Netflix premiered their latest Spanish-speaking drama titled Cable Girls (original Spanish title Las Chicas del Cable). Cable Girls is a feminist drama set in Madrid in the 1920s following the lives of four women working at a telephone company as switchboard operators.
The first episode begins with Alba attempting to run away with her friend, Gimena. Gimena’s husband finds them and gives Gimena an ultimatum: either she returns to him or he shoots Alba. Although Gimena reluctantly decides to return to her husband, Alba rushes towards him, causing his death as well as Gimena’s.
Shortly after, Alba sits in a jail cell lamenting the loss of her friend. Given her history of theft and fraud, Alba faces murder charges. Beltran, a police officer, however, offers her a deal. To avoid jail time, she must use her skills as a thief. Alba is then tasked to steal a safe inside the only telephone company in Madrid.
There, Alba assumes her new identity: Lidia Aguilar. On top of that, the director of the phone company is Alba’s childhood sweetheart. While Alba was successful in convincing Francisco she is not the woman of his youth, he still complicates her plan.
Working at the telephone allows Alba me a group of characters, such as Marga, a young woman from a small village and new to the city; Carlota, a young woman wanting to work and to be independent despite her parents’ protestations; and Angeles, a working mother expected to quit her job after her husband’s promotion. Angeles also knows the company and job better than anyone else.
The relationship among the four principle characters is perhaps the highlight of the show. At one point, Marga thinks about leaving the city before Carlota persuades her to stay. “I’m not afraid anymore,” Carlota tells Marga. Despite her family’s wishes, Carlota persists and follows her dream to be an independent woman. It’s great to see another show focusing on women and their struggle in the workforce and search for equality.
While the show is set in the 1920s, sadly, not much has changed. Regardless, Cable Girls shows women persisting and fighting for freedom.