Here's how La Reina Del Sur compares to its English language remake Queen Of The South. La Reina Del Sur is based off a novel by author Arturo Pérez-Reverte and the show debuted in 2011. It stars Kate del Castillo as Teresa Mendoza and the first season charts her rise from being a poor worker to building a drug empire. Like Breaking Bad the series shows how she has to shed parts of her humanity in order to succeed in this brutal underworld.
La Reina Del Sur ran for 63 episodes in 2011 and its second season finally arrived in 2019, which would run for another 60. The show received raves reviews, especially for Kate del Castillo, who will next be seen in Bad Boys For Life. The show's success led to USA Network's English-language remake Queen Of The South. Alice Braga (The New Mutants) inherited the role of Teresa and the series has been both a critical and ratings success, and will return for a fifth season in 2020.
Both shows are worth watching but while the basic beats of the story are similar - Teresa working her way up the chain of a criminal empire - they vary in execution. La Reina Del Sur begins with Teresa fleeing to Spain to escape a criminal gang. She starts out working the books in a brothel but is later sent to prison where she meets up with an accomplice who knows the location of a large stash of cocaine. Upon release, they use the money from this drug sale to fund their own drug empire. This - understandably - draws the attention of the DEA and other gangs, and it's chilling watching the meek Teresa transform into a cold, calculating boss.
La Reina Del Sur also burned through the story quickly, with the original season containing more episodes than Queen Of The South's first four seasons combined. Queen Of The South takes a more slow-burn approach, with Teresa fleeing to the U.S. instead of Spain. After her boyfriend is seemingly killed she becomes a drug mile for Camila Vargas, the estranged wife of Don Vargas (Joaquim de Almeida, Fast Five). Teresa impresses Camila and is promoted to partner, but in later seasons they have a falling out, and Teresa begins her bloody rise to the top. She also learns her boyfriend is alive and is working for the DEA.
By Queen Of The South season 4, Teresa is the head of a cartel running from New Mexico to New Orleans. The show has more scope than La Reina Del Sur and, in a similar vein to something like Narcos, is harsher in its depiction of violence and the drug world. Kate del Castillo and Alice Braga are both fantastic as Teresa, so it would be hard to rate one performance over the other. Queen Of The South hasn't caught up with La Reina Del Sur either, with the latter's second season picking up eight years after Teresa disappeared from the drug trade to Tuscany. She's not destined for a peaceful retirement as her daughter is kidnapped and she gets drawn back into the business. Given Queen Of The South's deviations from La Reina Del Sur it's unknown if that's where the story will ultimately head.