Penny Dreadful Wiki
Penny Dreadful Wiki

She chose you! You'll lie to yourself but not to me. This is who you are. Tomorrow, you have to stop it, whatever it takes. It all ends in blood or in fire. You saw her. You know it happened. Santa Muerte chose you. You couldn't save your father. Maybe you can save yourself.
— Maria to Tiago Vega[src]

Maria Vega is a main character on Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. She is portrayed by Adriana Barraza.[1]

Maria is the powerful matriarch of the Vega family. Maria will go to any lengths to protect her children, Raul, Tiago, Mateo, and Josefina from the dangerous world of 1938 social politics and the supernatural forces invading their lives.[1]


Maria grew up in Mexico, where she had dreams of being a nun, but then she met Jose Vega, who she married and started a family with.

Throughout the Series[]

Season 1[]

Santa Muerte[]

Maria celebrates her son, Tiago Vega becoming the first Chicano detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. Josefina and Mateo congratulate him, but he makes sure to get a moment alone with his mother to tell her that the badge he earned is just as much hers as it is his. Although Raul, Maria's eldest son doesn't seem to think it’s something to necessarily be proud of him. He does however joke with his brother and tell him that now as a boy in blue, Tiago will be a gringo before he knows it. Maria is proud of Tiago and demands that Raul show respect. The Vega family comes together and Raul proposes a toast in honor of "Detective Tiago fucking Vega."

Maria walks Tiago to his bus stop. She asks Tiago if he's nervous about starting work, but he's got a good partner and used to being treated unfairly. While Tiago may have earned his badge, a lot of people won't like that he's the first Chicano detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. Maria tells him to wear his badge proudly, and always help the next man up. They look over to the construction as demolition is set to commence on Monday. Raul is trying his best to stop them. They got an injunction, and he's going to the city council tomorrow. Maria looks to Tiago and tells him that his father would be proud. Tiago's bus then arrives.

Maria catches the bus to the wealthy side of town, where she works as a maid for the Craft family. Inside, Maria greets Peter and kisses Tom and Trevor in the head as they discuss possibly visiting Yukon. Linda joins them in the kitchen and warns him that he’ll be late for work, leading to the topic of the new roads being built through Belvedere Heights. Peter tells his family goodbye and privately tells Maria to ensure that his wife get rest and to keep her away from any alcohol. He then asks about Maria’s family and tells her that she can always rely on him.

Mateo and Josefina get into a fight as Mateo throws someone out the record shop. Maria breaks them up, instructing Josefina to go inside and scolding Mateo for swearing. She pulls him to the side and tells him that he was raised better than to fight in the streets, but he isn’t so sure that there’s much out there for someone like him other than working at the cannery or in the field.

Tiago arrives and asks Maria about Santa Muerte. She knows that he isn’t a believer and wonders why he’s asking. Maria explains that Santa Muerte doesn’t curse people. She’s a holy angel that guides them peacefully to heaven. Mateo retorts that she didn’t guide his father so peacefully, who died in agony. Tiago then reveals that it looks Mexicans may have been involved in a recent murder and wants her to keep an eye out for any Santa Muerte rituals and black masses, anything involving Arroyos. Maria questions how Tiago can continue to defy the existence of Santa Muerte when he was touched by her. Maria agrees to help but questions what Tiago will do when the day comes that he needs Santa Muerte. Tiago and Maria then dance outside the record store.

Maria prays before a shrine for Santa Muerte. A large gust of wind blows out the candles and knocks Maria over. Santa Muerte emerges from the darkness, demanding to know why she was awakened. Maria claims that she can feel the evil near and begs for help. Santa Muerte explains the prophecy to Maria: "A time will come when nation will battle nation, when race will devour race, when brother will kill brother... until not a soul is left." Where or not that time is now is unclear. Santa Muerte has many corpses to gather. Everywhere she looks, every step she takes, she wades through that agony, and therefore, she has no heart to care for man. Maria believes that the time the prophecy spoke of is now and pleads with her to intervene, but Santa Muerte refuses, even as Maria claims that she’s slept for too long. She asks if Santa Muerte will continue to sleep as her sister conquers all. Santa Muerte roars at Maria and disappears.

