Why do people frequently choose love that is destructive, harmful, and perverse? Created by Leticia López Margalli for Netflix, the Spanish-original erotic thriller drama miniseries ‘Dark Desire’ (original title: ‘Oscuro Deseo’) provides an intense concoction of a murder mystery, a scandal with allures of incest, and a corruption tale to keep the viewers on the hook. A lawyer-professor unwittingly sparks off a steamy liaison with a handsome 25-year old student. Little does she know that the student is out to get his revenge on her husband.
In the meantime, the sudden death of the professor’s best friend opens old wounds. The dreamy sex scenes are intoxicating, but they do not prepare us for the rotting lies within the family. The gendered rhetoric is worth pondering, and the storytelling technique keeps us guessing. There are a lot of spillovers in the fallout, and a twist ending keeps us rooting for a second season. If you are wondering what happens in the final moments, we shall get to it, but first, let us take a quick look at the events of the season. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Dark Desire Season 1 Recap
At the beginning of the story, Judge Leonardo Solares’ lawyer wife, Dr. Alma Solares, decides to go “hunting” with her best friend Brenda, who suspects that Leonardo is cheating on Alma and suggests Alma hook up. At the party, Alma meets a charming guy named Dario Guerra, who, despite Alma’s reservations, ends up at Alma’s place, undressing her. Despite Alma hesitating several times, she gives in to the persuasive guy’s whims but later asks Dario to leave. He leaves for the night, only to appear at her lecture on femicide the following day.
Alma finds an excuse to leave, but she mysteriously has a flat tire. Dario and Alma end up at Dario’s mechanic shop after Dario volunteers to help, which leads to another steamy session. Meanwhile, Leonardo’s brother, retired police detective Esteban, finds Alma’s friend and his old flame Brenda dead in the bathtub. Esteban embarks upon a solo adventure to solve the puzzle, but he may be the centerpiece. He has flashbacks of the accident that led to him losing a leg. While on his way out of Brenda’s house, Esteban gets shot at by another incoming visitor, who could be Brenda’s husband.
In the meantime, an anonymous guy — Animus — texts Zoe, Leonardo, and Alma’s daughter. He ultimately entices Zoe with his beguiling words, and Zoe becomes obsessed. This guy, we come to know, is Dario Guerra himself. Dario seems like a real smooth player, and he jumps over the fences to dip in the Solares’ pool. After greeting Leonardo, who has returned from his trip, Alma goes to the pool to greet Dario. Leonardo leaves for Guadalajara with Edith, while Alma reminds Leo about their anniversary on his return.
Esteban smells foul play in Brenda’s death. Meanwhile, Dario ghosts Alma to make her reach out to him. Alma’s therapist gives her the idea of meeting Dario in person, as there is nothing wrong in desiring, after all. With the suggestion, Alma meets Dario, while security footage outside Brenda’s place reveals Dario was there before Brenda’s death. With this revelation, Dario becomes the primary suspect in Brenda’s murder.
However, Alma cannot take the burden, spilling the secret to Esteban, who already senses the situation. After learning the secret, Esteban tries to close the case swiftly by making it look like a suicide to save Alma from a scandal. Leonardo arranges a surprise dinner for their anniversary and presents Alma with an expensive necklace. On the other hand, stalker Dario is present at the anniversary party to have a word with Alma. After their conversation, he also takes time out to text Zoe.
Dario pays a visit to Lucinda, his mother, and on his way out, he finds his father’s photo in Lucinda’s room. When Dario is upset, we get glimpses into his past — how Dario’s mother tried to drown Dario and how his father killed himself to save face. He was indicted for a crime he did not commit: the murder of Leslie Delgado. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
After seeing Alma and Leonardo in the act on their anniversary night, Dario gets a hold of Zoe. Using the Animus account, he lures Zoe into his shop, which gradually leads to Zoe losing her virginity. Esteban and Alma dig more into Dario’s past, which reveals the ten-year-old case of Leslie Delgado. As Leonardo was the judge for the matter, Dario may have a grudge against Leonardo. Meanwhile, we get to know that Leonardo was having an affair with Brenda, and he is the one who cost Esteban his leg. Leonardo has also seen telltale signs of Alma cheating, and he suspects Esteban to be the illicit lover.
After Zoe goes missing with Dario, Alma and Leonardo fear the worst. Seemingly Zoe is fine, but in the meantime, Alma spills to Leonardo that she was cheating on him. Leonardo has a breakdown and gets to a hospital, while new findings implicate him in the death of Brenda. After the mysterious death of Vallejo, Leonardo falls under suspicion. But the doctors found high sodium levels in Leonardo’s system, which could indicate slow poisoning. Meanwhile, Officer Garcia works her best to recover the lost footage of Brenda’s security cam, which uncovers that Esteban was the last to visit Brenda at around 1:07 a.m.
Dark Desire Ending: Who Killed Brenda?
As the ending suggests, Brenda killed herself. While Alma and Esteban are busy making their theories, Brenda probably thought she had no choice save death. She loved Leonardo from the very beginning, and although Leonardo says that they were together for only three months, we know that is a lie. In the end, as Alma recollects, they all have roles to play in Brenda’s suicide.
Leonardo did not break off his marriage for Brenda. When Esteban went into Brenda’s room that night, he was abusive. Alma and Brenda had distances between them, despite being so-called friends. And with the list of wrongdoings, Brenda was hesitant to talk to Alma about her affair. Society also had a part in her death; the same culture weighs women through the quotient of love and the male figures in their lives. Esteban conjured theories to ease his guilt when she chose to take her own life, luring Alma into his fiction.
Is Dario Dead or Alive?
At the end of the spiraling eighteenth episode, Alma accidentally shoots Leonardo in the leg while trying to eliminate Esteban when he confesses his crimes. The irony entails that Leonardo did the same to his brother. In the meantime, Esteban confesses his love for Alma. However, another twist awaits us in the end. It does not seem that Dario is dead, although a previous episode suggested so.
Dario and Esteban did not burn down the factory of Dario’s millionaire grandfather; they cut a deal instead after burning the Godfather. Now, as Antonio and Alberto (Dario’s father and his uncle) are dead, Dario has inherited quite a fortune. He leaves his mechanic shop attire and takes up a savvy suit, patronizing Esteban. With the final twist, it seems that retired cop Esteban will work for Dario from now on.
Read More: Is Dark Desire A True Story?