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Murder on the Orient Express meets Titanic in the 1940s-set High Seas, one of the most entertaining new Euro TV dramas this year.

High Seas (Alta Mar)
High Seas (Alta Mar): (L-R) Jon Kortajarena as First Officer Nicolás Vázquez, Alejandra Onieva as Carolina Villanueva, Chiqui Fernández as Francisca, Begoña Vargas as Verónica, and Ivana Baquero as Eva Villanueva — Photo © Manuel Fernandez-Valdes, courtesy of Netflix

High Seas is worthy of binge-watching or take-your-time-and-savor-each-bit-watching.

The red herring-filled murder mystery story is intricate and intriguing, with stylish and colorful sets and costumes that make it a feast for the eyes, and relationships between various upstairs-downstairs characters, as well as between upstanding and repugnant ones, that can remind one of Downton Abbey.

That each of its eight episodes — streaming globally as of today on Netflix — ends with a cliffhanger adds to its watching worthiness in either category.

Preceding the cliffhangers is this shocker:

“Ten days and three people have already been murdered.”

Set sometime after the end of World War II, the series opens with that statement, then rewinds to the first day of the voyage aboard the Bárbara de Braganza, a ship carrying 1,600 passengers from Spain to Brazil, where many are headed to start a new life.

Two of the passengers are the inseparable sisters Eva and Carolina Villanueva. They are traveling with their Uncle Pedro, who’s been like a father to them since their own, Pedro’s brother, died in an accident two years earlier. Eva, a writer, is going to Rio de Janeiro to meet with a publisher who’s interested in her novel, while Carolina, who is about to marry Fernando Fábregas, the ship’s owner, shall begin her wedded bliss there.

High Seas (Alta Mar) Onieva Sacristán Baquero
High Seas (Alta Mar): (L-R) Alejandra Onieva as Carolina Villanueva, José Sacristán as Uncle Pedro, and Ivana Baquero as Eva Villanueva — Photo © Manuel Fernandez-Valdes, courtesy of Netflix

Before they even leave port, the sisters aid and abet a seemingly helpless woman in stowing away. Then they become embroiled in a murder mystery. While the ship’s hard-nosed (and suspicious-acting) security guy goes about his investigation, First Officer Nicolás Vázquez and Eva do some amateur sleuthing à la Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence.

Many more intrigues happen behind the ship’s closed cabin doors — as well as out in the open. Such as playboy Sebastián and his servant Dimas Gómez vying for the affection of Verónica, the beautiful daughter of Carolina and Eva’s maid, Francisca; Fernando’s sister, Natalia, being quite aware that her lecherous husband, Anibal, has been ogling Clara, the ship’s singer and the girlfriend of ship’s officer Manuel; and people from Uncle Pedro and Francisca, to Fernando and Clara, keeping deep, dark secrets from their loved ones.

Meanwhile, the murderer is still on the loose on the Bárbara de Braganza, and a second victim is found. Following the discovery of the third, the captain takes drastic measures to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew — concurrently putting them in grave danger.

Before all is said and done, threats will be made, gunshots will be fired, blood will be spilled, assaults will be committed, lives will be lost, crimes will be covered up, lies will be told, and secrets will be revealed.

It’s good stuff, this (despite some rushed storytelling and continuity gaffes). Check it out.

The main cast includes Ivana Baquero (The Shannara Chronicles) as Eva Villanueva, Alejandra Onieva (El secreto de Puente Viejo) as Carolina Villanueva, Jon Kortajarena (Quantico) as Nicolás Vázquez, Eloy Azorín (Grand Hotel) as Fernando Fábregas, José Sacristán (Velvet) as Uncle Pedro, Begoña Vargas (A Different View) as Verónica, Tamar Novas (The Zone) as Sebastián, Ignacio Montes (Velvet Colección) as Dimas Gómez, and Manuela Vellés (Velvet) as stowaway Luisa.

Rounding out the cast are Eduardo Blanco (Cannibals) as the captain, Chiqui Fernández (La Peluquería) as Francisca, Natalia Rodríguez (Love in Difficult Times) as Natalia, Félix Gómez (14 de abril. La República) as Anibal, Laura Prats (Marco Polo) as Clara, Daniel Lundh (Morocco: Love in Times of War) as Manuel, Antonio Durán (Cocaine Coast) as Detective Varela, Pepe Ocio (Cable Girls) as the ship’s doctor, and Luis Bermejo (Money Heist) as a ship worker.

A production of Bambú Producciones, High Seas is created and written by the team of Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira (Cable Girls, Cocaine Coast, Velvet).



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Euro TV to Watch: Brilliant Spanish Mystery Series ‘High Seas’ (‘Alta Mar’)
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