Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mujeres de Negro, Martes 2/14/17 Chapter 1: A Game of Chicken

In the hope that more of you will tune in, here is my foray into this dark world with a new voice:


Playa Coral was a beautiful, private resort for the wealthy and privileged. It had a beach of clean white sand, clear blue-green water in which to swim, boat, or fish, and apparently no undesirable human element. It also had just become a crime scene.


Vanessa Leal, Jackie Acosta, and Katia Millán were there with their husbands. They were attractive women in their mid-thirties with long, dark hair and excellent figures. No one who had ever watched them glide elegantly on the boardwalk in their long flowing dresses ever would have thought that they would have motives for murder. It was morning when Katia's husband, Nicolás, was setting up a group photo. He was taking too much time to do this and she became impatient. She asked why he didn't use his cell phone instead. He wanted instead to use the film camera his father had once given him. He had mounted it on a tripod and was setting the timer. He got into the shot in time before the shutter activated itself. He and the other husbands, Julio and Lorenzo, laughed. Their wives were not amused.

The three men dove into the private pool and talked about work. Nicolás' inheritance had run out and he had been desperate. Julio had offered him a job as a chauffeur. Nicolás was incredulous at how far he had come down in the world. Lorenzo teased him that “You're not going to be just any chauffeur, but a highly trusted one.” He would be well-paid.
Julio looked as though he was already regretting the offer. A man named Zacharias was putting the knife to his throat over an arrangement that required careful and delicate handling. Lorenzo promised that his people would provide them with free passage through la frontera.
Nicolás became nervous, but the others talked about the secrecy of the situation and the potential for much gain. This was so secret that not even their wives knew about it. Julio told him he was to do it to benefit Katia, just as he took care of Vanessa. Lorenzo made a sarcastic remark about Julio being a defender of wives, which drew a riposte from Julio about Lorenzo's own marriage to Jackie.
Lorenzo did not want to talk about it. He was offended at the idea that Julio knew anything about it.
Their wives were setting the table and talking about what they would do upon their return home. Jackie talked about getting a new job. Their conversation stopped when their husbands joined them. Julio mentioned their proposed fishing excursion, but Nicolás changed his mind. Lorenzo told him he needed to go with them. “You like fish, don't you? And you and Julio need to talk about work.” He also insinuated that Nicolás would be bored in the company of their viejas. This met with no laughter from their wives.
Katia thanked Julio for giving Nicolás the opportunity. She hoped that this would finally work out and get her husband out of his depression. After a brief repast they all walked down toward the dock. The men kissed their wives before boarding the rented yacht, Lorenzo handling Jackie's face in a manner she clearly did not like. Vanessa quietly told the other women she hoped this would go as planned. They watched silently as the yacht took off into the lovely blue-green waters. A minute or two out there were four explosions, causing the boat to go up in flames. None of the three women cried out in any way. They were remembering why they had done this.

A few days earlier at Encino Blanco, Vanessa was trying to persuade her five-year-old son to finish his breakfast before going to school. He wasn't eating. Julio was talking on his cell phone. Vanessa tole him he had to take little Diego to school. He said he couldn't that day. Vanessa could not, as she had a meeting that morning with her boss. Julio told his caller not to call him on his cell.

Jackie was serving breakfast to Lorenzo and the atmosphere was far more tense. As she poured orange juice he criticized it has having too much sugar, saying she should eat whole fruit instead so she wouldn't gain any more weight. He reached over to pinch her non-existent fat and she told him to leave her alone. He took two calls on his cell before leaving, the first being “my masseur,” whom he was looking forward to seeing. The other was from Julio. Jackie deliberately ate a sweet roll in front of him in defiance. After the second call he made a nasty remark as he left. 

Vanessa went to Diego's school to get him later and was told he had walked out. She went home and did not find him.
Until Zacharias called looking for Julio. He told her to tell Julio that if he wanted to see his son again he would satisfy his demands.
Do you have my son?” she asked, but he ended the call. She called Julio's cell but he did not answer. 

