Category Archives: Spanish Crime Drama

Netflix releases trailer for Élite series two and name transmission date

Spanish series Élite has been described as anything from Riverdale to something soapier like Gossip Girl.

Series one told the story of three working-class teens, who enrolled in an exclusive private school in Spain and clashed with the wealthy students… a situation that lead to murder.

Now we have a trailer and a transmission date for series two.

Plot details are currently underwraps, but the series is set to come back on 6th September.

Series two of La Peste finishes filming, releases plotlines

Series one of Spanish-language historical thriller, La Peste (The Plague), won plaudits when it aired on BBC Four last year (not least from us – we included it in our top 20 best crime dramas of the year), and now news reaches us that series two is on its way.

According to Variety, the series has wrapped filming.

In terms of plot:

Season 2 kicks off five years after the last great epidemic of plague in Spain.  “For a century and a half, over 1519 to 1682, Spain dominated the world,“ said “The Plague“ producer José Antonio Félez. “Its Black Legend, which continues to this day, was a consequence of that.”

The plague now in the past, Seville remains in Season 2 the economic and cultural capital of the western world, maintaining its trade monopoly with the Indies; its wealth and influence are only moving one way: Up.

However, the same is true for the city’s population. As the number of people in the city and its hinterlands hits historical highs, the government is struggling to feed and provide public services for its people. Confronting huge social inequality, public discontent fuels organized crime. One mafia, the Garduña, rules the streets, taking advantage of the influx of local wealth and the inability of politicians to police the city.

In the New World’s Tierra del Fuego, series protagonist Mateo, his faith restored in humanity by a community he encounters there,  receives a letter from friend and Season 1 character Valerio, under death threat from Seville’s new mob bosses. Once returned to Seville he tries to help Teresa, the extraordinary feminist painter from Season 1, to rescue female prostitutes enslaved in Seville’s shanty slums, from the mob’s maws.

Meanwhile, having helped crush a rising in Aragon, Pontecorvo, a young ambitious soldier is appointed Capitán General of Andalusia, to deal with the mob. But how far can one man turn back the tide of history?

Series one, of course, was a big-budget affair: it used 130 locations, a 200-technician crew, 2,000 extras, over 250 sequences and multiple VHF effects to recreate 16th-century Seville, and had a budget of €1.5 million ($1.7 million) per episode.

Sounds like series two will be even bigger.

More news as we get it.


Spanish crime drama The Pier in the pipeline

Spanish crime drama is really cooking at the moment, and another series is set to enter the world.

Álvaro Morte will star in ‘polygamous mystery drama’ El Embarcadero (The Pier).

The eight-part series tells the story of high-profile architect Álexandra (Verónica Sánchez) who, shattered by the suicide of her husband Oscar, discovers he had been leading a double life with another woman, Veronica (Irene Arcos), and their child.

Knowing she will either go insane or get to the bottom of the mystery, Álexandra approaches Veronica. At first she wants to tell her about Oscar’s death, but instead she decides to befriend her under a false identity to find out why Oscar, though sincere in his love for Álexandra, lived this lie. What really happened that fatal night when his life was taken?

Here’s a trailer with English subtitles:

El Embarcadero is a Movistar+ original series and will debut in Spain in 2019.

Elite renewed for a second series by Netflix

The Spanish high-school- set Elite – which has just been and gone on Netflix – is getting a second bite of the cherry. The streaming giant has announced that the series will return next year for a series numero dos.

Series one saw a clash between those who have everything and those who have nothing to lose create a perfect storm that ultimately ends in a murder. It starred María Pedraza, Miguel Herrán and Jaime Lorente, Itzan Escamilla, Miguel Bernardeau, Arón Piper, Ester Expósito, Mina El Hammani, Álvaro Rico and newcomer Omar Ayuso.

Netfix green-lights two foreign-language crime dramas

And Netflix keeps on keeping on.

The world-dominating streaming service has green-lit Nowhere Man, its first Mandarin-language original. It tells the story of brotherhood, Taiwanese gangsters and jailbreak. It marks the first collaboration between Joseph Chang and Alyssa Chia as well as cast including Mavis Fan, Bo-Chieh Wang, Jeremy Liu, Zhou Ming-Fu and Greg Hsu.

