Telemundo hit it big with "El Señor de los Cielos" and now with spin-off "El Chema," they have struck gold again. Mauricio Ochmann stars in the narco series loosely based on cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. The character originated in the aformentioned series and now has a standalone show that goes back to the roots of how El Chema became a drug trafficker.
"El Chema" airs weeknights at 10pm/9c on Telemundo and it has been a hit with viewers. With a fast-paced storyline and a stellar cast, it's no surprise that the series has been connecting with audiences.
Mauricio Ochmann (José María "El Chema" Venegas)
José Maria “Chema” Venegas came into this world in misery but with an apparent magical purpose. He possesses a great capacity for survival and the ability to flee whenever his freedom is in question. An alcoholic, irresponsible and violent father, and a loving, selfless mother, also a victim of her husband’s abuse, influenced the course El Chema’s life would take from early on, giving him a strong personality and deep sense of ambition. From a young age, he knew his father transported drugs for Ricardo Almenar Paiva. And he understood that the drug business meant big money. By the time he was ten years old, El Chema knew that he would be Mexico’s most important and powerful drug lord. Following in his father’s footsteps, he got his first job working for Ricardo, who became his role model. Now an adult, El Chema will do anything to reach his goals, even giving up on love. He is careful to stay away from Amanda, Ricardo’s daughter, knowing that Ricardo would kill him if he touched her. El Chema will go out of his way to help his friends and the people who work for him, but he is cold and ruthless toward his enemies. Although a small man, Chema is athletic, very quick, distrustful, a fighter, good with his hands and daring. His vivacity, intelligence and determination allow him to get out of the most dangerous situations. He loves weapons and traffics arms as well as drugs, and he is quick to take advantage of technology to make his operations more effective. If the situation is right, he is willing to give in and negotiate outcomes that will benefit all parties, but if he senses defeat he tends to dig in and reject any dialogue. He is able to repress his emotions if they are obstacles to achieving the money and power he craves. El Chema’s world is divided between loyal allies and powerful enemies to whom he will not yield. Among these enemies is Aurelio Casillas, whom he sets out to destroy as the only man who can outshine him in the world of drug trafficking, where he wants to reign supreme.
Mariana Seoane (Mabel Castaño)
Mabel is a key figure in Chema’s love life, and his first great betrayal. Mabel is ambitious, envious, and always wants more. She is ruthless and even cruel when it comes to achieving her goals. She is a sexual animal who knows her body is her best tool, and she uses it with passion and enjoyment. She is eager to fulfill her husband Gary’s sexual perversions. He is an American man twenty years older than her, who enjoys watching her having sexual relations with other men. Before meeting Gary, she used her “resources” to achieve modest economic benefits and escape her lower-middle-class status. Gary adores Mabel and lets her live like a queen, giving her a role in his business. She and El Chema have a deeply sexual relationship, but she also uses him to satisfy her husband and manipulates him into working for them.
Itatí Cantoral (Blanca)
Blanca discovered at a young age that she was beautiful and desirable to men, and understood that this was a great strength. Her beauty and sensuality captivated Melesio Almenar, who made her his wife. Blanca learned to endure the old man on top of her as the price she had to pay to have everything she always wanted. In Ricardo, she sees the strength the old man has lost. Ricardo and Blanca give into lust with unbridled frenzy, and she becomes pregnant with his child. Once Melesio dies, the relationship between Blanca and Ricardo becomes more intense, but out of respect for the old man’s dignity they keep it a secret, along with the truth about Amanda, her daughter. Blanca isn’t jealous when Ricardo seeks out other women to vent his sexual appetites, but she is deeply envious of Elvira, El Chema’s mother, maybe because she senses that she means something more to Ricardo. Blanca looks out only for herself, her daughter and Ricardo, as long as he gives her what she needs from a man. She is obviously ambitious, and jealousy could become a problem for her. She is discreetly flirtatious, and although she has achieved most of what she wanted deep down she is insecure and fears losing what she has.
