|“||You go against the cops, they'll shoot you down like animals. That's what you are to them.||”|
|— Tiago to Raul[src]|
Tiago is LAPD's first Mexican-American detective who Tiago grapples with racism, childhood trauma, and faith issues.
Throughout the Series
Many years ago, Tiago Vega joined his father, Jose, out in the fields. A young Tiago is playing the song La Llorona on a record player. His father, Jose, comes to grab a drink of water and asks Tiago if he has any other songs to play. Tiago says that he likes this one. To which the older man mentions that the boy always likes the sad ones. Suddenly, the field catches on fire. His father is caught in the fire and burned alive. Tiago reaches out for his father as he screams in agony. Tiago runs into the field towards his father, who is in the hands of Santa Muerte. She extends her hand and pushes Tiago several feet back.
Present day, Los Angeles, 1938. Tiago celebrates becoming the first Chicano police detective in the Los Angeles Police Department with his mother Maria, and siblings Josefina and Mateo, who insists on seeing his badge. Tiago goes over to his mother and tells her that the badge is just as much hers as it is his. Before long, Tiago’s older brother, Raul arrives. Unlike the rest of the Vega family, Raul doesn’t approve of Tiago’s career path. Nevertheless, 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.
Tiago returns home to his apartment. He lays his badge on the nightstand, undresses, and goes to bed. However, he is awakened from his sleep the following morning by his partner, Detective Lewis Michener. Tiago isn’t supposed to start until Monday, but Lewis gives him 15 minutes to meet him outside. There was a homicide down by the river, and they were called in. Tiago and Lewis arrive at the crime scene of a quadruple homicide. The victims have been stripped of their clothing and mutilated, as well as painted ritualistically. Lastly, there’s a message written in blood: "Te llevas nuestro corazon tomamos el tuyo", which translates to "you take our heart, we take yours." Tiago reexamines the bodies and discovers that their hearts have been removed.
While getting dressed at the precinct, Tiago is harassed by officer Jimmy Reilly. He asks if Tiago has any hair oil and refers to him as "Pancho." Lewis comes to his defense and threatens to tell everyone about Reilly’s girl in Sonoratown, forcing Reilly to back down. Tiago tells Lewis that he can speak for himself, to which Lewis retorts that he should start doing so.
Tiago and Lewis are called into Captain Vanderhoff's office. A maid called in a missing persons this morning; two adults and two juveniles. They brought her by the morgue, and she identified the bodies. James Haslet and his family from Beverly Hills. They're dealing with four rich white victims in the L.A. River. This gets out, and they're looking at a race war. Vanderhoff wishes those bodies were Mexican, to spare them of any outrage. While Tiago isn't so sure the suspects were Mexican, Vanderhoff would beg to differ. Lewis suggests that it's the work of the pachucos.
Tiago asks Lewis why he chose him as a partner. Lewis reveals that no one else would. He then asks Tiago why he never wears a hat. Tiago explains that he wants everyone to know he’s Chicano. He then reveals that the painting on their victims’ faces was Day of the Dead makeup, honoring Santa Muerte, folk religion from the peasants in Mexico. Santa Muerte is the angel of holy death. It’s her job to bring people to heaven. A religion was built around her as well as the other holy angels and devils. Tiago offers to talk to her mother, who believes she’s a witch, about Santa Muerte. Suddenly a band of individuals waving Nazi and American flags arrive in the park, among them Peter Craft. They are the German American Bund. He introduces himself and explains that he would do anything to keep his family safe. He believes that American has a duty to keep them safe as opposed to interfering in foreign affairs.
Tiago and Lewis arrive at the victims’ house. They enter to find a very religious setting; paintings of Jesus, gospel playing over the radio, etc. Lewis grabs a drink and begins looking upstairs while Tiago searches downstairs, though they both come up empty handed. All they know for certain is that Haslet was a church elder and his company is contracted to build the Arroyo Secco roadway.
Tiago asks his mother 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.
Just outside of the record store, Raul tells Tiago how Mateo roughed up one of the customers who was hooking up with Josefina. Mateo joins them and reveals how Maria scolded him. Tiago then tries to convince Mateo to go to the Angels game on Monday as opposed to the protest led by Raul, who has a difference in opinion with Tiago. Raul tells him how the machines are in the empty lot across from the laundry, where they used to play Tom Mix. Tiago encourages Raul to keep Mateo out of it. However, Raul worries this is only the first step in a long thought out plan to have them all deported. Tiago warns Raul that if he goes against the cops, they’ll shoot them down. Raul places his hand on Tiago’s chest and asks where his heart is.
Lewis receives an unexpected visit from Tiago, who tells him that he’s not coming to the demolition tomorrow. Lewis informs Tiago that they all have to be there. With four bodies in the morgue and a potential race riot on the brink, Lewis urges Tiago to pick a side.
