Sin Identidad (No Identity) is a Spanish television series shown in Antena 3. It is an action-packed series that deals with family, love and revenge. It shows complex relationships between self-preservation and blood relations. The beautifully woven lies and deceitful deeds are well-thought-out with enough Checkov’s guns to stock an armory.
At first, I thought I was watching an Angelina Jolie-inspired show about kick-ass women spies. There was a prison where Asian convicts bully a Russian and a Spanish inmates, a prison escape, a plastic surgery and boom! a new identity for the Spanish inmate. As the season progresses, the main theme of the show is slowly revealed through flashback scenes. María vows to avenge what happened to her and make every person responsible for it suffer as much as she did. I have to admit that I was disoriented for a while when the settings shifted, but it was a good thing that I continued watching.
Sin Identidad revolves around the life of young lawyer María Fuentes Vergel (Megan Montaner), the only daughter of Francisco José Fuentes (Jordi Rebellón), an almost-Supreme Court justice, and Luisa Vergel de Fuentes (Lydia Bosch), a socialite. Their nuclear family is a paragon of perfection, blessed with political and civic clout, beautiful genes and more than sufficient wealth to purchase the latest branded clothes, shoes and bags to make them the envy of others in Madrid society. Behind this façade of newspaper-headline worthy family bliss is the puppet master, Dr. Enrique Vergel (Tito Valverde), the influential brother of Luisa.
Cracks start to show in the Fuentes family when Francisco receives letters blackmailing him about María’s identity – she is not a biological child of the couple. This would not have been a big deal had they adopted her in a legal manner, but María is a stolen child. María finds out about it, becomes withdrawn and her standoffish behavior culminates in her throwing a hissy fit at the birthday party of her Tata. True to character, Luisa is more concerned about people’s perceptions than going into the root of María’s problem.
Eventually, María befriends technology wizard Pablo López Redondo (Eloy Azorín) to help her track down her real family, among other things. While she distances herself from her family, she starts dating fellow lawyer and stolen child, Juan Prados (Daniel Grao).
After a couple of failures, María finally meets her biological mother, Fernanda Duque Expósito (Victoria Abril), the town whore and a drunkard, and María’s asthmatic twin sister, Amparo (Veronica Sánchez), the would-have-been town whore. While Fernanda welcomes the arrival of a long-lost daughter with glee, Amparo abhors María’s urbane appearance and luck as the chosen one to live the life of wealth.
María wants to help her biological family and integrate them in her life in Madrid. Luisa turns her nose up at the presence of Fernanda and Amparo. She deems them unworthy to be associated with her family, so she runs to Enrique to solve her imagined problems. Enrique pays Fernanda a visit at the hospital he conveniently owns. The latter is coughing blood and near her mortal end, but her recollection of the day she gave birth to María and Enrique’s role in “stealing” the baby poses too much threat against his reputation and his sister’s happiness. He suffocates her and coolly exits her room without a hint of regret on his face.
The death of their mother forces María and Amparo to be each other’s rock for a while and be wary of Enrique whom María knows killed their mother. Without any income, Amparo continues to live in María’s apartment which Pablo monitors without their knowledge. Yes, it is creepy and María thinks the same when she finds out. The presence of the hidden camera at her place becomes a vital tool when María is kidnapped by Amparo’s boyfriend, Curro (Antonio Hortelano). Enrique succeeds in bribing Amparo to betray her own sister, just days after their mother’s funeral. Amparo wants to take the place of María in the lives of the Vergels, especially in the erotic dreams of Bruno Vergel (Miguel Angel Muñoz), the uber hot son of Enrique.
Pablo who is in love with María needs the help of Juan, the guy María is in love with. It is heartbreaking, but Pablo is beyond petty emotions when it comes to helping people. The two of them try to locate her to no avail. Meanwhile, María wakes up in an unfamiliar place, almost naked and chained to a post (or something that looks like a post). She finds herself in the midst of an international arm smuggling syndicate. A rape, a kidnapping and an explosion later, María finds herself aboard a cargo ship en route to China.
Juan thinks he saw María die in the blast. Her violent death and random involvement with gun smugglers make headline news, an almost bookend to the fairytale life of the girl who had almost everything but knew too much. Her biological and adoptive families give an empty casket a funeral where Juan blames the Vergels for her death, so Enrique and Bruno threaten Juan to spill his unsavory secrets if he spills theirs.
Season 1 ends with a scorecard of Enrique +95 and María -7. There is no avenging of any kind…not yet.
Season 1 of Sin Identidad is enjoyable TV with beautiful actors who act well for the most part. The first part of season 1 spends a lot of time tackling the issue of stolen children so much so that I thought it was a series/documentary about the topic. It takes some focus away from María’s predicament, yet it also establishes the background of the people involved and how the discovery of the issue will taint their unblemished names.
Sin Identidad is not shy about showing some skin, María’s, Juan’s, Amparo’s, and Bruno’s, but within the context of making love or plain carnal desire, not something like sexposition. While the younger actors take the brunt of skin showing, the older ones, especially Enrique, show how acting experience sometimes trumps chests skillfully chiselled by sculptors of bygone eras. Enrique is believable as a loving brother to Luisa and a doting uncle to María even when he is planning her demise. Luisa as the spineless sister and cold wife and mother is superb. Her calm exterior belies the ineptitude that inhabits her being. Francisco is the equivalent of Game of Throne’s Ned. He is honest and just, and thinks that other people are honest and just like him. Fernanda is also an interesting character and is portrayed wonderfully by Abril. Her roller coaster ride of sanity and sobriety is a treat for TV viewers.
Aside from the actors, there are two other important characters in this show: Madrid and the clothes. It is a virtual tour of the Spanish capital that boasts of elegant architecture. The members of the alta in this show are dressed impeccably. María, Luisa and Bruno are the prime examples of this. The girls are real-life mannequins who wear color-coordinated classic clothes (Luisa) or young and fresh yet classically-inclined garments (María). Luisa has the perfect neck/nape for pulling off turtleneck blouses and pearls of varying strands and length. Bruno, well, just look at Bruno’s body in the photo above. What can’t he wear?
*I watched season 1 of Sin Identidad a couple of months ago, entirely in Spanish and without subtitle. This entry is written based on what I remember, so this might not be up there in terms of reliability and correctness. 🙂