Alexandra de la Mora (Inés Clark)
More than just Tobias Clark’s wife, this stunning woman is his ally and accomplice in everything he does. Ines is more ambitious and cunning than Tobias. She is the great woman behind the great man and makes him aware of this, because if Tobias covets political power, she covets what his political power could mean for her. Despite her dark past and humble origins, Ines has managed to fit in well in her new circumstances. She is careful with what she has and fulfills her social duties as the wife of a prominent politician on the rise. She enjoys being a public figure. Ines is the one who pulls the strings according to her husband’s instructions, and sometimes of her own accord. She listens, makes comments, forges alliances, and subtly threatens others with her power, all for the benefit of her and her husband’s interests. She befriends Blanca, initially to get information about her and Ricardo, her husband’s partner, but gradually the two women become mutual confidants. Despite being an overprotective mother, she ends up accepting and even encouraging the union of her son, Saul, with the “sister-daughter” of Ricardo Almenar. All smiles, politeness and grace, Ines is a woman willing to do anything to have more and defend what she already has. Obsessively neat and clean, she is refined, intelligent, sensitive and sometimes melancholy. She adores her son, and despite her inherently selfish nature enjoys taking care of Tobias and Saul.
Arcelia Ramírez (Elvira)
Elvira is a submissive woman who gave herself completely to Joaquin as a young woman from Sinaloa, intelligent but lacking the necessary tools to prosper. Or maybe life forced her to first serve her family, then Joaquin and finally Chema, her son, whom she adores. On the Almenars’ ranch she won approval from Ricardo as Amanda’s nanny. Elvira learned from an early age to be honest or to at least not to abuse the trust others placed in her. She remains true to her husband, despite his abuse. She is determined and ready to take on the world for her son, for herself and even for Joaquin. Regardless of everything that has happened, she struggles to preserve the home and family she has yearned for her whole life. But life isn’t always the way we want it to be, and for Elvira things are no different. She decides to move on with Chema, depending on her job to support them. Ricardo has always been attracted to Elvira, but she has never given in to his advances. She has always kept him in his place, and she continues to do so when she goes back to work with him on the ranch as his housekeeper. There she will see Chema grow up and become a man, although she cannot prevent her son from choosing the wrong and dangerous path. Elvira is selfless, hardworking, a good cook, persevering, smart with her money, guarded with others until they gain her trust, modest and humble, conformist, Catholic, generous with others of the same social class, and compassionate.
Sergio Basañez (Tobías Clark)
Tobias is a prominent politician from the Nogales, Sonora area. He is married to Ines Clark and they work closely together to maintain their rising social status. To this end, Tobias spared no effort in protecting Melesio Almenar’s business on both sides of the border, and once the old man announced his retirement he willingly accepted continuing their lucrative partnership with Ricardo, his son. Early on, he also foresaw the advantage of ensuring the family’s future by encouraging the relationship between Saul and Amanda, Ricardo’s “sister-daughter.” Like any good politician, Tobias is always willing, energetic, optimistic and motivating. He is cunning, and also a womanizer… He knows how to play the cards in his favor and delegate tasks without anyone objecting. He is clever and knows how to seize the moment, planning tactics and strategies to remove anyone who could pose a problem to his political career. He loves his wife, but this is no obstacle to his affairs with other women, including some presented as rewards from cronies seeking his favor. Life will put Tobias in a difficult situation in which he will have to choose between his and his family’s future and loyalty to a business arrangement from which he has obtained great benefits. A politician ambitious for power and money, he is unreliable and mistrustful, judging others by his own standards. For Tobias, the end justifies the means.
