Apaches — A Compelling Spanish TV Series

My wife and I have just finished watching the 12th and final episode of Apaches on Netflix, a crime series that is easily one of finest dramas we’ve seen in a long time.

I don’t normally write about such shows, but this one is so good that it deserves public praise.

The story line is credible, the atmosphere is authentic, the production values are superior, and the acting is superb.

Based on a novel by Miguel Suez Carral, Apaches is set in the working-class Madrid neighborhood of Tetuan in the 1990s, with flashbacks reaching back to the mid-1970s.

Miguel (Alberto Ammann), a respected journalist who writes on politics for a small newspaper, is drawn away from his profession when his father (Lluis Soler), a jeweller, finds himself in dire financial straits after having been cheated by his former partner, Pastor (Juan Gea), who owns an elegant shop and lives sumptuously.

Burning with a desire to avenge Pastor’s duplicity, recoup his father’s losses and save his family from ruin, Miguel, a low-key figure with an appealing smile, looks up friends in Tetuan whom he has not seen in years. Chief among them in Sastre (Eloy Azorin), a petty thief with a short temper and a heart of gold who believes that friendship is sacrosanct and that neighbors should remain loyal to each other.

Sastre is only too happy to help Miguel, his best friend whom he has known since childhood. Sastre has warm feelings for Miguel’s ¬†father because he treated him like a son when his own father abused him. Sastre is in love with Miranda (Ingrid Garcia Jonsson), the feisty daughter of a bar owner who dislikes him.

Sastre and Miguel cook up a clever scheme to rob Pastor of his gold watches and elegant jewels. They enlist the aid of two friends, Dela (Crispulo Cabezas) and Boris (Edgar Costas). Having ripped off Pastor, they plan more jewel robberies.

Miguel’s girlfriend, Cris (Elena Ballesteros), threatens to leave him if he doesn’t stop. Miguel’s married sister, Teresa (Lucia Jimenez), is equally upset by his descent into crime.

Alberto Ammann and Eloy Azorin

As they amass wealth, they form an alliance with Alfredo (Paco Tous), a wily local junk dealer known as El Chatarrero who finds buyers for their ill-gotten goods. Miguel’s father becomes involved when he agrees to melt down the stolen watches into untraceable ingots.

Miguel, meanwhile, falls hard for Alfredo’s mistress, Carol (Veronica Echegui), an old flame, and they soon begin a torrid affair behind his back. Carol is torn between her romantic attraction to Miguel and her economic dependence on Alfredo.

As the police close in on Miguel and his gang of thieves, Alfredo and Miguel’s father both urge him to hunker down and let things cool off. Paying no heed to their sound advice, Miguel and Sastre continue to rob jewellery stores and warehouses.

Once they find themselves at odds with Alfredo, violence flares and blood flows.

Apaches, ably directed by Daniel Calparsoro, Alberto Ruiz Rojo and Miguel Angel Vivas, delivers first-class entertainment on the small screen.