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Series / Cable Girls

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Cable Girls (original title: Las chicas del cable) is a 2017 Spanish period crime drama set in Madrid, Spain in 1928. It's centered around Lidia Aguilar, a woman who tried to save her friend from an abusive lover and ended up at the scene of a double homicide. Blackmailed by a corrupt cop named Beltrán, she is tasked with becoming the inside woman for a planned robbery of Spain's telephone company.

Cable Girls was first released worldwide on Netflix on April 28, 2017. It aired five seasons between 2017 and 2020.

This series contains examples of:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Nearly all the female characters have one.
  • Aborted Arc: The question of who murdered Betrán & then hid Francisco's cigarette case looks like a Sequel Hook but in season 2 it's mentioned in passing that Victoria killed him as a favor for Alba.
  • Accidental Murder: Mario
  • Affair Letters: Elisa finds the letter Francisco wrote for Lidia/Alba, it says "I will always love you, Alba". Obviously this is conclusive proof of some kind of affair
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Alba flirts with Carlos to steal the keys to the safe in episode 1.01 and 1.08
  • Art Deco: The opening credits are in this style.
  • Attempted Rape: Happens to Carlota at the radio station, by a group of men opposed to women's suffrage.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: The season 2 finale: Carlos runs to the clinic to rescue Imperiled in Pregnancy Lidia from a forced abortion.
  • Becoming the Mask: As the series progresses, Lidia, whose real name is Alba, becomes more attached to her false life working for the phone company. The fact that all promotional material lists her as Lidia should be an obvious indicator that this is a major part of her character.
  • Best Friends-in-Law: Francisco is married to his best friend Carlos's sister Elisa. It's implied that Carlos introduced them.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: In season 1 Carlos is the Betty (he's naive to Lidia's real motive and thinks they're just having a normal Office Romance) and Francisco is the Veronica (he's married and a figure from Lidia's shady Dark and Troubled Past). They switch in season 2, with Francisco as the Betty (he's annulling his marriage and wants to be with her) and Carlos as the Veronica (after some mutual backstabbing, he and Lidia have serious resentment between them. As well as some Belligerent Sexual Tension.)
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  • Career Versus Family: Ángeles loves her job and is up for a promotion, but her husband wants her to quit and stay at home to look after their family.
  • Career Versus Man: A rare male example, especially in the time period. Miguel decides to quit his work on the rotary because his girlfriend Carlota views it as a betrayal as when it is implemented she will be laid off.
  • Cock Fight: Carlos and Francisco get into a pretty serious fight over Lidia in 2.04 "La culpa", once Carlos finds out Francisco and Lidia slept together. He views this as a particularly serious betrayal.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Two instances. Ángeles and Carolina both miscarry babies that were accidental/unwanted.
  • Crocodile Tears: Lidia does this to get Marga and Carlota to help her shake off Betran.
  • Dirty Cop: Beltrán is a desk cop who blackmails Lidia as he believes her to be capable of playing a role in a heist he's organizing.
  • Disposing of a Body: The girls dump Mario's body in a river.
  • Divorce Requires Death: Truth in Television in 1928 Spain. The only way for Ángeles to end her Awful Wedded Life with Mario is for one of them to die.
    • Applying for an annulment is a possibility for Francisco and Elisa, but this may be because they have no children, whereas Mario and Angeles share a daughter.
  • Domestic Abuse: Mario's treatment of his wife Ángeles. After she confronts him about his regular affairs he beats her so badly she has a miscarriage.
  • Eye for an Eye: Quoted by Carlos after he back-stabs Lidia to give her A Taste of Their Own Medicine.
    Carlos: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
    Lidia: How could you?
    Carlos: Seduce you and then steal from you? Are you really asking me that, Lidia? In that area, you're the expert.
  • False Widow: Victoria obtains papers for Lidia to allow her to move away and raise her child while pretending to be a widow. At the time this was a way to avoid the stigma of an out of wedlock baby.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Alba's close friendship with Jimena (the woman who ended up shot dead whilst attempting to run away to Argentina with Lidia in the very first scene of the show) is never explored and only mentioned again once. You'd think that there would at least be flashbacks explaining why Alba was willing to attack an armed, crazed man for her.
  • Give the Baby a Father: Francisco offers to do this with Lidia's baby.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Out of their operator uniforms, the girls all have some lovely '20s dresses.
  • Handsome Lech: Don Carlos, boss to the switchboard operators, routinely ogles women and uses his position to his advantage, such as criticizing Lidia's arm span as an excuse to take her measurements.
  • Inside Job: In season 1, Lidia has to get employment with the telephone company to then steal from it.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: Marga mistakes Julio for Pablo, and when she sees him flirting with another woman she slaps him.
  • Internal Reveal: In the season 1 finale, Carlos finds out that his fiancé Lidia is also Francisco's First Love Alba. The audience has known this since episode 1.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: A Truth in Television example. Miguel and Carlos are developing a rotary machine that will replace the telephone operators that are the main characters of the series.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: Lidia and Ángeles pay off the witness who saw Lidia dump Mario's car.
  • Lip Lock: The English dub matches the start and end times of lip movement as faithfully as possible, though the particulars in sentences are still obviously off.
  • Lost Will and Testament: Ricardo Cifuentes's final wish was for his son-in-law Francisco to inherit the Telephone Company. His wife Carmen persuades their lawyer to ignore this revised will and instead let their son Carlos inherit. When Francisco gets his hands on the lost will, he burns it to allow Carlos to inherit.
