Charlie Altamirano

Charlie Altamirano is the villainess of "Strange Currencies", a first season episode of the crime series "L.A. Heat". She was portrayed by Wanda Acuna.


Detectives Chase McDonald & his partner August Brooks are on the hunt to bring down Charlie Altamirano, head of the drug-trafficking Mexican mafia who is a perceived ghost by the law with no prints or photos on record(alas, no real clarity on Charlie's gender.

It is when Altamirano's main henchman, Whit, reports that a shipment might have been tipped off that Charlie is revealed to be female(Charlie being short for Carlota). Charlie's motive-to recover a jeweled key seen as a symbol of power in Central America-is also revealed shortly after. She is dead-set on getting the key back; literally killing the henchman in charge of guarding it right in her office.

The key winds up in Chase's hands after receiving it from an old friend that ran afoul of the Mafia. Charlie decides to try are seduce him for the key. She masquerades as Carla, a new neighbor. She goes further by popping up on Chase & Brooks at a restaurant, heavily flirting with Chase while there. In a break of character, her temper leads her to stabbing a heckler on the way out.

To aid in her plan, she divides Chase and his girlfriend Jodi further by lying to Jodi's best friend, August's wife Kendra, about Chase getting her pregnant and abandoning her. This succeeds in getting Jodi to leave Chase for space. Charlie then shows up to Chase's house in lingerie to apply full pressure, but Chase rebuffs her again, leading her to tell him he'll be sorry. Charlie returns a short time later, sarcastically confirms that she "works" for Charlie & holds Chase at knifepoint, telling him that she has Kendra & Jodi hostage. He is to bring the key, alone, in one hour.

Chase arrives to Charlie's estate and is greeted by Whit and a platoon of more henchmen, ready to shoot. Here she reveals herself to be Charlie Altamirano. When Chase says he doesn't have the key, Charlie orders Whit to kill one of the women. When he moves to, he whispers to Chase that he is an undercover DEA agent and aides him in fighting off the henchmen, with Brooks soon arriving to aide them. Charlie is seen trying to flee the estate but is knocked out by Jodi.

Chase retrieves the key from his front seat & hands it to an officer to log in as evidence. Charlie is believed to be taken into custody, vowing to see Chase again before she is put into a car. However, she is later shown in the car, uncuffed, smiling with the key in her hands. The officer, named Ernesto, was on her payroll. The episode ends with Ernesto confirming that Charlie has 2 hours before her flight, to which she replies, "Perfect."


  • "How much do you think your life is worth?"-To henchman before stabbing him to death
  • "When I want your opinion, I'll have it beaten out of you."-To Whit
  • Charlie: "And he gave Chase the key?" Whit: "I'm almost certain of it." Charlie:"Almost?"(with nail file pointed at his neck) Whit:"I'm certain."


  • Despite the ending being set up for another, this would be Charlie Altamirano's lone appearance on L.A. Heat.


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