Jackie rose from her desk at work and checked her reflection in the mirror. Any fat was purely in Lorenzo's imagination. 

Julio came home with Diego, who did not like being in Zacharias' home with the man's mother. Vanessa gently told him to go to his room while she talked to his father. As soon as he left the room she slapped Julio for allowing this to happen. He did not react with anger or even concern, telling her she needed to remain calm. He would not concede to her demand to swear that he would not endanger their son. “All I need is some time,” was his only answer.

Jackie's boss was not pleased with her latest report. He told her to pick up her severance check on her way out.

Julio slid a briefcase across the desk to Lorenzo. A briefcase full of US currency in large wads of large bills. The merchandise previously mentioned was on its way.

Katia came home from work to find Nicolás lying on the couch, drinking beer. She was angry because he wasn't contributing to the household expenses or doing a lick of work to help keep their apartment clean. He said something about hoping that his new treatment would work. She told him she had had it.

When Jackie returned home with a box of the personal things she had kept in the office Lorenzo was on the couch listening to music. His choice of selections was ironic; it was waltzes by Johann Strauss. He pointedly looked at the box and said “Again? Maybe you should realize that you can't work.” This had been the fourth job she had lost.

Katia woke in the middle of the night and got out of bed. She discovered that the gas jets on the stove were all turned on and the pilot lights blown out. She turned them all off and opened the window, coughing all the while. When Nicolás followed her in she accused him of trying to commit suicide and taking her along for the ride.

Vanessa woke early in the morning. Julio was peeking through the window blinds while handling a pistol. He went out to a car whose driver was watching the house. His situation was precarious.

Nicolás plead guilty to Katia's accusation, saying he had intended to take her with him and “out of this life...so you wouldn't suffer.” Except, she didn't want to die. He still did. He cried as he crawled up the stairs after her.

Vanessa was fed up. She demanded to know what was going on. She told Julio that if he put her or their son at risk again she would kill him.

Jackie went back to the office to retrieve a plant she had kept on her desk. A colleague told her there was something she needed to know.

Julio caught Vanessa looking into his laptop. He became angry, sayin ghe didn't want her snooping into his business. She heard Diego's voice and saw him in the garden with Zacharias. She picked up her son and ordered the man to leave or she would call the police. He told her very coldly that he didn't play games. She held Diego close to her.

Jackie returned home just as Lorenzo ended a call. She smashed the plant on the table near his hand and confronted him about arranging for her to lose all four jobs she had had in the past year. He seemed to be gaslighting her, saying she should be grateful to be treated like a princess while her friend was married to a man who was too depressed to work. He then hit her, leaving a bruise and a cut. She had more than her fill of his cruelty and condescension and told him she was getting a divorce attorney. He laughed at her.
Nobody leaves me. I can buy off any judge but long before that I'll kill you.”
Then you'll be in jail.”
Don't bet on it. Not if your death looks accidental.”
Jackie knew her life would never get any better and was possibly at stake. Lorenzo was controlling and cruel. She was lucky to have any friends at all.

Nicolás was dressed and looking to go to work. Katia, however, had reached her limit. She wanted out of this marriage. He begged her for a last chance.

Vanessa let Julio have it with both barrels. She was tired of worrying about Diego's safety. She wanted a divorce. She couldn't stand living in fear anymore. He demanded more time and threatened to take the boy if she went to a lawyer.
Zacharias tried to hold Julio to a contract he didn't want to sign. He threatened that bad things would happen to him and his family if he didn't sign. He did. It was a deal made with the devil.

Jackie was in the bathroom, studying the cut on her eyebrow. She photographed it with her cell phone. Lorenzo walked in and laughed at her. He demanded she hand it over to him, then began choking her when she refused. He finally took it away by force before throwing her down on the floor. She was on her knees and crying. He laughed and delivered a parting insult before he was out the door. “Hey, you look sexy in that position.” She cried harder.

