'Queen of the South' Is Very Different From the Novel It's Based On

The final season of 'Queen of the South' is ending on a harrowing note, but is it like that in the book? Here's how the spoilers match up.

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 9 2021, Published 8:41 p.m. ET

Teresa Mendoza in 'Queen of the South'
Source: USA Network

USA Network's drama series Queen of the South is about to conclude its final season, and things are not looking good for our heroine Teresa Mendoza.

The show has had a successful, five-season run, but something longtime viewers might not know is that it's based on a novel by the same name. While the two works are fairly different, there are some spoilers from the book that suggest what might happen to Teresa in the end.

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The TV series 'Queen of the South' has taken a lot of liberties from its source material.

It's important to note that while Queen of the South is based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the two works are very different, and the show takes plenty of liberties that the novel does not. For example, both Brenda and James Valdez were reportedly created for the show but do not appear in the novel.

In an interview with Bustle, actress Alice Braga (who plays Teresa) talked about how different the two works were.

'Queen of the South'
Source: USA Network
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"I think it's inspired by some female, some women who were cartel leaders, but it's a fiction book," she told the outlet. "The book is very different from the series. I mean, it's inspired by the book, but the journey for the character, they decided to create a different journey."

The novel is also inspired by real-life events, and Teresa's character is loosely based on Sandra Ávila Beltrán, a Mexican drug cartel leader known as the "Queen of the Pacific."

Ávila Beltrán came from a legacy of drug smugglers and many of her romantic interests were involved in the cartels as well. While Ávila Beltrán's life isn't a direct inspiration, there are many similarities that can be found between them.

Women like Ávila Beltrán also inspired Alica's research before taking the role.

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'Queen of the South'
Source: USA Network

"I watched a bunch of documentaries about the powerful women of the cartel world..." Alice told Bustle. "[I was] kind of inspired by true events, but trying to base myself on the character from the book, which I think it's a wonderful character. So I tried to at least get the human being she is, like the core of the character, even though the journey is different from the book — trying to honor Teresa Mendoza from the book."

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Does Teresa Mendoza die in the book?

It's safe to say that despite the source material, it seems as though the Queen of the South show is taking a very different direction for the finale. Ávila Beltrán was arrested in 2002, the same year that the Queen of the South novel was originally released. This suggests that Teresa does not die, though it doesn't suggest that her character will be free of consequences.

Ávila Beltrán is still alive today and was released from prison in 2015. It's entirely possible, though, that the show will end on a low note, killing off their main character.

To find out what happens, watch the Queen of the South finale when it airs on USA Network on June 9 at 10 p.m. EST.

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