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Series / El embarcadero

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El embarcadero, known as The Pier in English, is a Spanish drama series created by Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, which ran on Movistar+ for two seasons in 2019-2020.

The series follows Alejandra, a high-profile architect in Valencia who is shattered by the secrets left behind by the death of Óscar, her husband of fifteen years. She discovers that he was leading a double life with another woman, Verónica, in the nearby village of Albufera. She decides to approach the woman under a false identity in order to discover why her husband lived a lie, and what really happened on the fateful night of his death.

El Embarcadero contains examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Fran has been in love with Alex for years, but she was with Óscar, and then later Conrado and Verónica.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Óscar sometimes participated in threesomes with Verónica and Vicent, but otherwise indicated no interest in men.
  • Best Friend: Katia is Alejandra's.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Alex becomes interested in both Verónica (her late husband's secret lover) and Conrado (the police lieutenant investigating her husband's death), and spends the greater part of season two torn between them. Conrado is a more traditional choice, as a very masculine man who "feels like home" and has more traditional, monogamous views on romance, while Verónica represents Alex's departure from her former, rather conventional life, as a woman and a free spirit with a more bohemian lifestyle. When forced to choose, she ultimately chooses Verónica, though she would have been open to a polyamourous relationship if Conrado hadn't been too traditional to agree.
  • Closet Key: Verónica serves as one for Alex.
  • Common Law Marriage: Since Óscar was already married to Alejandra, he couldn't officially get married to Verónica, but they did unofficially consider themselves married.
  • Cowboy Cop: Conrado tends to be overly aggressive and reckless in his investigations and pursuit of justice, especially after he stops taking his meds.
  • Crusading Widow: Once she figures out that Óscar may have been murdered, Alejandra becomes dedicated to figuring out who killed him and getting justice. Once she reveals her true identity to Verónica, she also joins her in this.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Óscar, at the beginning of the series, though it later looks to have been murder. Ultimately revealed to have indeed been suicide, because he'd become crushed under the weight of all his lies and alternate lives.
    • Conrado's wife committed suicide after being raped.
  • Frame-Up: Andrés manipulates Conrado into attacking Vicent, making it look like he is responsible when Andrés later has Vicent killed.
  • Friends with Benefits: Verónica and Vicent have been friends their whole lives and sleep together periodically, but aren't romantically interested in each other.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Justified for the most part because her daughter is in high school and requires less constant oversight, but Katia is able to have a full-time job and (to an extent) a love life while raising Ada.
  • I Am Not My Father: Verónica worries that her mother's madness is in her blood, but ultimately is able to reject that idea when Alex reminds her that she didn't turn out as self-centered and destructive as her own mother, and Sol won't be a scumbag like her father.
  • In-Series Nickname: Alejandra is often called Alex, and Verónica is sometimes called Vero.
  • Living a Double Life: Óscar, with Alejandra and Verónica. Alejandra also does this in the first season when she's pretending to be Martina with Verónica.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Óscar tracked down his father to Taracuellos and confronted him.
  • The Mourning After: Alex spends most of the first season grieving for Óscar, often in unhealthy ways.
  • No Medication for Me: Conrado stops taking his meds toward the end of season one, and becomes much more volatile as a result. He eventually decides to start taking them again in the series finale after he kills Andrés.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Alejandra and Katia's boss is almost always referred to as "Big Boss." His real name is only used a couple of times over the whole series.
  • Pair the Suitors: An interesting example, since it happens posthumously. Óscar was married to Alejandra and had a long-standing affair with Verónica, and after his death Alejandra and Verónica develop a relationship, and end the series as a family with Sol.
  • Polyamory: Discussed a lot with regards to Óscar and Alex and Verónica, and later Alex and Verónica and Conrado, but never actually comes to fruition. Vicent also mentions at one point that he was once in a poly relationship with two women, and he sometimes had threesomes with Óscar and Verónica.
  • Posthumous Character: Óscar's death is what sets the plot in motion, but he's still a central character, with much of the story revolving around unravelling his lies and piecing together who he really was and what really happened.
  • Secret Identity: Alejandra befriends Verónica while hiding the fact that she's Óscar's wife by using the fake identity of Martina, a biologist studying birds in the area. Óscar also used the fake name Mario in Taracuellos.
  • Secret-Keeper: Conrado knows that Alejandra is not Martina, but he agrees to not reveal the truth to Verónica.
  • Secret Other Family: The main driving point of the first season's plot is Alejandra's discovery that Óscar had been living a double live with Verónica for eight years, and even had a daughter, Sol, with her.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Katia has a long-standing affair with Big Boss. However, unlike most examples of this trope, the power dynamic isn't really an issue, and for the most part their affair doesn't affect their work.
  • Starting a New Life: The series ends with Alex, Verónica, and Sol leaving Valencia and Albufera behind to start a new life somewhere else.
  • Student/Teacher Romance: Ada has a secret relationship with her teacher.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: The narrative is surprisingly light on judgment of the various cheaters in the series, though it does explore the emotional toll of guilt it might have on them.
  • Taking the Heat: After Verónica shoots Andrés in the series finale, and it's clear he won't survive the blood loss for long, Conrado takes the gun and kills him personally so that Verónica won't be blamed.
  • Three-Way Sex: Óscar and Verónica sometimes had threesomes with Vicent.