Julio told Vanessa that Zacharias wouldn't be bothering them anymore. He suggested that they go to the beach with Jackie, Lorenzo, Katia, and Nicolás that weekend. She refused. She didn't want to go anywhere or have anything to do with Zacharias. She insisted that he get the pistol out of the house. She went back to chopping vegetables and he complied or pretended to. She stopped when she accidentally cut herself. She texted Jackie and Katia.

That evening at eight the three women gathered at Vanessa's house. They spoke of their hellish marriages and their fears.
What are we going to do?” asked Katia. Our lives are all in danger at all these men's sides.”
We must do something,” Vanessa said. “There's only one way we can live in peace.”
What do we do about Nicolás? I can't handle his depression. “The three of us are living in hell.”
What we have to do is kill them,” said Jackie. “And then it will be they who will live in hell.”

A few days later they watched the explosions and the flames engulf the boat.
Are you ready?” Vanessa asked. The others nodded.
We'll need to get ready,” said Jackie.
They returned to the hotel. They realized they would shortly need to deal with the police but they had not prepared for it. Jackie finally said that they must all appear to be in shock and none was to talk about what happened.
A detective named Rita Kursi was the first to arrive. She was a no-nonsense type with no cosmetics and plain clothing. She was followed by Commandante Bruno Borgetti, a man of about fifty with dark hair and a neatly-styled beard. They wanted to question them on all they saw.

Divers and other forensic personnel were already at the site of the explosion.

Vanessa tried to pour some water for the detectives, but became nervous, which the detectives noticed but did not comment on. The questions began as being about their home lives but eventually led to the ones about their marriages. Jackie mentioned talk of divorce. Borgetti asked why and she showed him the bruise. He asked more questions about whether they had reconciled before the men boarded the boat. She lied like an area rug, saying that he had agreed to go for therapy.

Katia spun a pretty tale about Mic being happy because of getting a new job offer from Julio. Borgetti was probing for more relationship information when Katia told them that she and Nico were godparents to Diego. She also said they hoped to have children once he had a stable job.

In the end, all three inspired skepticism.
Borgetti finally told the three that he would take them home in the police van. Their husbands' things were to be turned over to the police just in case.

As Vanessa finished packing some of her husband's things other s came into the room. All were nervous. It was probably then that they all realized they were suspects. They went outside. A police dog looked at them and barked. They squared their shoulders and entered the van. They asked Borgetti what the police thought. He said “Homicide.”

Labels:


Comments:
UA: WOW! Talk about an OMG moment.

Jackie getting violently beaten by Lorenzo like that made me cringe.

Vanessa & Katia: I can understand their rationales too.

I noticed the crazy psychopath (who was Virginia's henchman) from "Lo Imperdonable" is on this TN.

Plus, Arturo Peniche from "QNMD" is in this TN.
 

This cast is top-notch and the story is riveting. I hope more peeps will watch this one because it's got great promise and only 51 episodes. Mystery-themed novelas can't be extended the way standard dramas can (but really shouldn't be) and certainly not like the comedy ones (which I mostly don't like).

I didn't mention this in the recap but none of the three couples have servants. In Julio and Lorenzo's cases I think this has to do with the risk of their being found out on their illegal dealings (which I suspect are about smuggling) and in Nicolas' case it's about not having enough dinero to afford that and everything else.

Since this crime was planned only a few days in advance I have to think that none of the women thought the domino effect through. Katia will have the least problems of the three since Nicolas didn't have a job, but what repercussions will Julio and Lorenzo's deaths have on Vanessa and Jackie? It's not just about the money but about Zacharias.
 

UA: I see that Bruno Borgetti (Arturo Peniche's character) will be one of the antagonists.

Sensing corrupt law enforcement officer here.
 

Yes. That is a departure of sorts, as homicide detectives are usually represented as being honest with most of them also being competent. However, since this area seems to be a haunt of the wealthy there is more potential for corruption.

I described their spot as a hotel but it's more likely to be a property owned by one of the couples. I'll change that later if we get clarification. But this story is definitely worth it.
 

