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Series / Locked Up

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Welcome, love! To the presidential suite of Cruz del Sur!

Also known as Vis a Vis in its native country. This show is a Spanish drama/thriller set in a women's prison. It is produced by Globomedia and originally aired on Antena 3 between April 2015 and June 2016, when the channel decided to bring the series to an end after a ratings decline in its second season. As of July 2017, the series has been Un-Canceled, as FOX Spain is set to produce a third season after reaching a deal with Antena 3's parent group Atresmedia. In the UK, Walter Presents (a branch of Channel 4) has picked up both seasons for online viewing. Their airing is in Spanish with English subtitles and was renamed Locked Up.

The story follows a naive young woman named Macarena Ferreiro (Maggie Civantos). She has been imprisoned for fraud and embezzlement, pending trial. Potentially, she will spend up to seven years incarcerated, for crimes she claims to be innocent of. During the course of the show, Macarena attempts to prove her innocence. Failing that, she wants to acquire the money to pay her bail: one million euros. She adapts to the harsh realities of prison very poorly, and immediately puts herself in danger when she is witness to the murder of another inmate.

The situation is not helped when Macarena discovers the location to millions of stolen euros. This leads to a race against time as Macarena's family hunt for the money to pay her bail, before prison inmate Zulema Zahir or her boyfriend 'The Egyptian' disover its whereabouts. The Ferreiros become embroiled in an increasingly dangerous situation, as The Egyptian threatens them outside the prison, and Zulema threatens Macarena within it.