And this from Deadline:

In Spain, the digital platform has ordered High Seas, an eight-episode mystery-drama series set in the 1940s. The series, which will launch in 2019, follows a transatlantic ship full of passengers, traveling from Europe to South America in search of a better future. It features two sisters, Carolina (Alejandra Onieva, pictured) and Eva (Ivana Baquero), as different as they are inseparable, a handsome officer, Nicolás Sala (Jon Kortajarena), a man that fate has put in the wrong place and a mystery: the murder of a passenger whose name does not appear in the passenger list and who no one remembers.

High Seas, especially, sounds very intriguing, and continues Spain’s blossoming into the crime drama genre.

REVIEW: The Plague (S1 E5&6/6)


In the week that saw Spanish actor Willy Toldeo arrested and detained for questioning after “ridiculing the Virgin Mary and God” on social media, you might be tempted to pontificate on the history of religion in society when mixed with the law – especially in the context of how the remainder of The Plague played out this weekend with an exploration of exactly that (albeit with some far more gruesome penalties attached). Times may change but the fact remains when church and state combine it’s never usually for the betterment of the common man – as Mateo, Luis and Teresa find out to their bitter detriment in the shocking conclusion to this excellent historical crime drama.

For Mateo, truth and justice are inseparable concepts – and his pursuit of both as such is his ultimate weakness. The final episodes send Mateo and young Valerio on a wild hunt for the final pieces of the puzzle to reach Ledesma, and it was exhilarating stuff – secret passageways and door switches, body exhumations and assassin attacks – all to lead us to the eventual (and perhaps unsurprising) conclusion that his former Protestant conspirator Pedro Lanzas (Antonio Dechent, seemingly contractually obliged to star in every Spanish drama at some point) was indeed the phantom figure they sought. A truly thrilling chase through narrow subterranean tunnels on a blind white horse (don’t ask) leads Ledesma to be trapped and rather than face his fate at the hands of the Inquisition, he kills himself by headbutting a high beam. Ouch.

With the villain of the piece removed, Mateo wins his freedom with a pardon from the Grand Inquisitor Celso de Guevara himself – but something does not sit well with the former inquisitor – not least De Guvera’s feeble presentation of a rather nonthreatening corpse as the remains of Nubla, the ‘black beast’ that supposedly required ten men to fell him, or his excitement to see Mateo and his charge depart immediately for the Americas. Shaking off his doubts, Mateo and Valerio crack the code in Ledesma’s ‘bear bible’ that reveals all his Protestant co-conspirators names – not only all the murder victims but those still living – including one Luis de Zúñiga.

Ah Luis. Twinkle-eyed Luis and his obsessive quest for fame and fortune – his downfall was always going to be the most spectacular. After switching places on the council with the now very deceased Morata, he plots a home invasion on the council leader to engender the fear that riots and a people’s revolt are not far behind. Winning the council’s backing to release the large stockpiles of wheat he owns to the general public to quell any dissent, he secretly trades this to have the embargo lifted on the port for two days to enact his final plan.

But it’s all for naught – armed with the names of Ledesma’s conspirators, the Inquisition swoops in and arrests Luis, Azuaga’s son, Captain Utrera and others. Their plot was to ship forged silver bars to Flanders to fund the Protestant Dutch’s efforts to take over Spain. In some truly cinematic scenes, Grand Inquisitor Celso de Guevara presents them as heretics to the people of Seville, and in doing so reveals his own zeal for power is close to becoming unhinged – you can see the palpable discomfort among the gathered aristocrats as he talks of purity and banning shipped goods deemed ‘ungodly’, and they might think “who’s next?”.

Condemned to death by being burned at the stake, Luis and his co-conspirators are first paraded through the streets in gruesome scenes reminiscent of Cersei’s infamous “walk of shame” in Game of Thrones. But even that notoriously gory show would have balked at the overly long and explicitly graphic scenes that followed, as we watched the doomed char and burn in excruciatingly prolonged agony. In a heart-breaking conclusion, Luis manages to free himself of his bindings and climb to the top of the pole in desperation, his cries of horror matched by the bawling laughter of the gathered crowds. A man steps forward to offer his urine as a dousing agent in jest before Luis corpse crumbles to the floor – a pagan heretic not even worth pissing on. It was a truly brutal scene and a grim reminder of the savagery of the Inquisition’s power at that time.

