“During the 90s, the cocaine trade and Madrid’s nightclubs were controlled by a gang, Los Miami, that spawned hundreds of news headlines.” That’s how each episode of El Inmortal – Gangs of Madrid, the latest original series from Movistar Plus +, starts off.

And the first few seconds of every episode also includes the following words, with more context for viewers:

“‘The Immortal’ was the boss of them all. This story is inspired by his reign and by the city that so often saw him die.” With those two sentences, many viewers will be glued to the screen as they recall the Los Miami gang that sowed chaos in the Spanish capital while also enthralling the media, who kept them in the limelight.

And last comes the disclaimer: “All incidents and characters have been fictionalized.” In other words, the story was inspired by real events, but much of the series was dreamed up by DLO Producciones.

This is currently a popular way of making a series – taking inspiration from real people and events and crafting it into a work of fiction with added narrative. And when done well, it can make you want to applaud. Which is precisely the case with El Inmortal.

Our own Gomorrah

This new Movistar Plus+ series will delight lovers of Gomorrah. And even more so, those special few who were both touched and tormented by the Roma criminale series, which had a similar blend of ingredients.

El Inmortal relates how a group of local thugs gives rise to one of the most feared gangs in Spain’s recent past. They are bad boys, but with good hearts, who don’t have the same opportunities others do and seek to even the scales. And they succeed by dint of bad deeds.

As a result, viewers will be torn between loving and hating them. Between “they belong to us” and “they’re killing us.” Between empathizing with them and understanding them, and hoping to never hear of them again. Which is precisely why they monopolized the news – they left no one indifferent.

The series depicts the dominance and decadence of the kind of lads you could come across any day but who (unlike the Italians) meet up in bars instead of gyms, and who see nightclubs, not the beach, as their playground. But at the end of the day they’re still mobsters. The best in their class, but mafia all the same.

‘El Inmortal’. Movistar Plus+.

A central character perfectly portrayed, thanks to an impeccable Álex García

It was an inspired move to cast Álex García as ‘The Immortal’, the gangleader. He just keeps getting better, year after year, role after role. He’s becoming one of the greats of his generation thanks to his delicately nuanced interpretation of every single character he plays.

This time he portrays a young kid from humble beginnings who is arrogant and power-hungry but remains good at heart and at times even naive. García imbues him with such charisma that he manages to win you over despite his bad decisions and unbridled ambition.

Few performers can play the part of a slimy, self-obsessed and unscrupulous mobster and still keep viewers on their side.

A glimpse of the underbelly of the Madrid of the 90s

The series provides a portrait of an era – of Madrid in the 1990s in the wake of the Madrilenian Scene counterculture movement, when little of culture remained and the city was swept up in vice.

It’s a story of young people raised on the fringes, with limited prospects but in a world tantalizing them with images of lifestyles unattainable for them, except by way of drugs, nightclubs and a life of crime they thought would lead to better times.

‘El Inmortal’. Movistar Plus+.

To be immortal was actually what they aspired to. It was the desire of young people who were given neither the education nor the means to achieve their dreams. And so they pursued them in the only way they knew how.

Paula Hergar
Paula Hergar is a 360 journalist as Paquita Salas would say, writes about TV in Vertele and presents, writes, and directs Zapping on LOS40. In addition to collaborating in cultural programs in La 2 and being the author of the book ‘Around the world in 80 series’.