Grand Hotel kickstarted its first seasons with many twists and turns, securing its spot as this TV's juiciest summer roller coaster ride.
The one-hour series premiere saw the mysterious disappearance of an employee during an eerie hurricane, a failed wedding ceremony after the bride had an affair with a pop star, the reveal that the Riviera Grand is a money pit with massive debts to dangerous people and an unexpected pregnancy reveal.
One of the most mysterious characters from the new ABC series, hotel manager Mateo (Shalim Ortiz) made short but memorable appearances during the first episode.
Though first introduced as owner Santiago Mendoza's (Demián Bichir) right-hand man and confidant, the flaws in his personality were seen clearly after housekeeper Ingrid (Anne Winters) revealed to him that she was pregnant with his baby.
Without expressing a sign of remorse or feeling, the calculated man offered to pay for the housekeeper's abortion and leave everything as is. Feeling defeated by her situation and the man's cold demeanor, Ingrid once again shocked viewers when she decides to lie to Santiago's son Javi (Bryan Craig) — a womanizer with a tendency to not remember who he sleeps with — and tells him she is pregnant with his baby instead.
The show drops one final Mateo twist when Santiago approaches him in the episode's final moments, revealing Mateo is actually a representative of a mysterious group Santiago owes a great deal of money to after they helped him with the hotel's struggling finances.
Ortiz spoke with PopCulture.com exclusively about Mateo's mysterious past, finding out the truth about his and Santiago's relatioship and what he thought about the big pregnancy twist.
"I can say that we are definitely going to explore who these people that Mateo is responding to are, and where that whole storyline is going to go, and how [the debt] issue is going to be resolved," Ortiz teased of Mateo and Santiago's working partnership in a phone interview Thursday, June 13.
"It's pretty evident that there is some upper hand, some leeway that Mateo has over Santiago, and there's going to be a little ping pong back and forth game of power between them," he added.
As for the massive pregnancy bombshell, Ortiz complimented creator Brian Tanen for making daring creative choices and introducing the show's fast-paced storytelling from the very beginning..
"I loved it because it grabs you from the get go, and in such a competitive landscape it's great to have a show that [is] bold enough to throw you the plot twist right away, right off the bat," he said.
"I love that I don't come out much in the pilot, but... it's going to be a little bit of the nature of my character. Whenever Mateo comes out, s— has hit the fan," he added.
While Mateo could be seen as a looming threat for the Mendoza's, Ortiz noted his character is not exactly the villain of the story.0comments
"What's great about this show is that no character is going to be a saint or free from sin," he added. "Everybody is going to have a light side and a dark side, and I think that's only going to make relationships more complicated."