Doctors Gone Wild!!!

Que tal!

By the time you read this article, Summer will be in its Ultimos Capitulos.

One of the great things about telenovelas is that they are seasonless. What is happening on-screen in your novela of the moment has nothing to do with the actual moment you’re living in. (Except for when in “Senora Acero” the Narco & Gunrunner El Gallito, running for Mayor, pledged to “Make Matamoros Great Again.”)

We don’t watch telenovelas to see what’s happening in our own world; we watch them to see what happens when impossibly beautiful people, impeccably dressed, highly accessorized and usually armed, make really bad decisions and never call 911 for help. Last month, I explained how the telenovela lawyers not only can’t do much to help fix a bad decision, but they usually make them even worse. I’m so proud that I received a lot of great reviews for that article – many from other lawyers in Chicago who had no idea that being a lawyer could be as much fun as it is in a telenovela. I assured them it was, as long as they were willing to ignore the law and start dressing a lot fancier. And on top of the very kind reviews and comments, I received something even better: A Request!

The Request came from woman who I admire very much, one who really knows the telenovela business from the inside out. What was her request? My take on telenovela doctors! Que?! COMO?!? First Lawyers… now the Doctors… two of our oldest professions might never look the same to you again!

Mi Amiga, this is for you!

If I was a doctor in a telenovela, the first thing I would ask myself is whether all of the student loans, debt, and divorce from the spouse who put me through medical school was worth it. I know what you are thinking – that doctors here in the Real World are asking themselves the same thing. True, except that in the Real World, the doctors aren’t examining their lives because a guy wearing a gigantic cowboy hat with an even bigger belt buckle has kidnapped him at gunpoint to operate on a shot-up compadre in the back of a gas station bathroom.

I never knew how dangerous medicine could be until I started watching telenovelas. Well, I always knew it was dangerous for the patients, but in telenovelas, it’s the doctors who are on the wrong side of the argument. In telenovelas, there are Good Doctors and Bad Doctors. And doctors that have received no medical training at all, who are the Best Doctors, if you ask me.

The Good Doctors are the doctors who are literally minding their own business, making sure that their malpractice premiums are current, when the door to their office bursts open, a gang of NarcoTerrorists march in, and put a gun to his or her head, demanding that the doctor joins them for an unexpected House Call. This House Call can take place anywhere, but it is usually on a couch in the living room of a total stranger who is also being held at gunpoint to provide shelter to the gang. However, that surgery-at-gunpoint can also take place in the in-house hospital suite many Narcos have built right into their home. A Narco’s house has a lot of room to build out the spaces we generally don’t see in real estate: specifically, the hospital suite, a swimming pool inside of the living room, and a jail cell in the basement. The reason for this is because a Narco has a lot of freedom inside of his house, but can’t ever leave it, unless it is to travel secretly to a house that looks just like the one he just left, which he will also never leave. I know this is off-topic, but I don’t see the point in all of the drama and danger that goes along with the Life of a Narco if you can’t go out for a hot dog once in a while.

So the people that work for the Narcos will do anything to save El Jefe’s life, but one thing they always forget about is The Sterile Field. No, I’m not a doctor. But I have watched enough medical shows on TV to practice medicine with an FCC license, and I have learned that The Sterile Field is the field in a the Operating Room you have to keep sterile. But in a telenovela Operating Room, the guys who have kidnapped the doctor and are forcing him to operate at gunpoint not only break the sterile field by not scrubbing in, but they make things worse when they drag extra unnecessary people into the operating room, like the doctor’s wife and children and mother-in-law, who they have also brought into the operating room at gunpoint, to make sure the doctor does a good job.

I’m not making this up: I have seen this scene more than once in the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All: “El Senor de los Cielos.” In ESDLC, Good Doctors are regularly dragged in to repair gunshot wounds or rustled up to perform emergency reconstructive plastic surgery (to change NarcoIdentities), with their terrified family members watching while they are menaced by NarcoThugs, which is counter-intuitive, if you ask me. Trembling hands and extra bodies in the operating room do not promote a quick recovery, and in the USA, health insurance companies would never allow it.

The Bad Doctors are the doctors who are totally in on The Game. They are basically Narcos Who Went To Medical School. The best example of a Bad Doctor that I can give you is from the novelas “Sin Senos No/Si Hay Paraíso.” Now in its third season, the plots of the show have changed a lot, but originally, the series was about poor girls in small towns in Colombia who tragically can only see a way out of a dead-end life by having reconstructive surgery to attract a Narco, to then live what they think will be the high life. Almost always, the reconstructive surgery was breast implants; hence, the title of the show.

