The Best Spanish-Language Netflix Original TV Shows

Look beyond the subtitles and add these to your watch list.

money heist
'Money Heist' | Tamara Arranz Ramos/Netflix
'Money Heist' | Tamara Arranz Ramos/Netflix

Though Netflix has long been a staple of streaming in the United States, the company has been steadily expanding its international footprint, banking several worldwide hits, many of them in Spanish. Recently, the Mexican series Who Killed Sara? glued 55 million viewers to their screens in four weeks. According to The Los Angeles Times, Netflix spent $200 million in 2020 to produce content in Mexico alone, and in 2021, the company has committed to investing $300 million in Mexican productions and will open an office in Mexico City to expand its library of titles made in Latin America. It had opened an office in Madrid in 2019 to put a stake in Spain's movie and TV ecosystem following the streamer's mega-hit in Money Heist, or La Casa De Papel, with 44 million households watching in its first month and the third season being the most-watched Netflix series in non-English-language areas. Who Killed Sara? and Money Heist certainly aren't the only two Spanish-language series on Netflix worth your time—below, check out more favorites en Español.

cable girls
Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix

Cable Girls, aka Las chicas del cable (2017–2020)

Set in late 1920s Spain, Cable Girls follows the thief Alba (Blanca Suárez) as she is blackmailed by a cop and forced to steal money from the National Telephone Company. Adopting the identity of Lidia Aguilar, she gets a job as an operator. But her plan goes awry when she befriends three other operators: fiercely independent feminist Carlota, shy Marga who just arrived in the big city, and experienced Ángeles who's trying to balance a career she loves with her oppressive and volatile husband. Alba will often have to choose between saving her own life and her loyalty to the girls. Though the high stakes of potential failure would be enough, the relationship between these women is one of the best recent representations of female friendships on screen. Loyal to a fault, they support each other through everything and defy what stands in the way of their safety and happiness. Despite many of its darker themes (war, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and beyond), what makes Cable Girls shine is that it always manages to fill you with hope for a better tomorrow.

control z
Ana Cristina Blumenkron/Netflix

Control Z (2020– )

Having lost her father at a very young age, teenager Sofía (Ana Valeria Becerril) prefers to keep her distance from the rest of her high school. But when a hacker starts revealing everyone's dirty secrets, she uses her deduction skills to catch the guilty party. With each secret throwing the school into chaos and making the students even more dangerous, she fears she might not be able to stop the hacker before something catastrophic happens. Control Z is an addictive series that, along with Elite, will make you glad you left those years behind. (If you haven't yet, well, good luck.) Season 2 premieres on August 4. 

elite netflix
Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix

Elite (2018– )

When it first came out, Gossip Girl comparisons were inevitable: Spoiled wealthy kids with a mean streak were parading down their private school hallways, donning expensive outfits and freely engaging in sex, drugs, and mischief. However, Elite is more than a sexy, soapy high school drama. Season 1 starts as a murder mystery with a whodunnit to solve, featuring an abundance of suspects who possess both the means and motive. The show is also graceful with representation, prominently featuring gay characters as well another who is bisexual. It's definitely refreshing to see a portrayal of a Muslim family where the gay brother is living his own life freely (albeit secretly from his parents). As seasons have progressed, Elite has added new (but always captivating) characters while keeping its mystery/thriller element with related crimes. It's already been renewed for Season 5. 

Ingobernable
Ken Jacques/Netflix

Ingobernable (2017– )

Disappointed both with their marriage and her husband's politics, Mexico's first Lady Emilia Urquiza (Kate Del Castillo) has left her husband. When he is murdered and Emilia is framed, she works with new allies to prove her innocence and make the country a better place. Ingobernable is an exciting dramatic thriller, and it is impossible not to root for Emilia as the media and virtually everyone else is against her. She finds support from a rebellious group, as well as a passionate romance. Danger and conflicts abound, as even her allies won't agree on how to fight their battles. The show hasn't been renewed for a third season yet, but fans are crossing their fingers—Season 2 ended on a major cliffhanger and reveals an enemy living too close to home. 

the innocent netflix
QUIM VIVES/Netflix

The Innocent (2021)

Adapted from Harlan Coben's bestselling novel, The Innocent is perfect for those in a time crunch. This limited miniseries consists of only 8 episodes with plenty of dark twists. The show centers around successful university student Mat (Mario Casas), who accidentally kills another young man, Dani, during a bar fight. After several years in prison, he gets back on his feet with the help of his brother and the woman he loves. He's also formed a strange, yet close bond with Dani's mother. But his past isn't going to leave him be as a seemingly unrelated crime brings more enemies and secrets, and not all of them his. 

the house of flowers
Javier Ávila/Netflix

The House of Flowers, aka La Casa de las Flores (2018–2020)

