‘Thursday’s Widows,’ Netflix’s gripping Mexican drama thriller show set in a gated community of the wealthy, follows the story of mysterious deaths that occur on the night of December 26. The show sets up its mystery through the deaths of three men, Tano Scaglia, Gustavo Maldonado, and Martin de la Luna, three of the most influential men in the community. Their wives, Teresa, Carla, and Lala, belong to the infamous Thursday’s Widows club, where some women meet weekly to gossip. Mavi Guevara, a real estate agent, is privy to the group’s dark family secrets. As these secrets come out in the open, so does the truth behind what happened in Los Altos de las Cascadas on December 26.
Despite its unconventional storyline, the series is essentially a crime mystery with murders to solve. However, instead of a story about crime, the narrative focuses on the build-up to the deaths, presenting a social commentary on high society. As such, with a premise of crime and social issues, the show is bound to invite curiosity about its relation to reality. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about the origin of ‘Thursday’s Widows.’
Is Thursday’s Widows a True Story?
No, ‘Thursday’s Widows’ is not based on a true story. Instead, the series is based on an Argentinian 2005 crime fiction novel by Claudia Piñeiro titled ‘Las Viudas de los Jueves.’ Piñeiro went on to win a Premio Clarín de Novela, a prestigious literary award, in 2005 for the novel. The book also saw an English translation by Miranda France under the name ‘Thursday Night Widows.’
Therefore, the story is simply a work of fiction penned by Piñeiro and her literary talent. As an author, Piñeiro prefers to let her imagination do the work rather than looking for inspiration in the news. “Everything I write starts with a triggering image,” the Argentinian author said in Spanish during a conversation with Ente Cultural de Tucuman. “It is installed on the head, and from there, I let it macerate. If there are characters, I hope they speak and show what their conflict is.”
While writing this novel, Piñeiro got advice from a writing teacher to read ‘In Search of Lost Time’ by Marcel Proust. In an interview with Bitter Lemon Press, the author discussed how Proust’s writing influenced her own and said, “His [the teacher’s] point was that the demands of story-telling (fundamental to any thriller or roman noir) should not steam-roll the composition of each character and the details of the world around them.”
“For all that there are mysteries to be revealed and truths to be uncovered, the novel can’t leave to one side the characters, their psychological make-up, their conflicts and traumas.” As a result, ‘Las Viudas de los Jueves’ holds an intricate significance for the ensemble characters that the show also reflects.
Additionally, ‘Thursday’s Widows’ marks a second on-screen adaptation of ‘Las Viudas de los Jueves,’ with the first being Marcelo Piñeyro’s eponymously named 2009 film, ‘The Widows of Thursdays.’ However, the latter presents an adaptation more closely related to the source material. ‘Thursday’s Widows’ gets much of its characters and storylines from the novel but makes several modifications to the story to fit its narrative better.
Since the series takes place in Mexico rather than Argentina, several noticeable points of distinction remain between the two. Fans of the latter will notice a change in the names of certain elements. For instance, in the show, Mavi Guevara, a resident of Los Altos de las Cascadas, swaps out Virginia Guevara, a resident of The Cascade Heights Country Club.
Furthermore, when compared to the book, several characters and plot points see a transformation in the series. Initially, Piñeiro wrote ‘Las Viudas de los Jueves’ as a metaphor for the affluent life of the upper middle class in Argentina during the 1990s before the 2001 9/11 tragedy brought on a financial crisis for the country. As a result, the story heavily deals with a depiction of social wealth and its abrupt disappearance.
Although the show takes a different approach, set within another time period on another continent, ‘Thursday Widows’ retains the novel’s core themes. Consequently, the series delves into an exploration of the rich and their high regard for status and public perception. In doing so, the narrative is able to tap into universally empathetic themes of desperation and hopelessness despite the absurdity of the characters’ opulent lifestyles.
Ultimately, the show does not have any relation to real-life events or people. Still, the show provides a socially relevant tale through its deep analysis of an affluent community and the hierarchical status that they live and die by.