homeless people for kicks. There’s also the men that made up Los Monkeys in their youth – but their identities are classified spoilers.
Finally there’s Gabino. He’s a police officer who takes an interest in Monica. But when she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he becomes a stalker, home invader and newly-promoted-and-corrupt police chief all wrapped in one.
10. The tortas
If you love a good sandwich, make sure you’re eating one while you watch or you’ll be hungry. When Monica needs to make ends meet, she teams up with her bestie Lidia, selling sandwiches to the good, and not-so-good, people of Mexico City. A large portion of the early episodes show extended scenes of them preparing sandwiches and selling sandwiches and talking, generally, about sandwiches. Snacking is practically compulsory while viewing.