This was such a common practice in the show that at least one of the Narcos, El Gato Gordo, had a mini-hospital in his home (including a Gift Shop), with a full medical staff going round-the-clock. His hospital only had one patient – Catalina La Pequena – who Gato Gordo had drugged and kidnapped, and then forced to undergo breast-implant surgery. She had to stay in his hospital until she had fully recovered from the surgery. The only bright side was that she was not billed for any of it. Gato had the help of a Bad Doctor who did the surgery and supervised the recovery. The Bad Doctor did a great job, but got the axe (literally) when he fell in love with Catalina too.

If you are a doctor who performs unnecessary breast-implant surgery against the will of the patient in the basement hospital of a Narco whose name translates to “Fat Cat,” you probably should have paid more attention to the Ethics Lectures in medical school.

One thing the Good Doctors and Bad Doctors have in common is this: They are always being threatened that if they do not cure the patient, they will be killed. This is a much better incentive to practice good medicine than medical malpractice lawsuits.

Wondering what the doctors just leading the lives of regular doctors are doing in telenovelas? Well, they are wandering around making house calls (!) and only ever delivering two bits of news that are ALWAYS cataclysmic: “You Are Pregnant!” OR “You Can Never Have Children…” That keeps them very busy.

So who are The Best Doctors in a telenovela?

They are the people who perform complicated medical procedures, but are not doctors. You can find them in almost any NarcoNovela, because no one needs constant access to health care more than a Narco. Most recently, in ESDLC6, Aurelio’s half-brother Amado found Aurelio all shot up in a boxing gym in Mexico City, and gave him a blood transfusion USING HIS OWN BLOOD in the locker room with no equipment, and without sepsis setting in. And while chewing gum the whole time.

But the Very Best Examples of The Best Doctors were in the FABULOUS telenovela “Santa Diabla.” If you have never seen this novela, where have you been? You need to watch it now. It was tangled up in fantastic characters engaged in absolutely wild plots, and full of The Best Doctors:

Want to see a Crazy/Beautiful, young woman who can (without anesthesia) remove the bullet from Willy Delgado, the man her father was holding prisoner in his basement, AFTER she shot him AFTER she forced him to have sex with her while he was still chained up, and then post-surgery carry him upstairs? Yep! Ximena Duque’s “Preciosa” was not only a skilled surgeon, but like an ant, she could also carry a hundred million times her own body weight. And where did the gunshot would victim recover? In the bedroom of the kindly prostitute who ran the local bordello. She changed the bandages and somehow hooked up an IV in between hookups.

“Santa Diabla” also had it’s own Telenovela “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman:” The wacky old lady who Lived In A Van Down By The River, and showed no signs of having lived in a civilized society, let alone having attended medical school. She found Santiago (Aaron Diaz) floating down the river, near-dead: shot, drowned, and all beat-up. After anesthetizing herself with a bottle of whiskey, she removed the bullets with her (unsterilized) fingers, sewed him up with catgut (still inside of the cat), and he survived. Unfortunately, Dr. Quinn did not, but you’ll have to watch the series to find out why…

Just like Telenovela Lawyers, no Doctor has as much fun in real life as they do in telenovelas. And if you ask me, the same can be said for all of us. There is no life that is as much fun as the Telenovela Life!

For more of my sideways views on telenovelas, join me daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @gringanovelera, or follow my blog Lagringanovelera.me!

Want To Be A Prosecutor?Skip Law School And Watch Telenovelas!

TELENOVELA PROSECUTORS THROUGH THE AGES:

What’s Law Got To Do With It??

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Que tal!

When I started learning Spanish from telenovelas, I was usually very wrong about everything. In fact, I was so dazed and confused during the first month of La Patrona on Telemundo that I thought Antonia and Alejandro were a rich, unhappily married couple with no children, and that Antonia hated Alejandro SO MUCH that the gigantic family portrait over the fireplace only included her. “Thank goodness they didn’t bring any children into this unhappy marriage,” I thought.

And then one day I realized that they had no children because they weren’t married: they were mother and son. Why Alejandro did not get his own apartment is a question for another day, but clearly, there no room in my fevered brain to figure out the subtleties of the show.

