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Series / El internado

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El internado ("The Boarding School") is a Spanish TV drama that debuted in 24 May 2007 and finished on 13 October 2010, after 7 seasons and 71 episodes.

The series starts with the Novoa Pazos siblings, 16-year-old Marcos (Martín Rivas) and 5-year-old Paula (Carlota García), arriving to the Internado Laguna Negra (Black Lagoon Boarding School in Spanish), a school created by its current headmaster, Héctor de la Vega (Luis Merlo), in the middle of a forest quite far away from the city, at the start of the school year. Their parents disappeared while they were travelling on a ship in the Aegean Sea, and now they have found that Héctor is their new tutor. At the same time, a woman called María Almagro (Marta Torné) arrives to take a job as the one in charge of cleaning the building, but her reasons for being at the Laguna Negra are very different: her son, who was sold by her boyfriend when she gave birth, is studying at the school, and she is determined to finally meet him sixteen years after she gave brith to him.


There, both Marcos and Paula will meet people their age. He will make friends with Iván Noiret León (Yon González), son of the main shareholder of the boarding school; Carolina "Carol" Leal Solís (Ana de Armas), Iván's girlfriend, and whom Marcos is immediately attracted to; Roque Sánchez Navas (Daniel Retuerta), one of Iván's best friends, and Victoria "Vicky" Martínez (Elena Furiase), a very intelligent girl and best friends with Carol. Meanwhile, Paula makes friends with Evelyn (Denissé Peña), a happy-go-lucky girl who seems to be very knowledgeable of the adult world, but with twisted facts as she doesn't actually understand everything.

However, things soon take a turn towards the weird and mysterious when one of the professors, Alfonso Ceballos (Paco Merino) tells Carol and Vicky that they are in danger of dying, and disappears a few days later. From there on, the teenagers start to investigate what happened to him, without knowing that behind of not only Alfonso's disappearance, but also Marcos' parents' disappearance and indeed the very past and future of everyone living in the school is an ancient conspiracy tied to the origins of the boarding school as an orphanage and the actions of a group of people trying to prevent that conspiracy from actually taking fruit.


Years after the end of the series, Amazon acquired the rights to stream the show and produce a reboot, El internado: Las Cumbres, which premiered on Prime Video on February 2021.


  • Abusive Parents: Jacques Noiret killed his own wife when Iván was 1 year old, and the next fifteen years he abused both his son and all of his girlfriends. As a result Iván struggles to connect with other people, and later Iván testifies against his father.
  • Action Girl: among the adults, Nora and Rebeca (and maybe María). Among the girls, Julia and perhaps Carol.
  • A Father to His Men: Saúl, the boss of the Organization. Although he is a bit cold and calculating, he does his best to help the men under his orders.
  • Arc Number: 07 15 24 35 44 57. They appear in the third-to-last episode, but they become fundamental as they are required to make the healing machine work. Sharp-eyed fans realised why those numbers were chosen: they were the numbers of the first episodes of each season, starting with season 2.
  • Artistic License – Art: The Adoration of the Magi (a.k.a. The Epiphany) by Hieronymus Bosch is shown as a painting on canvas; the actual real-life painting is painted on wooden panels, as the use of canvas was still uncommon at the time. The size and shape of the three pieces shown on screen is wrong as well. The original also has a grisaille painting on the other side (visible when the triptych is closed), which the triptych in the series lacks.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Iván pulls this off several times: the first to save María from an armed man, the second to save Julia from her former lover (who is also one of the bad guys), and the third to save Julia from dying when the top of the water she is having a hot bath in is suddenly frozen by Eva.
    • Héctor manages to pull this off by the end of the series, preventing a group of soldiers from shooting at the teenagers (amongst them his nephew and niece Marcos and Paula).
    • Vicky saves Paula from Amaia by hitting her with a shovel. While saying "Puta acoplada".
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Iván and Julia.
  • Big "NO!":
    • When Ritter Wulf sees the grenades falling down the tube just when he was about to revive his daughter Eva.