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.
Monday morning. The Los Angeles Police Department stand on one side of the road and Raul, Mateo and the Belvedere Heights community stand on the other. Before long, Tiago arrives, joining Lewis. He reveals to Tiago that he’s never fired his weapon on the job. Tiago hands his weapon over to Lewis and walks into the street. He pleads with them to go home as there’s nothing they can do to stop the construction. However, Raul refuses to leave. Magda notices one young officer that’s exceptionally nervous. She whispers in his ear, sowing seeds of fear and uneasiness until he fires, killing one of the protesters. With that, a full blown riot breaks out as the community of Belvedere Heights attacks law enforcement. Tiago takes cover behind a car, as does Lewis. Shots fire and men fall on both sides. Magda encourages Raul to fight back rather than tend to the wounded. So, he finds a gun and shoots multiple police officers. Raul shoots Lewis in the arm but before he can kill him, Tiago shoots him, and he falls to the ground almost instantly. As Tiago stands over Raul’s body, at the center of the blood shed, Magda and Santa Muerte stare each other down with only a few feet in between them.
Tiago and Lewis arrive outside the hospital, where they are confronted by fellow officers. Lewis suggests that Tiago enter around back. To them, he’s nothing more than another brown face, just like that that killed four officers today. However, Tiago refuses and faces the officers head on. Officer Reilly spits on Tiago’s face as they walk past.
Inside, Tiago and Lewis are approached by Captain Vanderhoff, who questions if Lewis knows who shot him. Despite knowing his attacker, Lewis tells Vanderhoff that he never saw who fired the shot. Despite numerous Mexican fatalities, Vanderhoff is only concerned with the four dead officers. He tells Lewis to come see him after he is patched up. Once Vanderhoff is gone, Tiago asks Lewis why he didn’t tell Vanderhoff the truth. Lewis covers for Raul, replying that he didn’t see anything nor did Tiago. He then tells Tiago to go find his family.
Tiago watches as a grieving young woman identifies a deceased loved one. Tucked off in the janitor’s closet, he finds at least half a dozen dead Mexicans lying on gurneys. Tiago then speaks to his brother’s doctor, who reveals that Raul is being kept alive through machines. The shot fired by Tiago 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. Tiago then pulls Mateo to the side, who confronts him for shooting Raul. Should he succumb to his wounds, Mateo intends to denounce Tiago as part of their family. Tiago rushes down into the stairwell, where he proceeds to sob.
Tiago, Lewis, and Vanderhoff meet in the cafeteria, where they discuss the pending Mexican uprising. On top of the riot, they still have the Hazlett case, in which a white family from Beverly Hills was seemingly murdered in some kind of Mexican voodoo ritual. City Hall needs this resolved, so Vanderhoff orders them to conclude the Hazlett case, rather than solve it. He wants a Mexican's head on a plate.
Tiago and Lewis arrive at Hazlett’s church, Joyful Voices Ministry. They request to see Sister Molly but are instead taken to her mother and head of the Church, Miss Adelaide. They question her about James Hazlett. He was a deacon in their organization and had various obligations, such being one of their bursars. Miss Adelaide claims that he was a valued member of the church. Lewis asks her to take him to Hazlett’s office while Tiago stays behind.
Tiago sneaks off downstairs, where he finds Sister Molly sitting in the dark, preparing to go on stage. The curtains rise and Sister Molly takes center stage. She tells a story about meeting a man on the street on the search for the Lord and then sings. All the while, Tiago watches from behind the curtain.
As Tiago and Lewis leave, Lewis reveals that he believes the Hazlett murder is a con. Between the bodies being painted up and left in the LA River and the Spanish Message written in blood, someone wants them to think it was race related. They suspect that someone else wanted Hazlett dead and are trying to frame the Mexicans. Lewis is certain that Miss Adelaide has something to hide and is determined to find out what it is.
Tiago goes around the back of Joyful Voices Ministry, where there are guards on duty. He sneaks in through the back door with a group of food delivery workers. He finds Sister Molly washing dishes and asks to speak with her about James Hazlett. As he asks about Hazlett and his position at the church, Tiago helps Sister Molly with the dishes. Molly didn’t know him well. She and her mother had dinner at his house two years ago. But she found that it’s difficult when getting too close to the parishioners, though Hazlett was always level-headed. Randolph, who’s tasked with protecting Molly’s "virtue," tells Tiago to get back to the truck, unaware that he's a detective. Molly assures him that it’s fine and continues talking to Tiago, who wonders why Sister Molly isn’t out front, where more people can see her. She’s "too famous" and prefers it in the kitchen, where it’s more quiet. Her life is busy with touring, doing a radio show and recording songs. Her calling is pastoral. She simply wishes to help people. She’s been on the revival circuit since she was four. She would sing a song and her mother would pass a hat. They went from town to town, all over Nebraska. Sooner or later, fate just found her.
