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Season 1, episode 06
Series 106
1st release: 11/06/00
2nd release: 02/26/00
3rd release: 07/02/01
Production number: 105/00103
Last update: 11-09-01

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SYNOPSIS by James Ott

Tessie Santiago (Tessa Alvardo)
Valentine Pelka (Col. Luis Montoya)
Anthony Lemke (Capt. Marcus Grisham)
Paulina Galvez (Marta)
Peter Wingfield (Dr. Robert Helm)
Tacho Gonzalez (Don Hidalgo)
Elsa Pataky (Senora Vera Hidalgo)

Ramon Camin (Raul)
Gael Garcia Bernal (Churi)
Christian De La Fuente (Antonio)
Eduardo Relabarren (Pietro)
Oliver Vitran (Young Man)
Alberto Ruca (Jailor)
Frank Barri (Gonzalo)

Written by Durnford King
Directed by Brian Grant

Filmed in Almeria, Spain, by Fireworks/Morena Films/Amy Intl. Prods. in association with Telefonica, and M6, distributed by Paramount Domestic TV in association with Mercury Entertainment. Executive producers, Jay Firestone, Adam Haight, David Abramowitz; producer, Ken Gord; director, Jon Cassar; writer, James Thorpe; director of photography, Alwyn Kumst C.S.C; production designer, Fernando Gonzalez; music, Philip Stanger; wardrobe designer, Evelyne Correard Trompier; supervising editor, T.C. Martin; ``Behind the Mask'' theme song performed by Jose Feliciano; special effects, Carlos Fernandez, Tomas Urban; art director, Carlos Suarez Bodelon; set decorator, Marta Agullo Laguna. Season one filmed between May 3 - December 2000.

Tessa risks her life to free two of Montoya's captives; Tessa is set up.

The Queen of Swords must rescue two men captured by Montoya, one of whom learns her true identity.

Tessa risks her life to free two of Montoya's captives; Tessa is set up. ExciteTV

The Queen of Swords (Tessie Santiago) must rescue two men captured by Montoya (Valentine Pelka), one of whom learns her true identity. ClickTV


The Queen of Swords risks life and limb to liberate two men captured by Montoya. The first, Raul, knows who murdered Tessa's father, and the second, Churi, knows the grief of such a loss. But breaking the two out of prison is just the beginning. Raul, a man motivated by greed alone, learns of Tessa's secret identity and uses it against her, putting Tessa and Marta in the line of Grisham's fire, while Churi's quest to free his father's spirit leads the Queen to looted treasure and a surprising accomplice.


This synopsis is by James Ott.


Soldiers uncover an Aztec treasure trove and remove a solid gold mask from a well preserved body. Suddenly, a young man (Churi) with a painted body leaps on one of the soldiers but is beaten senseless by two other men.

Act I

The young, Aztec chaman has tracked the stolen artifacts some 100 miles and runs on foot to swiftly board the buckboard carrying the gold treasure. He throws one soldier out and then the driver. He tosses the chest to the ground but it is locked. With the men pointing their guns at him, he escapes to the town.

Tess appears in a stable, seemingly alone, and says aloud, "A few too many onions for breakfast Senior?" "Did you bring the gold?", responds a grizzled looking man (Raul). She demands that he write down on paper who killed her Father. Churi runs into the stable at that moment captured by Grisham and his men. Raul escapes but is later jailed for possessing 10 Rurales; a princely some he must have stolen. Grisham tells Tess that she should be thinking about their future, not her past.

Vera sits with Col. Montoya at the caf‚. Montoya presents her a solid gold ancient necklace. "What did I do to deserve such a gift?" "Nothing ...not yet." "I see.", she remarks (thinking it must be for a sexual liason). "It is for information you haven't provided me with yet. I have confidence in your abilities; you have such great assets Vera." the Governor confesses.

Everyday is torture that Tessa doesn't know how her Father died. She asks Marta to contact the spirit world. Winds swirl the dust in the Jail as the chaman, Churi, meditates. Marta hears his troubled spirit calling. Tarot cards reveal that someone will die for their sins and Tess is due for some divine inspiration. Disguised as Sister Maria, Tessa threatens the Jailor with the everlasting fires of hell unless she sees the prisoner. Her droopy glasses fall off and she knocks out the guard who picks them up. The "Queen of Nuns" and the two prisoners escape. In the confusion and dust, the Queen of Swords card falls at Grisham's feet.