Maria shows up at Taigo’s apartment unexpectedly and asks if he will be there tomorrow when the construction starts. She tells Tiago that he must be there because Santa Muerte spoke to her. She then pulls down the collar of Tiago’s shirt, revealing the hand print Santa Muerte left on him. She urges Tiago to stop the riot at whatever cost. If not, everything will end in blood and fire. While he couldn’t save his father, she hopes he can save himself. Maria takes a drink of alcohol and tosses Tiago his badge.

Dead People Lie Down[]

At Los Angeles County Hospital, Maria, Mateo, and Josefina pray at Raul’s bedside as he lays unconscious. The shot fired glanced off his skull and caused bone fragments to shatter into Raul's brain. They are given three days before they have to remove him from the respirator. Josefina greets Tiago with a hug. Maria continues to pray for Raul’s recovery. Tiago suggests calling Father Nunez, but Maria refuses to accept that Raul will die. Two floors up, in the very same hospital, Maria gave birth to Raul. She insists that he’ll survive.

Maria lights a candle and prays to Santa Muerte to save Raul. The candle blows out. Maria opens her eyes to discover that Raul is gone. She proceeds to follow the trail of blood. Unbeknownst to her, Santa Muerte is right behind her. Maria turns around and is startled by Raul, who has removed the bandage from around his head.

Wicked Old World[]

Maria and Tiago sit at the table just outside the house. Maria reveals that she has to go back to work on Sunday because the Crafts are having a party.

Josefina and the Holy Spirit[]

Maria spends the day working at the Crafts as they posts a birthday party for their son, Tom. She eventually returns home and starts to prepares dinner. Tiago and Raul join their mother in the kitchen, where Raul tells her about Tiago dating a gringa. Mateo and Josefina arrive with the groceries. Maria notices the bandage on Mateo’s hand and rips it off to discover the Pachuco mark. Maria is enraged and ashamed, but Mateo is proud of his mark. He refuses to end up like his mother, being a maid or his brother, a cop. Mateo exclaims that he’s tired of being weak and storms out. Maria follows him out the door. Josefina tries to tell her mother what happened, but Maria brushes her off.

Children of the Royal Sun[]

Maria shows Lewis her shrine of Santa Muerte. Her magic is very powerful. You pray to her, and she gives you what you want. The gold Santa Muerte-- you pray to her for your raise. The white for purity of heart, the green for justice, the red for love. And Black is for protection from all evil. None of Maria’s children believe in her save for Raul. Maria reveals that Tiago has talked a lot about Lewis. He tells Maria that she’s raised an honest man. Maria believes that it is she who should be thanking Lewis. He picked Tiago for a partner when no one else wanted a Chicano. Tiago then joins them and tells Lewis it’s time to leave. On his way out, Maria hands him a miniature black Santa Muerte figurine for protection.

How It Is With Brothers[]

Maria sits outside the Craft house, playing in the grass with Tom. Later, Maria finds Mateo, Fly Rico, and Rio are held up in a shack. Rio tells her that she's not welcome, but she’s come to bring Mateo home. She doesn't care what he’s done. All that matters is what Mateo does next. However, he refuses to leave and tells his mother that she isn’t welcome.

Maria and the Beast[]

Maria takes the bus to work. While passing through a cemetery, she makes eye contact with Magda. Maria arrives at the Crafts, where Peter explains to Tom and Trevor that their mother is sick and that he had to send her away. Maria adds that sometimes life changes for the better even though it may not seem so. Elsa and Frank arrive outside, and Peter and Maria help move them in.