Sister Molly tells Tiago about the time that one of the congregants became ill. She visited him at the hospital at his mother’s behest. He was in an iron lung, looking up at her through a mirror. Molly told his mother that she couldn’t heal him, but she did pray with him. He was very close to death, and Molly thinks that he saw straight through her. Admittedly, Molly wanted him to die and for his suffering to end, so that he could be with God. Tiago reveals that his brother is dying and that they need to take him off the respirator tomorrow. Molly asks if Tiago prays for Raul, or if he believes in miracles or God. He answers no to all three questions. However, he does recall believing as a kid that he saw Santa Muerte when his father died. Molly tells Tiago to find his grace and help his brother do so as well. When that little boy looked up at her, she couldn’t find the grace within herself, so she couldn’t possibly help him. The boy died two days later. She had to do a radio show that night. And then, she went home and cut her wrists. If his brother dies, Molly asks that Tiago come to her. Miss Adelaide and Randolph interrupt and inform Molly that the car is waiting. Miss Adelaide then warns Tiago that if he wishes to speak to her daughter again, he’ll have to do it through their lawyer.
Tiago and Maria 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. Tiago then enters Raul’s room and takes a seat at his bedside. When Tiago asks Raul how he’s doing, Raul places Tiago’s hand on his chest.
Tiago sits at his desk, studying the Hazlett case. Captain Vanderhoff asks about Tiago's brother and then tells Tiago to go home, given that it’s his day off. He tells Tiago that they’ll still be just as dead when he comes back on Monday, something he had to learn himself. Many years ago, he worked the Florence Moore case. A 12-year-old girl was murdered. Her arms and legs had been cut off and her eyes were held open with wires. Tiago asks how he sleeps with that on his mind. Captain Vanderhoff replies "Seconal." He then tells Tiago to go home.
He is approached at the bus stop by Molly. She asks the talk and the two take a seat on the bench. She’s been praying for his brother. She presumes he died and asks if there’s been a service. Tiago reveals that his brother is recovering, much to Molly’s amazement. His bus arrives, but Tiago stays behind to continue talking with Molly. She reveals that she doesn’t get out by herself a lot and never gets a day off. There’s always work. Always pour souls in need of help. Tiago adds that it’s hard to leave them behind because they just stay in his head. While his captain recommended Seconal, Molly suggests Nembutal. She often wishes she was someone else entirely. A completely normal person. Tiago shares the same sentiment. He then offers her the chance to be someone else, just for the day.
Tiago takes Molly to the Santa Monica Pier. He plays a game at the shooting range and wins her a Popeye doll. Tiago shares with Molly how just after his seventh birthday, his father managed to scrape up enough money to bring all of them to the pier. They couldn’t afford to go on any of the rides, but it didn’t matter. They enjoyed being there. His brother Tomas and sister Gina were alive then. It was the best day of his life. They later died from Cholera. It was all over el barrio at the time. They all got sick, but some never recovered.
Tiago and Molly look over the pier, into the ocean. Molly explains that she can’t bring Popeye home with her and gives him back to Tiago. Someone so jaunty has no place in her house. Tiago and Molly share a kiss. She offers to drive Tiago back to the station, but he intends to stay at the pier a bit longer, to continue enjoying what he calls the second best day of his life.
Tiago meets Lewis at a bar. Lewis reveals that he’s taking a couple days off to bury his friend Anton. He has no one, so the chore is left to Lewis. He then tells Tiago that Sister Molly and Hazlett were having an affair. He discovered it while going through Hazlett’s temple records and real estate contracts. He bought a love nest in Malibu but used church funds, so it’s tax-exempt. He went through a lot of trouble to hide it. Lewis came to the conclusion that he didn’t want Miss Adelaide to know. Tiago is doubtful but Lewis is certain. "The only reason men hide anything is for money or for pussy." In the face of all the evidence, Tiago is convinced that Sister Molly is innocent.
Tiago returns home and goes through Lewis’ findings. After looking through the documents, he comes to the same conclusion as Lewis, that Sister Molly was in fact having sex with James Hazlett, making her a prime suspect.
Tiago arrives at the precinct to find every cell filled to each corner with Mexican prisoners. He catches Officer Reilly in the middle of his "interrogation" of Diego Lopez. Reilly has handcuffed him to a chair and beaten him mercilessly. Tiago slams Reilly against a wall and tells him to stay away from Diego or else he’ll kill him. Captain Vanderhoff arrives and calls Tiago into his office.
