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Series / Devious Maids

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Taylor: You don't have an accent.
Marisol: Should I?
— "Pilot"

Devious Maids is a Prime Time Soap airing on Lifetime created by Marc Cherry with Eva Longoria and Cherry serving as two of the executive producers (and in the case of the latter, director of the season two premiere). Based on the Mexican telenovela Ellas son la Alegria del Hogar, the series is about a group of group of Latina maids working for the eccentric Beverly Hills elite. The series featured an ensemble cast led by Ana Ortiz as Marisol Suarez, Dania Ramirez as Rosie Falta, Roselyn Sánchez as Carmen Luna, and Judy Reyes as Zoila Diaz.

Shortly after the series was announced and a promotional ad was released, controversy erupted over the perceived stereotyping and racial implications of the Latina characters as maids and Spicy Latinas. Eva Longoria has come forward to defend the show, saying that the portrayal of the main characters are neither racist nor stereotypical.


That being said, the show seems to explores Latina stereotypes about as much as it does any other trope; it plays with them, challenges them at times, but is mostly focused on being a fun, soapy satire and Spiritual Successor to Desperate Housewives.

This show provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Flora, as the more we learn about her Jerkass personality.
  • Baby Trap: Peri lies to Spence that she's pregnant in order to keep him and keep him away from Rosie
  • Bad Boss: All of the maids' employers, although it appears they're more self-absorbed than anything.
    • Peri forbids Rosie from taking a day to see an immigration lawyer, and then doesn't understand why Rosie is so heartbroken at the legal hurdles separating her from her son.
    • Evelyn is more concerned with the upkeep of the house rather than the fact that Flora was murdered in her den. She and her husband are also hiding some secrets of their own that involve Flora's murder and would rather sit back and let an innocent take the fall rather than have the police investigate further.
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    • Taylor takes a disliking to Marisol, but gets over it when Marisol kicks out Olivia.
    • Odessa, the head housekeeper for Alejandro Rubio, is Carmen's immediate boss and they clash almost instantaneously.
    • Genevieve is more of a Benevolent Boss, she's just extremely high-maintenance.
  • The Beard: Carmen for Alejandro. For two years, she has to be married and pretend to be his wife in public in exchange for Alejandro's music connections. She's forbidden to see Sam during that period.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Zoila: Insult her cooking or screw around with her daughter
    • Rosie: Making insensitive comments about her situation with her son.
    • Carmen: Treating your employees unfairly. Alejandro learned this when he didn't care about Odessa with her cancer, Carmen threw her soup at him and threatened to quit
  • Betty and Veronica: Valentina finds herself as the Archie in season 2 between Remi, who she broke up with in Africa because he was always busy, and Ethan the pool boy who understands her life better growing up with a similar background to her but doesn't know much about him.
  • Big Fancy House: Given, since the series is set in Beverly Hills.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Rosie accidentally feels her employer's erection when he hugs her. When Zoila and Marisol press on for details, she holds up a huge cucumber.
    Rosie: Well what could I say? Congratulations?
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first season finale. Marisol and Eddie are happily reunited and he's been cleared of Flora's murder, and the Powells are united by their vengeance on Phillippe, but Zoila and Valentina's relationship is shattered when she admits to Valentina she made Remi write the letter telling her to stay and left without saying goodbye. Valentina stops speaking to her mother and begins packing for Africa. Carmen is given the opportunity to have her music career launched, but only if she agrees to be married to Alejandro for two years and not see Sam during that period, which upsets Sam and Odessa. Peri accidentally hears over the phone Spence and Rosie confessing their love for each other and has Rosie deported as Rosie came to the country illegally.
  • Blackmail: Flora was planning to blackmail her baby's father.
    • Marisol blackmails Rosie into keeping quiet about her real identity by threatening to reveal Rosie's affair with Spence.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter:
    • Valentina towards Zoila, but only when the subject of Remi is concerned.
    • Dani, Carmen's daughter. Especially when she finds out who she is.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Evelyn in spades, Taylor to some degree.
    • Marisol is a sort of a BrokenBird/Determinator hybrid.
    • Pretty much all the maids except Valentina are to varying degrees this.
    • Zoila has spent much of her life having to take care of her irresponsible high maintenance employer who falls in love too easily and has been hurt many times and had her own heart broken by her employer's brother.
    • Rosie's husband died and in order to find work to support her son, she came to America and hopes to bring him here to give him a better life.
    • Carmen fled from an unhappy marriage to a man who did not support her singing, the one thing that brought her joy.
