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In the first five episodes that have aired so far, it's the resourceful female characters' struggles to be seen as something more than single-use that give Queen of the South its moderate surprises and satisfactions.
Alice Braga crushes Queen of the South's broken, beaten, yet tenacious lead role, but the story surrounding her is compiled of nothing you haven't seen, heard, or gasped at 100 times before in a dozen better shows.
It's hard to tell just how smoothly this cultural exchange will run from week to week, but the decision to arrange it between these two particular countries has placed Queen Of The South in the perfect position to continue to tell her story.
The show sells us on the idea that pretty, wide-smiling Teresa can become a capable, even vicious, defender of her own hide when threatened, and that Queen of the South might be able to tell a familiar story in a fresh way.
The action is choreographed with kinetic propulsion; Alejandro Martinez's photography colourfully presents an adventure in wild places; and the trajectory of the complex plot, with its different story arcs, is impossible to guess.