O.M.G. Did the cast of AQNMD move over to another Carlos Moreno Laguillo feast--just for us? At least the little red and white light house did. And throw in Diego Olivera and Marcello Cordoba to boot? I'm salivating already.

What I want to know and hope to find out is: HOW, within the few days "antes" when the ladies in black decided to get rid of their husbands, did they manage to get their hands on the explosive material, plant it and be sure it would go off at the precise time when the boat was far enough away from the dock.

If it was to be a secret only between the three of them, someone had to have trolled the internet real fast.

Was that a rented yacht? How did the ladies in black know that it was exactly that one. It was much more likely that it was Lorenzo's. He seems to be the richest one (and the nastiest) one of the lot. Good Riddance.

Urban, I also noticed there were no servants, as one of the ladies in black stated to our Detective.
 

I have to be very careful on Monday nights, because I can't record Jane, Vino AND Mujeres at the same time. Maybe I'll leave Jane to Xfinity--nah, can't do that to her. I may have to watch Mujeres on Hulu on Tuesday morning.

I hope to keep up, but I want to finish catching up with AQNMD before El Fin. (I'm only 19 episodes behind now. Luckily we have a long weekend coming up!)
 

Thank you so much for getting this started, Urban! I will have to watch tonight as I haven't seen the episodes on Hulu. Anita, have you?

It's also not on the Univision website or app so I guess it's Internet or DVR for me which means I'll usually be a day behind. I'm glad they're airing it at least so others can watch it as well.
 

Here you go, Alfredo, it's on Univision: Capitulo 1
 

Urban- Woohoo! Brilliant job with the first episode. I have not seen it yet-- it's on my dvr. I'm watching another 9pm show right now (La Dona), so I will likely always be a day behind, at least until Color ends, and then I'll watch my Mujeres recording at 10pm.

Wow. They jumped right into the murder, real quick. I agree that their husbands' shady partners who were depending on them, won't take their murders lying down. They may even force the widows to take up where their husbands left off. Basically, they might have just jumped out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
 

Thank you, Dy77! I found it strange they wouldn't have it. I was able to locate it on the app using your link, man what a labyrinth to get to the goods!
 

I am wondering about that, too, Vivi.

There was a great Argentine novela in 2005 called Hombres de Honor where a Mafia don got whacked and his widow took over the family business because none of her sons were able to (two were too young and the other had just gotten out of prison after three years for a crime he didn't commit). She was actually a very effective Dona because she was much cooler-headed than any of the men. However, I don't see any of these three being able to do this, especially if the illegal business is human trafficking.

I neglected to look up the place name to see if that is possible. If this is a real place and it's in the north it is more likely than if it were further south.
Further south could be drugs, arms smuggling, or luxury goods (to avoid taxes and tariffs). We don't have enough info on Julio to determine this but Zacharias is totally without conscience. It could be any -- or even all -- of the above.

I'll catch you all later. Need to get some stuff done and hope I have some time to brush up on my Ruth Rendell.
 

Anita: Let's be honest: Lorenzo, Julio & Nicolas HAD IT COMING! Especially, Lorenzo.


 

Thank you, Urban! You sure covered it all. What a great first episode! My hope is for less commercial interruptions. The frequency of commercials was annoying last night. I have high hopes for this one. I wonder if the police are already suspicious of the widows. Yes, all three had it coming.
 

I just noted that nasty Zacarias, is played by Bruno Bichir, from the famous Bichir acting dynasty.

His mother is Maricruz Najera (played Silvia, the retired Prison Director in AQNMD) and his brothers are Odiseo (Dr. Nesme in CME and more recently a short-term role as Edgar in AQNMD) and Demian (dark-haired, bon-bon star in The Bridge). They've done lots of other things, but these are the ones I'm most familiar with.

Wikipedia says they are of Arab descent (originally Bashir or Bachir).

I'm looking forward to watching him.
 

Urban, Ruth Rendell is one of those novelists whose every work I devoured. What a delightful surprise to discover another fan!

