Red Queen (Reina Roja), a Spanish thriller

Vicky Luengo in Red Queen

Red Queen (Reina Roja) is a Spanish series that bills itself as a thriller, although it contained many fantasy elements and frequently strained my ability to suspend disbelief. It’s based on a very popular Spanish novel by Juan Gómez-Jurado. The series has 7 episodes and ends on a note that suggests more seasons with this duo of police could be ahead.

The main character Antonia Scott (Vicky Luengo) is recruited by a mysterious police agency with unusual training methods to be the red queen. There’s no explanation as to what this means. Antonia is supposed to be the smartest person on earth. Her intelligence gives her super human abilities, but it comes with psychological problems and a need for a steady supply of pills to keep her calm.

Hovik Keuchkerian in Red Queen

Antonia is assigned to work with Jon Gutiérrez (Hovik Keuchkerian), a bear of a man who was disgraced somehow in his last police position. He’s gay and lives with his mother. Jon and his mother bring some humor to the story, which otherwise is gritty, dark and peppered with evil characters.

Much of the humor in the series comes from frequent pop culture references to American movies and from Jon’s efforts to use charm and flirtation to learn what he needs to know.

Antonia has a husband in the hospital in a coma and a young son who is living with his grandfather. She lives in an unfurnished apartment by herself.

The children of rich people are kidnapped, but no ransom is requested. Instead the worried parents are asked to do something they are not willing or able to do. One such kidnapped woman is Carla Ortiz (Celia Freijeiro). She’s held in a filthy, barren box of a room.

The man holding Carla calls himself Ezequiel (Nacho Fresneda). He quotes the Bible and explains that the children must pay for the sins of the parents. He has a daughter of his own, Sandra (Andrea Trepat), who becomes part of the story.

Mental illness is a big part of the action in this series. Antonia has mental demons, but it’s implied as the series proceeds that the bad characters are also suffering from serious mental illnesses that make them evil. Nobody is quite what they seem in this series. That keeps the story suspenseful and off balance through the building danger.

Vicky Luengo and Hovik Keuchkerian in Red Queen poster. They stand on a spiral staircase looking down.

Visually, the series has a lot going for it. Especially the underground, grit-filled, lair of the kidnapper.

I thought the series was interesting but not great. The fantastical elements of Antonia’s abilities seemed too implausible. I kept watching, however, so it was good enough to keep me involved.

You can watch it on Prime Video. If you watch it, please share what you thought of the series.

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