    • Marcos as he holds the dying Carol in his arms.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The flashbacks conversations in German.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sure, the students are healthy, Iván is with Julia, the Espí siblings are finally together and with Marcos, Paula and Samuel, the still surviving members of the Proyecto Géminis have been arrested but... Carol, Marcos' greatest love, is dead; Elsa, Héctor's former girlfriend, is dead; Fermín died in the hands of María, with whom he had gotten married just two days before; Iván has Alzheimer and the school has been destroyed by the main characters in a ploy to distract the bad guys.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Julia can talk with the dead, but it terrifies her, and the first time she saw a ghost (her father's) she told her mother and was sent to a psychiatric hospital.
    • Lucas may be able to dream about the future, but he wets his bed whenever it happens (although, at least he knows whether or not a dream will become reality.
    • Rebeca can see the bad things people have done, but this includes murders and the like. She was asked to see where a serial killer was holding his last would-be-victim—she was six at the time—and it really messed with her.
  • Boarding School: It is where 99% of the series takes place.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Not exactly like that for nearly everyone in the school (in fact it's quite nice). But it starts applying to the main teenage characters when they realise what the hell is actually going on and the bad guys know that the teens are in the secret.
  • The Butcher: Ritter Wulf also known as Santiago Pazos, Marcos' and Paula grandfather and Samuel's and Irene's biological father is nicknamed "The Butcher of Belzec".
  • But Not Too Foreign: Some of the guys are German, but you wouldn't know if they didn't tell you since they have no accent at all and never do anything German-y. Somewhat Justified in that all of the Germans who appeared in the series have been living in Spain for decades, and have been making a great effort to supress anything that might point others towards their true identities.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Evelyn is very much like this; whenever she hears something that she doesn't understand, she often twists that in some way and very often drags Paula into her (mis-)adventures.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jacques Noiret is a successful businessman and a cinema producer. At one point he becomes the director of a pharmaceutical company called OTTOX which is a front for the Proyecto Géminis' experiments, thanks to his ownership of stock in the company which is actually Iván's and Jacques got after deceiving Iván so that he signed his consent for Jacques to have parental custody. It takes him till the end of season 6 to actually do something good for Iván.
  • Death by Falling Over: Carol nearly dies this way by falling down a tower after Roque hits her so that she doesn't discover he's The Mole. However, the injuries cause her death a day later.
  • Death of a Child: One of Héctor's flashbacks shows how his friends were captured by the bad guys when the school was an orphanage, and several years later Marcos and his friends discover Héctor's friends' corpses. Also, Jacinta's granddaughter died in a car accident.
  • Easter Egg: The numbers 07 15 24 35 44 57. They appear in the third-to-last episode, but they become fundamental as they are required to make the healing machine work. Sharp-eyed fans realised why those numbers were chosen: they were the numbers of the first episodes of each season, starting with season 2.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • It takes Iván some time to accept that María is his mother, but when he does, he will do anything to protect her.
    • Inverted in case of Big Bad Ritter Wulf. He is one of the most hated characters in the series for what he does to the main characters... but most of what he does is for her first daughter Eva who got infected with The Virus he had developed and he started to work on finding a cure for his daughter, even if it meant cloning her twice, experimenting both with the clones and with many other orphans and finally intending to kill Paula in order to harvest her organs and use them to revive Eva.
    • Also inverted with Jacques Noiret. He is perfectly willing to blackmail his son Iván if he doesn't do what he (Jacques) wants, but when he meets his son from another relationship, he realises what a bastard he has been and lets Iván go when having to choose between shooting him or letting him destroy the plans Wulf has been working on for many years. Of course, this turns him mad.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Roque does this so that the bad guys don't use him as a guinea pig for The Virus.
    • Subverted with Garrido and Amaia: they were always part of the bad guys, they just hid it very well.
    • Averted with Lucía. When she disappears and all her work in trying to make more medicines is destroyed, everyone assumes this. In fact, she was killed to prevent her from making the medicines and give people a chance to survive.
  • Fake Defector: María is blackmailed to get information about the Organization. After a first half-assed attempt that fails completely, she confesses to Fermín what she was trying to do and then turns into this.
  • Fan Fic: ZonaElInternado hosts a community of Fanfic writers (it's in Spanish).