I don't know about you (and i'm aware her Wexford novels were I believe her big moneymaker), but I much, MUCH preferred her "stand alone" novels. Her character development and plot twists are absolutely unparalleled. I got into her after I was in a book store and passed by a book that had a laudatory quote on the front that said something along the lines of "no one can do more justice to a psychopath than Ruth Rendell". Something like that! I immediately picked up the book. It was "A Judgement in Stone" (widely considered among the very best of ALL of her novels) and was instantly hooked. The more I got into her works, the more I realized that that laudatory quote was spot-on. It's absolutely astounding how incredibly she can create- and with such amazing depth and detail- characters who are completely and utterly insane or dangerous or twisted. I think the thing I love about her 'stand alone' novels is that- generally speaking they involve taking a handful of completely disparate characters and creating a situation wherein all their lives somehow converge- perfectly- in the most drastic and tragic way possible. She has been called "the most astonishing imagination in crime fiction" and to me, of that there is no doubt.

Knowing (or 'believing') that we have alot of the same tastes, at least telenovela-wise (i.e.- no comedies, no schmalz, more cerebral, definitely darker, interesting villains), I thought I'd give you a little list of my favourite Rendell novels, and the ones I'd most highly recommend:
1) A Judgement in Stone (Amazing. In the very first paragraph you know exactly what happens in the first paragraph- what happened, who did it, who they did it to, and why. The novel is about how it all unfolded and it's fascinating. An incredible study of 'folie a deux'. The character of Joan Smith is (I feel) her absolute best 'desquiciada'- and she had some incredible ones)
2) A Demon in my View (A incredible character study of a rigidly proper, uptight, and fussy middle-aged sadistic psychopath)
3) Make Death Love Me (Beautifully, almost achingly, tragic)
4) The Lake of Darkness ("What can happen when one wins the lottery"- Rendell-style)
5) The Killing Doll (A fascinating descent into madness)
6) The Bridesmaid (A passionate love story between two love people. But, um, something definitely isn't quite right about one of the two...)
7) Live Flesh (Another 'Gold Dagger' winner. A tragic story of a convicted rapist released from prison trying to go straight)
8) One Across, Two Down (An absolute must if you appreciate Cryptic Crossword puzzles)
9) The Tree of Hands (Not her typical 'stand alone'- no dangerous psychopaths- but instead a story of a child, and three separate women coming from COMPLETELY different places)
10) The Fever Tree (I wanted to include one of her short-story collections in my Top 10 list, and this is it).

Anyway, I apologize to everybody for getting off topic, but just couldn't resist! Urban, thanks again for getting this patio started. I liked this novela, and hope you guys do too. Best wishes to all! :-)
 

Thanks for the list, Stevey. It's been ages since I've read RR, but checked out a couple of opening chapters for this one. I used to read her short stories in the mystery magazines which I can't find anymore in stores.

Just as a warning, tomorrow's recap for this will be later as I will be out tonight at a film preview. I'm also having playback issues with VEA, so I hope I can catch up to last night's before I have to leave.
 

UA: Zacharias is one evil psycho!
 

OK, Playa Coral is real and it's in Ixtapa, which is to the south on the Pacific side. The area is a government-planned tourist resort.

Playa Linda, referenced in AQNMD, is in this area.

This producer must love beaches.
 

It's funny Urban because if you look at his drama novelas Bajo la Misma Piel and En Nombre del Amor were grand houses. CME and AB and QA were ranches or had ranches, predominantly. AQNMD and MdN are beaches.
 

I was finally able to watch the first episode and wow...amazing cold open!

Thank you Urban for gettig the vall rolling and providing this space for us.

I don't know what I would do in any of these women's situations:

1. A mafioso who has a price on hos head whete my child could be killed or kidnapped at any second.

2. A machista who calls me fat, belittles me, destroys my professional life and beats me.

3. A pretty boy who sends all day on antidepressants and alcohol and tries to kill me whenever hes suicidal.

No wonder they wanted them gone. I cant even believe Lorenzo tried to say he was the best one! Hes the worst! But he did give her the bright idea of an accidental death. Ha!!!

