We live in a day and age where television rules supreme.
There are countless series, from broadcast offerings to streaming services and beyond. We have access to various shows, just waiting to be binged and enjoyed. But the increase in volume hasn’t always meant the quality is there to back it up.
It’s still hard to find new series’ that hit all the benchmarks; captivating storylines, top-notch writing, and quality actors. Lucky for us, The Cleaning Lady hits all the marks and then some.
We here at TV Fanatic are borderline obsessed with the new drama, and we’ve got a few reasons why The Cleaning Lady should also become your latest obsession.
The set-up for the series is simple. Thony De La Rosa is a doctor from the Philippines who finds herself in Las Vegas as she fights for her son, Luca, who’s suffering from a rare medical condition and needs a bone marrow transplant.
To make ends meet while in America, she works for a cleaning service alongside her sister-in-law Fiona. And that’s where we meet them in the pilot when things go sideways real fast, and Thony is thrust into a new world overnight.
When I first heard about the series, it sounded like a show that was going to burn slowly. We’d get Thony dipping into the “mob” life throughout the first season, with the FBI ramping up by season’s end when she put into an impossible situation with her new lifestyle on one side and the law on the other.
But we’ve gotten so much better than that.
What’s the opposite of a slowburn? Whatever that word is, that’s what we’re getting here. And it’s what sets the show apart.
The Cleaning Lady isn’t interested in bidding its time. The series is much more invested in selling its characters to the audience and allowing the story to unfold organically.
Life comes at you fast, and so do the stories here.
The series tackles immigration and citizenship, the healthcare system, and crime, to name a few. And The Cleaning Lady dives right into these topics, allowing us to sit in our discomfort as we watch characters rounded up in an ICE raid and stripped of their rights.
The scenes are tense and uncomfortable and a true reflection of the society in which we reside. There is no glossing over the atrocities here, and the series does a beautiful job of bringing these real-life issues to the forefront and sparking conversation.
You can’t sell a good story without compelling actors, and Èlodie Yung is a terrific lead. She’s an understated performer who can tell you so much with her facial expressions and demeanor.
Thony is cunning, intelligent, strong, and everything you’re looking for in a heroine. But it’s those quiet moments when she’s curled up in bed with her son where you can see the pain and the joy of life flittering around her eyes as she peers at the plastic planets hanging overhead.
The Cleaning Lady brings Southeast Asian stories front and center, and the diversity on the series is something so many shows should take note of and try to emulate.
We live in a diverse world, and it’s lovely to see that represented on a broadcast television series.
Thony’s sister-in-law and closest friend is played to perfection by Martha Millan, who lights up the screen every time she’s on it. The sisterhood and friendship between Thony and Fiona is the heartbeat of the series.
Opposite Èlodie is Adan Canto, who brings a terrifying yet soft vulnerability to mobster Arman, who introduces Thony to the world of crime overnight.
Criminally underrated Oliver Hudson is the enthusiastic FBI agent with a skeleton or two in the closet. He needs a win and is willing to do anything to get it, and he makes every second of his screentime count.
There is also a solid recurring cast and a string of superior guest stars (think THEE Lou Diamond Phillips) who have come through and left a mark on the story.
And while it’s easy to be thrust into this world of “villains” and think everyone is all the same, there’s more than meets the eye with these characters. These characters are flawed, layered, and written to allow the audience to see the different sides over time and continuously shape and re-shape their opinions.
First impressions are almost obsolete here, as the characters shift with the ever-changing circumstances, making for a fascinating ride as a viewer, who is often taught to place characters into finite boxes.
There are heroes, enemies, love interests, and supporting characters, right? But what if you make things a little messier, strip away many of the boxes, and let these characters just exist and find their own way in this world.
You get something a little different than everything else out there.
A Complicated, But Engrossing Ship
Shipping is a significant part of television culture, for better or worse. And there is a reason Twitter is abuzz with all things Armony.
Èlodie and Adan have the kind of chemistry a series can only dream about. Two actors that can simply exist on-screen, and the audience immediately feels like they’re intruding on moments not meant for their eyes.
The push and pull dynamic of Thony and Arman’s relationship has played out beautifully throughout the first season. It’s not clear at first what kind of dynamic these two will have, as Arman’s imposing demeanor has Thony unable to make eye contact with him half the time.
And look, we know this maybe isn’t the best relationship to be invested in.
They’re both married, for starters. And Arman isn’t afraid to put his foot down when it comes to Thony and assert his authority over her in specific ways.
But again, the characters are allowed to be human, and they’re allowed to evolve here, and as the series has gone on, we’ve seen the two become a sort of team. They confide in one another, and they help each other in ways no one else in their life does.
It’s what makes their connection so mesmerizing.
Two people who on the surface perhaps shouldn’t relate as well as they do, and yet when circumstances find them in each others’ orbits, they allow themselves the opportunity to explore their unique connection.
And since when do we only invest in the goody-two-shoes ships out there?
If you’re still on the fence about this couple, we recommend tuning into The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 6. You’re welcome.
As previously mentioned, The Cleaning Lady isn’t interested in taking you on a leisurely stroll.
They keep their foot on the gas, and it makes for an unpredictable experience and opens up an endless stream of possibilities for storyline options.
Through the first half of the first season, it feels like you’ve watched a full-length film. And yet you know there’s still more to come and so many different directions the story could go.
We often are saddled with series’ that are wholly unsurprising, and it’s one of the negatives of the current television landscape because how original can you be when your series is a dime a dozen?
Subverting obvious plotlines sounds like a given, but it’s hard to execute routinely and keep your series at a high level. Because a series can go from cutting-edge and unique to off-the-rails in a heartbeat.
Thus far, The Cleaning Lady has created a world in which there is seemingly no end in sight, as the plots keep mutating and the shifts create new avenues ready to be explored.
We’re starting the renew The Cleaning Lady for season 2 campaigning early here because the series deserves an expanded episode count.
We need more Thony and Fiona girls’ nights in Las Vegas and heartfelt conversations about the realities of their lives.
We need more looks into the burgeoning Thony and Arman partnership and potential romance.
We need more missions and anxiety-inducing showdowns with the FBI.
Basically, we need it all. And we need some others to jump on the bandwagon, so won’t you join us?
Let me know in the comments if you’re already watching or when you plan to start!
Remember, you can watch The Cleaning Lady online right here via TV Fanatic.
The Cleaning Lady airs Mondays at 9 pm on FOX.
Read more: tvfanatic.com