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 The following is from the press kit for The Queen of Swords and may not be copied or downloaded.

"Queen of Swords" slashes across action-hour landscape this fall!Tessie Santiago seeks justice, beginning the week of October 2nd.

Newcomer Tessie Santiago cuts a wide swath across 19th Century California this fall, expertly wielding her blade and razor-sharp wit in the fight against injustice as Tessa Alvarado, a Spanish beauty who masquerades as the avenging "Queen of Swords", bringing fear to evil and hope to good. With clashing swords and thundering horses, the one-hour weekly action-adventure series debuts the week of October 2, 2000, in national syndication.

A young Spanish aristocrat, Tessa Alvarado, returns to her California birthplace after the death of her father to find the once beautiful country in the hands of a military governor who rules with an iron fist, abusing his power and taxing his subjects to the point of starvation. The crimes against humanity, oppression and misery that surround Tessa choke her youthful idealism. Amidst rumors of her father's murder, her last bit of strength crumbles. In desperate and fevered dreams, a mysterious destiny is revealed. Tessa will take up arms to avenge her father's death, to protect the weak and to punish the unjust - behind the mask of the Queen of Swords.

Aided by her long time servant and confidante, Marta ( played by Paulina Gálvez) a gypsy with the wisdom born of the Tarot, Tessa leads three separate existences. She's Tessa, a young woman shouldering the burden of a secret fate she did not ask for, who longs for love and normalcy. She's the Queen of Swords, a disguised warrior seeking justice in an unjust world. And she's Maria Teresa Alvarado, a privileged aristocrat whose pettiness and snobbery further hide Tessa's identity as the masked crusader. Sacrificing herself for the good of others, the dark beauty picks up her sword, ties her mother's lace shawl around her eyes and mounts her stallion to become a vision of hope, passion and danger, landing swift and unquestioning blows against evil.

Her prime enemy is the corrupt and deadly tyrant, Colonel Luis Montoya (played by Valentine Pelka), a Machiavellian dictator who is single-minded in his quest for wealth and power. Ruthless and without mercy, he believes in executions without trials, enslaving peasants and blackmailing even his best men, including Captain Marcus Grisham (played by Anthony Lemke). As Montoya's most skilled mercenary, Grisham, an American who fate saved from a well earned execution, is given the job of destroying the Queen of Swords, the fury in black who has humiliated him and his men on more than one occasion. Montoya and Grisham are aided by a spy, Vera (played by Elsa Pataky), the unfaithful trophy wife of portly Don Hidalgo (played by Tacho González) who courts Tessa's friendship, mistakenly seeing her as a kindred spirit.

In addition to Marta, who doles out equal parts love, sage advice and Tarot card prophecies, the Queen of Swords finds an unlikely comrade in Robert Helm (played by Peter Wingfield), an English Doctor who trades his musket for a scalpel, vowing to save lives, not take them. He has little patience for Tessa, believing her to be a spoiled member of the nobility, and less for the Queen of Swords, despising the blades with which she deals justice, yet Helm keeps finding himself strangely attracted to the beautiful avenger in black.

Filmed entirely on location in Almeria, Spain, Queen of Swords is a Fireworks/Morena Films/Amy International production in association with Telefonica and M6. The one-hour weekly is distributed domestically by Paramount Domestic Television in association with Mercury Entertainment and internationally by Fireworks International. Jay Firestone, Adam Haight and David Abamowitz are executive producers. Alvaro Longoria and Simon MacCorkindale are co-executive producers. Ken Gord is producer.

The Paramount Television Group is part of the entertainment operation of Viacom, Inc.





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