  • Malicious Misnaming: After their break-up and once Carlos knows the truth about Lidia's identity and past with Francisco, whenever he calls her "Alba" it is as a deliberate insult and reference to her lies.
  • Military Brat: Carlota is this, being the daughter of a well-to-do general. As a result, she tends to be rebellious while he tends to be controlling.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mario reacts this way when he realises his brutal beating of his wife caused her to lose their baby.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's up to the viewer to decide whether or not the confrontation between an armed Pedro and his lover Gimena could have been safely deescalated if Lidia did not rush him. Instead, Pedro shot Gimena and then Lidia shot Pedro with his own gun.
  • Office Romance: Pretty much every romantic relationship is this: Lidia and Carlos, Pablo and Marga, Miguel and Carlota, Sara and Carlota (and Miguel), etc.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Carlos steals Lidia's project.
  • Polyamory: Carlota, Sara and Miguel. When Carlota admits to Sara that she will not end her two year relationship with Miguel despite her attraction to Sara, both Sara and Miguel are fine with this scenario. They then engage in Three-Way Sex and seem to become a trio.
  • The Precarious Ledge:
    • Lidia ends up falling off a ledge after her attempted Balcony Escape from the clinic.
    • Ángeles gets up on the roof in order to manipulate Inspector Cuevas, for whom suicide is a sensitive subject.
  • Pregnancy Faint: Happens to Lidia in 2.04 "La culpa."
  • Rape by Fraud: In series 3, Margo thinks she's having sex with her husband Pablo, but it's actually his twin Julio.
  • Redemption Equals Death: General Senillosa reconciles with his daughter Carlota at Carlos and Lidia's wedding and then dies in the fire when the church burns down.
  • Rescue Romance: Marga and Pablo's romance arc starts after he gets her bag back from a mugger.
  • Returning the Wedding Ring: Carlos asks Lidia to give her engagement ring back to him.
  • The Roaring '20s: Despite being set in Spain, it's not really all that different from the United States, as far as pop culture goes.
  • Sibling Triangle: A subtle one between Pablo and his newly introduced Evil Twin Julio for Marga in series 3.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Lidia and Carlos. Becomes a plot point when the other operators accuse her of being a traitor because her boyfriend is planning on implementing a rotary system that will cost them all their jobs.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Lidia used to do this to men who were too forward at Victoria's when she lived there as a teenager. She also does it to Carlos so she can try and steal the rotary plans while he is in a drug-induced sleep.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Despite being set 89 years in the past, the soundtrack is almost entirely 2010s music. The Twitter feed of Netflix Spain didn't shy away from lampshading this with their commentary on the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Spurned into Suicide: After she discovers her husband's affair, Elisa Cifuentes slices her wrists in an apparent attempt to kill herself.
  • Stealing from the Till: Well, safe, but this is how Lidia plans to acquire the money to pay off Beltrán.
    • Embezzlement is apparently "tradition" in the Cifuentes family. Doña Carmen pockets money from the foundation.
    • Mario steals a lot of money from the company in Season 2, causing strict security measures being forced on all employees.
  • Straw Misogynist: A series set in the The Roaring '20s is bound to have a lot of these.
    • Pedro in the first episode: when Jimena leaves him to start a new life abroad, he confronts her with a gun. He ultimately ends up killing her when Lidia rushes him, gets shot by Lidia, and the series is set in motion.
    • Mario. When Ángeles tries to leave Mario with her daughter via a train to Barcelona, Mario grabs Ángeles's daughter from the train window. He then forced Ángeles to return to him, or she will never see her child again. He also expects complete domestic slavery from her, and tries to force her to quit her beloved job so that she can keep his house and raise their children.
    • Carlota's father, General Senillosa. He expects his daughter to be a Proper Lady, confined to the home and focused on domestic tasks, and launches a ruthless campaign to force her back under his roof and command when she gets a job and moves out. He apologises and says he is proud of her in the first episode of series 3.
    • The "Knights of Honour", who are a group of men opposed to women's suffrage.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Angeles repeatedly poisons her husband Mario by putting it in his drinks.
  • That Woman Is Dead / Do Not Call Me "Paul": Particularly in Season 2, Lidia does not like being called Alba, she says that her name is Lidia now.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Angeles's repeated poising of Mario, although YMMV on whether she is trying to kill him and failing, or intentionally using a dose that won't kill him.
  • Time Skip: Season 2 is set on New Year's 1929, skipping six months. Another time skip happens at the start of Season 3, Lidia's baby has been born and the episode takes place on her wedding day to Carlos. It is also revealed that during the time jump Francisco has opened a bar with Victoria, Carlos is running a radio station, and Uribe and Elisa have got married. Between season 4 and 5 is the biggest time skip, jumping 7 years to 1936 and the Spanish Civil War.
  • Under New Management: In Season 2, the Telephone company is now managed by Mr. Uribe. Lidia's theft of the patent lead to her making a deal with him for a role as Assistant Manager and also resulted in loss of power for the Cifuenteses.
  • Was It All a Lie?: When Carlos finds out that Lidia lied about her history with Francisco, and was plotting to steal from him, he wonders if their entire relationship was a lie. She is heartbroken and assures him that her feelings were real.
  • With This Ring: Marga's grandmother accidentally swallows the engagement ring (hidden in a cream puff) that Pablo was planning on proposing to Marga with.
  • Workaholic: Ángeles is the by-the-book master of switchboard operation procedure, and is the woman Lidia hopes to get information from.
    • Also Carlota, a suffragist who loves her work and views it as essential to being free.

Alternative Title(s): Las Chicas Del Cable