The Plague, new Spanish series

1/1 · Por HBO

In this new series from Spain, you will disembark in 16th-century Seville alongside Mateo, a former soldier tasked with investigating a series of murders.

The Plague, a new murder mystery series starring Paco León and Pablo Molinero

The Black Death, or bubonic plague, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It lives in animals, particularly rodents, although it is more accurate to say that it lives in the fleas that inhabit these rodents. The epithet “black” is due to the fact that it causes black marks to emerge on the skin, as well as the gangrene that attacks the body's extremities. It is also referred to as “bubonic” because it usually presents with very painful inflammation of the lymph nodes, known as the buboes. Today, this disease has been controlled. The brief outbreaks cause little devastation and can swiftly be dealt with using antibiotics.

However, in Seville in 1597, the plague was a disease that spread death wherever it appeared. The city was then a major port, prosperous and filled with all the objects of the known world. It had more inhabitants and life than even Madrid. Seville was the great city of the Western world, the port that also connected Europe with the Americas. Through its streets and ports moved spices, exotic cloth, gold, and a huge assortment of humanity that lent it life: merchants, nobles, the wealthy, many impoverished people, priests, lechers and more. Along with their companion, overcrowding, dangerous overcrowding. 

This is late-16th century Seville, the setting, the other great character, one might say, in the Spanish series The Plague, which we will have the privilege of enjoying starting in January on HBO.


Alberto Rodríguez Librero and Rafael Cobos, director and screenwriter

The Plague is one of the most ambitious Spanish series in recent years, coming in at ten million euros for the six episodes of the first season. At the helm is director Alberto Rodríguez Librero, working from the screenplay by Rafael Cobos, according to their customary formula. Together, Rodríguez and Cobos, who are credited as the series creators, have executed high-grossing films that have earned them major awards. In 2017, they took home the Best Adapted Screenplay Goya for El hombre de las mil caras (Smoke & Mirrors). And in 2015, Rodríguez Librero won in the Best Director category and Cobos as writer of the Best Original Screenplay for La isla mínima (Marshland).

Descent into hell

They have paired up again on The Plague to offer us a magnificent historical recreation of a city hemmed in by death and darkness, and if that weren’t enough, clouded by the shadow of murder. A real thriller depicting a criminal investigation in the midst of a complicated and chaotic situation.

The series introduces us to Mateo (Pablo Molinero) as he arrives in Seville. He has returned in search of Valerio, the son of a friend who died in battle. Mateo is staying at the home of his good friend Luis de Zúñiga (Paco León), one of the city’s rich merchants. De Zúñiga is a skilled, highly intelligent man who knows how to chart a path through a world filled with snares and intricate challenges.

But there is something else we should know about Mateo: before going to war, he was a printer in the city. And during that period, he took a risk and produced certain works that were banned, forcing him to flee a death sentence by the Inquisition. Now that he has returned, the bailiffs of the inquisitor Celso de Guevara (Manolo Solo) are on his trail. Mateo is finally captured, and in the dark dungeons, he comes face to face with Celso de Guevara, who offers him a pardon and his life in exchange for completing a mission: he must investigate a series of diabolical murders taking place in the city. Mateo will then venture into a dark world where evil rides roughshod through convents and monasteries, brothels regulated by the Church, hospitals, and noble mansions. In this excellent series, mysticism and evil mingle in a deadly descent into the darkness of the human soul.

The Plague was the first series to be chosen as an official selection at the prestigious San Sebastián Film Festival.  Don’t miss the mystery, excitement and adventure of The Plague, now on HBO and HBO GO.

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