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Matador 2014 Opening Credits
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Matador (2014) is a US TV series about a young, aggressive DEA agent named Tony Bravo who is recruited by the CIA to spy on an unfolding conspiracy, masterminded by a shadowy central figure. One of the members of the conspiracy is believed to be the owner of L.A. Riot, a man named Andrés Galan. The CIA baits the hook for Bravo by promising to get his brother out on parole ASAP. In exchange, Tony has to go undercover as a soccer ("football" in Europe) player.

Drama and hilarity ensue.

The entire first season aired over the El Rey Network, ending on October 7, 2014. The show was reported cancelled on November 29, 2014.


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This TV series contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: Through the use of a cocktail of drugs, Samuel convinces Noah that he has wrecked Noah's hands. In real life, he's uninjured.
  • Artistic License – History: Not too egregious in the show, but while there were pre-Olmec civilizations, it's not clear if they were as complex or as advanced as the Olmec-era civilizations. Thus, it's also not clear if they would have been able to mummify a human heart well enough for it to remain intact several thousand years later.
  • Becoming the Mask: Bravo's ex-partner warns him about this, as she herself is about to become the murderess ex-girlfriend of Gaspar.
  • The Chessmaster: On both sides. Andrés Galan is this for the bad guys, although we learn that he answers to an even higher chessmaster-like figure, Dr. Sayer, a vanished gerontologist. And for the good guys, Annie Mason, who is Tony Bravo's handler.
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  • Dark Secret: Tony Bravo's father is implied to have a shady past. It's heavily implied in episode 11 ("Riot 'til I Die") that he was part of a death squad in Latin America.
  • The Dragon: Samuel for Galan.
  • Fan Disservice: The drug lord, Gaspar.
  • Fountain of Youth: The conspiracy that Annie and Tony are chasing after has drawn in its members, in part, with the promise of drugs that can deliver slowed aging, possibly even guaranteeing effective immortality.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Tony can tell that Annie is sleeping with her boss, just from one look at the two of them in the same room.
  • Genius Bruiser: Tony becomes this for Galan, because of his willingness to get violent in soccer games.
  • Implied Death Threat: Tony makes Flores, the reporter, think he will kill her if she keeps digging into his connection with Galan. He makes it menacingly believable, too.
  • Informed Ability: In-verse for Tony, since he doesn't actually do all that much soccer playing. Yet the team keeps him on and the fans want to see him play.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played with during Episode 7 ("Mano A Mano"). Samuel has various implements of torture, but he also uses more refined methods to start off with, such as the use of sodium pentothal.
  • Jumped at the Call: Annie recounts that she got started in her current counterterrorism job because of an attack on an American embassy in Tunisia, where her sister worked.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Between the CIA and DEA in one episode.
  • Le Parkour: Invoked in a no-rules soccer game in Nicaragua.
  • Mentor Archetype: Played with in this series. An older, more experienced soccer player lampshades the "teaching the deep inner art/using your anger positively" trope, but in the end decides he still has something to teach Tony.
  • The Mole: Tony within Galan's organization.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tony Bravo bares a lot in a couple of episodes. And looks good doing it.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Invoked twice for Tony Bravo. In the 12th episode, he is thought to be dead of either the virus or the massive explosion. In the finale, he is alive, and apparently immune to the Ze'otec virus.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: What ends up happening to Samuel, in order to hide the fact that he's dead while drawing out Dr. Sayer.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Bravo contacts his "agent", in reality The Chessmaster Annie Mason, and on the surface appears to be checking his contractual obligations. In actual fact, as indicated by the subtitles, he's trying to find out if he might need to do some snooping around while not otherwise occupied in the private game.
  • Only in It for the Money: Played with. While Sayer's graduate student turned company VP stands to haul down a sizable fortune being paid to rush out a vaccine against Sayer's virus, Sayer himself doesn't care about the money, instead desiring to gain absolute mental control over the US's population so they will do anything he dictates.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "If you don't, I will." Andrés Galan and Javi Sandoval then promptly eject two teenage hoods who've been causing trouble.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Bravo's handler convinces him he needs to be this for a possible target of an assassin.
  • Running Gag: Tony just can't seem to avoid tequila being offered to him.
  • Save the Day, Turn Away: Tony Bravo says he needs to stay distant from his family to protect them from Galan. Ironically, his parents and siblings are thrilled because Galan not only gave a generous Quinceañera gift, but also reimbursed them for a broken table when he got into a short brawl with a hood who mistreated Senna.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Annie. Tony notices right away.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Galan gives one to the kidnapper of his daughter, offering a stern lecture about being too overeager to be in with the major players of the conspiracy. Then Galan kills him.
    • After getting an Implied Death Threat, Flores tells Tony she shouldn't have been surprised given his family history, which is revealed in episode 11 to show that his father had been part of a death squad.
  • Training Montage: Seen in the pilot. As part of Bravo's cover, he has to be a top-notch soccer player. While he hasn't played much since he was a teenager, his skills start to come back and by the time he's ready to be recruited by Galan's team, L.A. Riot, he's able to keep up with the team.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In the pilot, Tony warns that he shouldn't drink tequila. Five minutes and one hectic chase later, it comes back up.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Misanthropology", Episode 6. We discover that the conspiracy that Galan is part of is seeking a virus that no modern human has immunity to, because it virtually exterminated a civilization thousands of years before. The conspiracy has recovered a mummified organ containing intact viral RNA.
    • "Everything Old is New Again", Episode 8. Sayer, a gerontologist who looks remarkably healthy for a man born in 1937, already has articulated controversial ideas about population growth. He explains to Galan that he intends to use the weaponized virus to kill off most of the world's population to make room for people who can live a thousand years.
    • "Wells Fargo Presents: The Anguish of Rosarito", Episode 9. The first "in-field" release of the weaponized virus kills 375 people on an airplane. As well, Tony Bravo gets found out by Samuel and Galan. Galan, for reasons of his own, shoots Samuel and as the episode ends, has a gun pointed at Tony instructing him to tell Galan everything.
    • "Night of the Whale", Episode 10. Tony manages to turn Galan, and the virus from the artifact is being modified to kill millions.
    • "Riot 'Til I Die", Episode 11. Reyna Flores reveals that she has been working undercover as a news reporter to get revenge on Galan for him hiring an assassin to have her father killed.
    • The season finale, Episode 13. Sayer is summarily executed, and Galan becomes the new Big Bad as he gathers together a cabal of businesspeople for an as yet unspecified project, while killing off a long-time friend of his.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Gaspar shoots one of the members of his soccer team after they fail to win against Galan's, presumably because he's too injured to get up.
    • The disappeared scientist, Sayer, uses the weaponized virus to kill Win, a man who tried to get a burner phone without authorization. In the process, he gives Galan a metaphorical smack on the nose for being too inquisitive.
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