Set in the eponymous Spanish neighborhood, Netflix’s crime series ‘Wrong Side of the Tracks’ follows Tirso Abantos, an ex-army captain who goes to any lengths to ensure the safety of his granddaughter Irene. When Irene gets involved with local drug lord Sandro with her boyfriend Nelson, Tirso teams up with his fellow ex-army compatriots Pepe and Sanchís to bring down Sandro. The series progresses through Tirso’s complicated relationship with Irene, her boyfriend Nelson’s family, and his efforts to destroy Sandro’s kingdom. Naturally, admirers of the show must be eager to know whether the protagonist is based on a real ex-army captain. Well, let’s find out!
Is Tirso Abantos Based on a Real Person?
No, Tirso Abantos is not a real ex-army captain. The character and his storyline are originally conceived by creator David Bermejo and other writers for the show. However, the influence of reality played a major part in the creation of the character. According to executive producer Aitor Gabilondo, Tirso is a combination of occurrences happening in real society. Several relevant concerns like racism, prejudice, war, etc. are reflected in the show through Tirso’s character. He gets presented as a representation of society’s good and bad rather than as a “hero.”
Although Tirso is a savior and protector for people like Alicia and Sanchís, he is a racist. Through the character, David Bermejo shows how emigrants and minorities like Latin Americans and Asians are treated in typical Spanish society. Tirso refers to Nelson and his mother Gladys as “Panchitos” due to their Latin American origin. When he encounters Santi’s Chinese store owner, he cannot help but think that the person always eats bats and pigeons. He even confronts his friend Pepe for serving food to the Chinese man in his bar.
For Bermejo, the foundational theme of the show is “prejudice.” He succeeds in depicting how harmful prejudicial views and beliefs are in society through Tirsu. The ex-army captain’s behavior towards Gladys or his adoptive granddaughter of Vietnamese origin shows how he fails to see the humanity in them beyond the prejudices associated with their identity or race. However, Tirso’s storyline progresses optimistically. He starts to realize the wrongs in his behavior towards Gladys and tries to change the same. Towards the end of the first season, Bermejo depicts that change is indeed possible. Tirso even subtly expresses feelings for Gladys, despite treating her as an inferior being initially.
Tirso’s anger towards the local drug trade and associated crimes is another aspect that shows how the character is connected to reality. According to Jose Coronado, who portrays Tirso in the show, the viewers who are “fed up” with the atrocities happening around them likely relate to Tirso. Considering the presence of the drug trade and other related crimes all over the world, Tirso represents the common man’s anger towards the same crimes. Sandro’s drug trade affects Tirso’s family severely like drug-related crimes have been affecting several families in Spain and other numerous countries all over the world.
Although fictional, Tirso is one of the major factors that connect the show to reality. In the character, one can find the traits of several real-life human beings, irrespective of national and cultural boundaries. Bermejo uses the liberties of fiction to combine those very traits.