Julio Bracho (Ricardo Almenar Paiva)
His whole life, Ricardo has gotten everything he wanted, and he expects nothing less. The son of Melesio Almenar, one of the first drug traffickers in Sinaloa, he has inherited the family business and ambition. Ricardo tasted the fruits of power and fortune at a young age and sets out to take charge of the family’s negotiations with dangerous characters who learn to respect him and eventually feel more comfortable working with him than with his father. Blanca, his father’s young wife, also finds more pleasure with Ricardo than with Melesio, to the point of becoming pregnant with her stepson’s child without anyone in the family knowing the truth about her daughter’s real father. Ricardo is cold, risky, ambitious and unscrupulous. With his father dead, he no longer holds back when looking for Blanca to satisfy his almost animal desires, almost revealing their relationship. Ricardo’s business partner is Tobias, a well-known politician who sees in him the possibility of obtaining great amounts of money as he advances his political career. When he meets a young Chema, Ricardo sees his potential and becomes his mentor, guiding him in the drug world. Ricardo has a weakness for gambling and alcohol, is unscrupulous, materialistic, a good businessman, manipulative and a good liar.
Francisco de la O (Gary Roberts)
Gary is a man dissatisfied with normal life who believes the American Dream should be achieved quickly and without fear of the law. He sells his parents’ properties, leaving them with nothing, and heads to the Arizona-Mexican border, where he goes into business trafficking all types of merchandise, humans, organs, drugs, etc. He becomes fixated on Mabel, who conquers him by satisfying his unusual sexual desires. Gary isn’t very clear about his sexual orientation, but he enjoys watching his wife make love to other men and playing perverted sex games. When Mabel and Chema meet and discover their mutual passion, Gary is the silent observer of his wife’s authorized infidelity. He gets a thrill from watching Chema take his wife at his request, and she in turn may feel for him something more than what she feels for her husband. Gary is ambitious, vulgar and addicted to pornography.
Rossana Nájera (Auristela Durán)
Auristela is a beautiful woman determined to achieve professional recognition. As a journalist who understood early on that drug trade had permeated all of politics and society in Mexico and the region, she has dedicated herself to investigating its influence, becoming an expert in the subject. For years, she has been publishing a series of special reports on drug trafficking in her country entitled The White Route, and obtaining an interview with the powerful drug lord Jose Maria Venegas becomes one of her obsessions. At the beginning of the story, Auristela has been meeting with Chema’s attorney to get an exclusive interview for her program, which will help launch her name internationally with a major news network. There is no limit to what Auristela will do to achieve her goals. She is not an ordinary woman; she has never been in love and has had only occasional lovers, dumping them at her convenience with no regrets. The only person she trusts is Veronica, her producer, who looks out for her interests and tries to protect her integrity. When she meets Chema, she will feel an irresistible attraction and will have to decide whether to allow herself to fall in love with him or forget him like the rest of her interviewees.
Marius Biegai (Owen Stein)
Owen is an American documentary filmmaker seeking worldwide fame and fortune. His career has been full of excesses and eccentricities… Owen doesn’t like to go unnoticed in any aspect of his social life. He was a war correspondent for several years, and through courage and good fortune was able to get an interview with the late Muammar Gaddafi. From that moment, his fame, as well as his bank account, catapulted. World leaders opened their doors for Owen to interview them, knowing that he would side with them and justify their causes, regardless of how obtuse they might be. His priority now is leaving a legacy for new generations, and he only agrees to interview people he thinks can enhance his career. When he is approached about interviewing a Mexican drug dealer known as Chema Venegas, Owen doesn’t care if he is criminal; in fact, it adds the touch of danger he prides himself on getting in each and every one of his stories. This time, however, he will have to share credit with Auristela, and so he looks for some way to put his own name first, as always.
