played by Joaquim de Almeida
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

This wealthy, dashing man seems like the consummate Mexican politician and benevolent father figure to Teresa and Guero, but beneath his smooth veneer is the heart of a determined and ambitious man who won’t let anything or anyone get in his way now that he has supposedly left the drug game -- at least publicly.

Even Guero, who tells Teresa to go to Don Epifanio for help in the event that he is ever killed, misreads his benevolence. Once Teresa realizes she is in danger for her valuable knowledge she has on Epifanio and his organization, she flees to Texas and lands in the operation of Epifanio’s wife, Camila, who is building her own drug cartel to rival her husband’s business.

Joaquim de Almeida stars as Don Epifanio Vargas, the head of the Mexican cartel, in USA Network’s newest drama, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH.

Two-time Portuguese Golden Globe award-winner de Almeida is best known for his SAG award-nominated television performance in “24” as drug cartel leader Ramon Salazar.  In 2001, de Almeida starred in the Brazilian comedy, “O Xangô de Baker Street,” where he won his third Portuguese Golden Globe for Best Actor. 

His most recent credits include “Of Mind and Music,” “Our Brand is Crisis” alongside Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton, “Fast Five” directed by Justin Lin, “Che: Part Two,” and “The Burning Plain” alongside Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. Working with the top talent of today, de Almeida’s illustrious career includes roles in: Antonio Cuadri's  film, “El corazón de la tierra,” “La Cucina,” and “Yo Puta” “Behind Enemy Lines,”  “La Cucaracha,” “Elles (Women),” and “Desperado” co-starring with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, the Tom Clancy thriller, “Clear and Present Danger,” co-starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe and Anne Archer and “Only You,” alongside Roberty Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei and Bonnie Hunt.  Additionally, de Almeida voiced the villain, Bane, in the animated show “The Batman.”

De Almeida was born in Lisbon and trained at the Lisbon Conservatory (School of Theatre and Cinema) and Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City.  Fluent in six languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Italian and German, de Almeida is truly the definition of a global citizen and he currently resides in Los Angeles.