Vanderhoff places the medical examiner’s photos of the Hazlett family on his desk and tells Tiago to look at them, specifically the kids, Steve and Marion. Steve was about the same age as the boy that Reilly has handcuffed to a chair. Vanderhoff explains that Reilly was conducting an interrogation and he'll go on doing that until they get a confession. Vanderhoff recalls Lewis mentioning that Hazlett was cooking the books and shacked up in a love nest. He tells Tiago to work on that and bring him a suspect or else the interrogations will continue.
Tiago arrives at the love shack that Hazlett has hidden away at the edge of town. Tiago goes inside to investigate. It becomes apparent that both a man and a woman reside there judging by the closet. Molly arrives soon thereafter. Tiago asks why she lied to him about having an affair with Hazlett. Molly admits to sleeping with hhim. Furthermore, he wasn’t the first. But, she didn’t kill him. Molly tells Tiago that she’s not who he wants her to be. All she wants is to be left in peace. She asks that Tiago allow her that. She recalls how she and Tiago spent a day being someone else, but that’s over now. All the value from her life comes from being Sister Molly. And that’ll never change. She then leaves, but not before telling Tiago that she never wants to see him again.
At the Vega house, as Maria prepares dinner, Tiago tells Raul about his complicated relationship with Sister Molly. Just from Tiago’s description, Raul presumes that his brother's dating a white woman. He jokes that gringas are crazy and that Tiago should give up the idea of having a family because they don’t want to ruin their figure. 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.
Tiago finds Molly at the Joyful Voices Ministry washing dishes and decides to join her.
Tiago and Molly return to her beach house, where they have sex. Afterward, Molly tells Tiago about her lowest point in life. Many years ago, she and her mother were in Florida without a penny. They parked their car and pitched a tent near a marsh. A hurricane suddenly struck. Then it began raining and thunder storming. Finally, a truck full of men came by and took them in and found them shelter. Molly is very much aware of how Tiago sees dragon of a mother. But there are times where Molly finds herself grateful for the dragon’s roar. She’ll always be in debt to her mother for introducing her to God and giving her useless life a purpose. Molly then inquires about Tiago’s scar. He tells her he’s had it since he was a kid. He and his father were working in the fields. Suddenly, there was a fire. Tiago tried to save him but couldn’t. Molly recognizes the burn as a handprint and tells Tiago that it’s a blessing.
Lewis stands outside of Tiago’s apartment as multiple offers arrive at the music store across the street. Tiago arrives and Lewis explains that LAPD are on a vendetta after Officer Reilly was murdered and his body tossed out in front of the department. This is clearly a declaration of war. Which is why Lewis was waiting for Tiago, who disappeared for 24 hours. Admittedly, Tiago hated Reilly but he swears that he didn’t kill him. He hopes this wasn’t the doing of Mexicans.
Tiago and Lewis question Sofia about Officer Reilly. It didn’t take much asking to find her. They all know about his Sonoratown honeys. Sofia reveals that she was in bed with Reilly when four Pachucos kicked the door open, cut Reilly with a razor, and pushed her out the room. Sofia recognized Fly Rico and Rio. However, she isn't familiar with the two younger guys they came with. One of them however, had a bandage over his thumb, where they put the tattoo for new recruits. Tiago suspects that Mateo is the younger Pachuco she’s referring to. He thanks Sofia and tells her she can leave, but not before Lewis gives her a couple dollars to get something to eat. Tiago now wants to see Raul, who may know where Fly Rico is.
Tiago and Lewis arrive outside his family’s home. Raul is connected through his union work. He knows everyone, and Tiago hopes that he’ll know where to find Fly Rico. He asks Lewis to stay in the car, but Lewis refuses. He suspects that Tiago isn’t telling him everything. Tiago and Lewis question Raul. He’s heard about Reilly’s death over the radio. He wonders why they aren’t out looking for the killer. Tiago needs to know Fly Rico’s whereabouts. Lewis realizes that Raul won’t speak freely in front of him and offers to go for a walk. Maria joins them and Tiago suggests that she introduce Lewis to Santa Muerte.
Tiago and Lewis question Bernadette Romero as she’s on her way home with her child. They need to track down Fly Rico and hope that she’ll be willing to help. When she tries to brush them off, Tiago becomes aggressive. He confronts Bernadette about living in the county illegally and threatens to have her separated from her daughter and deported, which is too far for comfort for Lewis. So, he takes a gentler approach and asks Bernadette for an address where they can find Fly Rico.
Tiago and Lewis stake out the Royal Park Hotel after getting Fly Rico’s address from Bernadette. Lewis asks Tiago if he’s heard of Frederick March. He’s an actor who won the Academy Award for a movie called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Tiago realizes that Lewis is hinting at his sporadic behavior. Tiago’s recent behavior is unsettling for Lewis. He asks Tiago what did he learn from Raul, but Tiago refuses to say. Lewis tells Tiago that either they go inside focused or not at all.