This show contains examples of:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: A variant. Zulema's escape plan involves breaking through a wall into a sewage/maintenance area, before crawling through a long, narrow tunnel to freedom.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Casper is only shown acting antagonistic on her own accord only once and otherwise her criminal actions are a result of Zulema's influence. It's hard not to feel bad for her ultimate fate especially considering she was innocent of what Zolema accused her of.
  • Alpha Bitch: Zulema Zahir, the most dangerous inmate Macarena meets and Big Bad of the show.
  • Ambiguously Gay: When Fabio asks new warden Carlota what she thinks of Palacios, she says that she thinks he's gay. Later, Sole tries to set him up with her cardiologist because she isn't convinced when he says that he's happy on his own. As it turns out, he's actually been pining after Fabio's wife.
  • Artistic License: There are no private prisons in Spain and inmates wear their own clothes.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sole is probably one of the nicest inmates in the prison. She's also one of the few members of the main cast incarcerated for murder.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Casper almost never speaks and it's clear she is completely submissive to whomever "owns" her at the time. That said, she will do whatever her current owner tells her to, up to and including aborting a pregnant woman.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Anabel, oh so much. Her major MO is to welcome the more timid and naive newcomers with offers of friendship and giving out special favors. However, once you accept these favors, she arranges that you can never pay them back and the debt to her just keeps growing...
  • The Bus Came Back: Near the end of the fourth season. Having spent eight monts at the hospital, Macarena has finally recovered from her injuries and attacks a male nurse for taking pictures of her intimate parts before returning to Cruz del Norte, where she has an emotional reunion with Rizos and joins the other inmates, who all gleefully welcome her back, in their mutiny.
  • Break the Cutie: From the moment she enters prison, the show is one long shot of Macarena's naive and earnest attitude being broken.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Castillo. He may be doggedly pursuing Macarena's family (despite being old friends of her father), but that's because he is convinced they comited a murder and will pursue justice even if the victim is wanted by half the countries of the world for the various violent crimes he's comited.
  • Coming-Out Story: Saray is forced to come out to her parents when they try to arrange her a marriage to appease the rest of the Romani community.
  • Confessional: Miranda and Sandoval send the prison chaplain to visit Saray in isolation to try to ascertain why she beat up Valbuena. Saray is initially sceptical but she does open up to him. She tries to act like she didn't mean any of it when she brings it up later with Curly.
  • Creepy Physical: Sandoval enjoys inspecting Macarena's rash a little too much. It only gets worse from there.
  • Crying Wolf: After Macarena accuses Sandoval of abusing his position and expecting sexual favours, Fabio investigates. He is appeased by Sandoval's explanations and eventually thinks that Macarena is just a crazy Manipulative Bitch. Therefore he suspects her of crying wolf every time she tries to tell someone about a situation she's in.
    • It isn't until Fabio walks in Sandoval caning Macarena with a ruler that he realises that she was telling the truth.
  • Death of a Child: Zulema drugs Macarena with enough misoprostol to force an unwanted abortion. Later in the series, Lucía dies in a hit-and-run.
  • The Dragon: Within the prison, Saray is this to Zulema. Outside of the prison, it's Hanbal, The Egyptian.
    • A more heroic example. Bambi (of all people) eventually becomes this to Macarena (of all people).
  • The Dreaded: Hanbal, 'The Egyptian'.
  • Dirty Cop: It's strongly implied that Valbuena is supplying Tere with drugs. To frame other inmates, if nothing else.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Averted. Fear of Macarena being raped in prison is one of the motivations behind her father and brother scheming for the bail money. We also see in the very first episode just how distraught Casper is at being used as a Sex Slave.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: When Saray tells Sandoval why she beat up Valbuena, he tells her that she's clearly having a psychotic episode and injects her with a medically unnecessary tranquiliser. He then gets a phone call from his wife who tells him that she never wants to see him again which induces a Villainous BSoD. He then proceeds to shoot up on morphine and rape Saray.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Saray has a very ostentatious dress for the wedding arranged by her parents, complete with tiara.
  • Fanservice: Plenty of pretty topless women, especially in the earlier episodes.
  • Fan Disservice: See Dude She's like in a coma! above for the full description of the scene, but it is anything but arousing to watch no matter how much they show of Saray.
  • Frame-Up: Macarena's boss and boyfriend was the mastermind behind the fraud and embezzlement. However, when she is caught, he denies all knowledge and pins the blame on her, painting her as a crazy stalker.
  • Foil: Casper to Bambi. Both characters are abused and made to be slaves to a higher ranking prisoner. However, whereas Casper shows what happens when owned by Zulema, Bambi is quickly bought (in her case, for all intents and purposes set free) by Macarena. Casper engages in various plots and is very meek and submissive, showing her loyalty is more out of fear. Bambi, however, becomes extremely loyal to Macarena out of mutual respect and trust. Bambi is still willing to engage in nefarious acts, but because Macarena doesn't ask her to do anything she isn't already willing to do.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Most of the larger plot hinges on the discovery of the USB stick.
  • Gaslighting: Everyone accidentally gaslights Macarena, after she claims to see a cat in the prison. It is even lampshaded in the episode.
  • Great Escape: Zulema conspires on various occasions to escape from prison. The first time involves The Egyptian hijacking an ambulance convoy while Zulema is in it. This was unsuccessful. The most recent is when she and a few others make a hole in the laundry room and escape through tunnels. This leads to them getting out at the end of episode 16.
  • Girls Behind Bars: Set in a women's prison, with all the grim aspects you'd expect.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted, then played straight. Macarena planned to abort her ex-boyfriend's child and went through Hell to get some misoprostol, but eventually realised she wanted to keep the baby.
  • Hidden Depths: Saray, for all her hot-blooded and antagonistic tendencies, really is a good woman on the inside. This is even lampshaded by Sandoval at one point.
  • Hookers and Blow: Anabel's speciality. Outside of the prison, she ran a brothel. Inside the prison, she arranges 'conjugal visits' for other inmates and smuggles drugs in via various... orifices. When Anabel takes possession of Casper, she also strongly implies that she intends to prostitute her.
  • Hot-Blooded: It would be quicker to count the characters who aren't hot-blooded. The main temperamental ones include: Fabio, Saray, Curly, Valbuena.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: At one point, Anabel makes Bambi lick her foot.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: The closing scene for season two finale fades to black while the screen shows the text: "A liquid is a state of matter with no particular shape. It changes easily and is only defined by the container that contains it. The human body is 70% water". Apparently to justify Macarena's decision to stop her successful escape, one that Inspector Castillo himself came up with the idea for, and turn herself back to the police.Or something.