But as time went on and I understood more and more every day, I came to really love the courtroom scenes in La Patrona, and in all of the telenovelas I watch to this day. The courtroom hijinx in a telenovela would make the whole world want to go to law school, if only court could actually be as crazy and as much fun. And as a prosecutor in in the criminal courts of Chicago, I love watching what my fellow Novela prosecutors get up to.

For example, in “La Patrona,” the prosecutor (Ricardo) was a pretty decent guy with a gigantic Crucifix in his office, which is kind of unusual for government work. He was only able to have sex with women he wasn’t married to, which is usually something we see in celebrities and professional athletes, but in Ricardo’s case it was because his father had convinced him that his mother had abandoned him to run away with the Tennis Pro, when in reality Ricardo’s father had had The Mrs. imprisoned in the local Asylum for the Criminally Insane, so he could spend all of her money on hookers, Tequila, and his Senate campaign. Ricardo retired from the Prosecutor’s Office to defend his mother of trying to kill his father after she escaped from the Asylum.

Of course he did.

In “Eva La Trailera,” Sofia Lama played “Betty,” a prosecutor so in love with Eva’s boyfriend Pablo that Betty prosecuted Eva for a murder which Betty knew Eva didn’t commit, scared all of Eva’s witnesses, conspired with the Real Killer to see that Eva was convicted, lost her job when her bosses found out about it, and then pregnant and broke, moved in with Pablo’s family even though no one invited her.

In “El Senor de los Cielos,” Erika de la Rosa played “Elsa,” the Very Special Prosecutor assigned to prosecute Don El Chema, who was supposed to be El Chapo. Elsa is one of my favorite prosecutors for a couple of reasons: Number 1, I don’t even think Elsa was a lawyer. I think that her parents were big campaign contributors to El Presidente, and basically paid him to take her off of their hands. Elsa gave me hope: She showed us that having no working knowledge of the law was not an impediment to a successful prosecution. Number 2, Elsa was dating Chema at the same time she was prosecuting him. When I met Erika at a Telemundo event, and gushed about how much I learned from Elsa about being a prosecutor, Erika quickly excused herself and called for “Security.”

And then, in the next season of “El Senor de Los Cielos,” Alejandro de la Madrid played Ignacio, a serious and honest prosecutor who became so frustrated by his inability to convict any drug kingpins that he assembled a team of the prettiest women in the office and they formed a Hit Squad, assassinating everyone who was acquitted, which is another way to go. Usually, in law enforcement, when a team of the prettiest women are recruited, it is because someone is assembling a softball team.

ESDLC is an embarrassment of riches of fantastic prosecutors. Now, in Season 6 of the series, we are treated to another great prosecutor from whom we can learn a lot – Nora Requena, played by Maria Conchita Alonso.

Nora has come from New York to extradite El Senor himself – Aurelio Casillas. I love that Nora gets to go to the country from which she is extraditing the criminal. If this happened in real life, we would all be looking to Italy for our defendants. Usually, a successful extradition requires that the prosecutor complete hundreds of documents exactly right, and then hope the host country agrees with us. But in ESDLC6, Nora has the right idea – Go right to the country harboring the criminal to make your case in person, and take a private plane to get there. Nora acts like she is on vacation, and the DEA agents in Mexico are the hotel valets.

Right before she left for Mexico, Nora had just pulled the plug on her husband, literally. Once her husband drew his last breath, Nora left the hospital for Mexico City, and left the hospital staff with her husband’s jewelry driver’s license and his body, telling them she was finally “free.” Well, she is certainly free from all medical and burial expenses.

Nora then flew into CDMX on a private jet. One thing I have learned from telenovelas of any type is that if there is a prosecutor hanging around, that prosecutor leads a pretty glamorous life. They have a driver, they boss the judge around, and they usually have an office filled with antiques, Oriental rugs, and religious objects. Although we haven’t seen her office yet, I am sure Nora is no exception to this rule. My proof? She carries a fan. A fan.

It never occurred to me to use a fan before, but now I don’t know how I practiced law for so long without one.

A fan is something I could use very effectively in closing arguments, as long as no one ever bursts into the song “Lady of Spain.” And when I say “no one,” I mean me. Or as long as I don’t develop a southern accent and call in sick because I have “the vapors.” At least I need to find out what “the vapors” are, exactly. Now that I think about it, I could do a lot of damage with a fan, and most of it would be self-inflicted.

