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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

The Cleaning Lady just returned for its second season, and before delving in let’s review what happened last season…

Who is the Cleaning Lady?

Thony De La Rosa is a brilliant surgeon from Cambodia (but lived in the Philippines) whose sole mission is to save her immunocompromised son Luca. Out of everyone on the bone marrow transplant list, only one is a match who lives in America, prompting Thony to flee her country with her son leaving her husband behind. Luckily, Thony is able to live with her sister-in-law, Fiona, who is living in America with her children, and together they work for a cleaning company to stay afloat. 

Their story shows the hardships of undocumented immigrants who have to live their lives so carefully to avoid being deported. Neither Thony nor her sister has a driver’s license, Thony can’t take her son to the emergency room, and they have to be on alert whenever there’s an ICE raid at work. Thony and her family are on constant alert 24/7, but she refuses to give up for the sake of her son.

How Does Thony Get Wrapped Up In Crime?

While Thony is used to working her usual night shift at an underground fight club, one night she witnesses a gang murder of Theo, the club owner who is actually an undercover informant for the FBI, and just her luck her phone goes off. After being spotted and brought in front of the gang leader, Arman Morales, she pleads her case and offers to clean up the scene for them. Later Arman, in an attempt to keep her around and have a reason not to kill her, puts her on payroll to clean up scenes and parties.

What does the FBI Want With Thony?

After Thony is photographed at Theo’s funeral giving his daughter the birthday present Theo had left in his office she is approached by Agent Garett Miller. He knows of her involvement and needs her to work as the new informant otherwise she faces deportation. In the beginning, Thony tries to go along passing along information, but she soon gets caught up between working for him and staying loyal to Arman. 

Miller is already on thin ice with his department after sleeping with his last informant, so he is insistent on taking down Hayak’s mob with Thony’s help. 

Who is Arman Morales?

While Arman may seem like he’s in charge he actually works for his boss, Hayak, illegally selling arms and laundering money at an established hotel in Las Vegas. His father actually brought his family to America to escape gang violence in Mexico and worked as a gardener for Hayak for years. Arman’s choice to go into business with Hayak caused a rift between him and his family, leaving him to misguidedly trust Hayak. Throughout the season, Arman struggles with wanting to do the right thing but still has to follow his commands. When he meets Thony he feels he can finally do something good for once by helping her and her son out.

What’s Going On Between Thony and Arman?

Arman has a soft spot for Thony due to their similar background as immigrants and the fact his own mother was a cleaning lady. Thony is obviously hesitant of becoming involved with him, but her feelings become complicated when Arman is the only one truly helping her save her son. Arman refers her to their in-house doctor that puts Luca on a stem cell trial that she was previously turned away from and he even pays for Luca’s liver transplant that he needs to stay in the trial.

The two share a kiss twice in the first season, but things are even more complicated by Arman’s wife and the surprise return of Thony’s husband. It is clear to almost everyone that something is going on between the two of them, but the lines between Thony and Arman are still blurred.

What’s the Big Arms Deal? 

Later on, in the season, Arman realizes that he needs to secure his own after Hayak gives away ownership of the hotel to his daughter and son-in-law instead of him and his wife Nadia. Arman and Nadia strike up a 6 million dollar arms deal of their own as a way to get out of Hayak’s grasp. But their deal becomes complicated when the FBI is hot on Arman’s trail.

Arman moves this deal to Mexico where he takes Thony and her son to have a liver transplant, which Thony actually ends up doing herself when she is told she has to wait for a doctor to tend to another patient whose family paid more money to have priority. Arman leaves them to attend to his deal, and Thony, Luca, and their donor all have to make it past the border before a certain border patrol officer, who allows fake passports through, gets off his shift. Unfortunately, Thony doesn’t make it and she calls Agent Miller to help her out. But in an attempt to smuggle her across the border both of them get detained. Once the FBI arrive at the scene Miller is taken off the case and Thony is arrested, but they are both soon let off the hook with the expectation they get more information on the deal that’s happening so they can take Arman down.

Thony convinces Arman to work with the FBI so that they’ll let him walk free and only let Hayak take the fall. He reluctantly agrees and the three of them strike a deal.

Where do we leave off in the finale?

Arman carries out the deal and includes Hayak in it as a way to save himself (since Hayak previously put a hit on him!) but the buyers figure out that the FBI is in on the deal, and nearly kill Hayak. Arman saves him, getting him back in Hayak’s good graces, and the FBI raids the scene. Agent Miller and the rest of the Feds only find a suitcase full of rum, which is a major disappointment for them since it’s not enough to put them away for long. Arman leaves the money in a USB drive and leaves it in the cleaning cart in the hallway for Thony to pick up. 

Hayak’s daughter is made aware by Arman of her father’s laundering, and she takes it upon herself to turn over the accounting books from the hotel to the police, allowing them to charge Hayak more severely. 

Thony visits Arman in jail, who will be getting out soon, and he gives her the combination to access the money. Thony plans on using her cut from Arman to open up a clinic for other illegal immigrants like herself and everything seems to be falling into place.

But when she gets home she finds out her husband is on his way back to Manilla…and he took Luca with him.


Emma Baby

TCNJ '25

Emma is a junior at The College of New Jersey. She is a Speech Pathology and Audiology major with a Deaf Studies minor.