At first, it was because of the riveting rise of Queenpin Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga). Then, it was for Dallas, our Dallas. The thing is, because this is a tale told best under cover of darkness and secrets, the show doesn't really get out as much as one would think someone living the fast life of a drug runner would. Honey, there are no bottles popping here.
The drug-mule warehouse? Camila's posh nightclub? All on set. Sometimes the skyline, too.
But the show's denizens went to enough places to make watching the show feel like home to a Dallasite. The characters drive around south of downtown and its environs a lot, which means one can see a lot of DART buses and a lot of the skyline. As one might expect of a series about drug runners, they are parked in lots and under overpasses a lot, too. (I keep waiting for Teresa to get pulled over in the car she's using. It's held together with rust, primer paint and duct tape and the registration sticker is five years old. That could be explained, since this is supposed to be in the past. But it's not. I digress.)
Brenda's succinct summation of Big D? "You're in Texas? ... I don't like gringos. Last time I checked, there's a lot of gringos in Texas."
So, if everyone is ready, follow me.
Teresa and James (Peter Gadiot), who has basically become her handler, make a run for the airport, as drug runners and mules do, before the pouches can erupt in her stomach and possibly (probably) kill her. Though that's probably secondary to making their meetup. They're fast on their way past the Sixth Floor Museum when they get caught by a red light at the corner of Houston and Elm; any Dallasite can commiserate with a stop light so long and unnecessary that you start seeing a special kind of red. Nevertheless, after a fender-bender in which they flee the scene, they make it to their destination. He parks quickly -- hahahahaha -- and they make a run for it.
The unassuming Emilio's Cafe (2006 Ervay St., Dallas) played host to the reunion of Teresa and her friend, Brenda (Justina Machado), who finally made it to America and relative safety. Alive and with her son in tow. (Brenda's husband, along with Teresa's boyfriend, was killed by Don Epifanio Vargas' -- played by Joaquim de Almeida -- men for skimming product.) With the downtown Dallas skyline as a backdrop, Teresa runs in and has a tearful reunion with her friend. She hands her money and tells her to eat there and get a room. "There's a motel just across the street," she says. No. There's not.
Dallas Farmers Market
After current Queenpin Camila Vargas (Don Epifanio's wife played by Veronica Falcon as one half of the worst couple ever) tests Teresa's loyalty in the third episode, James has to take Teresa to the Dallas Farmers Market. Specifically, "Whole Sale Pottery." They don't buy pottery, but they meet a guy who promises to buy what they're selling.
James tells Teresa to keep her mouth shut as they walk into one of my favorite mechanic shops at 2607 San Jacinto St., Dallas. Inside, he lucks out when she does everything but after they sell cocaine to the buyer they met earlier in the episode outside the farmers market. Teresa proves herself when she calls BS on what turns out to be funny money. Dunlap-Swain proved themselves to me when my heavy Chevy needed some TLC. With service that good, who cares what's happening in the bays after hours?
Victory Plaza at American Airlines Center
Teresa and James run for their lives as a bust goes down. Teresa runs right through Victory Plaza while James hides in a group of tourists on the trolley going "north on McKinney." Wait. What? Also see: Where did he find a group of tourists? Teresa hides in plain sight, petting a stranger's dog, as viewers hear the APB go out looking for "a Latina." OK. After the police pass by, she goes to where James had parked in the lot by the Fairbanks building in the West End; I'm slower than a Hee Haw punchline: I need to know how she got there that fast. Anyway ... the takeaway here is that they face the same parking woes we do when going near AAC.