Amidst the crowds, Mateo watches in tears as his friend dies. But as he leaves he spots the man who has shadowed him all season – one who bears a distinctive birthmark on his face. He gives chase with Valerio and it is revealed the man was hired by Luis to protect him and Carmen, as they were both being pursued by other assassins. But why? The sleuthing pair return to Carmen’s shack and under some pressure she reveals she told the Grand Inquisitor something that she kept from Mateo – that the remaining Protestants were plotting something very big – a national coup.

Armed with this knowledge Mateo recounts his previously blindfolded steps back to the infamous “chamber of secrets” only to discover it empty as it was a setup – instead he finds Grand Inquisitor Celso de Guevara and the real Nubla, a huge monolith of a man, who promptly stabs him within an inch of his life. As is the tradition at these times, De Guevara explains his plan – it was the Inquisition behind the murders and they used Mateo to flush the remaining co-conspirators out and expose the plot to fund the Dutch. They dump Mateo in the gutter and leave it to God to decide if “he lives or dies”. Luckily, Valerio finds him and whisks him off to Monardes – who after slapping on some “egg and turpentine” saves the beleaguered sleuth.

Knowing he is no match for the might of the Inquisition, Mateo makes sail for the Americas in the search of a new life. Valerio stays behind to become the heir apparent to his father’s factory, after Teresa is stonewalled by the odious sexism of the Guild Council that she cannot run it herself. Eugenia completes modelling for the painting – Teresa’s first under her own name and a rallying cry against the violence of men – and returns to her old life of prostitution. White flags appear over dwellings across Seville to signify the plague is abating – people take to the streets in drunken revelry. But as Monardes warns : “It’s a cycle. The plague will never be gone. It will remain dormant in our furniture, in our clothes. Patiently awaiting to be awakened by man.”

This show was a richly rewarding experience from beginning to end, both in taking the viewer on a journey into a largely unknown environment but also creating a living, breathing city that felt alive and real. The acting was uniformly superb and whilst the plot wasn’t ground-breaking, the pursuit of it was breathless and a great deal of fun. It was also enjoyable to watch a crime drama free of the trappings of modern forensic science and the large part that technology now plays in any investigation; although rather bound by coincidence it was a joy to watch Mateo and Valerio use their intelligence alone for the deductions. With a second series already in pre-production it will be interesting to see where they take the show, but it will be a welcome return none the less.

Andy D



REVIEW: The Plague (S1 E3&4/6)


Seville is shut down this week in historical crime drama The Plague when the illness forces the council to close its borders as La Peste rages through the city like a wildfire; amidst the dead and dying a serial killer is still on the loose and unlikely duo Mateo and Valerio must find the murderer before they strike too close to home. Meanwhile, Teresa’s obsession with Eugenia has disastrous consequences for the widower whilst Luis’s quest for power knows no bounds as he sinks ever lower to reach higher on the social ladder.

But first, an apology. I made the assumption at the end of episode two that the body washed up on the shore was Azuaga’s lover, Carmen Galvez. It turns out this wasn’t the case – in fact it was the completely random (or so we think) body of Lucina Utrera, a prominent Captain’s daughter. So much for my deduction skills! Poor Lucina has gone the same way as Azuaga before her – impaled from groin to shoulder, this time dressed in a ‘virgin cape’, then drained of blood and dumped on the beach. A very hungover Mateo is called to the scene directly from the tavern, where he finds some non-human hair between her fingers, leading Valerio to believe the ‘black beast’ is responsible for the crimes.

When Mateo digs a little deeper into her past, it turns out Lucina was a bit of a charlatan – reading fortunes, casting cards and shifting fake silver coins to clear her massive debts. But her relation to Azuaga seems minimal at best – and so the former Inquisitor turns his attention back to the hunt for the printer of the documents found at Carmen’s house. However there’s a twist – it turns out the reason Mateo was deemed a heretic in the first place was because he was helping protestants publish books banned by the Inquisition – and it’s his printer that’s being used again to produce blasphemous works. A tip-off from the local child catcher leads Mateo and Valerio to the secret underground lair (aren’t they always?) of the printer, an illiterate slave who works for a shadowy figure called Ledesma.