Carla Carrillo (Amanda)
Amanda was born from the forbidden relationship between Blanca and Ricardo, Blanca’s stepson. She grows up believing her father was Melesio Almenar and that Ricardo is her brother. She is used to having everything she wants and ends up being somewhat of a bratty child and highly competitive. She is overprotected by her mother and Ricardo, with whom she has an excellent relationship based on affection and respect. Amanda doesn’t have the slightest suspicion that Ricardo is her real father. She can act hateful at times, but she is a sensitive and smart girl. She and Chema meet as children and he becomes an important part of her life. Later, she becomes obsessed with him because she can’t have him: He refuses her advances out of respect for Ricardo and Saul, who falls in love with her. Amanda is a bit authoritarian, but deep down she has a good heart. She is refined, intelligent, cunning, flirty, feminine, frivolous, confident, smart, curious, possessive, egocentric and very proud.
Ana Jimena Villanueva (Verónica Cortez)
A woman with a spectacular figure and exuberant beauty that catches men’s eye, Veronica is a loner by nature who takes care of Auristela as both her producer and personal confidant. She respects Auristela’s talent and is always looking for ways to further her career. She loves working for Auristela and admires her as a smart woman of the world. Veronica serves, advises and accompanies Auristela in all of her adventures. She is sharp, has a good sense of humor and quick to catch double entendre. Elegant, beautiful, ready for anything… she knows what she wants and how to get it. However, being Auristela’s producer and manager means being part of her popularity, of needing to be in the picture and feeling on top, of being one of those celebrities people admire. She knows who is who, and she is quick to protect Auristela when she senses a potential problem and to seize opportunities she thinks will benefit her. Chema’s appearance in Auristela’s life will alarm Veronica, but she knows Auristela and knows she won’t rest until she gets close to him. All Veronica can do is to try to keep protecting the most important woman in her life. She is sensual, vibrant, restless and affectionate; she likes gossip and is possessive, especially of Auristela. She cries when no one is looking; she doesn’t trust easily. She is good at her job and very intelligent.
Pablo Bracho (Joaquín Venegas)
Chema Venegas’ father, a poor man from the countryside who grows, packs and transports marijuana on the orders of Melesio Almenar, the owner of the land he works at. Joaquin was never a very ambitious man. He is an alcoholic who becomes violent when he drinks, full of anger and resentments. He is a man capable of hitting his pregnant wife and turning against his employer. He was never a good father; he couldn’t stand hearing the baby cry, and as Chema grew up he sensed his father’s dislike. Joaquin detests Ricardo for being a rich and successful man when he is the one who breaks his back transporting the marijuana from one side of the border to the other so that Ricardo can live like a king. Deep down, he is also jealous because he senses that Ricardo is interested in his wife. His relationship with Chema is terrible. The child accuses him of being the cause of his mother’s misfortune and kicks him out of their house. Joaquin is frustrated, a failure, silent except when he drinks, has no plans in life, is irritable and violent. Although he may feel some sort of affection for his wife and son, he isn’t able to show it. He is a complete social misfit.
Gustavo Egelhaaf (Saúl Clark)
The son of Tobias and Ines Clark, Saul grows up tasting the fruits of power, money and fear…the fear he instills in others by the simple fact of being his father’s son. Everyone wants to please him, making him stubborn and a tyrant. Deep down he suspects he will never live up to his father, but makes every effort to appear to be a worthy descendant. Saul is a big boy with an even bigger ego…he has talent for evil, for revenge, for crushing everyone who opposes him, and between his physical attributes and his power he is the object of desire for many women. He is eccentric and lives on the verge of scandals that his mother, Ines, is able to cover up through money, blackmail or collecting back favors. He grew up with Chema and they have been friends since childhood, although Chema is more of a friend to him than Saul could ever be in return. Thanks to this relationship he builds a love story with Amanda, even though he knows that deep down she is really interested in Chema. Saul believes he’s entitled to everything, that he has a right to do what he pleases. He will find his greatest test in Amanda, his feelings for her and the relationship she begins with Chema. Saul is a drug addict, arrogant, mistrustful, ambitious, calculating, explosive, dangerous, violent … sometimes selfish and decidedly ostentatious.