Elsa is amazed with the Crafts’ home. She asks Maria if she has anything so special in her home. Maria tells Elsa that she has a set with ivory handles, from her grandfather, but they only use them on rare occasions. Elsa realizes that this must be strange for Maria, but she only wants them all to be happy. Elsa claims to be worried about Frank. She suggests that Frank move into Tom’s room and Trevor take Maria’s room. She proposes that Maria move into the room next to the garage. Peter joins them and agrees that this would be best. Maria then enters her room and packs her belongings.

Peter brings Maria sheets to her new room. He tells her that this new arrangement is only temporary until Frank gets settled in. Maria tells Peter that he doesn’t have to explain himself to her. She then offers him a cigarette. He can’t imagine what Maria must think of him after sending Linda away and moving Elsa in. Maria replies that all families have their secrets. Peter will need Maria’s help now more than ever. She’s always been a part of their family. He then asks her opinion of Elsa. Maria replies that she’s clean and pretty. Peter fears that this is all too new for Elsa and that she will need some help as well. Maria tells Peter that she’ll keep an eye on Elsa, as she prepares to leave for home. Peter kisses Maria on the cheek and leaves.

Maria arrives in Belvedere Heights. She enters her home, where Raul sits on the coach, listening to the radio. She asks about Josefina, who Raul tells her is in her room. Maria heads into the kitchen and looks at the ivory handle set from her grandfather. She takes it out and cooks dinner. She exits the kitchen and finds Josefina in the living room with Raul, about to leave. She has bible study with the Temple. Maria knows enough about that place to not trust it, but Josefina has put all her faith into it. When Maria asks Josefina if she’s no longer Catholic, Josefina asks her the same question in return, reminding her mother that when she is in need, she prays to Santa Muerte. Before leaving, Josefina adds that Sister Molly is just as important to her as Santa Muerte is to Maria. Maria blames Raul for not intervening and talking some sense to Josefina. He used to fight for his family, but all he does now is sit around.

Maria goes outside for a smoke and reminisces over the celebration they had just a few feet away when Tiago first became a detective. Maria then goes into the garage, lights the candles and prays to Santa Muerte.

Maria prays to Santa Muerte. She asks why her sister is attacking her family. Santa Muerte tells Maria that she thinks too highly of herself, but Maria is certain of it. Her family is being taken from her one by one, and all at once. Maria can smell Magda and feels her on her neck. Maria blames Santa Muerte for doing nothing. Magda joins them and blames her sister for tormenting the Vegas. She asks Santa Muerte if she remembers the agony of when she turned on her. Santa Muerte made her choice and is suffering for it. She even sheds a tear. Magda tells her sister to weep in darkness and forever. Santa Muerte lowers her head and disappears into the darkness.

Magda questions why her sister calls Maria 'Old Coyote.' Maria replies it’s her spirit guide. Maria then tells Magda that she’s not welcome in her home. Magda laughs and tells Maria to spare her the invocations of a dusty faith that Maria herself no longer believes. She questions how Maria can love Santa Muerte but hate her so. Magda then knocks over a Santa Muerte statue. All life comes from death, Magda explains. However, Maria doesn’t believe that Magda knows life as all she causes is suffering. Magda claims to be able to end Maria’s suffering and bring her family back together. Magda offers to be Maria’s savior should she embrace her with open arms. However, Maria refuses her offer. While her family may be at the center of Magda’s chess game, they are not pawns. They are kings and queens and the blood of Aztecs run through them. Maria professes that she will fight Magda to the end of days before banishing her.

Hide and Seek[]

Tom digs a hole in the backyard to bury his dead hamster. Maria joins him and assures Tom that his hamster is in heaven, as it was simply his time. However, Tom claims that Frank killed Friar Tuck. Maria believes Tom, but she tells him not to repeat this to anyone. She then gives him a necklace with a coyote on it for protection. Unbeknownst to them, Frank watches from the window.

While taking out the trash at the Crafts, Maria spots Josefina in the driveway. Josefina wants to apologize for their fight. Maria assures her all is well. Josefina then reveals that she’s moving into the Temple. They have a dormitory and learning program. Josefina wants more for her life than being a maid. Maria asks if they can continue their talk after work, but Josefina will have already moved out.

