Well, she seems like a lovely girl. She looks exactly like you. She could be your daughter... ¡Santo Dios!
|Adrian Powell, "Once More Unto the Bleach"|
Daniela "Danni" Mercado is a main character on Devious Maids. She is a sexy, fun, and unpredictable Latina in her 20s who loves to stir the pot. She arrives in Beverly Hills with dreams of stardom and is easily tempted by the fabulous lifestyles of the rich and famous. However, she quickly realizes that "making it" is harder than she'd imagined. And, when her wilder side brings her into conflict with Carmen, she uncovers a truth that could change her entire life.
I was just a teenager. I had big plans for my life. So my cousin Josefina, she raised her as her own.
|Carmen Luna, "Once More Unto the Bleach"|
A photograph of Daniela as a baby, before Carmen gave her up for adoption. ("Terms of Endearment")
As a teenager, Carmen Luna falls pregnant and cannot bring it upon herself to raise the child, and so she gives her baby - Daniela - away to her cousin, Josefina Mercado, who adopts her and raises her as her own. Daniela is aware of her "cousin" Carmen, although she's never met her and her mother neglects to talk about her much. ("Suspicion", "Once More Unto the Bleach") When Danni has the chicken pox, Josefina soothes her, and when Danni gets her heart broken by a boy for the first time, Josefina consoles her. Growing up, following the death of her adoptive father, Danni displays some fairly wild behavior, sleeping with a number of men and receiving a number of marriage proposals as a result. She describes it as her "curse". She ends up getting into college but, deciding she'd rather be a singer, she drops out, to her mother's fury. ("Sweeping with the Enemy") As a young woman, Daniela plans a trip to Los Angeles and learns from her Aunt Yolanda where her "cousin" Carmen is currently living. ("Once More Unto the Bleach")
Daniela visits her mother, not that she knows that. ("Once More Unto the Bleach")
While on vacation in Los Angeles for the week, Daniela thinks that it might be cool to meet her mother's cousin, Carmen. Carmen has a strong reaction to her appearance, which her paralyzed boss Adrian finds odd, and finally Carmen admits that Daniela is in fact her daughter. She was a teenager when she birthed her and gave her away to her cousin to raise as her own, and Adrian, bored of being in his wheelchair, decides to "sin-tillate" himself by enhancing Carmen's discomfort; he invites Daniela to stay with them, taking satisfaction in the awkwardness, but later Carmen tries getting her daughter to leave by telling her that Mr. Powell is a pervert who will try to sleep with her. Daniela sees through her lies and comes to realize why her mother doesn't really speak of Carmen - because she's kind of a bitch - and later Carmen is forced to apologize, defending that she doesn't want to see Danni end up like her. Like Carmen, Daniela wants to be a singer, and, while Carmen sees herself as a lousy role model because she's still a maid, Danni actually sees her as really brave because she had the nerve to chase after her dreams even at her age. They hug, despite Carmen earlier saying that she wasn't a hugger, and later the maid asks her daughter if she'd like to grab some dinner. Danni lies and says that she's going to bed, but in fact she is sneaking out to crash the celebrity party at Peri and Spence Westmore's house. She is greeted by Jesse, who tries warding her off by downplaying the celebrity life, but excitement is soon stirred when Spence drunkenly attacks his wife. ("Once More Unto the Bleach")
Seducing Mr. Powell is the extra mile Danni is willing to go for her career. ("Another One Wipes the Dust")
Danni's mother calls to scold her daughter over the fact that she's decided to move to Los Angeles, and Carmen is less than thrilled to hear the news as well, with Danni believing that it's the best way to make her dreams of stardom come true. Carmen tries convincing her that it would be detrimental to her career, for she can't mooch off the Powells forever and needs the money to get herself started, and so, when Daniela catches Adrian standing up out of his wheelchair, she promises to keep her mouth shut in exchange for a job working as a maid alongside Carmen. Carmen is furious when Danni tells her the news and tries to get Adrian to fire her, but he says that, if she tells Evelyn, he'll tell Danni who her real mother is, putting them at a blackmail impasse. Evelyn later discovers Daniela cleaning and, desperate for a reason to divorce her husband without looking like a monster, offers to set the maid up with a meeting with a music producer should she seduce her husband on film. Danni attempts to do so, but Adrian turns her down; however, he does reveal on the tape that he can walk, and so Evelyn has the cause she needs. Carmen finds out what Daniela agreed to do and confronts her about it, but Danni simply points out that if her "cousin" were to jump aboard similar opportunities then maybe she wouldn't still be working as a maid. Carmen is hurt while Danni dolls herself up and proceeds to the meeting with the producer. ("Another One Wipes the Dust")
Danni's increasingly uncontrollable behavior leads her back to Jesse. ("War and Grease")