In ESDLC, once Nora and her entourage landed, DEA chief Joe Navarro picked her up at the airport and took Nora right to a meeting at the Mexico City offices of the DEA. With her piercing glare, fan and gigantic glasses, Nora made everyone in the meeting nervous, maybe because they never saw a prosecutor use a fan before.

The DEA wants Nora to ask Mexico to please extradite Aurelio, and Carla The Journalist was there to impress upon Nora the importance of shipping Aurelio to the USA, except Carla had just hooked up with Aurelio the night before and was clearly conflicted about sending Aurelio to the USA when she needed a date for a family wedding coming up.

Their strategy was to show Nora the video shot the day that Aurelio took over the news station, where he broadcast that even though he was the world’s biggest cartel boss, he was still better than the crooked bosses of Mexico.

Nora is really one cool customer.

After watching the tape, she announced that the tape was not evidence of anything.

Nora’s statement, and her rejection of charges, rocked my world.

I have always thought that a confession is pretty important evidence.

But Nora disagrees and I think she called it “television gossip,” as if Aurelio’s broadcast was a bad episode of “The Bachelor.”

I’ll be honest.

If I was trying this case, I would have charged him, queued up that tape, hit “Play” on the DVD player, lit a cigarette, and when the tape was over I would have announced “State Rests.”

But no, not according to Nora.

Even with a confession made to the entire country of Mexico which no one could ever complain was coerced because it was Aurelio himself who took over the whole television station at gunpoint just so he could make this statement, the work is just beginning, according to Nora. This could be true, or it could also be that Nora wants to extend her trip to Mexico.

The DEA was disappointed, but perked up when Nora tried to get everyone to go out drinking, which shows that the DEA in Mexico City is like every other prosecutor’s office around the USA.

Only Joe agreed to go, even though Nora appeared to be buying.

Nora came well-equipped to take care of prosecutor business. She is armed with an evening gown, gigantic glasses, and fans to match every outfit. Is this a homage to Novelaville’s Greatest Villainess Catalina Creel, who had an eye patch to match every one of her dresses, even though most of her dresses were made out of the same fabric as the curtains? Time will tell.

All I know right now is that I wish Telemundo could offer credit for Continuing Legal Education for teaching us how to be better prosecutors from telenovelas!

For more of my sideways views of telenovelas, please follow me here, and @gringanovelera on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and on “Latin Connection” magazine!

Gringa Novelera

Latin Connection Magazine

If I Was A Better Lawyer I Would Be Playing The Prosecutor In The Telenovela “Al Otro Lado Del Muro!!”

Last night’s episode of Al Otro Lado del Muro on Telemundo was the very definition of Must See TV, and if Telemundo would ever steam the entire run of the show I think viewers would end up literally glued to their couches, having not moved for approximately 100-120 hours.

First of all, I’m very proud that I had a tiny bit of input on Sofia’s confession and what’s coming NEXT by answering a few questions for the show’s writer Laura Sosa Pedroza about the criminal justice system in the USA!!

Watching the show last night, I felt that law school and 20 years in the business had FINALLY paid off!!!

While I watched the scene where Sofia confessed, I thought I should have included a clause in my contract where I play the prosecutor,

but then I remembered that there was no contract, and even if there had been one, I don’t know where the “clauses” go, or what a “clause” actually is.

I am not that kind of a lawyer.

Alright, now let’s get down to last night’s episode!

Sofia is the best evidence that a Beauty Queen can still be the smartest person in the room.

When she didn’t make any headway with Joel from Interpol, she called for the FBI.

Not only did she realize that it’s the the FBI, not Interpol, who is the police department who can get things done in the USA, but also she somehow knew that the FBI agent assigned to her case was going to be the very handsome and smart “Richie Garcia” played by one of my favorites, Christopher Millan !

Unfortunately, before Agent Garcia could meet up with Sofia and the prosecutor for what I would have described as a “proffer,” – a meeting to see what evidence Sofia could offer against others in exchange for leniency – Sofia had another visit from the always unwanted Paula.

Since Paula’s Boss and Boyfriend The Governor is now perpetually drunk and mooning over the loss of Sofia (even though he’s the one who framed her),

and since the Corrupt Congressman in the USA is now Confined to Quarters,

it’s once again left to Paula to get the job done,

especially since Los Pinos is breathing down the Governor’s neck, and not in a good way.

Plus, the Congressman has someone on the inside who told him that Sofia was asking to speak to the FBI.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Who could that Inside Man be??