As Tiago and Lewis stake out Fly the Royal Park Hotel, a young Mexican kid rides past the car and Tiago realizes that he’s a lookout. He and Lewis go chasing after the kid. Tiago chases him into the building and up several flights of steps. Lewis catches up and they apprehend the kid before sending him downstairs. Tiago and Lewis then proceed upstairs. They kick in the door and find themselves face-to-face with Rio, Mateo, and Diego. Tiago has his gun pointed at Mateo. Fly Rico tackles Tiago to the floor, knocking the gun from his hand, and Rio throws the table at Lewis, providing them with a chance to escape; Fly Rico and Mateo down the fire escape and Rio and Diego out the front door. Rio escapes through the stairwell, locking Diego outside to be apprehended by Lewis.
Tiago chases Fly Rico and Mateo down the fire escape. Mateo and Fly Rico run in opposite directions as they reach the bottom. Tiago jumps off the fire escape and onto a car. He then chases Mateo down the street. He finally catches up to Mateo at a dead end. Tiago draws his weapon and asks Mateo if he killed Officer Reilly, which Mateo admits that he did. And he’d do it again. Tiago lowers his gun and allows Mateo to run.
Tiago and Lewis stand outside the precinct. Lewis asks if Tiago had ever seen the guy that got away before. Tiago claims he hasn’t. They proceed to grab Diego from the backseat and walk him into the precinct, where they meet the stares of the other officers. They are confronted by Officer Murphy, who questions if Diego had help. He then gets into Diego’s face, and Tiago tells him to back off. A fight erupts and Captain Vanderhoff intervenes. He places Diego into the interrogation room and tells Tiago and Lewis to brief him. They explain that there were four suspects total. They only managed to apprehend Diego. Murphy wishes to interrogate him, but Vanderhoff gives Tiago and Lewis first crack at Diego.
Tiago and Lewis interrogate Diego, though he doesn’t do much talking. Tiago accuses Diego of killing Officer Reilly, but Diego insists that he’s innocent. They have motive and a witness to put him at the scene of the crime. Tiago informs Diego that when he’s convicted, they’ll try to put him in the gas chamber. Lewis starts to suspect that maybe Diego isn’t the killer. He knows it wasn’t Rico or Rio, but he inquires about the fourth guy that got away, i.e. Mateo. As Lewis leaves the room to get Diego a drink, Diego realizes that Lewis has no idea that Mateo, the actual killer, is Tiago’s brother. Diego has no intentions on snitching on Mateo, however. Instead, he wants Tiago to help him escape. He proposes that Tiago give him his gun.
Tiago lays out Reilly’s autopsy photos for Diego. He tells Diego to imagine himself in the courtroom across from Reilly’s wife and kids. He then shows Diego a photo of another man who was sent to the gas chamber. The gas they use is cyanide. It turns their skin purple. Diego will be strapped to the chair in just his underwear so that it doesn’t get trapped in his clothes. The more he fights it, the longer the gas takes to kill him. Diego insists that he’s innocent. Lewis proposes that Diego give his side of the story. Diego claims that he was with his brother and that they went down to the river to catch something to eat. They went hunting for mud hens. He explains that if you scare them, they’ll faint. Lewis explains that they’re playing dead, not fainting. Tiago asks to be left alone with Diego, but instead, Lewis calls Tiago out into the hallway with him. As Tiago is on his way out, Diego reminds him of the plan.
Lewis wonders why Tiago is so bothered and what Diego said when he left the room. Tiago claims that Diego called him a traitor for wearing a badge. In the time spent interrogating him, Lewis has concluded that Diego isn’t the killer. Tiago goes to his desk, where Murphy asks if Diego has confessed to killing Reilly. He expresses to Tiago how much he enjoys to hear a wetback sing and proceeds to sing La Cucaracha.
Tiago and Lewis tell Captain Vanderhoff that they haven’t gotten far with Diego. He’s given the two of them the first shot at Diego because that’s the kind of world he wished they lived in, and then like countless well-meaning precinct captains before him, he gives into reality and allows someone like Murphy to get a crack at Diego. He gives Tiago and Lewis another 45 minutes to get Diego to confess or else Murphy will get his chance.
Tiago sits inside the stall in the restroom at the precinct. He takes the bullets out his gun and puts them in his pocket. Murphy and a couple other officers enter the restroom and joke about how they’re going to torture Diego. Hearing their intentions, Tiago loads the bullets back into his gun.
Tiago joins Lewis and Diego back in the interrogation room. One thing Lewis has learned in all his time as a cop is that when someone’s telling you a story, usually there’s something in it, such as Diego’s story about the mud hens. The part about Diego’s brother doesn’t add up. He suspects that maybe Diego’s brother is the other guy that Tiago chased after. However, Diego says that it wasn’t his brother. With only 30 minutes left before the other officers have at Diego, he’s becoming more and more concerned. When Diego reveals that his brother is dead, Tiago takes off his jacket. Lewis questions why Diego even involved his brother in the story and how Reilly’s involved.
