Queen of the South's Hemky Madera Talks Killer Instincts, Pote's Kitchen, and Romance!

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When Queen of the South Season 1 began, Pote Galvez was the hitman sent to kill Teresa Mendoza and her best friend. Now the sicario is Mendoza's right-hand man, valiant protector, and someone she considers family. 

What makes Pote different from other assassins in the world of narco TV? Can his newfound romance with Kelly Anne possibly last? And what kind of fun has both Pote and his portrayer found in the kitchen?

Recently, I chatted with actor Hemky Madera about that, another season of Queen of the South, and what else he has on the horizon. 

Pote Has Her Back - Queen of the South Season 3 Episode 12

What made you want to play the role of Pote?

I was familiar with the project because of the soap opera, the telenovela, and then I auditioned for it and then read the book.

I really enjoyed that character that chases her and then becomes her protector.

So I thought that was a pretty cool role to jump into.

Did you expect this character to grow into such a complex role and a fan favorite when you began in season 1?

Being a fan favorite, I’m overwhelmed. I’m very happy and very humble with it.

I knew that the character itself would grow if they respected the book, as the character grows as the book goes on, but I was not expecting to be such a fan favorite or the attention that I’m getting from it.

It’s nuts.

It’s a beautiful thing, and I appreciate it, and I’m really, really grateful.

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This season has had some interesting twists for Pote’s personal life. Were you surprised to find out not only that Kelly Anne was going to return but that she and Pote’s relationship would become romantic?

Not at first, no. I had heard that they were thinking of bringing her back, but I had no idea. Then they pitched me the storyline, and I said, “Okay, cool.” I thought it was a pretty cool choice for Pote.

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Now Pote has this little family with Kelly Anne and Tony, but how long can that last given their circumstances?

Well, it is a narco show so you’ll have to watch! There’s going to be a lot of turns and ups and downs.

But I promise it’s going to be an amazing, thrilling season. That is for sure, and Pote has not lost his killer instinct, just so you know.

Going Hunting - Queen of the South Season 4 Episode 7

The show has filmed in many different locations, have you had a favorite?

Oh wow! Dallas for the first three seasons was amazing; beautiful people. New Orleans gives it another backdrop and it’s like the city becomes another character.

But I think Malta was very beautiful and different, and on a personal level, I got to go to Malta! What’s not to like?

Although the jet lag was horrendous for me, it was the first time I had jet lag pretty bad. But it was fun to shoot there.

Pote loves to cook, do you?

I do now because my wife has been an inspiration. I was always afraid to cook. I was very good at doing white rice. I’m a hell of a white rice cooker. But now I can do picadillo and a few other dishes.

It’s pretty much if you can read you can cook, in following a recipe.

My wife, she knows the ins and outs, and the little touches without even looking at the recipe. Hopefully I’ll get like that someday, but I do enjoy cooking now.

Who came up with the idea of Pote’s Cheignets Recipe video? Will there be anymore of these type of fun, teaser videos?

One of the camera guys, Billy, he’s Sarah’s (Donohue), one of our Unit Production Managers, husband. He’s an amazing guy. He and I thought of an idea to do Cocina de Pote. We kind of talked about it, and we got, not shot down but they said no, gently.

Then a year later, USA (network) came and said we’ve got this thing that maybe will work. I said, Oh yeah, I know this idea very well.

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I’m glad they used it, and we want to do more, so Billy and I are going to talk to the network to see if we can do more because people seemed to enjoy it very much. It was funny.

The Cocino de Pote is more like Pote teaching you how to cook, like his own TV show, but in between, he tortures people while things are simmering.

You’ve played other hitmen or criminal types over the course of your career. What makes Pote different?

Well, when I was on Weeds, it was a more calm character. For Pote, it’s an older character, I am older, but it has a lot of depth.

This guy, he’ll kill you in a heartbeat but he’s a just killer, I guess, in the world of narcos.

He just wants to do the job and then protect Teresa, even with his own life, and the people that he cares for.

But don’t think that he’s a softie by any means. He needs [fewer] moves to kill somebody and doesn’t like to talk about it.

Attending a Funeral - Queen of the South Season 4 Episode 8

Is there anything new on the horizon for you, any projects you’d like to share with your fans?

I just got an offer to do a couple of episodes in an HBO show called Perry Mason, and I actually just saw that Veronica Falcon is in it, which is pretty cool, and the male lead from The Americans (Mathew Rhys). And the creators used to be writers and producers on Weeds, which is pretty cool, too.

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I was in the works to do one of those amazing superhero movies but unfortunately I couldn’t do it because it conflicted with the scheduling of Queen of the South, but those things happen.

Yeah, but I’m excited and waiting for an answer to see if we’re going to get a (Queen of the South) season 5!

But apart from that, I’m just enjoying the family. I’m relocating to Nashville.

All of our things are being shipped there. My wife’s a singer/songwriter, Jessie Lynn Madera. You should look her up, she’s amazing.

I did actually when I was doing research for this interview, and I really like her. She’s got a great voice.

She’s amazing. So we’re going to move to Nashville because it’s her turn. She’s supported me through all of these years and I’m never in L.A. thanks to work, so we’re headed to Nashville.

Oh, also, I’m supposed to go back and do Brockmire, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. That was a cool role to play.

Seeking Protection - Queen of the South Season 4 Episode 6

If you could star on any other show on TV, not including your own, which show would it be?

That is a hard one. Let’s see. I would have loved to have been on Game of Thrones. That would have been cool. But that’s a really hard question, there are so many good shows out there. 

I was almost on The Sopranos one time. That would have been awesome.

But when you’re young and broke and don’t have money to pay your cell phone and someone asks you to do a favor for a student film and you say yes.

Then you check your machine at home, and you check your messages at 11:59 am, and then you check it again at around 3:00 pm and there was a message 12:01 pm and then another one at 2:55 pm.

Under His Wing - Queen of the South Season 4 Episode 7

One was saying that they want me and the other was saying that they couldn’t wait for me anymore.

So always pay your phone when you can. Back in the day, it was different. That was years ago.

The Sopranos would have been cool.

Game of Thrones is something that was recently so massive.

But The Sopranos was such a great I show, I’ll pick that one.

Check out our Queen of the South reviews and watch Queen of the South online here at TV Fanatic.

C. Orlando was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Queen of the South Quotes

You could say that I am living proof that the American dream is alive and well.


My name is Teresa Mendoza. I am from Mexico. I was born poor, not that that's bad but take it from me, I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better.