  • Cat Fight: Between Valentina and Remi's girlfriend. The gardeners wanted to watch them
  • Clear Their Name: The real reason Marisol takes a job as a maid is so she can figure out who really killed Flora and set up her son Eddie as the scapegoat.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The second season ends with Carmen spotting a suspicious car at Rosie and Spence's wedding and she's too late to stop Spence's unstable nephew from shooting the wedding party. The last camera shot is Rosie's bloody bouquet dropping to the ground.
    • The show's Series Finale in Season 4 ends with Peter being alone at the altar, as his bride, Marisol, not showing up, until a smashed window is later found, dripping blood, and whatever happens to Marisol is unknown.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Carmen didn't like it when Sam was dating a chef.
    • Valentina, when she found out that Remi was dating his ex.
    • Olivia to Michael as well.
  • Creepy Child: Katy, the Stappords' new adopted girl is this in spades.
  • Cult: The Circle in Season 4 is a cult whose members are only restricted to the rich and famous.
  • Dark Secret: Flora had one that that only Rosie, Zoila, Carmen, and Valentina know. They agree to let it be buried with her, despite Rosie wishing to go to the police about it.
    • Adrian Powell was prostituting Flora. According to her last note, one of her encounters resulted in her getting raped and she blames Adrian for it.
    • She was pregnant at the time of her death and was planning to use her baby to leech off the father's money.
    • Genevieve and Peter, one of her ex-husbands, divorced because she "cheated" on him with a famous Oscar-winning director. It turns out, her "cheating" was actually a rape, as he put something in her drink to have sex with her while she was blacked out, and she had no idea about how it being a rape, until she tells Marisol, who's now dating Peter, confirming it to be one. She's kept this secret for years because no one would believe her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Zoila especially around Genevieve.
  • Demoted to Extra: Valentina and Remy in the third season. Valentina is even left off the promotional images.
  • Dinner and a Show: When Michael's ex-wife Olivia crashes his dinner party and throws a crystal heart at him, Marisol intervenes and forcibly shoves her out. This causes Michael's dinner guests to applaud her, and piquing Adrian Powell's creepy interest in Marisol.
  • Dirty Old Man: Adrian Powell, he's a creepy Peeping Tom, sets his friends up with prostitutes, and he also flirts with the maids.
    • His friends have no qualms about hooking up with prostitutes in Adrian's home, at his encouragement.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Evelyn is completely taken with the new bodyguard Tony and is unable to hold a conversation with him without staring.
  • Dramedy
  • Drama Queen: Genevieve Delatour. Her Establishing Character Moment is her having a delirious fit under her bed after she swallows a bunch of pills because her affair with the pool boy ended. Judging by Zoila and Remi's exasperated reactions, it's not the first time.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Although it's shown from Zoila's home, and the maids when they're off-duty that they live normal middle-class lifestyles.
    • Carmen is only working as a maid for Alejandro Rubio in the hopes that if she can get her demos to him, she can get her footing in the music industry.
    • Subverted with Marisol. She's actually an English professor with a specialty in Oscar Wilde and several published books. She's posing as a maid to find out who framed her son.
  • Evil Red Head: Olivia Rice, she tried to humiliate Taylor cause of her secret past.
    • Peri, she didn't care about Spence's feelings if he found out that she cheated on him.
  • Femme Fatale: Valentina styles herself as this in hopes that Remi Delatour would notice her. Her mother actively discourages this.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Odessa and Carmen constantly clash, but when Odessa is diagnosed with cancer, Carmen puts aside their rivalry and they become friendlier
  • First-Episode Twist: Flora, the Powells' maid, is murdered at one of their dinner parties and one of the waiters was found holding the murder weapon. He just happens to be Marisol's son. She's posing as a maid to figure out who framed him for Flora's murder.
  • The Fundamentalist: Zig-zagged with Rosie. While she's deeply religious and frowns upon cheating and lying, she's genuinely a sweet and rather naive person who just wants to do the right thing. (Not that it stops her from gossiping about it with her friends and engaging in an affair with her boss.)
  • Generation Xerox: Zoila disapproves of Valentina's efforts because she herself had been in love with Genevieve's brother Henri. She's trying to keep her daughter from doing the same thing, having known the outcome herself. However, when Henri calls to check in on his sister, Zoila is not above using the same tactics as her daughter.
  • Gold Digger: Remi's girlfriend, she thought Remi was "marriage material".
  • Good Parents:
    • Zoila, she does love her daughter even though she doesn't approve of her decisions sometimes.
    • Spence was well, he didn't want to divorce Peri cause he didn't want to lost custody over their baby. He's also a stay home dad and spends time with him.