Carmen grows worried about Daniela's reckless behavior, though she refuses to reprimand her for it because Josefina tried controlling her daughter's life and that's what drove her away, and Carmen wants to be considered cool by her "cousin". First, she catches Daniela smoking pot and tells her not to do it in the house in case Mr. Powell catches her; then, after Danni follows Carmen's instructions, she crashes Adrian's favorite Bentley into a tree because that's where she decided to continue getting high. As such, Carmen simply offers to take it to a body shop and have it taken care of, and that night Daniela proceeds to meet two guys, both of whom she sleeps with, as well as gain a tattoo on her leg which reads "No Regerts", because she says that that's how she lives her life. Carmen is judgmental of this but does not express it, merely saying that Danni can make the Bentley incident up to her by helping her work her friend Zoila's cocktail party that night. Danni agrees to do so, but then she forgets about it and goes out drinking again; she is called by Carmen and assures her that she'll be right there, but then she runs into Jesse and, to her delight, he offers to buy her a drink. As such, when she arrives at Zoila's party she is drunk and ends up spilling over Zoila's friend Frances, ruining her expensive blouse. Carmen defends her daughter and refuses to apologize when Zoila requests that she do so, meaning she and Danni are both fired in front of everyone. Finally, Carmen is forced to confront Danni about her out-of-control behavior, only for Danni to brush her off by pointing out that Carmen cannot control her because she's not her mother. Due to this, Carmen calls Josefina and tells her about her daughter being in desperate need of her. ("War and Grease")
Carmen accidentally reveals herself as Danni's mother. ("Sweeping with the Enemy")
Daniela spends the night having sex with Jesse, who professes to want to keep things casual, and proceeds to get a call saying that she's been selected to fill in as a singer in an upcoming showcase, to her joy. However, when she goes to tell Carmen, her mother Josefina arrives on the scene to take her home, having been summoned by her cousin. Feeling bad, Carmen goes to Danni to apologize, proposing a way to allow her to sing in the showcase after all by lying their asses off to her mother. Carmen tries arranging for the three of them to take a bus tour where the bus will break down and make it so that the the flight back to San Juan is missed, but Josefina doesn't seem to be going for it, meaning Carmen has to trick her into walking into a room so that she can barricade the door and trap her, so as to give Daniela a chance to sing. When Josefina is eventually freed by Adrian, she finds Danni and Carmen and is furious, though Carmen convinces her cousin to let Danni sing since she herself has been in many of similar showcases and it never went anywhere; as soon as Daniela realizes that nobody cares about her talent, she'll be on the first flight home. Josefina finally allows it, not caring about her daughter's amazing voice, but Carmen can't help but tear up at the fact that her daughter is an even better singer than her. Things go as Carmen predicted and nobody cares about the showcase, meaning Danni goes to Jesse for some goodbye sex before she leaves, but Jesse doesn't want her to go because, although he wanted to keep things casual, he actually likes her and wants her to stay. Carmen later begs Josefina not to take Danni home and to allow her to pursue a singing career because she's so good, but Josefina refuses; Carmen wants her cousin to stop acting as though she's no one to Danni, since she gave birth to her, and Danni overhears this and is shocked. She storms away, not wanting to speak to either of her mothers. ("Sweeping with the Enemy")
With things settled with her mothers, Danni wants to find her father. ("A Time to Spill")
Carmen isn't as worried as Josefina about the current whereabouts of Daniela, encouraging her cousin to quit calling their shared daughter over and over. Josefina believes the reason Carmen isn't worried is because she's scared to face Danni, who she thinks will hate her; meanwhile, Danni is screening her mother's calls over at Jesse's, having spent the whole night talking and drinking. She makes him promise not to tell Carmen where she is, and he adheres to this, but still he is worried about her and so instead he goes to Marisol, who in turn tells Carmen. Carmen and Josefina then turn up at Jesse's place to confront Danni; Carmen tries defending herself but, as it turns out, she isn't the one that Danni is mad it - she is in fact mad at Josefina for lying to her her entire life, thinking that this explains why they're nothing alike and have nothing in common. Josefina tries assuring that all mothers and daughters fight, but Daniela tells her that she's not her mother and never was. Josefina proceeds to pack her bags to head back to the island, tearfully telling Carmen that she always feared the day that Danni would learn the truth and then pick her biological mother over the one that raised her. Indeed, Daniela wishes for Carmen to act like her mother now, only for Carmen to maintain that nothing's changed that that Danni's true mother is Josefina, who she needs to make things right with. Disappointed, Danni comes to realize that Carmen is right, and so has Jesse drive her to the airport so that she can go home and apologize to Josefina. And, while she's there, she also plans on finding her birth father, who Carmen earlier refused to talk about. ("A Time to Spill")
