LOCKED UP S1
Locked Up is a female prison melodrama that, if it were a book, would be the sort of page-turner you’d keep in the bathroom for light reading. A huge hit in its native Spain, where it’s known as Vis a Vis, it’s gritty and grim – about the only thing bright about it are the yellow overalls worn by the women in the gun-metal colours of Cruz del Sur prison.
Of course, Orange Is The New Black is the obvious comparison, but Season 1 of this Spanish potboiler sacrifices that show’s dark humour for docu-style realism and cliffhanger intensity. Maggie Civantos plays Macarena Ferreiro, Locked Up’s luckless lead, a former accountant sentenced to seven years after being framed by her wealthy boss/ boyfriend for corporate fraud.
Naturally, this middleclass newbie is terrified on the inside, not least after her bunkmate is murdered (death by steaming – gruesome) and she’s accosted by the prison’s bigwig inmate, Zulema (Najwa Nimri). True, it lapses into women-in-prison cliché at times, but Civantos’ innocence-to-experience arc across the season is adeptly played. Lock it in.
There wasn’t very much of a choice in the prison pet shop.