Will the English-Language Version of ‘La Reina del Sur’ Be the Next ‘Breaking Bad’?

¡Atencion! Teresa Mendoza rides again: it looks like USA Network is bringing La Reina del Sur back to the states. The network has ordered a pilot episode of one of Mexico’s most popular telenovelas of all time.

La Reina del Sur was based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, and starred Kate del Castillo as Teresa Mendoza. Teresa flees Mexico after her narcotraficante novio is murdered by his rivals. She eventually becomes Spain’s most powerful drug dealer, amidst plenty of backstabbing and deal (and cocaine) cutting. The iconic show, which aired in its entirety in 2011 (telenovelas are nothing if not efficient), regularly dominated its time slot and even broke ratings records worldwide. It became such a golden goose for Telemundo that the network tried to get the show on the Emmy circuit.

Hollywood first took a crack at Gutiérrez’s sweeping drama in 2009 with Queen of the South, which was supposed to star Eva Mendes and Sir Ben Kingsley. However, real life drug trafficking issues in Sinaloa delayed production repeatedly, and it doesn’t look like the film was ever released (though we did find a cheesy compilation video with what looks like a scene from the movie.)

We’re not totally sure what this is.

USA Network is best known for highly stylized shows like White Collar and Suits, so it remains to be seen how they’ll translate the grittiness of the original. But the multi-season format of most American shows could lend itself well to the epic dealings of La Reina, which spanned several years and countries. The first thing USA could get right, though? Bring Kate del Castillo back as the lead.