Im loving the opening credits and cast as well as the direction. I had never seen Fracisco Gattorno in a villain role but he was really good. And Mayrin was better than usual.

Carlos Moreno is amazing and so is his team.

Grab a good bottle of wine cause its going to get bumpy...
 

I just watched the first episode too. Ditto Alfredo's whole comment. Don't forget to add to #2 that he also threatened to kill her (and get away with it) if she tried to divorce him. These three guys were real winners. NOT!

Shall we start a song playlist for this series?
1) Cell Block Tango/He Had It Coming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrrz54UtkCc
2) Goodbye Earl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw7gNf_9njs

What else?
 

So many familiar faces from Carlos Moreno's other productions, including quite a few from our current daytime A Que No Me Dejas. Arturo Peniche looks like he slimmed down a bit for his role as the police commander. And it's odd hearing the little actor who played deaf-mute Mauricio talking. :) That little guy has certainly not hit his growth spurt yet. He's still really small.

I've never seen Bruno Bichir (Zacarías) in anything before. But of course I've seen both his brothers' work-- Demián Bichir in 'Weeds' and 'The Bridge', and Odiseo Bichir in a few Carlos Moreno productions, including 'A Que No Me Dejas' as the horrible Edgar, and currently on Telemundo in 'La Dona', as the sympathetic crippled character Lazaro.
 

I was wondering what looked different about Arturo Peniche because he looked so fresh and youthful. He did loose weigh abd of course less gray hairs lol

Vivi, dont forget our wonderful Stealvia ;) I'm sure they follow Morebo and co. Because they always have juicy roles to get into but its nice to see some fresh faces too like Bruno Bichir nd Lourdes Reyes who has never been in a Moreno production as far as I know.
 

Great recap Urban! I think this novela is right up your alley! (I think that's how it is said, I always thought you'd like it).

Bruno Bichir has mostly worked in TV Azteca, I don't remember what Televisa telenovela he did before this one. He is also known for theater and films. Back in the 90's he was Salma Hayek's heroic and tragic love in El Callejón de los Milagros, which is now a classic that every Mexican who likes cinema has seen and it's based on a novel from a Nobel prize winning author from Egypt, but translating the events from Cairo to Mexico City.

Jarocha
 

Urban, I loved the screen shot. Excellent actresses all.

I haven't read the summary yet but the fact that Arturo Peniche (one of my favs) is in this is sorely tempting.

I am watching Vino yet and as I have never bailed on a TN before, don't wish to start now. I would be watching this in a heartbeat otherwise.

Diana
 

Diana--after Epi #2, how could you NOT watch MdN? That is, if you like police criminal procedure-investigation shows, which I do.....and add Diego Olivera to the mix. Darn, I'm pulling for the police to discover the plot, but as enough fiction stories go, the two guys will invariably fall in love with two of the women.

I'm a little troubled by the back and forth with the back filling in the blanks in the story. I would rather have had the whole set up ahead of time--but then, where is the shock of the explosion in the first episode? It was a good one.

P.S. Don't these ladies know that if they are suspect, their movements, cell phone calls, e-mails and texts will be monitored? Poor things, they don't know enough about police procedures.
 

Oh I didn't know the show was on yet! Darn it and I'm leaving today for a few days vacation so I can't set my dvr!!

Thanks Urban for the recap (I'm not reading it bec I really want to watch the episodes first).

Hopefully I can rejoin the patio next week!! I've missed you lot!
 

Urban--Are you going to give us a recap for Episode 2? Would love to suck Diana in!
 

Is the recap from Wednesday night been posted ?

I love the opening credits :)


 

I had a comment on this. It vanished I guess. I like the story. When does this air? Is it on in the US yet?
 

Nina,

It airs on Unimas, Univision's sister network, M-F at 9pm. It started Tuesday, yesterday.
 

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