    • Rosie as well, to her own son and Tucker, because of his mother's neglect.
  • Gossipy Hens: The maids all share information about their employers to each other, Rosie most of all, as Peri and Spence are actors. This is Marisol's strategy to gather information on the Powells and who framed her son.
    Marisol: Is it awful of me to be gossiping about my employers?
    Zoila: Honey, if you're going to sit by us, it's a requirement.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Carmen doesn't really take Sam's affections for her seriously until he begins dating the new cook next door
  • Happily Adopted: [spoiler:Eddie, Marisol's son.]]
  • Happily Married: Michael and Taylor.
  • Heel Realization: Peri Westmore gets a much-needed one when her husband has a heart attack while having sex with Rosie and decides to enter therapy so she can fix her marriage.
  • Henpecked Husband: While it initially seems that Pablo and Zoila are happily married, it later comes to light that deep down, he's very unhappy with Zoila's controlling attitude towards him and Valentina. He finally decides to leave after Valentina tells him Zoila stole from the Powells so Valentina would get fired as their maid.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • The first episode makes it seem like Evelyn Powell is a stone-cold bitch who is more concerned about the mess made than her maid's actual death and perfectly happy to let an innocent boy take the fall for the murder to keep her secrets from being uncovered. In later episodes, it is revealed that she is a deeply unhappy woman years into a life she hates, beginning with her son's death 15 years earlier. Both Evelyn and Adrian agreed his death was Evelyn's fault and eventually came to an agreement: Adrian would not file for divorce (and would not cheat on Evelyn) if he was allowed to explore his own voyeurism by hiring prostitutes to have sex with their friends in their house while he watches. The terms of that agreement were tested, to say the least, when Adrian slept with Flora.
    • Genevieve. She is very embarrassed about her humble past that she changes her and her brother's name, Eunice Mudge and Henry to Genevieve and Henri. She also has a rocky relationship with her mother.
  • Hypocrite: Peri has no qualms about cheating on her husband and happily does so, but when she suspects Spence may be doing the same thing, she gets in a huff and asks Rosie to snoop for her.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Except for the pilot, all the episodes of season one have names connected to domestic work ("Taking Out The Trash," "Minding The Baby," "Scrambling The Eggs," and so on up to the season finale "Totally Clean").
    • Season two names the episodes after plays ("An Ideal Husband," "The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs," "Crimes Of The Heart," "The Bad Seed" etc).
    • The third season's episodes are named after movies ("From Here to Eternity," "Cries and Whispers," "Terms of Endearment," "Anatomy of a Murder" etc).
  • Incompatible Orientation: Odessa has feelings for the gay Alejandro.
  • Killed Off for Real: Pablo died from the injuries he sustained from the wedding shooting.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Zoila. She won't care if you're her boss, she'll threaten you if she thinks you're screwing around with her daughter.
    • Marisol counts as well. Frame her son for murder? She's going undercover and solve the murder herself.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Reggie Miller. He manipulates his Uncle Kenneth into revoking power of attorney from Kenneth's daughter, Lucinda and giving it to him instead. Later he manipulates Spence into fighting him and lies to Rosie that Spence started it. Causing Rosie hate Spence. Later on with his Aunt Didi's help, he manipulates his Uncle Kenneth into kicking Lucinda out of the house.
  • The Masochism Tango: The Powells' relationship is deeply dysfunctional.
  • Meido: Zoila, Carmen, and Valentina wear maid outfits, although sometimes they'll wear casual clothing while working as well. Evelyn wears one as well to improve her sexual activity with Adrian in season 3.
  • Missing Mom: Rosie is one to her son Miguel, as she had to leave him in Mexico with her mother and come to the U.S. alone in order to find work after her husband died. When Peri makes insensitive comments about this trope in an interview, this royally cheeses off Rosie.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Lampshaded by Carmen when Flora's murder and the suspected killer (who's white) is mentioned on page 42 of the newspaper.
    Carmen: If Flora had been white, it would have been front page news.
  • Mock Millionaire: Zoila is one to impress Kyle, who sees her (unknowingly) wearing her new boss's clothes, while she was trying them on.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Spencer and Alejandro, despite his hairy back.
    • Alex too.
    • Remi
    • In the second season we have Tony, the Powell's new bodyguard who is basically there simply to be this trope.
    • Also in season 2, there's Marisol's new man Nicholas, and the son of his maid Opal, Ethan.
    • Season 3 has Ernesto, Rosie's Not Quite Dead husband, Sebastien, and Jesse.