Luis Yeverino (Benito Narváez)
Benito is a sneaky, stealthy Mexican bounty hunter, who is willing to do anything to capture El Chema. He is hired by Mabel and Gary colluded with an official of the U.S. Border Patrol to kill Chema directly or to set him so they can avenge the death of one of their colleagues. Benito is a shrewd man; he appears and disappears without leaving a trace. Everywhere he goes, he carries with him a small blue book printed with unintelligible worn gold letters and a small notebook. Some think it’s a Bible…others that it is a cover for one of his weapons and when he is pretending to read he is in fact analyzing the place where he is…the entrances and exits…who is armed and who is not, who can give him information on the person he is trying to hunt down…Benito has no fear; he is coldblooded and calculating. When he speaks to or seduces a woman, it is because it’s a way to help him reach his target. Even more than killing, he likes to study and get to know his victims, finding their weak points so he can do his job effectively. He is scheming, callous, relentless, stubborn, explosive and murderous.
Jorge Luis Vazquez (Fabián Ponce)
Fabian always wanted to be a police officer. As a child he dreamed of chasing criminals and sending them to jail to make the world a better place. He joined the army as a young man, and thanks to his intelligence and combat skills worked his way up the rank of coronel. He is respected by his men and his superiors for his dedication in fighting crime, especially drug trafficking. He pursues El Chema and is determined to do anything to capture him, not only because it is his duty, but also because of a personal debt from his past. He knows how Chema thinks, what he likes, and that women are his weakness. He is just waiting for the right moment when one of Chema’s mistakes will push him into his hands so that he can finally lock him away and maybe even extradite him to the United States, if the circumstances permit. Fabian is rational, calculating, precise, witty, intelligent, intricate, obsessive, daring and courageous.
Carlos Balderrama (Manny)
Manny is one of Chema’s right-hand men. He has no principles or morals and is capable of betraying and killing anyone to pursue his goal of getting rich while working for Chema. But beyond the money, Manny feels admiration for Chema and identifies with what he has accomplished in the drug world, seeing him as a model to follow to becoming a successful drug lord himself. He is ambitious, opportunistic, unscrupulous, a cold-hearted killer and thief.
Fernando Noriega (Rojo Flores)
Eutimio “El Rojo” Flores is a child who ran away from the orphanage where his mother left him when he was a newborn. He lived on the streets, alone and helpless, until unexpected circumstances led him to cross paths with El Chema. A form of empathy grew up between the two children, to the point that Elvira decided to adopt him and make him the brother El Chema never had. El Rojo, gladly accepts but suffers the stigma of being poor and adopted, making him the object of Saul and Amanda’s scorn. The bond with El Chema lasts into adulthood, and El Rojo is an unconditional defender of his friend. He just wants to have a good time, enjoy women and have money to splurge, but nothing ostentatious. El Rojo would give his life for Elvira and El Chema if necessary. Working alongside Chema he manages to make a name for himself and operate on his own, always following Chema’s footsteps and intuitions – except that he has a lot more luck with women. Just when he couldn’t be happier with his situation, misfortune comes his way in the form of Ricardo Almenar Paiva. The two have an initial confrontation over drugs, but their feud soon becomes personal, igniting a war between them and forcing Chema to take sides. El Rojo can barely read or write; he’s a survivor, curious, childlike, timid, brave and intelligent.
Isela Vega (Celia)
Celia is a Yaqui Indian midwife who assists at Chema’s birth. She has paranormal powers and is in touch with her surroundings. She knows cures and curses, but most important, she can see the future, Chema’s future particularly. She knows he will be a very important person in her life, but at the same time she fears him, knowing that he could either favor her or end her life if she gets in his way. Celia helps Elvira and her newborn son and predicts great things for Chema, never suspecting he will be the most feared and wanted drug lord in Mexico. Celia will appear in Chema’s dreams and nightmares, bringing him tranquility or distress depending on the circumstances. She wears Indian clothing and is a mysterious, intriguing, generous, good-natured figure that knows the secrets of herbs and can see into the future.