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Series / Alta Mar

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Alta Mar (High Seas) is a Netflix original series. The first two seasons premiered in 2019, with the third and final one releasing in August 2020.

World War II has recently ended. Two sisters, Carolina (Alejandra Onieva) and Eva Villanueva (Ivana Baquero), board a luxurious cruise ship, the Barbara de Braganza, which is sailing from Spain to Brazil. On the way, Carolina is going to marry the ship's owner, Fernando Fábregas (Eloy Azorin), and Eva, an aspiring writer, is meeting an interested editor in Brazil.

Just as they are on their way to the port, an unkempt woman rushes in their car's way and pleads for help: she is being forced into marriage against her will, and she will be murdered if her fiancé discovers she has run away. After some consideration, Carolina and Eva decide to help her and smuggle her on board. However, barely does the Barbara de Braganza set sail, Eva really witnesses the woman being thrown overboard, and the sisters are drawn into a multi-sided intrigue which, it turns out, has everything to do with them.

Two years later, the Villanueva sisters board the Barbara de Braganza for a voyage from Buenos Aires to Mexico. However, as one character ruefully notes, things tend to happen when the sisters travel on this ship and this voyage is no different. The sisters are drawn into another web of intrigue involving espionage, corporate sabotage, and a deadly virus that could wipe out millions.

Alta Mar provides examples of:

