Queen of the South star Alice Braga on Teresa's future with James: 'In this world, love weakens you'
Watch EW's exclusive peek from the drama's fifth and final season with an update on James' condition.
Alice Braga teases USA Network's Queen of the South's fifth and final season will bring forth some of the most challenging moments for her character Teresa Mendoza, especially where love is concerned.
"The cartel world is very harsh, especially when it comes to matters of the heart," Braga tells EW exclusively about how James' (Peter Gadiot) return will upend Teresa's life when the drama premieres on Wednesday, April 7 at 10 p.m.
"In this world, love weakens you. It puts you in a very dangerous situation because it can be used against you, to hurt you," she continued. "This happened to Teresa already in season 4 when they killed [her godson] Tony to hurt her. Season 5 will show a harsher Teresa and her struggles with James' return and coping with the loss of her godson."
In an exclusive first look of the season 5 premiere above, James has survived his injuries and he's safe with Teresa and her crew. Nobody knows what to make of his reappearance and the conversation about whether or not he can be trusted is ongoing.
"James is back because he loves this woman," series executive producer Ben Lobato shares. "He proved in season 3 when he sacrificed himself going back to Devon Finch [Jamie Hector]. When the show returns, fans will discover what James has been doing to pay off his debt to Finch and why now he's risking his life again to warn Teresa of an impending threat."
Adds executive producer Dailyn Rodriguez, "Working for Finch has broken James a bit. You learn early on that he hoped to return to Teresa, who up until this point abided by a certain code of morality. He learns quickly that things have changed. He's very much in a place where he's exhausted with the life he's been living."
Judge Lafayette (David Andrews) is back with a vengeance and ready to cause more trouble for Teresa. Has he finally met his match?
"I want to preface this conversation by saying how much I love David Andrews. I've admired him long before he joined the show. It's been such an honor to work with him," says Braga. "I love the way he portrays this evil judge and the way Ben and Dailyn created him. It's been a real joy to hate him!"
She adds, "He also brings this racist element to him, like he specifically wants to overpower Teresa because he's a racist. Ben and Dailyn had already written these storylines before the Black Lives Matter movement and I'm really proud that what we discuss in season 5 amplifies this important conversation."
Javier's (Alfonso Herrera) death has not been forgotten by those closest to him, bringing Boaz (Joseph T. Campos) to center stage.
"When Javier killed Lafayette's nephew, he inadvertently set-off a domino effect that continues in season 5," Rodriguez shares. "Something similarly happens with the judge that will be a catalyst for its own domino effect."
"Boaz finds out that Teresa handed Javier over to the judge to be murdered, he's not happy. That tension will have to be worked out between them," Lobato continues.
Although love isn't destined for those involved in cartel life, Pote (Hemke Madera) and Kelly Anne (Molly Burnett) are plotting how to reverse that.
"They're going to continue to be loved up, which has been such a joy to see play out," Rodriguez says. "These two are such an unlikely pair but they fell in love and fans can definitely expect to see more of this coupling in season 5."
Adds Lobato, "As they grow deeper into their relationship, the question of this lifestyle begins to emerge. They start having the tough conversations because, going with the theme that love won't survive in this world, they have to confront the fact that they're becoming a family."
What fans want to know the most is whether or not popular characters from previous seasons could pop-in for a final goodbye. Jon Ecker, who's currently starring on NBC's Chicago Fire, told EW exclusively during a recent IG Live that he didn't reprise his role of Guero for the finale — news which Lobato and Rodriguez confirm.
"We have something from the past that will pop back up, but this is such a big question and we don't want to spoil anything for fans," Lobato says.
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