    • Fourth season has Peter, another new man of Marisol's and Jesse, now her ex-boyfriend. In the same season, there's also Kyle, Zoila's new boyfriend.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • All the maids.
    • Peri and Taylor too.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Flora's death brings Marisol into the group and a cavalcade of secrets behind the maids and their employers.
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • Zoila has this problem a lot.
    • Genevieve's mother is this to her.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Rosie, in comparison to the other maids, has a fairly naive outlook on life and her friends advise her on many of her problems regarding her employers.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Rosie had done a better job of resisting Spence's advances, Peri wouldn't have called ICE on her. Making matters worse is the fact that Peri was also making arrangements for Rosie's son to brought to the states.
  • Not Quite Dead: Ernesto, Rosie's husband that she believed was murdered, is actually revealed to be alive in the season 2 finale.
  • Older than They Look:
    • Genevieve claims that the pool boy left her because he thought she looked 40. Zoila points out that she still looks great at almost 60, which only sends Genevieve further into hysterics.
    • Carmen is 37 but looks really good for her age.
  • The Oldest Profession: Taylor's dirty secret. Olivia reveals this to Marisol in an attempt to get back at Taylor.
    • Adrian Powell is a pimp for his oblivious friends and Flora was prostituting for him. Taylor was also one of his prostitutes.
  • Overprotective Mom: Zoila, especially when Valentina has feelings for Remi. She just doesn't want her to get her heart broken, cause she dated Genevieve's brother, who was rich, but he fell in love for someone who was rich as well. That's why she always told her daughter "Rich guys don't date the help".
  • Parental Neglect: Peri ignores her infant son and leaves his care to Rosie unless it's for PR purposes.
  • The Peeping Tom: As if Adrian Powell isn't creepy enough, he secretly watches Evelyn's ex-boyfriend get it on with a prostitute.
    • It's implied that he does this with all his prostitutes and tapes their encounters
  • Psycho Ex-Wife: Olivia Rice, the first wife of Michael Stappord. She crashes the Stappords' dinner party and creeps out everyone at the table until she chucks a crystal heart at him, forcing Marisol to intervene and kick her out.
    • However, she does later apologize to Marisol for her behavior.
  • Rich Bitch: Evelyn Powell. She's more concerned that no one will clean her house now that Flora is dead.
    • Peri is also one.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Many examples, Evelyn, Peri, and Genevieve being the worst offenders.
  • Riches to Rags: Evelyn, as she gets cut off financially from Adrian due to their divorce and also has her access blocked from their house. (All is part of his plan to get back together).
  • Rule of Pool: The pilot opens with a dinner party and Flora being fatally stabbed after a scuffle with her killer. She then stumbles out into the backyard, where everyone is located, and dies as she falls into the pool.
  • Secret-Keeper: The maids for Flora. Zoila and Carmen quickly change the subject whenever her and the Powells come up.
    • Rosie unwillingly becomes one for Peri's cheating, despite clearly disapproving of it. She reluctantly keeps quiet because her friends advised her to in case of Spence's reaction and Spence confiding that he won't let their son grow up in a divorced family.
    Rosie: I washed those sheets, but they will never be clean.
    • Rosie and Marisol have become each other's secret keepers now, much to each other's suspicions. By the season finale, Marisol's true identity is out in the open and she is fully accepted by the group as their friend.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Marisol is actually an English professor and thus wealthy enough to hire her own housekeepers and a lawyer for her son.
  • Servile Snarker: All the maids, especially Zoila. Although Genevieve usually misses the point.
    Genevieve: I'm serious, Zoila! This new therapist is a genius! He could tell that I needed to be on mood stabilizers within 5 minutes of meeting me!
    Zoila: It took him that long?
    • Rosie becomes one when she gets drawn into covering up Peri's cheating:
    Peri: [in shock] Rosie?
    Rosie: The coffee...did you want French Roast or Colombian?
  • Sexless Marriage: Evelyn and Adrian share a bed but don't sleep together for over a decade, which is why Adrian resorts to "his disgusting little hobby".
  • Shipper on Deck: Genevieve for Valentina and Remi, after she finds Valentina in tears about being unable to confess her love to Remi. It's possible that Genevieve sees a kindred romantic spirit in Valentina and decides to help, behind Zoila's back as Zoila disapproves of Valentina's efforts.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • When the police tell Evelyn they have enough evidence and are ready to leave, she breaks down in hysterics.
    Evelyn: My maid was murdered! Who's going to clean this up?
