The Borgias (2011–2013)
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Tears of Blood 

Micheleto learns his kept lover is a Sforza informant, Caterina Sforza mounts the Shroud of Turin as a rival holy relic, and Fredirigo puts Lucrezia under house arrest.


David Leland


Neil Jordan (creator), Neil Jordan


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Rodrigo Borgia
François Arnaud ... Cesare Borgia
Holliday Grainger ... Lucrezia Borgia
Sean Harris ... Micheletto
Thure Lindhardt ... Rufio
Gina McKee ... Caterina Sforza
Peter Sullivan ... Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Charlie Carrick ... Pascal
Luke Allen-Gale ... Fredirigo
Sebastian De Souza ... Alfonso of Aragon
Cyron Melville ... Cardinal Farnese
Peter Stebbings ... Cardinal De Luca
Brendan Cowell ... Mattai the Hebrew
Kevin Griffiths ... Cardinal
Robert Gogo-Fawcett Robert Gogo-Fawcett ... Bishop




Micheletto discovers that his new lover is spying on him. Caterina Sforza grieves over the loss of her dead son and plots her revenge. She puts the Shroud of Constantinople on display and arranges for a fake miracle to draw the crowds. When she learns from her spy that Cesare will be checking into this new holy site, she plans to kill him. The Pope has decided to officiate at the investiture of King Fredirigo of Naples. In return the King asks that he name an ambassador from the Vatican and specifically requests that he name Lucrezia. He agrees and she is quite pleased but they have been duped. Once back in Naples, Fredirigo makes it quite clear that she is his prisoner. Meanwhile, the Pope has come to an agreement with the Jews of Rome. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


A series of seven conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice between 1423 and 1718 were known as the Ottoman-Venetian Wars. This episode was set during the second of these (1499 - 1503.) The burning of the Turkish fleet as depicted did not occur. See more »


The replica Shroud of Constantinople bears damages that were not sustained until decades after Pope Alexander VI's death. See more »


Micheletto: [having realized Pascal's betrayal, Micheletto angrily recites Catallus' poem back at him] "I hate, and I love. Why, you may ask? I do not know. But it happen, and I... and..." How does it go?
Pascal: "I burn."
Micheletto: No, in the Latin, please.
Pascal: [he hesitates, and Micheletto rushes at him and pins him against the wall] "Excrucior"! "Excrucior"!
Micheletto: It is a big word for "burn"!
[shouts furiously]
Micheletto: Why? Why did you become my lover? Why?
Pascal: Because I was made an offer!
Micheletto: From whom?
[Pascal doesn't answer]
See more »


The Borgias Main Titles (Instrumental)
Written by Trevor Morris
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User Reviews

"I hate, and I love"
2 October 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

While it is not a perfect show by all means, that doesn't stop 'The Borgias' being for me an exceptionally high quality show that is so addictive and so easily re-watchable. So much so that the historical inaccuracies did not bother me and that it took half a season to completely settle and that the show ended on an incomplete note, due to it being cancelled prematurely when production costs if remembered correctly got too expensive, was not too hard to overlook. All the episodes are in my mind good to brilliant.

"Tears of Blood" is one of the brilliant episodes of 'The Borgias'. One of the best of Season 3 (the high quality in Season 2 may have been more consistent, but the third season was never less than very good), the best episode since "The Face of Death" and definitely one of my favourites of the whole show along with "The Confession" (the show's high point for me, namely for Juan's burial, have raved about that scene more than once and will continue to do so as it is that good a scene) and "The Face of Death".

It is the emotional impact that "Tears of Blood" has that sets it apart. Especially in Micheletto's subplot (the heart of the episode), once again like "Lucrezia's Gambit" Micheletto is given a lot of depth and we see a character that is so much more than just a creepy assassin. Thanks to increased screen time in the third season that made him perhaps the second most interesting character of the season behind Cesare. The initial chemistry between him and Pascal is cute but darkens considerably later on, Micheletto's anguish is absolutely gut-wrenching and really felt for him here.

Also standing out emotionally is the conflicted characterisation of Caterina, although her actions are un-condonable her grief, in a tension and political intrigue-filled subplot, is portrayed very poignantly. The increased strain between Rodrigo and Cesare creates tension (with Cesare even mocking him at one point), and the suspense is also there with Lucrezia, one thinking what is she going to do next. Lucrezia with the witch was like a battle of the manipulators, with the witch getting the edge. Cesare and Micheletto together never fails to intrigue, Cesare here being forceful but also somewhat sympathetic. The opening sequence has a lot of pomp and grandeur, visually grand and rousingly scored, and there is a real sense of making it clear who's in charge in the investiture scene.

Expectedly, "Tears of Blood" is without fault visually. Like in "Relics", the Rufio (quite a terrifying character) scene in silence is shot in a way that's quite ominous. The whole episode though is beautifully and atmospherically shot and the costumes and interiors are the very meaning of opulent but in the necessary moments also uncompromising. The music makes an impression too, not just in the opening but especially in the Pascal/Micheletto scenes, hauntingly melancholic which fits the tone of the scenes beautifully. The main theme still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the opening titles sequence is one of my favourites ever.

One of 'The Borgias' most improved components has been the writing, which has the right amounts of intensity and pathos. The big confrontation between Micheletto and Pascal is powerfully written, one of the show's best written scenes. The story is always absorbing for all of the above and never feels dull or too cluttered.

Everybody turns in fine performances. As excellent as Francois Arnaud, Jeremy Irons, Holliday Grainger and Gina McKee all are (plus Peter Sullivan does some nice underplaying with some scene stealing expressions), the episode belongs to Sean Harris at his most heart-rending. How he didn't get any award recognition for this episode is anybody's guess.

In conclusion, really brilliant. 10/10

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English | Latin

Release Date:

2 June 2013 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Korda Studios, Etyek, Hungary See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
See full technical specs »

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