By Samantha Simon
Updated Jul 07, 2016 @ 3:45 pm
Mark Consuelos attends the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival - Lead 2016
Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty

Mark Consuelos is no stranger to working on a soapy drama. The Emmy-winning actor starred on All My Children for almost a decade, after all—and his latest role on USA’s new drama, Queen of the South, is just as gripping. Consuelos plays Teo Aljarafe, a big-league lawyer who’s hired to help Mexico’s most-feared female drug lord, Camila Vargas (Verónica Falcón), bring her business to the United States. Though skeptical at first, Teo ultimately accepts Camila’s lucrative offer, agreeing to guide her through murky legal waters as she re-establishes her cartel in Texas.

And while we certainly saw Teo’s shadier side in last week’s episode, he may not be such a bad guy, according to Consuelos. “By all accounts, I think he’s a legitimate lawyer with some clients that may do some questionable things,” the actor told InStyle on Thursday. “He tries to keep it on the right side of the law.”

But all that changes during Camila’s first visit to Teo’s office. “When she comes in, he knows exactly who she is, what she does, and how dangerous she is,” said Consuelos. “And I think he’s attracted to her, but he’s also attracted to the money. He’s one of those guys who’s absolutely a risk-taker, and I think that’s the heart of the fire. He’s like a moth attracted to the flame.”

Despite the fact that Teo is drawn to danger, he knows what he’s doing when it comes to his work (look no further than his conversation with Camila in a clip from tonight's new episode, below). And that’s Consuelos’s favorite thing about the character. “I just think that Teo’s incredibly intelligent,” he said. “He definitely tries to find a loophole in everything—which is not necessarily something I do—but he uses the law to his advantage. I don’t admire people that do that, but I’m in awe of how they get away with stuff.”

And the characters on Queen of the South get away with plenty. The show is dripping with excess when it comes to wealth, drugs, and violence—and Consuelos was hooked as soon as he became involved. “I was familiar with the original Mexican soap opera [La Reina del Sur] and the book that it’s based on, but I still didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I read the scripts, and they were great. I even read the ones that were sent to me—by mistake, I think—for episodes that I wasn’t in, just to know what was going on. And I really, really enjoyed them all.”

Consuelos has enjoyed seeing the final product onscreen just as much. “Watching it is pretty outlandish,” he said of the show. “It’s pretty out there, and I think that’s what people respond to. A lot of stuff happens, and it’s very much a nighttime soap in that way.”

Tune into a new episode of Queen of the South tonight at 10 p.m. ET on USA.