  • Flashback: How many of the most important details are presented to the viewers.
  • Flash Forward: During seasons 5 and 6, a series of interviews between a policewoman and several characters, stated to be about 3-4 years after the actual series, were held so that some extra details could be revealed and to help viewers remember what was happening in the boarding school. After Carol's death, it had to be retconned because one of the interviews was with her; the last interview revealed that all of them were actually the hallucinations of a mad Jacques Noiret, imagining them again and again.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: One of the things the Proyecto Géminis have been developing ever since it started back into the 1940s.
  • Gratuitous German: Justified, as the Proyecto Géminis' founders are Nazi Germans and use this language when they are alone. Also, one diary the teens find is in German.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • When Carol starts to think that maybe Amelia is part of the bad guys, most of her friends (especially Marcos, who is in a relation with Amelia) think it's just envy. Carol was right.
    • This happens to Iván when he sees Julia approaching a guy he thoroughly dislikes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Amaia killed Max Levov with a syringe containing a substance that killed practically in seconds. When she attempts to do the same on Paula and Vicky hits her with a shovel, she accidentally sticks it into herself and dies.
  • Human Popsicle: Eva Wulf has been held in a criogenization machine since 1945 (the series starts in September 2007 and ends in October 2008) and cloned twice so that her father could invent a cure for The Virus he had created and she had been accidentally infected with. Also, Julia becomes this for a few seconds when Eva attempts to force her to go to the underground passageways and free her and nearly dies from hypothermia.
  • Identical Grandson: Justified. Paula looks exactly like her mother at age 6 and her sort-of-aunt Eva because she is a clone of her mother. Of course, Carlota García ends up playing all of them.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: in the 7th season, Iván attempts to pull this, when he learns that the medicines that are keeping his illness from The Virus at hold have triggered Alzheimer on him and he is losing his memories and decides to break up with Julia when the illness starts to affect his relationship with her, preferring that she lives happily without him rather than becoming a load for her. It doesn't work as well as he thought, because they love each other too much, and everyone calls him on this, wondering why he broke up with her when they were better than ever. In the end, Iván accepts that other people may actually want to be with him even if he is ill and reconciles with Julia.
  • Informed Judaism: Fermín. Justified since it's not convenient to be "too Jewish" in a place filled with Nazis.
  • Irony: in one of the first episodes, Roque, with the help of Cayetano and Iván, pulled a prank on María where Roque simulated that he had hanged himself in the bathroom. In season 7, he nearly kills himself by hanging on the shed, but stops because someone enters the shed. The day before everyone is healed, he is found hanging from a tree. He didn't actually commit suicide, but was killed by Lt. Garrido and he simulated his suicide so that he didn't get caught.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Iván. He may have pranked Marcos a few too many times, insulted all his friends way too many times, argued with both Carol and Julia (especially Julia), insulted his own mother... but when he wants he can be a very thoughtful and nice guy, and will jump to defend any of them if given a chance.
  • Kill It with Fire: Averted with Camilo. At the end of season 5, he burns alive, but season 6 shows that he survived, although with horrific burns. Played straight with Hugo who burns alive in an incident similar to that of Camilo, but this time he dies, and the healing machine and the school building, which are destroyed in a fire.
  • Licensed Game: A videogame for Nintendo DS was released in 2008, featuring gameplay through the first four seasons.
  • May–December Romance: Marcos enters a relationship with Amelia, the 5 and 6-years-old teacher, after he realises that being with Carol would be very difficult due to his friendship with Iván. Amelia ends up being fired for having a romantic relationship with a student, but she comes back later. She was being blackmailed into seducing Marcos so that the Big Bad could learn what the teenagers knew about the conspiracy.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Scenes with Marcos or Iván without their shirts are quite a hit among teenage girls.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • In her first class, Julia wears a T-shirt saying "Don't look at my boobies". When Héctor tells her to pull it off (as in telling her to go back to her room and change into the uniform), Julia pulls the T-shirt off in the class and stands there in her bra.
    • When she wears a drees, Carol is stunningly beautiful.
  • The Plan: Garrido played one to get inside the school and derail the plans to get more medicines.