Mateo is called to meet with with Grand Inquisitor Celso de Guevara who fills him in on their mutual suspect in the church’s ‘chamber of secrets’ (Harry Potter this is not – unless that chamber was also full of wooden dildos ‘carved by prisoners’ and deformed fetuses in jars). Guevara explains Ledesma has never been caught by the Inquisition ‘despite how much we torture people’ – but the figure (or pseudonym) has been responsible for the publication of a huge number of blasphemous tracts. Amongst that work is the printing of a work central to his beliefs – ‘The Four Truths’, depicted in four drawings that Mateo already has the first of – each depicting a violent death by different means – crucifixion, impalement, beheading, ravaged by animals (ouch). Ledesma – or somebody beholden to his ideals – is killing in the manner of his scriptures, and they are already halfway through their endeavour.

Elsewhere, Teresa is trying to track down Eugenia who has given her the slip from their painting sessions to revert back to prostitution. Teresa’s obsession with ‘upgrading’ Eugenia’s lifestyle is a bit perplexing – none more so than for Eugenia who mistakes Teresa’s kindness for sexual desire only to be physically rebuked. In a bid to normalise her life, Teresa marches up to her deceased husband’s factory to demand Eugenia work there – something which doesn’t exactly sit well with the all-male staff. After the foreman and his staff try to rape Eugenia in the factory, they refuse to work with her anymore, forcing Teresa to sack them all despite the protestations of her own counsel that it won’t end well – hiring in prostitutes to do the work instead. It’s a brave thing to do in a frustratingly masculine world where even the higher social standing of an aristocratic woman means nothing in terms of control, power or respect – something horrifically illustrated later on in her own brutal sexual assault at the hands of her former employees.

Control, power and respect are three things that dominate Luis’s life as well – especially when his mentor on the council succumbs to the plague. There are some unintentionally hilarious scenes where Luis forces Morata on his deathbed to sign his seat on the council over to him, then happily chooses which furniture and ornaments he’ll have as soon as his friend dies – “take the bed but burn the clothes”. Luis is clearly aiming to be the Frank Underwood of his time and actor Paco León seems to be having a blast in the role – a twinkle in his eye as he demolishes his opponents one by one. He’s not above caring for his own though – as Mateo begins to physically fall apart from hallucinatory insomnia he wheels him over to Monardes who diagnoses a bad case of ‘melancholy’ and prescribes a hearty bowl of opium every day to ward off the visions of death (or “your sadness without a soul” as the good doctor puts it). Unfortunately for the close friends, you get the feeling Luis’s thirst for power will clash with Mateo’s quest for justice before the series ends.

With the hunt for Ledesma reaching a dead end, Mateo and Valerio double down on trying to find the ‘black beast’ who seems to be at the epicentre of the killings. Their investigation leads them to the slave quarters of Seville and their description of the alleged culprit matches that of a slave called Nubla, who was bought by a sculptor called Martin del Valle. Unfortunately for the sleuthing duo, del Valle was committed to the local sanatorium stricken with plague a few days ago and has subsequently died. It’s here in the scenes of the rich having their huge beds moved into the upper floors of the hospital whilst the courtyard below is a fetid pit of poverty-stricken wretches that you truly get a sense of the all-consuming madness that afflicted the era – and the irony that despite clutching on to their expensive heirlooms, the rich perish in as much ignominy as the poor.

An icon amongst del Valle’s belongings lead the pair to the Brotherhood of Slaves, and from there to the location of Nubla’s house. Whilst the man himself is missing, the instruments of his work definitely are – including his trusty impaling poles. After a little digging around they also find Carmen Galvez – chained to the floor in an underground pit. Carmen comes complete with a big bag of exposition – Nubla was acting on the orders of Ledesma, and whilst he should have killed her along with Azuaga, he kept her as his sexual slave. Although Carmen had never seen Ledesma, she could recognise his voice (something I suspect that will play into the final two episodes). She also reveals the connection between the killings – Azuaga was in a circle of friends with Lucina, a German by the name of Alejandro de Dresdner – who also happens to be the treasurer of the mint – and finally Mateo’s recently deceased friend, Germàn. All four were secretly protestant and held clandestine meetings – but why would Ledesma, a committed protestant himself, kill others of his faith?

With Dresdner clearly the next target on the list, Mateo and Valerio hot foot it over to his house – only to find his head in a trunk and the rest of his body missing – fitting the decapitation theme of Ledesma’s scriptures. Elsewhere, Luis is informed of the same man’s death and it’s clear from his reaction that the investigation and his machinations are going to collide very soon, or at least put his own life is in danger. Meanwhile, Teresa faces danger head on to exact a terrible revenge on her assailants after bravely standing against them in a local tavern, before both her attacker and the foreman who paid for it are both brutally murdered.

