Queen Of The South, the hit crime drama starring Alice Braga as Teresa Mendoza continues its fourth season tonight on the USA Network. This season, the locale has shift east as Teresa sets up shop in New Orleans, Louisiana.
On tonight’s episode, Teresa has a deal in place with a smuggler, but it takes a detour after a local kingpin learns that she is trying to move some cocaine!
Soap Hub spoke to executive producers Dailyn Rodriguez and Ben Lobato as to what viewers can expect this year as Teresa continues to fight for survival in a world in which lives and souls are at stake!
Read on for the second part of our Q&A that previews season 4 of Queen Of The South!
Soap Hub: Can you talk about how shooting on location in New Orleans brings authenticity to the story?
Ben Lobato: We made a very conscious decision about bringing the story to New Orleans. It has such a great history, a great musical history, and a history of deep corruption. We lean into that. We actually wanted to take a step back [from past seasons].
We’re very conflicted as Latinos doing a show about Latino drug dealers. We asked, “What if we go to New Orleans and look at the systemic corruption and what causes people to become drug lords in order to survive?” We get into these institutions and the people who run them.
Dailyn Rodriguez: We have conversations all the time about what it’s like to being Latinos and writing a show about Latino drug dealers! We were excited about shifting the show away from the cartel and broad violence to doing a show more about a crime family. Moving to New Orleans allows us to do that, not only just visually. The show moves with more of a cinematic piece.
A lot of shows with this kind of backdrop have male leads. Can you talk about this show having such a strong female protagonist?
Rodriguez: We wanted also to focus on Teresa this season, where she’s been and this antagonistic relationship [she has] with Camila [Veronica Falcón]. We want to show what it’s like for a woman to be in a man’s world. The novel is more like that. How do men respond to this woman is a question we wanted to ask this season. We’ve been playing with that in subtle ways. We’re trying to take some of the scenes in the zeitgeist and doing it in our subtle way yet still keeping the fun of the show. It was important for us to see what it’s like for this woman. This isn’t about her being less brutal but smarter.
Lobato: There have been a lot of women as heads of cartels. The reason they’re not as prominent is because they’re run differently. They use their brains. The difference between how Teresa Mendoza and others have operated in their lives is very different from [male] cartel figures, the ones everyone knows about. Some huge cartel female figures have retired. You don’t hear about them because they didn’t die in a shootout. It’s all fascinating to learn there are lot of women involved at high levels.
Can you talk about new characters this season?
Lobato: Yes. There’s a character we’ve created named Judge Cecil Lafayette (played by David Andrews). He’s a very large antagonist [this season]. He’s an archetype of people we’ve researched. This is a guy who’s part of the aristocracy in new Orleans, a descendent of plantation owners. They still maintain power and call the shots. He’s one of the guys who’s coming in to make Teresa’s life very difficult. We’ll see them go toe-to-toe as Teresa tries to run a cartel.
Rodriguez: We wanted to explore what it was like when the criminal is hiding behind the law. He’s worse than the protagonist of our show who’s a criminal! That gives us an interesting dynamic.
Lobato: Gangsters masquerading as southern gentleman. These are people you can’t just murder. It forces Teresa to really use her intelligence. We also have this amazing actor, Alimi Ballard (Numb3rs). He plays Marcel Dumas, a slick and measured Creole leader of a New Orleans street gang and owner of a hip jazz club. We like to say he’s the (infamous drug trafficker) “Frank Lucas of New Orleans.” He’ll end up going toe-to-toe with Teresa. He’s a colorful guy who runs a jazz club and he’s a heavy. This actor really brings it!
Queen Of The South airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. (9 p.m., central time) on the USA Network.