  • Precision F-Strike: Amaia is holding Paula, threatening to kill her unless Marcos backs away... and then Vicky arrives and hits her on her head with a shovel, saying "Puta acoplada".
  • Product Placement: Funny thing, Maria or Jacinta seem to have to stop and sign for a big package from Mail Boxes Etc. every week before resuming the mysteries, secrets, and conspiracies.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Roque is killed, but he managed to record on his mobile phone how Garrido was burying Lucía before the soldier saw him. The phone would be found by Julia later, and this would clue them into the fact that Garrido was not actually helping them.
    • Subverted with Jacques Noiret: his redemption turned him mad.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The initial basis for Iván and Julia's relationship.
  • Superpower Lottery: Surprising for this kind of TV series, four characters have something that could be said to be a superpower. Julia (2nd season) sees ghosts and can talk with them, Lucas (4th season) has dreams of the future, Rebeca (5th season) can see the bad things people have done by touching them and Max (7th season) is able to hijack people's dreams in order to talk with them.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Cayetano's death at the hands of Jacques Noiret is passed over as an overdose, Nacho's and Carol's are passed over as "having left the school", Pedro's suicide is implied to have been a cover for his assassination and there are way too many car accidents killing people around.
  • The Mole:
    • Roque becomes this when he discovers that he is going to be killed with The Virus.
    • Amelia was one from the start of the series, but it was because the bad guys had her brother hostage.
    • During the quarantine, Garrido and Amaia are this all the way to hell.
  • The Virus: The one here can kill in 48 hours unless you have a special medicine every day. It starts becoming an important issue in the 5th season; the main characters are purposefully infected with it by the bad guys in the end of the 5th season; in the end of the 6th season, a flask with the virus breaks in the middle of the school; mid-season 7 most of the school becomes infected by it; by the end of the series, three main characters (Nacho, Saúl and Elsa), plus several unnamed beggars, have died from it, and everyone else is healed thanks to a weird machine that completely eliminates it.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: It turns out that a group of them is the Big Bad behind everything that happens in this series.
  • True Companions: Starting in the 3rd season, Marcos, Carol, Iván, Julia, Roque and Vicky become these as they investigate what's happening on the school. Broken when Vicky decides to stop investigating so that she doesn't get killed, further broken when Roque betrays his friends and even further when Carol dies. By the end of the series, Marcos, Iván, Julia and Vicky are the only ones remaining, but they are still these.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Jacques Noiret suffers this at the end of the 6th season. He meets his son from another relationship, who suffers photophobia, and the kid tells him he wants to be as courageous as him and Iván (here he realises that he has been a great prick). Then, after Roque finally grows a spine and tells him he isn't going to collaborate with him anymore, Jacques infects him with The Virus and tells Roque that he is a coward: when Roque says he prefers being a coward than a monster, it unsettles him really bad. And when he faces Iván and has to choose between obeying orders from Ritter Wulf or letting his son go, he chooses the latter and finally runs away. All of this combined with the "help" of a psychiatrist that works for the Proyecto Géminis is more than enough to make him go mad.
  • Villainous Rescue: In the last epssode of the sixth season, Amaia saves Marcos from being shot.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Marcos and Carol go through this for several seasons, with some blissful moments (such as the encounter in the bath) until they seem to finally settle down in the fifth-sixth season. Then, Carol dies, and Marcos never has other girlfriend in the run of the series (admittedly, between Carol's death and the end of the series only a few weeks pass.
    • Also, Iván and Julia. They spend seasons 3 to 7 breaking up and getting back together. It is clear from season 4 that they love each other deeply, but Iván's jealousness and their easily irritable tempers always get the best of them. Season 7 had Iván break up with Julia and lie to her because he had just learned that he had Alzheimer and was determined not to become a burden for Julia. Eventually, Julia would learn what was going on with him, but it still took Iván some time to realise that he couldn't go on without Julia.
  • You're Not My Mother: Iván pulls this one against María because Jacques Noiret has shown him proof that María can't actually have sons (this is because, after she gave birth, Jacques had her uterus removed). When Iván realises what Noiret did, he does this against him.