It was another involving two hours spent in this evocative era and again the murder case only made up a fraction of the drama – it’s the fascinating tapestry of secondary and tertiary characters that makes the narrative sing and draw you into a time expertly reconstructed. With only two episodes to go it’s anybody’s guess where it will go – the sign of any good crime drama – and it was heartening to see this week the show is to be recommissioned for a second series.

Andy D


REVIEW: The Plague (S1 E1&2/6)


Historical crime drama is something of a rare treat these days – we barely ever exit the Nineteenth Century normally for our more ‘classical’ TV series in the West – so it was with great interest I heard the BBC had picked up La Peste (The Plague), Telefonica’s smash-hit serial-killer drama set in Spain circa 1580, which recorded huge viewing figures in its native homeland on it’s debut last year.

It’s the late Sixteenth Century and the early stage of the Habsburg empire in Spain. The country is gripped by La Peste – a second pandemic of bubonic plague that swept through Europe at the time, which would eventually kill over half a million people in southern Spain alone. We’re introduced to a suitably grim vision of Seville in this era, where hastily constructed wooden shacks house the dead and dying in sprawling slums. Two dignitaries stalk these fetid halls in search of a corpse – and upon finding their person of interest insist the body and its surroundings be burnt to the ground. No evidence can exist this person died here. But why?

Cut to the unblemished central province of Toledo and roguish Mateo Nunez is enjoying some post-coital snoozing after a commendable safe sex (dusty leather prophylactic included) session, when he’s awakened by his housekeeper – a man is here to see him. That man happens to be the estate executor of Mateo’s old friend Germàn. Mateo owed him a great deal of money, but the executor has other plans to discharge this debt – by asking Mateo to return to Seville and rescue Germàn’s illegitimate child Valerio before the city is shut down to prevent the plague spreading any further.

Seville is depicted as the gateway to the New World and the glittering promise of the Americas. But in reality it is a grim dichotomy of the rich and noble against the poor and afflicted, set in striking aerial shots and a mixture of well-placed CGI to render this living, breathing environment as a destination of equal parts hope and despair. It’s a place Mateo clearly knows well – a little too well considering how secretive he is on making his way back into the city. There he meets up with Luis, the dignitary who was busy making bodies disappear earlier, and strikes you as the kind of chap you wouldn’t trust as far as you could throw him.

Whilst Mateo makes his rounds through the slums of Seville searching for Valerio, the boy himself is helping local priests deliver food to those dying of the plague – endangering his own health by entering premises when the recipients don’t answer to steal their clothes and sell them on. The locals believe he is blessed with the ability to cheat death, because his skin is so fair the Grim Reaper can’t see him. Mateo chases down a lead to the local prison where a hustler by the name of Molina used to run with Valerio. The prisoners tell him to look into a group called the Children of The Light if he wants to find the boy – but Mateo has to cut short his investigation and escape when the Inquisition arrive looking for someone, proving he is not as welcome within the city as we might have first assumed.

The Children of The Light turn out to be a street gang of orphaned children who disorientate and then garrote drunkards before stealing their coin and clothes (Oliver Twist this is not) and because Valerio used to run with them, their leader knows enough about him to sell Mateo a lemon – another child with enough of a plausible back story to be the boy he seeks. Mateo thinks his job is done – he’ll smuggle the boy out of the city and teach him a craft in the relative safety of the countryside. Unfortunately for the double, Valerio is spotted elsewhere and Mateo is given the details of his hideout on the outskirts of the city, where he finds the boy. Mateo makes Valerio a deal – they will both escape their pasts and seek out the New World. A quick deal with Luis’s contacts gets them both passage on the next boat to America – but unfortunately for Mateo also raises the interest of the Inquisition, who lie in wait to arrest him as a heretic whilst Valerio escapes back to the city.

Mateo is brought before the Grand Inquisitor Celso de Guevara. He brings Mateo’s old sanbenito out to remind him of his past – the garment worn by all Inquisitors. Mateo’s thirst for literature and the truth of humanity through science clearly bent his mind against the will of the church – who decreed him a heretic. For the second time in as many days Mateo is offered an ultimatum to save his soul – help the Inquisition find the killer of a prominent merchant. Celso asks Mateo to serve God and “use his talent” to survey the crime scene. The body has been clothed in rags, sodomised and dumped in the slums, it’s hands and feet bearing evidence of crucifixion and clutching a holy cross with the insignia EVV scrawled on it. Celso confirms the man is Ignacio Azuaga, one of the wealthiest merchants in Spain, and simply states Mateo’s freedom can be won by bringing his killer to justice.