  • A Macguffin Full Of Money: A briefcase full of Nazi gold ingots drives the plot for much of the first two seasons.
  • Accidental Adultery: Nicolás falls deeply in love with Eva, only for a telegram to arrive that his wife Chantal, whom he thought long dead (she was captured by the Nazis in France), is alive and waiting for him. He tells Eva about it, and she is understanding and lets him decide what to do.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Verónica pretends to flirt with Arturo to steal his keys, so that Dimas and Sebastián will be able to tamper with his card deck.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Nicolás and Eva all the time. While Nicolás does at least have some legal authority as the ship's first officer, Eva is a simple passenger and shouldn’t be involved in any investigations at all. However, by the second season, everyone has resigned to the fact that these two are inseparable. In the third season, Fabio learns the hard way that once Eva's on the case, she's not letting go, intelligence services be damned.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The girls cry after Carlos dies because he was still their father.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Aníbal repeatedly abuses his wife Natalia, causing her to drink excessively, until she finally snaps and kills him.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: How Sofia and her accomplices get the Nazi gold off the ship.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The mastermind of the deadly virus plot takes a job as a member of the ship's staff.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • With the female Archie, ironically, being called Verónica. She is torn between nice, friendly Dimas, a servant who is in love with her from the start, and Dimas's master Sebastián, who is out of her league and The Casanova. As of the second season's finale, she has decided to just stay single for the time being.
    • The sweet and kind Carolina and the wilful, impulsive Rosa for Fernando. He loves both (he says) but would have stayed with the latter, had she not been killed.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple: There are few moments when Fernando and Carolina are not in any sort of disagreement. Nicolás and Eva haven't had a single fight as of the second season's finale; even when Eva is forced to threaten him with a gun to save Carolina's life, he doesn't seem to be angry in the least, and when it's revealed that Nicolás's wife is alive, they discuss the matter calmly.
  • Brainy Brunette: Many examples, but especially Eva, who is contrasted with her less quick-thinking sister.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: As soon as Nicolás told Eva about how his wife disappeared during the war it was only a matter of time before she resurfaced alive.
  • Cool Boat: The Barbara de Braganza.
  • Delinquent Hair: Nicolas has a ducktail and sideburns, associated with bad boys during The '50s.
  • Dirty Cop: Zig-zagged all the time with Varela, the ship’s detective. He is nasty but really wants to uncover the truth. Then he blackmails a suspect. Then he claims he does it just to goad the suspect into admitting their guilt. His true character is still a mystery.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Clara is raped several times, kills the rapist, sinks into severe depression and gets slandered by Natalia instead of receiving any real help. After her boyfriend Pierre believes Natalia’s lies and also briefly cheats on Clara with Natalia, she poisons herself.
    • Francisca throws herself down from the ship’s deck, tormented by her victim’s ghost that she sees. Confirmed to have died between seasons.
  • Evil All Along: First, the sailor Mario is suspected of being the murderer. Then it's revealed that he is actually Carlos in disguise, returning to expose Pedro for transporting Jews to the Nazi concentration camps. The reality is that Carlos was behind the transportation, and forged Pedro's signature so he would take the blame.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Carlos genuinely cares for his children and his lover.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Sofía, as it turns out, doesn't drown in season one.
    • Carlos Villanueva, Carolina and Eva's father, turns up alive and well after being thought dead for two years.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Carlos was once the humble owner of a shoe factory, but he received a case of Nazi gold after agreeing to deport Jews to the concentration camps using the company's trucks. After the war he faked his death, framed his brother Pedro, and attempted to murder him in order to regain his gold.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: It hasn't progressed to marriage yet, especially since Chantal reappears, but Nicolás is ready to leave his wife for Eva after only knowing Eva for two weeks. Justified somehow, since they have gone through a lot together during these two weeks, and Nicolás's actual marriage is implied to have been a quick romance as well, being a Wartime Wedding, so it's not like he has a closer connection to Chantal than to Eva.
  • The '50s: The series is set in the optimistic postwar years, but there is a sinister undertone beneath the glamorous surface.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Nicolas has a scar on his shoulder after Taking the Bullet when Annibal attempted to murder Santiago. The Big Bad Carlos has a horribly burned face.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Ubiquitous, but Eva and Carolina's wardrobe stand out.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Carolina, with her long, wavy golden hair, is one of the nicest characters in the mess.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Uncle Pedro may love his nieces dearly, but he has a penchant for being friends with people who put them in mortal danger.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Both Carlos and Pedro try to discredit each other, and Eva is unsure who the real villain is.
  • How We Got Here: Both seasons 2 and 3 start in the midst of chaos, with the majority of the following episodes explaining how the characters reached that point.
  • Impoverished Patrician: It turns out that Sebastian is completely broke.
  • The Jeeves: Cassandra has a butler called Eric.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Sebastián gradually develops genuine feelings for Verónica.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Season 1's mystery involves Carolina and Eva trying to figure out which of their family members were this to the Nazis.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Carlos fakes his death and frames Rojas. In the final episode the good Doctor becomes Chekhov's Gunman and shoots Carlos with his own gun.
  • The Lost Lenore: Captain Santiago still terribly misses his wife after her sudden death.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Sofía is a pure genius of manipulation. Since season one, it has been known she is guilty of many crimes, and still, combining lies with blackmail, she manages to escape every time. She is last seen comfortably getting away from the ship in Rio with the chest with Carlos’s gold.
  • Married at Sea: What Fernando and Carolina plan to do, and what they ultimately do in the end of the first season. As the captain isn't very well at the point, Nicolás officiates the ceremony.
  • Master of Unlocking: Nicolás, thanks to his criminal past. He instructs Eva in picking locks as well.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Rosa Marín‘s ghost really seems to appear in the final episode of the second season, but it might be just Francisca’s hallucinations and images from Cassandra’s memory.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A character named Cassandra claims to be psychic.
    • Inverted when the villainous mastermind who is threatening to release a deadly virus is named "Untermann." Ends up being a clever bit of foreshadowing regarding the actual mastermind.
  • Nephewism: Although the girls were already adults by the time their father died, Uncle Pedro still looks after them as if they were his own daughters.
  • Never My Fault: Pierre blames Natalia completely for Clara's suicide, even though he not only was caught kissing Natalia, but he also accused Clara of having a consensual affair with her rapist. Yes, he made that accusation based on Natalia's lies, but that he was so quick to believe said lies does not speak well for his character.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: When cornered, Eric foolishly pulls out a revolver. Big Damn Heroes Nicolas and Fernando knock him down with a double punch and free Carolina from the locked trunk.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Dr Rojas, in his attempt to prove his innocence in season 1, does several questionable things, such as setting Eva's room on fire to destroy the microfilm and later poison Carolina to force Eva into giving him the microfilm, which is why understandably no one at first believes him .
  • Obviously Evil: Carlos is an Evil Cripple with a badly burned face and eyepatch.
  • Ocean Madness: Afflicts Captain Santiago in some form once a season.
  • Old Retainer: Francisca, who is as fond and protective of the Villanueva family as of her own daughter. She is ready to break the law for their sake – and even to kill Rosa Marín when the latter stands between Fernando and Carolina.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Fernando and Carolina's marriage is both a love match and beneficial for their finances. It's not as perfect as it seems at first, however, but they do care for each other.
  • Phony Psychic: Cassandra, as part of her revenge plan.
  • Plucky Girl: Eva.
  • Reformed Criminal: Many years ago, Nicolás stole Captain Santiago's watch, and the latter gave him a choice of prison or naval school.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Cassandra is ready for anything to avenge her sister.
    • Pierre's desire to make Natalia pay for Clara's death is used by the villains to set their plan in motion.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Santiago defies Fernando, locks himself in the bridge and attempts to turn the ship around after Sofia disappears, so the police in Spain can investigate and find the murderer.
  • Seadog Beard: Captain Santiago has an unkempt one.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Carolina is a timid, sensitive Proper Lady, and Eva is impulsive, rebellious and plans to make her living as a writer. It is reflected by their looks as well: Carolina is blonde, wears her hair loose and wears dresses all the time, while Eva is brown-haired, wears her hair tied up and prefers trousers over dresses.
  • Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: Clara and Natalia team up against Natalia's husband Aníbal, who repeatedly abuses Natalia and rapes Clara. First Natalia poisons Aníbal, but he discovers it before the poison takes effect and attacks her. Clara rushes to help Natalia, and as they fight him off, they end up killing him. Deconstructed brutally: as the ship’s detective finds them out, the level-headed and cynical Natalia pays him for silence and puts the blame solely on Clara, saying the latter had a consensual affair with Aníbal and murdered him when he refused to continue it. As even Clara’s boyfriend Pierre is taken in and dumps her, Clara kills herself.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Rosa's ghost takes this form or rather, the actress playing Rosa's ghost as part of Cassandara's revenge plan looks like this - the actual manifestation of Rosa's ghost at the end of season 2 is in fashionable suit.
  • Synthetic Plague: What the villain threatens to unleash in season 3.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: As a teenager, Nicolas was caught stealing the wristwatch of The Captain, and was given the choice of going to jail or joining the navy.
  • The Butler Did It: The girls' trusted maidservant Francisca was the one who murdered Cassandra's sister.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Unsurprisingly prevalent in the backstory of the show and the show proper, considering that it takes place in the late 1940s.
  • You're Not My Father: Eva and Carolina say this, after learning their father has worked for the Nazis and makes excuses for it.

Alternative Title(s): High Seas