Act II

The three escaped riders are away from town when Churi, wounded by a stray shot by Grisham, falls from his horse. Raul rides off as the Queen cradles Churi. "Please help", he requests, "Our Fathers crave for justice!"

"You mistook a nun for the Queen of Swords?" "What did she say?" asks the Colonel. "God will punish us Sir.", says the Jailer. "God has punished us already by giving you life!"

Vera, flirting with Dr. Helm, opens up the dress fabric to show her ample bosom, complaining of a heart problem. She quizzes him about Raul and what he thinks concerning who gave him the gold. She hears a noise in the medical office adjacent to his drawing room and is inquisitive as to what's going on. The Queen has brought Churi for treatment of his gunshot wound. The Doctor tells Vera that he is treating a patient with a severe intestinal disfunction and doesn't want her to get any of the discharge on her shoes.

While Montoya muses how the deserter, Raul, obviously obtained the ten Rurales from someone wealthy. He surmises that if we find out who, we'll have the Queen of Swords. Speaking of Raul, he is peering through the window at Tessa's Hacienda, where he sees the Queen remove her mask and bolts off on horseback.


Churi confides to the Doctor that if the mask is not returned to his Father's resting place, his spirit will stay with sadness forever.

Grisham dismisses a hooker when guards alert him of Raul's capture. As Raul is put in stocks in the town's square, he bargains with Col. Montoya over his life and information about the identity of the Queen. A friend is holding a signed confession letter naming the co-conspirators of Don Alvarado's (Tess's Father) murder. He relates further that if anything happens to him, the letter goes to the Spanish Court (indicated that Col. Montoya himself is chief among those responsible).

Grisham, Raul and a squad of lancers arrive at the Alvarado Hacienda expecting to find the Queen. Instead, they find Marta and Tess tied to chairs saying the Queen robbed us and left. Grisham dismisses the idea that this harmless girl is the Queen of Swords and he was lied to. Tessa hands Raul a knife aiding his escape as his hostage. She faints in Grisham's arms as Raul rides away. Raul returns to the ranch with sword and pistol and mockingly says, "I'm here to pay my respects to her royal majesty, the Queen."

Act IV

Dressed in a cumbersome dress for combat, Tess kicks Raul, pours water from a bucket thus dousing his pistol's gun powder, ducks behind a horse for cover, running up a hill with a wooden pitchfork she has grabbed along the way. As she fights him, Raul riles her as to how her Father was killed. "He died like a stuck pig, begging for mercy, crying like a baby and died a coward." "Liar!" Tess screams, as she parry's with his sword and runs him through with the pitchfork. Later sobbing to Marta, "If my Father cannot get justice, maybe someone else (The Queen) can."

Late that evening, Dr. Helm is following a trail of blood from his missing patient. He subdues a smoking guard from behind and climbs into Montoya's office and feels around the bookshelf. "Stop by to borrow a book?" inquires the Queen from the shadows. The Doctor shows her the secret entrance to the Colonel's vault room and picks the iron-gated door lock with the masked woman's dagger, obtaining the gold mask. A night guard suprises the two and the Queen kills him with a thrown dagger. The Doctor exits as an awakened Montoya arrives on the scene to confront the intruder. The Queen shoves a number of advancing guards down a stairwell but turns to face Col. Montoya in a duel. "Death by moonlight, how romantic," Montoya exclaims. "I bet you say that to all the girls," replies the Queen. As he displays remarkable dueling talent, he tries to lunge forward with his sword saying, "Adios my Queen." But his sword misses the mark as the Queen jumps from the balcony to her waiting horse below with her salutation, "Adios Colonel". "Damn you!" curses the frustrated Governor.


The Doctor vehemently argues with the Queen how she took a life to save his. "Who do you think you are, only God has the power over life and death." "And Doctor's . . .", she returns.

Sometime later, Churi replaces the mask over the face of his dead father's corpse. "The spirits of both our father's sing tonight", facing the Queen. He further relates, "Beware the Truth. It is a scorpion dancing at your feet. Step carefully My Angel."


Paramount episode guide

Official Webpage synopsis

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