    • Taylor wants to redecorate the house, but her husband keeps dissuading her because he's afraid of offending his crazy ex-wife, who's also an interior designer. When Marisol offers her heartfelt advice about what's really important in a marriage, Taylor only replies that she knew that Marisol wouldn't understand.
    • Peri Westmore is more concerned about her acting career and looking good on camera to take care of her son and leaves most of the childcare to Rosie. What's more is that she admits to not caring about her husband and willingly cheats on him for no other reason given than in her eyes he's a bad actor.
  • Skinny Dipping: In "Setting the Table", Carmen is quick to take advantage of the fact that Alejandro and Odessa will be out of the house for a while to enjoy its luxuries herself, including going for a swim in his pool in the buff. She's also uncaring about doing so in front of Sam, who is too busy Eating the Eye Candy to properly protest. Naturally, Odessa comes back sooner than expected and Carmen has to hurry and hide inside a piano naked as Sam covers for her.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Flora and Adrian, Rosie and Spence.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Pablo's the father of Zoila's baby. She's not sure how to handle the news and hopes the pass it off as her current lover's baby.
  • Spicy Latina: Downplayed, although Carmen and Valentina come close to playing the trope straight.
    • Zoila is straightforward and stern with her daughter Valentina and is more exasperated with Genevieve's hysterics than anything.
    • Carmen comes closest, as she is ambitious and hopes to break into the Latin music industry by getting a job as a maid with a major Latino singer, but has to think quick because her boss is a jerk.
    • Marisol only becomes this when the Yandere ex-wife of her employer threatens to destroy the party he was throwing.
    Marisol: Do not screw with me, bitch, or you will live to regret it.
    • Rosie is quite emotional because she harbors the most suspicions over Flora's death and because she's been running herself ragged over trying to bring her son over to the U.S. legally from Mexico.
    • Valentina attempts to invoke this in order to gain the attention of Remi Delatour, much to her mother's annoyance.
    • Judging by Adrian Powell's rather creepy mannerisms and his unsettling interest in Marisol, this trope is a fetish for him.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Desperate Housewives. Rosalyn Sanchez even makes a cameo in that show's Grand Finale as Carmen.
  • Spot the Imposter: It's Rosie who's the first to see through Marisol's act as, while good Marisol has lived the life of an affluent college professor and not used to the basics of cleaning up that most maids of her age have long mastered.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: How Valentina sees herself and Remi...although Remi still has no idea she loves him.
    • As of now he does
  • Straight Gay: From the way Carmen reacts when Alejandro introduces her to his boyfriend, their weren't any indications he was gay
  • Surprisingly Good English: Taylor Stappord says this word for word to Marisol when she interviews for a job with them. This causes Michael to shift uncomfortably in his chair and earns her a pointed look from Marisol.
  • Teeny Weenie: According to Zoila, her husband Pablo.
    Zoila: Everything below his waist belongs to me. It's not much, but it's mine.
  • Trophy Wife: Taylor.
  • True Companions: In the premiere of the second season, Marisol is fully accepted into the group, and they pooled their resources together for a lawyer to handle Rosie's immigration case.
    • After Rosie wakes from her coma from being shot at her wedding, the group quickly fills her in on the latest gossip, including Marisol's newfound Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with Evelyn Powell and Carmen dating a man who's married.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Pablo and Zoila. He's balding and old while his wife looks younger and much better than him.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Valentina
  • Unequal Pairing: Zoila disapproves of the idea of Valentina and Remi, as she tells Valentina that people like Remi "don't fall in love with the help".
    • The reason Zoila is emphatic on this is because she herself had fallen in love with Genevieve's brother Henri when she was younger and he broke her heart.
    • This comes to a head when, though he finally begins to return her feelings for him, Remi hasn't even learned Valentina's last name or that she's an only child when she knows every detail about his life.
    • Spence has feelings for Rosie, when she discovers after inadvertently feeling his erection when he hugs her after secretly giving her a check to pay her immigration lawyer. Rosie is conflicted and clearly uncomfortable with the matter.
  • Unrequited Love: Valentina towards Remi.
    • Spence has feelings for Rosie and got an erection when she hugs him out of gratefulness. She's rather uncomfortable with the matter but ultimately gives into her own feelings for him.
    • Sam might have feelings for Carmen, when he witnesses a sleazy record producer making moves on her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Carmen and Marisol have this in spades. They're always snarking at each other, but ultimately still help each other out.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Season 2's mystery arc bears a few resemblances to Rebecca. The first wife of Marisol's fiancé died under conflicting circumstances, and his maid is unusually devoted to said first wife and extremely hostile to Marisol.