Just as Diego is about to reveal the truth, Tiago slams his head on the table and puts the gun to his head. Lewis slams Tiago into the wall and pulls him out into the hallway. He realizes that the fourth guy is Tiago’s brother. He’s upset at Tiago for not telling him sooner. He’s stuck his neck out for Tiago numerous times and yet he didn’t tell him the truth. Tiago wonders what Lewis will do now that he knows the truth. Tiago explains that Mateo was there when he shot Raul. He saw everything and has been angry since. Tiago blames himself for what Mateo did to Reilly.
Tiago and Lewis return to finish their interrogation of Diego. Lewis reveals that he grew up in Jersey City and it wasn’t so different from Belvedere Heights. All in all, poor folks will always be left with the shit and nothing will ever change that. The Hazlett case for instance is a big pile of shit that only leads to more shit, such as the riot, four dead cops, eight dead Mexicans, Reilly cuffing Diego to that chair. Hazlett was the beginning of it all. He suggests that Diego confess to killing the Hazlett family as well as Reilly. No matter what happens next, one thing is certain: Diego is going to San Quentin, and he’s never coming out. However, he gets to decide if he goes as a rat or a legend. Rats don’t fend well, but guys who take the weight, such as the deaths of a wealthy white family that was dumped in the river and an officer, they live like kings in San Quentin. Diego concedes and falsely confesses to killing the Hazlett family and Officer Reilly.
After forcing a confession from Diego, Tiago and Lewis celebrate with Vanderhoff, Murphy and the rest of the force. They raise a glass in Tiago and Lewis’ honor.
Tiago grabs a drink at the bar following Diego’s false confession. On his way home, he finds Molly waiting outside his apartment. She notices that Tiago's had a rough night and offers to help shave his face. She’s got experience as she often helps shave the faces of those at the soup kitchen. Admittedly, James Hazlett was important to Molly, so she questions Diego’s motive, but Tiago simply tells her that Diego is the killer. Molly tells Tiago that she loves him before kissing him. The two of them then head upstairs into his apartment.
Lewis calls Tiago over and informs him of his investigation into the Third Reich in LA. He shows Tiago a photo of his friends Anton and Sam, who were killed. He informs Tiago about Richard Goss and Brian Koenig. Tiago tells Lewis that he should let it go, but Lewis refuses. He’s collecting on the debt that Tiago owes him by framing Diego. Dottie arrives and Lewis introduces her as the third operative of their investigation. She tells Tiago how she’s ran guns to the Cubans during the Spanish-American war. Lewis puts Dottie on surveillance while he and Tiago collect on some debts.
Tiago and Lewis watch Kurt and Goss from their car outside the diner. He explains to Tiago that he had to put Brian away as he isn’t sure where his loyalty lies. The Germans are crafting a rocket that could destroy everything. Lewis then tells Tiago about his family in Germany. His distant cousins came to LA, and he took them to the beach. His second cousin, Manny, lives in Rhineland. He used to cross the border to buy chocolate because it was cheaper. He even sent Lewis some chocolate once. Two years ago, Germany invaded Rhineland. This was bad for Manny, who was both a Jew and a queer. So, they stuck him on a meat hook. Took films of it and sent it to Adolph in Berlin. These are the type of people they’re dealing with. Lewis pulls out his gun and ensures that Tiago is with him. He wants to follow Goss and Kurt around the corner to their vehicle and kill them. However, before they can act, Goss and Kurt are joined by Councilman Townsend, Alex, and Miss Adelaide. Lewis holsters his gun as their investigation just became complicated.
Tiago and Lewis convene at a diner to figure out how Townsend and Miss Adelaide are connected to the Germans. Tiago volunteers to investigate at the Temple. Tiago fears that they won’t be able to save Los Angeles. Lewis replies that they’re just trying to survive her.
Tiago arrives at the Temple, where Miss Adelaide greets him with a hug. She thanks him for bringing James Hazlett’s killer to justice. She then asks Tiago about his thoughts on the new robe for the Temple. Tiago asks Miss Adelaide about her relationship with Richard Goss. She claims that he wanted to open up his heart to the lord and says that she didn’t know that he was a Nazi. She claims their meeting at the diner was about opening a new Temple in Pasadena, funded by Goss. Miss Adelaide has only known him for a month and she’s grateful that he’s willing to contribute to their work.