  • The Informant: In an attempt to keep herself and her family safe from Zulema, Macarena reveals everything she knows to the Governor, Miranda. She also unwittingly acts as an informant against Anabel, after being set up.
  • Institutional Apparel: Bright yellow jumpsuits.
  • It's Personal: After thieves hold Fabio's wife hostage, he becomes obsessed with finding them and bringing them to justice (despite her pleas not to). This leads to them returning and blinding her. This costs him his job as a detective, and nearly his marriage.
  • Jail Bake: Zulema receives items this way, such as a mobile phone while she's in solitary. It may also be how she received a gun via the kitchens.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fabio tends to come off as an ass at times and tends to make knee-jerk reactions, but he really is looking out for the best interests of the inmates who deserve better treatment. On the other hand...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Valbuena is just an ass who likes to use his authority to abuse inmates.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Rizos and Macarena end up as a couple. They are most likely bi though.
  • MacGuffin: The USB stick, containing the location of millions of stolen euros.
  • Mama Bear: Macarena's mother is kept in the dark about the situation for a long time. When she discovers that Zulema has forced an abortion on Macarena, her mother attempts to murder Hanbal. This also applies to Macarena after discovering that she is pregnant. On several occasions, she warns fellow inmates that if they cause harm to her baby, she will tear them apart.
  • Momma's Boy: Palacios lives with his mother. When he gets suspended after Tere falsely accuses him of sleeping with her, he asks Fabio if he can still come round and pick him up for work like he normally does so that his mum won't realise something's wrong.
  • The Mole: In order to get herself to 'Level 3' of her rehabilitation, Estefania aka 'Curly' wears a bug so that Inspector Castillo can catch Macarena talking about the stolen money.
  • Na├»ve Newcomer: Macarena's role, compared to the hardened prisoners in Cruz del Sur. This leads to many mistakes, when she talks about things she's witnessed and asks favours of the wrong people.
  • Nice Guy: Between Fabio being Hot-Blooded and judgemental, Valbuena being a bully, and Sandoval being an abusive pervert, Palacios is the only nice male warden we meet. Unfortunately, as a result, he gets taken advantage of a lot.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Macarena's attempts to adapt to her situation invariably seem to make it worse. At least at first. As part of a deal with Saray, Macarena loudly tells Curly that she is disgusted by her, and does not want to be her girlfriend. This leads to Curly standing up in the middle of the canteen and shouting to everyone that Macarena knows where the several million euros are hidden.
  • The One That Got Away: Macarena is this to Rizos after they break up in season 2, and it's lampshaded near the end of season 4 when they reunite.
  • Papa Wolf: Much like his wife (see Mama Bear above), Leopoldo Ferreiro will go to extreme lengths to help Macarena. Episode 16 culminates with him executing Hanbal so that Román can't be found guilty of murder.
  • The Paralyzer: After the escape, Miranda arms all the wardens with stun guns. They're only supposed to be used in response to extremely violent behaviour from the prisoners, but Valbuena uses his a lot more liberally.
  • Prison: The main setting, though the story also follows the Ferreiro family outside of it.
  • Prison Rape: A very real threat, from both the inmates and Sandoval. Macarena herself has no trouble with the first, and a lot of trouble with the latter.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: During her time in solitary confinement, Macarena attempts to work out and build her strength. Subverted, since this causes her to hurt her wrist during push-ups.
    • In the second series, Cruz del Sur is kitted out with a newly refurbished gym. Macarena spends quite a bit of time there and even wins the intra-prison boxing tournament.
  • Punishment Box: Several characters are placed in solitary confinement during the series. This consists of a small concrete cell, containing a bet, toilet and hatch in the door for food deliveries.
  • Poor Communication Kills: And it literally did with poor Casper. Macarena left behind a phone she was using to contact Fabio in the bathroom where Casper was taking a shower. After Zulema sees it, she accuses Casper of ratting them out to the police and shoots her dead as a result without letting the desperate Casper explain herself.
  • Put on a Bus: Due to her actress being committed to another show, Maggie Civantos makes only two appearances in the beginning of the third season. In-Universe, Macarena is sent to the hospital due to injuries heavily sustained from being locked up at will inside a washing machine by Akame and her goons.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Governor, Miranda. Generally, she attempts to be fair, help the inmates, and hopes to rehabilitate them.
  • Shaking the Rump: Rizos, Tere and Sole all show off their twerking skills while Maca's being interviewed in the yard.
  • Shower Scene: Quite a few. Leads to a lot of Shower of Angst moments for Macarena too.
  • Sinister Shiv: In the first episode, Macarena sees one prisoner slip a shiv to another, causing her to panic in fear.
  • Situational Sexuality: Macarena insists for a long time that she is straight. However, she eventually ends up in a relationship with Curly.
    • Lampshaded by Saray, who says that Macarena is just using Curly because it's convenient, but that she loves Curly for real.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the second series, New Meat Cristina Marquina (nicknamed "Bambi" by Zulema and Saray) ends up becoming Anabel's maid since Casper was killed by Zulema in Morocco.
  • STD Immunity: Averted, three of the main characters end up with the same one.
  • Team Mom: Sole, who looks out for Macarena as best she can. She's also one of the few inmates who's on nobody's bad side.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Maca and Zulema end up in these situations more often than either would care to admit. This is particularly noticable when they work together to bring down Anabel's goons.
  • The Quiet One: Casper has reached a point where she is so submissive that she only really speaks when spoken to and has many episodes where she appears without a single line of dialogue.
  • Trouser Space / Ass Shove: Anabel utilises every orifice she has in order to smuggle goods into prison. On one occasion, Macarena is forced to do so too, in order to repay a 'favour'.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Casper is quite attractive despite her innocent personality.
  • Villain Protagonist: Macarena was written out early in the third season. The main character afterwards is Zulema.
  • Vulnerable Convoy: One of Zulema's escape plans involves burning herself badly enough to be hospitalised. Hanbal is to attack the police/ambulance convoy while she is being transported.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Macarena, which puts her at a distinct disadvantage in prison.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hanbal, who murders Lucía out of sheer spite, and then sends a mocking flower arrangement to her funeral.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: As Tere narrates in the fourth season finale about herself and her fellow inmates. Following Sole's death, Tere is still together with Piti, has two children and is a social assistant, Palacios is the new director of Cruz del Norte, Luna works as an air stewardess, Goya has been promoted to head of warehouseworkers, Antonia works as the head chef of Cruz del Norte, Saray manages to regain custody of her daughter and is happily dating and living with her girlfriend, Rizos spends years in and out of prison and Macarena and Zulema have teamed up to carry out heists together.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Macarena finally manages to get the hearing that could clear her name. However just before it starts, she accidentally stumbles upon Zulema's escape plan and get dragged along with them, making her complicit.

Alternative Title(s): Vis A Vis