Does drama follow the de la Moras, or do the de la Moras breed drama? Either way, their lives are dramatic. The upper-class family owns a flower shop and a cabaret, both named La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers), and when they’re not busy fighting over how to run the businesses, they’re busy covering up scandals to keep the de la Mora name untarnished. La Casa de las Flores helped popularize the millennial telenovela genre by incorporating LGBTQ+ characters and progressive values into the typical soap opera style. The dark dramedy challenges traditional Mexican morality and shuts down queerphobic viewpoints in a satirical and digestible way, and soapy as it may be, it’s hard to stop watching.

monarcha
Ana Cristina Blumenkron/Netflix

Monarca (2019–2021)

After 20 years away from her family, Ana María (Irene Azuela) returns to Mexico, where her father and brothers run a tequila empire and hotel business. She is married to an American writer with a teenage daughter, away from the drama and shady family business practices. Her father regrets their estrangement and wants her to clean up the business. When he is murdered, Ana María decides to stay, causing an immediate rift between her and her brothers, Joaquín and Andrés. Joaquín (Juan Manuel Bernal) has no intentions of sharing ownership or going clean and will stop at nothing to keep what he sees as rightfully his, familial bonds be damned. Neither as idealistic as Ana nor as dirty as Joaquín, Andrés (Osvaldo Benavides) is never sure where his alliances should lie. He is also trying to keep his personal life from imploding as he is married with a kid while dating a man he loves. With most characters pushing the boundaries between right and wrong for family, success, and love, audiences are left on the edges of their seats. 

money heist
Netflix

Money Heist, aka La Casa De Papel (2017–2021)

La Casa De Papel is an action-packed heist that quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, even getting its own Netflix documentary about the hype. The show follows the brilliant Sergio (Álvaro Morte), aka The Professor, as he recruits a crew, each getting an alias of different city names, with different specialties to steal billions of dollars from the Royal Mint of Spain—also colloquially known as the House of Money—in Madrid. What separates La Casa de Papel from other heist-centered stories is not only what, where, and how the team plans to steal, but the nature of the relationships between the crew members. There are intense romantic storylines among them, but the bond between the crew members makes for some sweet, sentimental, and entertaining moments of television. The pre-heist training they go through is also unlike any other. The Professor doesn't just lay out the plan: They study together, learning about each potential scenario that might present a roadblock on the job. And while the series never reaches a Game of Thrones level of character death, no one is safe. The final season will air this September and December in two parts, but it's already gotten the green light to be made into a K-drama.

toy boy
Netflix

Toy Boy (2019– )

Stripper Hugo (Jesús Mosquera) was framed for a murder he didn't commit and served seven years in prison. A prestigious law firm takes him on as a pro bono case and sends their young rising star Triana (María Pedraza) to defend him. But as she digs further into the case, it becomes more convoluted. They are going against a powerful, wealthy family, led by Hugo's ex, corrupt cops, and prejudiced society. With even his lawyer doubting him, Hugo at least has his stripper friends on his side. Toy Boy aptly balances potentially soapy storylines with dark themes and hooks the audience with a slow burn. Equipped with two star-crossed romances (including one between Hugo and his lawyer), Toy Boy's best feature is the healthy and strong male friendships it portrays. The different routines the dancers perform is the icing on this crime drama cake. Toy Boy has been renewed for Season 2. 

Vivir sin permiso
Netflix

Unauthorized Living, aka Vivir sin permiso (2018–2020)

Rich family matriarch Nemo (Jose Coronado)—with a drug business hidden from the public—is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and he's determined to set his affairs in order before the disease takes him, but only his right-hand man Ferro knows about Nemo's condition. He needs to decide who will take over the business between his two children, Nina and Carlos. The decision to keep the business in the family enrages Mario (Álex González), who had been running the company with Nemo for years. Raised by Nemo after his father's death, Mario was certain the business would be his to manage, as neither kid showed any aptitude or interest for the company—Carlos is more interested in hanging out with his teacher boyfriend, and Nina would rather run her art gallery. Unauthorized Living, with all of its dramatic twists and turns, chooses a more concise path: The show is only 26 episodes, each lasting around 70+ minutes. It never feels overstretched and the drama is always organic.

who killed sara
Netflix

Who Killed Sara, aka ¿Quién Mató a Sara? (2021– )

Young Alex lived a happy life with his loving sister, Sara, caring mother, and rich friends who adored him. But then his sister was killed and he was manipulated into taking the blame for it. When Alex (Manolo Cardona) is released after 18 years in prison, now in his 30s, he is armed with tech, fighting, and explosives expertise and is hell-bent on revenge, as well as proving his innocence and finding the real killer. He's, however, against powerful and ruthless enemies. The parents of his former friends will stop at nothing; killing him is a welcome option. Who Killed Sara? is a dark, exciting, and addictive mystery. Its first two seasons, one of Netflix's surprise early 2021 hits, aired within a couple of months of each other, and it's been renewed for Season 3. 

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Pinar Tarhan is a freelance writer and romcom novelist. You can check out her website at writing.pinartarhan.com.