Miss Adelaide then takes Tiago on a tour of the Temple. They feed over 400 people a month, not including their soup kitchens downtown. They also have a room full of beds for migrants and indigents, as well as a hospital ward; all free of charge. Miss Adelaide’s vision is to have a Temple in every neighborhood of Los Angeles. She then takes Tiago to see Sister Molly perform baptisms. Adelaide tells Tiago that he hasn’t fallen in love with Molly, rather God’s whisper. She claims that Tiago’s nothing more than a thrill to Molly and that there were many more before him and there will be many after him. Miss Adelaide adds that Tiago doesn’t know Molly at all and that she has many secrets. He then witnesses as Molly baptizes Josefina.
Molly visits Tiago at her apartment to explain herself for not telling him earlier that Josefina has joined her congregation. She explains that she was simply trying to help after Josefina confided in her. Josefina wants to join the Temple, and Molly is in no position to turn her away. She also couldn’t tell Tiago because she didn’t want to betray Josefina’s trust. Tiago tells Molly that his family doesn’t need her and that he’ll take care of his sister. They both realize that this relationship will never work, but neither can stop. Tiago tells her to leave, but she tells him that she needs what they have to be real. Tiago pulls Molly close, and they kiss.
Tiago lays in bed with Molly. Lewis knocks on the door and discovers that Tiago has been hooking up with her. He tells Tiago to meet him downstairs.
Lewis tells Tiago that he went to see Townsend, who is up to his neck in problems. He also noticed a big map of a new motorway in Townsend’s office. It came from a construction company called Via Hermosa Development. Tiago recalls seeing the same map in Miss Adelaide’s office, suggesting that they’re all working together to build the motorway. Lewis discovered that there were a lot of dummy paperwork and shell companies behind Via Hermosa that all come down to Richard Goss. This all adds up to the future of Los Angeles. Lewis wants to break into the Via Hermosa offices to find a connection. Lewis doesn’t care that Tiago is hooking up with Molly, but he tells him not to lie to him anymore. Tiago tells Lewis that Molly doesn’t know about her mother or the Nazis. Or at least he suspects that she doesn’t. Out of nowhere, a single gunman opens fire on them and they take cover behind the vehicle. The gunman runs out of ammo and leaves in a hurry.
Tiago and Lewis recover from their shootout with an unknown assailant. Lewis is more upset that his car was shot up. He suspects that this may be the doing of the Pachucos, as revenge for Diego, but Tiago replies that Tommy guns aren’t their style. He then suggests the Temple, but Tiago is doubtful. One thing Lewis knows for certain is that it involves the Nazis. And he wants to hit them back.
Tiago and Molly spend the day on the beach. He tells Molly how Lewis is worried about him and wants him to stay hidden. However, Tiago will be back to work on Monday. There will be a ceremony. Tiago and Lewis are getting citations for the Hazlett case. Molly wants to go out in public. She’s tired of hiding with Tiago. She recalls their date on the pier. That’s the day she fell in love with Tiago because he allowed her to be herself. She wants to do that again just for one night. Tiago cautiously agrees.
Molly asks Tiago where he was born. He tells her while Josefina was born in Belvedere Heights, he was born in Sonoratown. All of them in a tiny little room, with no bathroom or hot water. So, his parents worked like mules and saved up every penny until they could move. She envies that Tiago has such pride in where he comes from. Molly, on the other hand, grew up in the backseat of her mother’s car. All over the midwest. Even Canada. She remarks that maybe they’ll have a real house one day.
Tiago and Molly enter the Crimson Cat. Tiago notices his mother and brother over at a table. He is reluctant to introduce Molly as his family is complicated. She says that she’s not ashamed and pushes Tiago to introduce her. Tiago introduces 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.
Fly Rico approaches Tiago at the bar. He remarks that Tiago has nerves showing up at the Cat. Tiago retorts that Rico has nerves showing up anywhere. Fly Rico pays for Tiago’s drinks. While Tiago may be off work now, he warns Rico that tomorrow, he won’t be.
Maria then 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. Mateo tells Tiago that he doesn’t belong at the Cat because it is for Chicanos, and Josefina accuses Molly of lying to her. Maria blames Tiago for dividing the family. Mateo adds that a Chicano girl isn’t good enough for a white cop. He tells Tiago to be proud of their skin and nothing he does will change how they look. "No matter how many gringa putas you fuck." 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.
Tiago explains to Molly the reason in which they celebrate the Day of the Dead. They go to the cemetery and toast to relatives, including Tiago’s father, brother Tomas, and sister Gina, who both died before Mateo was born. They light candles and tell stories. Tiago invites Molly to join them next weekend. She asks if he’s ready for that, and he kisses her. She then tells Tiago that she loves him.
Lewis arrives at the Crimson Cat in search of Tiago. He reveals that the cops lynched Diego in Belvedere Heights. He’s hanging from a street lamp. Lewis fears how the Mexicans will respond once word spread. He tells Tiago to ensure that his family gets home while Lewis takes Molly to Tiago’s apartment.