Elsa asks Maria to stay over with the boys as she and Peter have an engagement later in the night. She then asks if Maria heard the coyote braking yesterday. She’s disgusted by the creatures. She adds that in Germany, they would shoot coyotes. She also tells Maria that she never wants to see her speaking with Mexican people at their gate again.

Maria prepares dinner for the children. As Tom and Trevor listen to the radio in the living room, Frank startles Maria in the kitchen. He asks if this is what she dreamed of when she was a little girl in Mexico. Maria tells Frank to join the boys but he refuses. He knows that Maria wanted to be a nun, but then she met Jose Vega, who she married and started a family with. He opens his mouth and his jaw unhinges, frightening Maria.

As Maria is washing dishes, Tom screams out for her. She finds Tom and Trevor standing across from Frank. He notices the coyote necklace around Tom’s neck and looks at Maria. The lights suddenly go out. As Maria looks for a flashlight, the boys disappear. She follows the low growls and eerie whispers up the steps. She is startled and drops the flashlight. She picks it up and finds Frank standing in front of her. Tom then screams out for Maria. She follows the screams to his room, but no one is there. The door suddenly slams shut behind her. She then finds herself face-to-face with her husband, Jose. He claims that Santa Muerte brought him back and that he’s come to help. Maria reveals to him that it is evil inside the house. He replies that the power of the beast is too powerful. She can either leave or die. Two things Maria knows for sure is that her husband would never tell her to run away and that the beast can take many forms. She realizes that Jose is actually Magda, who then asks if Maria knows how bad her husband screamed when she killed him. Jose then goes up in flames and Maria’s screams. Maria awakens from what was merely a dream, still in the kitchen, washing dishes. As Elsa and Peter return, Frank knocks the teapot off the stove and places his hand on the fire, blaming Maria for his burns. Elsa and Peter enter the kitchen and demands to know what she did.

Elsa demands that Peter fire Maria, but he can’t afford to lose Maria. He accuses Elsa of making the incident bigger than what it was. Frank merely burned his hand and it wasn’t Maria’s fault. Elsa questions if Peter will be the strong man she needs or will he allow an old Mexican woman to be a monster in the house. Maria interrupts to tell them that she’s going home for the night. Elsa then looks to Peter to fire Maria, however, he gives her a $5 raise instead.

Sing, Sing, Sing[]

Tom and Trevor play in the backyard while Peter and Elsa discuss the effects that her moving in had on the boys. Peter blames himself for being so selfish; for moving their mother out and moving Elsa in so abruptly. Once Peter leaves, Elsa intentionally spills her glass of juice, forcing Maria to clean it up. She asks Maria what she thinks of her. Maria replies that when she knows, she’ll tell Elsa. Else replies that when Maria knows, it’ll be too late.

Maria arrives in Belvedere Heights and sees Raul sitting across from the construction site. He argues that there may be good to come from the motorway. Maria worries it’ll kill the neighborhood. Not that it matters. They’re moving the motorway to the canyons. Raul then asks about work. Maria tells him that the house is cursed. She tried to help, but she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She’ll pray tomorrow. Raul has been contemplating going back to work. Ever since the hospital, Raul says that nothing feels the same. It’s as if he now has purpose, but he doesn’t know what it is. Maria changes the subject. She tells Raul that she wants to go out for a night on the town.

Maria and Raul arrive at the Crimson Cat and take to the dance floor. They bump into Josefina and grab a table. Raul complements her new red hair. Josefina tells them that she’s happy at the Temple and hopes that her family can accept that.

