La Usurpadora (translated: The Usurper) is a Mexican romantic drama telenovela produced by Salvador Mejia Alejandre and originally broadcast on Televisa in 1998. It starred Gabriela Spanic and Fernando Colunga. This was one of the last telenovelas to feature Libertad Lamarque, who here portrayed the character of Abuela Piedad Bracho. The action:
The show's premise revolves around a pair of twin sisters, Paola and Paulina, who were separated at birth, and as adults the younger sister is forced to act as a "replacement" for her wealthier elder sister who wants to leave her family for selfish reasons.
Paulina is a good young woman who lives in poverty. Paola is an evil stepmother of two who is married to a wealthy man named Carlos Daniel Bracho. When the twins cross paths by chance, Paola blackmails Paulina to take Paola's place in the Bracho home while she takes a year-long vacation with her lover. Abandoned by her fiancé Osvaldo and following the death of her sick mother, Paulina submits to Paola's plan. Paulina has to adapt to a family that is beyond her social standing and cope with various family members who have long borne ill-will to the nasty Paola. During this time, Paulina is shocked to discover how Paola has treated her family and works hard to restore peace. Carlos Daniel is suspicious of "Paola"'s sudden character change, but eventually comes to love her. Paulina too falls for him. Many other problems occur during this time, mostly with Paulina having to deal with scorned lovers of Paola. Right before the one-year mark passes, the truth comes out prematurely when Luciano, who knew about the switch, reveals it to Carlos Daniel and his family. Paulina sneaks out of the Bracho home soon after. Carlos Daniel's son Carlitos runs away from home to search for her, and is involved in an accident that erases his memory. He is taken into the care of two old sisters named Chavela and Senobia, while the majority of the Bracho family wrongly suspect that he has been kidnapped by Paulina. Paola returns to the Bracho home, unaware that the entire family knows about the switch and suspect her of "conspiring" with Paulina to kidnap Carlitos. She eventually learns the truth from a servant, and decides to leave with another lover of hers named Douglas Maldonado. Elsewhere, Paulina, who had been working as a caretaker for an old woman, learns from a newspaper that Carlitos is missing and decides to return to the Bracho home. Paulina returns, missing Paola's escape by a few seconds. Paulina immediately confides in Abuela Piedad, telling her the whole story. They figure out that Paola has left, and Abuela begs Paulina to pretend to Paola again, so to avoid her arrest for identity theft and Carlitos' suspected kidnapping. Paulina agrees, but soon reveals to Carlos Daniel that she is "La Usurpadora". Carlos Daniel under Gema's influence, demands Paulina turn herself in to the police, but when she goes to the police station, she sees Carlitos at the front doors crying. It turns out that Chavela left him there to avoid Senobia claiming any money. Paulina reunites Carlitos with his father, and decides to stay with the Bracho family until Carlitos regains his memory. Carlos Daniel soon grows to love Paulina, despite others still at odds with her. Bracho family members Gema and Willy report Paulina to the authorities, but because the police are unable to prove she is not Paola, they cannot detain her. In Hawaii, Paola begins to have painful migraines which happen with increasing severity. After a very painful migraine, she slips into a coma. She is flown back to Mexico for treatment, but her body has given out and she is completely paralyzed. With Paola back, the police arrest Paulina and put her in prison for identity theft and child kidnapping; they also accuse her of having tried to kill Paola. The police discover a letter written by the Paola and Paulina's mother confirming that they...