EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Beatriz launched the fictional true-crime podcast Tejana on Monday in collaboration with Sonoro and Telemundo that will be adapted for television. The 6-episode first season is available now across all podcast formats.
The drama tells the story of Eileen Castillo, a Texas Ranger who is the only Latina on the force and at the center of a web of lies. She is sharp on the field but struggles with navigating office politics. She is still haunted by the serial killer that stalked her town two decades earlier, so when a copycat killer emerges in Austin, Eileen must deal with the difficult memories she’s tried to suppress her entire life.
“In true crime fashion, Tejana is an incredibly dense and complicated mystery that centers the character of Eileen as she that mystery apart while trying to figure it out,” Beatriz tells Deadline exclusively. “Inside of that overarching story, there are also a bunch of different crimes that she and the other Rangers are trying to solve.”
She adds, “The Rangers have historically been this storied arm of the law. There are all these cultural touchstones like Walker, Texas Ranger, and the Lone Ranger. They’re these rarified, fantastical heroes in our media culture. And this puts a Latina as the lead and as this story’s hero. She’s a hero but she’s also very relatable because she’s flawed. She wants to be the best on the field and she’s a rising star who often has trouble navigating office politics. She has a heart of gold but she often puts her foot in her mouth at work.”
Series costars include Gabriela Torres, Jonah Platt, Marlaina Sims Powell, and Phil Lewis. A trailer for the podcast can be seen above.
Beatriz reveals that the plan is to have her bring Eileen to life in the small screen version which is currently in its gathering stages— they’re assembling their writing and producing team. The executive producers are working with Sonoro to “bring it to streaming” where viewers can “watch this serialized thing take place over time.”
Beatriz said goodbye last month to Brooklyn Nine-Nine after the show concluded after 8 seasons and to her character, Detective Rosa Diaz. As she continues to portray members of law enforcement, Beatriz can’t help but reflect on what she learned from Rosa that she’s taken with her on her new journey with Eileen.
“I think these characters are very similar in that they’re extremely grounded, no-nonsense, and very direct,” the new mom said. “I think Eileen has much more a sense of humor about things; Rosa was often the straight guy character for other people to bounce things off of. Eileen understands that she often makes herself the butt of the joke to sort of lighten the mood. But I think it’s that groundedness that is just playing out in a totally different fashion because this isn’t a comedy, it’s a totally different genre.”
Beyond their plans for TV, Beatriz and her partners will continue to expand Tejana with future seasons of the podcast and are interested in taking the Texas Ranger to the big screen.
“We’re interested in creating audio content that will have a life past podcasts. The stories we’re interested in creating, Sonoro has an end goal for them to franchise it out with people like us as the leads so they continue and grow,” Beatriz said. “The story is so good! There are so many possibilities as to where this can go.”