Mateo arrives and greets Josefina with a hug. Fly Rico takes a liking to her and asks her to dance. Mateo tries to give Maria a kiss but she pulls away. Raul tells Mateo that he’s a joke. Rio retorts that he’s a man now. While he may be dressed like a man, Maria says that he’s still a boy. A real man stays home and helps out his family with pride. Mateo believes that they all find their pride in different ways. When Raul went into the union, Mateo recalls his mother shouting that he was going to become a Bolshevik and get blown up. There were even bigger fights when Tiago joined the force. And while Mateo doesn’t understand the Temple, he realizes that Josefina found her pride. He reminds Maria how she always taught them to be proud and be Vegas. He asks her to be his mom, if only for the night. Maria worries for him, but she agrees.

Tiago arrives with Molly to Maria and Raul, who tells tales of their past. He claims that Tiago is a natural born liar. Whenever something got broke, "little innocent Tiago" was never to blame. Maria adds that he was a good boy. Maria then asks how they met. Tiago reveals that they met while he was working a case and that she’s in public service. Maria asks if she’s a teacher. Molly replies that she’s partially correct. Raul then warns Molly that Maria is very protective of Tiago, who leaves to get drinks.

Maria realizes that Molly is Sister Molly. She blames Molly for taking Tiago and Josefina from her. Tiago tells his mother to sit down and show her some respect. Josefina and Mateo join them. Raul separates Mateo and Tiago as they go back and forth. Maria blames Tiago for dividing the family. Tiago demands that everyone stop. His whole life, he’s disappointed people. He doesn’t believe in God or Santa Muerte, like Maria. He doesn’t join the union, like Raul. He’s not Chicano enough. He’s not white enough. He’s not cop enough. He’s not anything enough. But he knows who he is and that he loves Molly. He tells them they can turn their backs if they want, but this is who he is. Maria laughs and tells Tiago that he should have been a priest. Mateo looks to Molly and says that maybe she’s the priest. Tiago suggests that they start over and introduces Molly to everyone. Maria accepts Tiago’s passion for Molly, as he’s her soul, as are her other children. Molly promises she wouldn’t do anything to hurt Tiago or Josefina. Tiago then goes over to Mateo and tells him that he loves him and that sometime soon, they should talk. Tiago then takes Molly to dance as Raul partners with Josefina, and Mateo with Maria.

Day of the Dead[]

Maria, Josefina, and Raul leave the Crimson Cat at Tiago's behest. Later, she welcomes Lewis, Dottie, Brian, and Benny into her home. That night, Benny and Brian prepare to leave for the airfield. Maria hands Benny a recipe on his way out. Maria and Dottie watch as they drive away.

Maria asks Josefina if she’ll stay the night. She will, but after that, she’s returning to the Ministry. She thought that when she was at the Temple that she would be different, but nothing has changed. Maria recalls when Josefina was a little girl and got scared. She’d always tell Josefina she’d be safe but admittedly, that’s not true. She then starts to sing to Josefina.

Maria, Mateo, Raul, and Josefina gather in the cemetery to celebrate Day of the Dead. Tiago arrives late, still mourning the death of Molly. Maria hugs him and they dance in the cemetery. The following day, she and Raul watch as destruction of Belvedere Heights has commenced.

Appearance and Personality[]

Maria is a middle aged Mexican woman with tan skin and brown eyes. She is a very caring and loving mother, willing to protect her children at all cost. She is also very religious and follows Santa Muerte.


Season 1[]

Memorable Quotes[]

"She chose you! You'll lie to yourself but not to me. This is who you are. Tomorrow, you have to stop it, whatever it takes. It all ends in blood or in fire. You saw her. You know it happened. Santa Muerte chose you. You couldn't save your father. Maybe you can save yourself."
—Maria to Tiago Vega[src]

"My family may be at the center of this chess game of yours. But we not pawns. We are kings and queens. And the blood of the Aztecs runs through us. The soldiers of the Revolución walk beside us. And as long as I draw breath from my lungs, I will claw through mud, I will climb hills, and I will fight you to the end of days. In the name of my children, whom God knit together in my womb, I banish you from this place."
—Maria to Magda[src]


  • Maria is the only member of her family that believes in Santa Muerte.
    • She is often referred to as 'Old Coyote' by Santa Muerte, which is her spirit guide.