So Sofia is escorted into the jail Visiting room reserved for visitors from Mexico who are visiting Sofia for the purpose of torturing her, and there is Paula.

Paula is a pragmatist – an evil pragmatist, but a pragmatist for sure.

One thing I love about Paula (even though I hate her) is that she never makes small talk.

In fact, I’ll bet that Paula has not once in her whole life ever discussed the weather, or sports scores, and I can tell you from experience could not survive a Baby Shower.

Anyway, so Paula is there to cut a deal with Sofia:

Confess to it all – the murder of Joel’s sister, the Human Trafficking – all of it, take the Governor out of it, and in exchange?

What’s in it for Sofia?

Paula will not tell the Governor where Alondra is, and will leave Eliza to raise her as her own.

And if Sofia doesn’t confess?

Then Paula will not only ship Alondra to Thailand, she’ll take Eliza’s daughter too.

For Sofia, there was no choice.

Next up for Sofia was her meeting with the FBI and prosecutor, to which Joel was invited, but told to keep quiet. The prosecutor pointedly reminded Joel that he had no jurisdiction there.

The prosecutor is correct, but I wanted someone to remind her a California prosecutor does not have jurisdiction over a murder in Mexico either.

So maybe she should have piped down herself and let the only person in that room with any jurisdiction over anything, FBI Agent Garcia, take over!!

No one in that Visiting Room was prepared for Sofia’s confession, which included killing Joel’s sister, running the Human Trafficking Ring out of her father’s ranch in Mexico, and even hacking the 2016 Presidential election.

And of course now that she was confessing to all of these things, Joel didn’t believe her at first, and rejected her confession,

but I think he eventually came around during their later, private meeting when she really sold it, a quality she learned as a pageant contestant.

The prosecutor was very unhappy with the confession, because now, as a witness to the confession, she can’t try the case, and lost the opportunity for scene visits to Mexico.

Agent Garcia was very skeptical of the confession, because he knows that a confession is almost never that easy to obtain. It will happen, but not before some pop, cigarettes, potato chips, McDonald’s and pizza.

And a bit of cat and mouse.

But in #AlOtroLadoDelMuro, Sofia walked into the room, fired her lawyer (a good thing because he was also Pastrana’s lawyer), and confessed to everything.

Everything.

Then she called Eliza and asked her to raise her daughter Alondra, because she was going to be locked up for awhile.

“Awhile” is one way to put it, if “Awhile” is another way to say “Forever” in Spanish.

Remember, she confessed to the pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder of a pregnant journalist because the pregnant journalist was about to expose her human trafficking ring of little girls.

I guess now that she is representing herself, she’s going to have to throw herself on the Mercy of the Court, and hope that Mercy has a big, cushion-y forgiving, lap.

And meanwhile, in other happenings on this great show, Steve barely remembers his wife, has no memory of his son, but can’t forget Eliza, who visited him when he had amnesia.

Max, Steve’s brother-in-law and Eliza’s husband, is doing a pretty good job of forgetting Eliza and the two kids he has with Eliza, as he and his Evil Battle-Axe of a Wife (his OTHER wife) Jennifer prepare to move to Manhattan.

At Sofia’s direction, Eliza returns the Human Trafficking evidence to Pastrana, who gives it to Paula, who gives it to the Congressman.

Patrick had the unenviable job of explaining to Joel why Pastrana was released without charges after Joel arrested Pastrana when he caught him trying to break into the Bakery/Apartment while Eliza was inside with Alondra, which actually is a Home Invasion.

No witnesses, and no jurisdiction.

If you ask me, since Joel is a witness to at least three different murders committed by Pastrana, including being accountable for the murder of a police officer in L.A., I found Patrick’s answer very suspicious and thought he might have been making it up as he goes along.

Angry as Joel was, Patrick cheered him up when he told Joel that Joel could sit in on Sofia’s proffer.

But I say keep your eyes on Patrick, which is actually pretty easy!

It looks like as Sofia prepares for life in prison, Life Goes On for Governor Ernesto as he publicly distances himself from Sofia and privately has alcohol-fueled empty sex with Paula in his office.

If I was Paula I’d demand a raise.

I cannot wait to watch the Sentencing Hearing, which I hope happens tonight.

Agent Garcia knows something is wrong with Sofia and that confession, Joel seems to accept the confession, and if you ask me, Patrick continues to be the Wild Card.

It is hard for me to evaluate him fairly because he has awesome dimples.

Don’t miss tonight’s episode!