Tiago tells Raul to take Maria and Josefina home. He and Mateo stay behind. Tiago tries to take Mateo outside to explain the situation, but before he can, Fly Rico, Rio, and Bernadette get word that Diego was murdered by cops and shares it with the crowd. The Pachucos lead an army of upset citizens through through the LA streets. Tiago screams out for Mateo, but he doesn’t respond. Tiago is then attacked by three white men. Mateo comes to his aid and chases the men away. He then tells Tiago goodbye before running off with Rio.
The following morning, Martial Law is instated. Tiago looks out his window to see that the army has been stationed on the streets of Los Angeles. Molly offers to take care of his hand, which he injured during the riot. She remarks that his family was very kind to her. She’s never had a large family or big Christmas. It was also just her and her mother. Her mother had four children before Molly, but none of them survived. She won’t even tell Molly their names. Molly’s always wanted a sister as well as bunk beds. Tiago states that the men who attacked him would’ve kicked him to death in the street. All Tiago is to them is just another spic. He claims that he can see it in Molly’s eyes too and tells her to find a white man to be with.
Molly realizes that Tiago is simply releasing his frustrations and that he doesn't mean what he's saying. However, Tiago argues that the two of them could never be together. They can’t even go outside and hold hands. She suggests they run away together. Possibly New York or Mexico. She wants to live her life with Tiago regardless of the cost. As for Sister Molly, last night was the first time that Molly felt as if she had banished her. She was truly happy. Tiago doesn’t want Molly to give up her life for him. However, she’s doing it for herself. As she can no longer endure being both Molly and Sister Molly. And with that, Tiago agrees to run away with Molly. The phone then rings. It’s Lewis. He wants Tiago to meet him downstairs.
Tiago and Lewis ride through Belvedere Heights. They hit several checkpoints. Lewis fears that soldiers patrolling the streets and train stations with machine guns is next. They pull up to Tiago's family home, where Lewis reveals that he, Dottie, and Brian have been hiding out. They enter to find Raul and Brian playing cards. Lewis warns Raul not to be scammed by Brian. In the kitchen, they find Maria, Dottie, and Benny.
Tiago asks to talk to Benny and Lewis privately. Lewis explains that the Nazis are onto them and Dottie’s house is no longer safe. Brian has figured out the rocket and they need to get him out of town as soon as possible. Benny plans to take him down to Baja, where he has a private airfield. They will fly him secretly to New York, where Mr. Lansky will take care of him.
Tiago, Lewis, Brian, and Benny head towards the airfield. Unbeknownst to them, they’re being followed by Kurt, who has been on their tail since they left Belvedere Heights. They tell Brian that he’s headed for New York, where he’ll be well taken care of. Brian then makes mention of a bomb he's been constructing. After he figured out the rocket, he had a new idea of Nuclear fission. It’s similar to a thousand suns exploding all at once. It’s almost limitless. Capable of destroying a city. Lewis questions if they is truly what Brian wants to offer the world. come to a stop near the beach. Lewis asks Brian to join him for a talk. They walk alongside the shore, where Lewis kills Brian.
On the way home, Tiago gets word that Molly has killed herself. The following week, he meets his family at the cemetery for Day of the Dead, still mourning the death of Molly. Maria hugs him and they dance in the cemetery. As his family leaves, Tiago remains alone in the graveyard. While praying to his father, Magda approaches him from behind and states that there will come a time when the world is ready for her. Nation will battle nation. Race will devour race. And brother will kill brother until not a soul is left. She asks Tiago if he’s ready.
Destruction of Belvedere Heights has commenced. Many homes and stores are knocked down. Tiago and Lewis spot them across the way. Tiago presumes they’ll be coming for him and Lewis, who retorts that the two of them will act first. Tiago refers to this for what it truly is; popular control. They cut off the Chicanos with a barrier of concrete and Steel, forcing them into the ghetto. And from there, another freeway will be put up around the coloreds. And then the Jews. And lastly the Chinese. They’re not building roads, they’re building walls. This is not the United States of America, Tiago says.
Appearance and Personality
Powers and Abilities
Tiago has law enforcement training.
- Santa Muerte
- Dead People Lie Down
- Wicked Old World
- Josefina and the Holy Spirit
- Children of the Royal Sun
- How It Is With Brothers
- Maria and the Beast
- Hide and Seek
- Sing, Sing, Sing
- Day of the Dead
- "You go against the cops, they'll shoot you down like animals. That's what you are to them."
- —Tiago to Raul[src]
- "It's not just a freeway. It's population control. You cut off the Chicanos with a barrier of concrete and steel. You put them in the ghetto. And then you put up another freeway around the coloreds and then the Jews and then the Chinese. They're not building roads. They're building walls. This is not the United States of America."
- —Tiago to Lewis[src]