The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez
Logline: A sexy revenge drama with a supernatural twist, the story centers on Eva Sofia Valdez, an immigrant who rose from rags to riches and is a celebrated Miami entrepreneur and a champion for immigrant rights. But her success is fueled by an insatiable ambition that could destroy her family, a vendetta against the lover who betrayed her, and ghosts from the past who threaten to reveal the dark sacrifices Eva Sofia made to attain the American Dream.
Cast: Gina Torres, Eric Close
Creators: Charise Castro Smith (Writer / EP), Michele Fazekas (EP), Tara Butters (EP)
Studios: ABC Studios TV
This one sounds interesting from the logline. I’m a sucker for “rise to power” stories. A little bit of an odd fit for ABC — this is the network that has had Grey’s Anatomy on forever — but we’ll see how this goes. Oh, and interestingly the lead has this pilot in second position to Suits (according to the The Hollywood Reporter), a show that has a good chance of pick-up. Very strange casting choice then.
A young Isabel Valdez narrates our story to begin with. She lets us know all the great qualities of her mother, and how this story is ultimately about her mother’s death. In front of a group of women, Eva tells of her seven day journey across the ocean with her children, barely making it to Key Largo. We see through a crafty story maneuver how Eva pictures her kids through words, and what they’re actually like through images. One son gets in bar fights, one son does coke off of women at frat parties, and one son is cheating on his wife.
Eva shows her badassness when she rejects a $50K check from a woman whose husband is running for mayor and trying to buy Cuban votes. Eva wants her son Nicolas to run for mayor, but he’s the philanderer I mentioned earlier, so that might not go well. The episode ends with… I can’t spoil it for you… but I’ll just say a big reveal about what happened on the raft coming over from Cuba and a narrative twist.
If I was going to compare this to anything, I would say it’s a much more grounded Cuban Empire, without the singing. It’s definitely less of a soap opera plot-wise than Empire. It has some shades of Netflix’s great show Bloodline, beyond just the Florida setting. I really liked it. Like really really liked it. It doesn’t have the fun factor of Empire, or the singing factor, and Eva is no Cookie… but there’s a lot to like.