Mateo brings the body to his old friend Monardes for an autopsy. Despite the practice having been banned by the Inquisition, Monardes works on the corpse to discover he was exsanguinated by being impaled on a spike and drained of his blood – a feat that would require the strength of two men, or one with abnormal power. From there, Mateo travels to Azuaga’s estate where the man made his fortune in creating fabric dye. His bodyguard attests to the merchant being beaten and kidnapped by a “huge black beast…with hair all over its body and lumps on its back”. Mateo’s investigation leads to Azuaga’s lover, Carmen Galvez – whose sister happens to live in the same slums Valerio does. Despite her sister being on her deathbed she confirms Carmen fled the city in fear some days ago. A casual search of the premises reveals a document that details how to bleed a body dry and the insignia EVV – or ex veritate vita – “the way of the truth”. We leave the episode on a lingering shot of Carmen’s body washing up on the shore of the slums as children paddle their feet in the filthy water.

There’s a lot going on here beside the mystery of the merchant’s murder – a whole host of secondary stories permeate the background in which you would assume will coalesce into the main narrative at some point. There’s Luis and his skullduggery in trying to worm his way into the nobility of Seville, using his skills for deception and blackmail to climb the ladder. Or there’s the more curious story of Germàn’s widow and her hidden career as a famous European painter. Then there’s Valerio and his tempestuous relationships with well, everybody he meets. It’s an immersive environment and one that makes you forget about the unique setting to a certain degree – although the plague is ever present, it looms more in the background as a constant threat rather than a prominent plot point. Death and money rule everything in this city; we’ve yet to see little of any light in this otherwise dark and foreboding world that’s been well crafted by the production team. With another four episodes to go and no sense of the direction it will take, I’m thoroughly hooked.

Andy D

Spanish crime drama, Hierro, coming in 2019

Spanish drama – and especially crime drama – has been getting some traction in the UK in the past few years, and now a new series is coming our way in 2019.

Global distributor, Banijay, has picked up the rights to Hierro, an eight-part series that takes place on a secluded island in the Canary Islands archipelago, is created by Pepe Coira and directed by Jorge Coira.

Currently in production on the island of El Hierro, the drama, starring Spanish actress Candela Peña (Princesas, Torremolinos 73) and the Argentine actor Darío Grandinetti (Wild Tales, Talk To Her), will launch on Movistar+ in the first half of 2019.

Variety says:

Set on the remote island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands it sees the discovery of the corpse of a young islander, found floating in the sea following an earthquake, mark the starting point for a tense political drama after a newly-arrived judge (Peña) releases the prime suspect (Grandinetti) on bail. While her decision triggers the islanders’ mistrust, he sets out to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

Caroline Torrance, Head of Scripted, Banijay Rights, comments: “From the first time we saw HIERRO, we immediately knew we wanted to be a part of it. With electric storytelling and premium production values, this character-driven drama is set to be a hit with international audiences. We are really excited to work with, support and distribute the work of such acclaimed production talent.”

More news as we get it.

BBC Four confirms transmission date for Spanish crime drama La Peste

And now for something completely different.

We know that beneath the umbrella of crime drama, a whole host of different variants gather: there are procedurals, there are psychological thrillers, there are whydunits, there are spy thrillers, gangster stories… and historical thrillers.

BBC Four, known for its Scandinavian crime dramas set in the present day, has gone back in time – and back to Spain – for its latest Saturday-night, foreign-language slot.

La Peste (The Plague) goes back to the 16th century for its story. During an outbreak of the bubonic plague in Seville in 1597, Mateo, a former soldier, returns, honouring his word to find and extract a dead friend’s son from the city. Previously, Mateo had been forced to flee the city to save his life, having been sentenced to death by the Inquisition for printing forbidden books. Before he can complete his task, Mateo is arrested by the Inquisitor’s bailiffs, who promise to pardon his life in exchange for solving a series of crimes of diabolic overtones being committed in Seville.

The plague, bearded men, 16th-century sauce and the Spanish Inquisition… what’s not to like?

Here’s a Spanish-language trailer, which should give you a flavour of what to expect:

La Peste: Saturday 1st September, 9pm, BBC Four