Miguel Millán and Ernesto Cardona are two police officers from Spain and Brazil, respectively, whose paths cross when they track down Santo, an unseen drug lord, in the Netflix crime series “Santo” created by Carlos López. Miguel Millán and Ernesto Cardona are the protagonists of the series. When Santo comes to Madrid to use the occult to start a new drug empire, Cardona ends up in the Spanish capital with Bárbara, Santo’s lover, to find him and avenge him for the death of his partner Vera. Cardona seeks revenge on Santo for killing Vera. The riveting Spanish series ends with some mind-blowing revelations and developments surrounding Santo’s identity and plans for the future. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the same topic, feel free to hear what we have to say about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Santo Season 1 Summary
The first deaths in “Santo” are those of a local drug dealer named Cristóbal and his son Mario. For the sake of Cristóbal’s wife Maria, with whom he is having an affair, police officer Miguel Millán, who also works for the local drug mafia to which Cristóbal belongs, sets out with his colleague Susi to search for the murders. Millán does this for Cristóbal’s family. Through their research, Millán and Susi come across three Norwegians who are also involved in an assassination attempt on Millán. Millán and Susi make the discovery that the Norwegians are men led by Santo, a Brazilian drug lord whose face is unknown and no further information on his identity is available. Ernesto Cardona, a police officer from the city of Salvador, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, becomes an undercover member of Santo’s drug trafficking ring.
Cardona’s cover is eventually compromised, jeopardizing the success of his operation. Despite this, he is given a second opportunity to locate Santo through Bárbara, who is Santo’s lover and seeks the police’s help to flee from the unnamed drug lord. Cardona and Bárbara run to Spain for protection, but Santo follows them there and kidnaps them. Millán eventually rescued Cardona from a warehouse where the drug lord was sacrificing people to improve himself and ensure his safety while Millán investigated Santo. They eventually manage to locate Barbara, but Cardona and Barbara make the decision to flee the authorities and take refuge in a secret location rather than cooperate with the authorities.
Cardona has a hard time moving on after losing Vera, who first told him about Exu, a spirit associated with African customs. As a follower of Exu, he is granted the “Thread of Exu” which he must carry with him at all times for protection. Under the influence of Santo’s occult rituals, he also has disturbing ideas that lead him to murder a child as a sacrifice for Santo’s human sacrifice ritual. Meanwhile, Millán’s bosses find out that he has ties to a local drug ring. Despite this, he is able to make up a story so that the investigation into Maria’s disappearance can continue. At the same time, Santo’s men kidnap a group of children for additional victims.
Paulo, who worked with Cardona in Brazil, travels as far as Madrid to help. However, he is murdered in a confrontation with Santo’s men and they take Barbara to the warehouse after the battle. Millán is kidnapped by the Norwegians and Santo forces him to stay with them in the same warehouse because he wants Millán to kill a child as a victim. Cardona comes to the rescue and stops the victim. The kidnapped children are rescued by Susi, who has arrived at the warehouse, while Cardona and Millán continue their search for Santo.
The Conclusion of Santo Season 1: Who is Santo?
Despite being one of the most notorious drug lords in the world, Santo has not been seen by anyone, not even his closest friends or acquaintances. Law enforcement agencies in a number of countries are unable to locate even a single photograph of the perpetrator. Santo, on the other hand, has never left her company since Barbara has been Santo. Barbara invented the idea and image of a powerful, male, and invisible drug lord to divert the attention of her opponents, competitors, and law enforcement officers. Crafting such a character allows Barbara to better play the role of Santos’ fugitive and distract attention from law enforcement officers like Millán and Cardona. She does this by hanging out with them and learning their every move.
Barbara knows that in a world dominated by powerful men, she cannot build an international drug trafficking ring on her own. She must have foreseen the risk that someone would try to “dethrone” her from the empire she was building if she were to emerge as the true leader of her drug network. As a result, conceiving a strong masculine image becomes an urgent need for women. The terror of such masculine power among Barbara’s own men ensures that they will not try to hurt Santo’s mistress, ensuring Barbara will continue to live among her own men. Because she is perceived as the person most familiar with the fictional Santo, the pretense that she is Santo’s mistress grants her the ability to exercise authority and control over her men.
Through the fictional character Santo, Barbara also uses people’s natural fear of the “invisible”. Even among Bárbara’s competitors and the political authorities of numerous nations, Santo continues to be authoritative, enigmatic and frightening. That’s because no one in the world can adequately assess the power and authority of any fictional creature. She exploits the fact that it is human nature to fear things that cannot be explained and seen. The incorporation of occult practices and other paranormal activity goes a long way in propagating the Santo myth and demonstrates the effectiveness of Bárbara’s invention.
Will Santo/Bárbara kill Lucía?
Despite knowing that Bárbara is actually Santo, Millán and Cardona are unable to apprehend her, allowing her to escape. Millán, who is attacked by the guys who work for the drug lord, is then taken to the hospital. Bárbara sends him a video of Luca being held at gunpoint by her while he is in the hospital where he is currently being treated. While Bárbara has the power to decide Luca’s future, it’s possible she’s in no rush to end her life. The fact that Barbara chose to deliver the footage to the police officer rather than killing Millán’s daughter outright suggests that the drug lord has some unfinished business with Millán. It is very likely that Barbara is using Lucia as bait to take advantage of the cop.
Millán could prove to be an invaluable addition to Bárbara’s squad, especially given the precarious position she finds herself in right now as she’s in the process of building her own drug kingdom in Spain. Before Millán and Cardona, no authority had ever managed to uncover the truth behind Santo, implying that Bárbara is losing her power. If she can keep Millán on her side at this point, she will be in a better position to continue her drug trade in Spain. It is therefore expected that Barbara will use Lucia as a means of blackmailing the police officer.
Given that Millán put his life at risk to subdue Santo, his superiors may give him permission to continue with his investigation and eventually subdue Santo. If so, Millán may have no choice but to serve Barbara as the price he must pay to protect his daughter. As someone who has previously helped local drug lords for money, the cop must have no moral conflicts about being able to help Bárbara when he is also benefiting from the same situation.
Why does Cardona save Santo/Bárbara?
After Bárbara’s confession that she is Santo, Millán has made it his mission to eliminate her so he can keep his word to Maria and fulfill his obligation. Bárbara evades capture thanks to Cardona’s interference, which buys her some time. Cardona develops a close personal relationship with Barbara after he “rescues” her from Santo. The time they spent huddled together and fighting a common enemy helped strengthen that relationship even further. Even when Cardona understands that Barbara is actually Santo, he may still have affection for her. Cardona travels to Spain with the intention of taking revenge on whoever was responsible for the death of his partner Vera.
Cardona’s anger has subsided when he finds out that Santo is really Barbara, so he’s no longer angry. There is no other justification for Cardona to spare the life of the person responsible for the deaths of Vera, her nephew, and a piece of himself by calling that person a “child killer”. It is possible that Cardona decides to end Barbara’s life himself rather than entrusting Millán with the task. But the Brazilian shows no anger towards her after stopping Millán, suggesting that Cardona’s feelings for Bárbara must have influenced his behavior because he doesn’t kill her.