Now Streaming: GANGS OF GALICIA (CLANES), Spanish Crime Gets Desperate

Clara Lugo and Tamar Novas star as a lawyer and a gangster in a new Netflix thriller series.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: GANGS OF GALICIA (CLANES), Spanish Crime Gets Desperate

How close can you get to a fire without being burned?

Gangs of Galicia (Clanes)
All seven episodes of the limited series are now streaming on Netflix worldwide. I've seen all seven episodes.

You can see it in her eyes. Ana (Clara Lugo) is dead-set on revenge.

Her father was murdered in Galicia, a gorgeous region in Northwest Spain. An experienced lawyer in a respected firm in Madrid, Ana is very familiar with the criminal justice system. She also knows that law enforcement authorities, both local and federal, have been stymied by drug smuggling gangs (clanes), and sometimes corrupted.

Thus, Ana decides to quit her job, move to a small town in Galicia, open a new law firm, and begin her own investigation into what happened to her father. She is determined to bring those responsible to justice, and that will be her revenge.

Naturally, in a small town that is controlled by organized crime, everyone is suspicious of her motives. Ana gains the trust of a few of the honest people in town, and that attracts the attention of Daniel Padin (Tamar Novas), who is running his family's criminal affairs while his father, Jose (Miguel de Lira), awaits his expected imminent release from the local prison.

Created and written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría and directed by Roger Gual, Gangs of Galicia follows the initially separate and then intertwining narrative lines that tie Ana and Daniel increasingly together. It's clear from the start that Ana has moved to Galicia in order to go undercover and find evidence that will implicate Daniel's family in her own father's murder. It's equally clear that Daniel, while ruthless and cunning and murderous, has soft spots in his personality that make him a bit less of a monster than his father Jose, who might as well be called Pure Evil.

As Ana puts the pieces together, she becomes friends with the three generations of firm-willed, honest women who run a bar and diner: Laura (Melania Crus), Berta (Maria Pujalte), and the youngest, Maria, who is besotted with her schoolmate Marco (Nuno Gallego), the youngest Padin. It's easy to discern a romantic vibe of forbidden love, a la Romeo and Juliet, between Maria and Marco, and that plays out as an undertone of further rebellion.

Meanwhile, Daniel Padin may also be falling for Ana, who may find herself reciprocating. All this as Daniel's criminal cohorts, especially the super-intense and nasty Nilo (Xosé Antonio Touriñán) and Tono (Chechu Salgado), are all feeling increased heat from law enforcement, who are also becoming increasingly desperate, as can be seen in the face and actions of Naranjo (Francesc Garrido), who is running the investigation and pushes his team to the brink of legality.

I've watched enough Spanish thriller series over the years to know that a certain degree of pot boiling melodrama runs through all such series; it's in the blood, one might say, to be expected and even welcomed. Including the requisite ingredients -- fabulous-looking actors, gorgeous locations, bloody murders and a gut-wrenching death or two -- helps to make the series easy to watch, while the staccato pace and the righteous drive for justice combine to make it fly.

Gangs of Galicia boils down the melodrama and concentrates on the pulp. Powered by strong performances, strong bursts of action, and consistent intrigue, the show is combustible and propulsive, right through to the end.

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ClanesClara LugoGangs of GaliciaNetflixTamar Novas

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