Danni calls her father, after having told Carmen he died. ("I Saw the Shine")
Danni irritates Carmen by going around Puerto Rico asking about her birth father. Later, when Carmen scorns a man named Doug, he contacts Danni with the information she needs as an act of revenge. ("Blood, Sweat and Smears") Daniela goes on to meet her father, Lucas, before returning to Beverly Hills and getting re-hired as Adrian's maid, for he and Evelyn have split the mansion in half and Carmen is currently only cleaning Mrs. Powell's half. Daniela remains furious at Carmen for how they left things, telling her that she means nothing to her, and even goes as far as to lie and tell her that she discovered Lucas died before he got the chance to know he even had a daughter. She then goes to see Jesse, who reveals that he slept with someone while she was away, but Danni doesn't really care since she, too, slept with multiple partners while in Puerto Rico. She points out that their relationship isn't an exclusive one, and he is dissatisfied with this. Later, she is cleaning Adrian's side of the house when Carmen re-approaches her and tells her about her father, even giving her a ring that once belonged to him. When Carmen is gone, Danni calls her father and tells him not to fly out to Beverly Hills because, she lies, Carmen doesn't want to see him. ("I Saw the Shine")
A callback from Hugh Metzger lands Danni in a dangerous situation... ("Much Ado About Buffing")
Carmen is approached by Daniela who claims to have forgiven her and invites her out to dinner; however, it appears she still hates her birth mother a considerable amount, and is simply playing her for some unknown reason. Later, Carmen goes to the girls with the casting calls for Marisol's film, wanting to audition for the role based on her - "Carmelita". Danni informs Jesse that she intends to audition for the role of Carmelita as well, and the only reason she's hanging out with Carmen is so that she can study and imitate her. Carmen is later rehearsing for the audition when Daniela meets her for the dinner, then copying Carmen's mannerisms as she gets ready to go out, becoming the perfect mirror image of her mother. When Carmen shows up for the audition, surrounded by all the young sexy Carmelitas, she is shocked to see Danni has shown up as well, and very hurt to learn that the only reason her daughter spent any time with her was so that she could perfect her acting technique. Because she's so angry, Hugh Metzger reacts poorly to her audition, for he feels she isn't being sexy enough. Carmen later goes to Danni to apologize, thinking it's stupid to fight over some part in a movie that neither of them are going to get, but Danni reveals that she got a callback. While Carmen is indeed jealous, as Danni had hoped, she's also very happy for her daughter, even advising her on which dress to wear so that she can appear as sexy as possible - per Hugh Metzger's directive. However, Hugh's intentions for Danni are far from honorable... ("Much Ado About Buffing")
Daniela is accepted as Carmen's daughter, but still retains a secret. ("Grime and Punishment")
The girls discuss what is known about Peri's murder and Marisol reveals that she was probably raped by Hugh Metzger, who's done that sort of thing before. This worries Carmen because Danni had a callback with him the night before, and so she calls her to warn her that Hugh is dangerous and not to drink anything he gives her, but Danni dismisses it as her being jealous. However, when Hugh gives her a drink, she switches her glass with his and he ends up passing out, at which Danni calls Carmen in a panic. Knowing the police to be useless in these matters, Carmen decides to call Rosie instead, and the three of them question Hugh while he's tied up, forcing him to confess that he raped Peri and has been funding The Circle for years because he's Tucker's father. However, he didn't kill her; he left on the night of the party because Peri had caught him trying to rape someone else and threatened to expose it. Before he can say who he now realizes the killer to be - his daughter Gail Fleming - he has a heart attack, and so the maids call the paramedics and run. Danni goes to Carmen with a "gift" (Carmen's own bracelet) to say thank you, and Carmen refers to her as her daughter, deciding that they should start fresh with their relationship. They share a hug, and Carmen comments that it would be nice for Lucas to see them now, still under the impression that he's dead. Danni remains awkward at this, failing to divulge the truth. ("Grime and Punishment")
The truth regarding Danni's biological father being alive does eventually come out, and he does become present as Carmen's one true love. Of course though, Carmen is mad at Danni upon first learning that she's been lied to. In the meantime, Danni's relationship with Jesse continues; however, that's not to say a new love triangle between the two of them and another man is out of the question.
- Of the main characters, Daniela has only formally met with Rosie, Carmen, Zoila, Evelyn, Adrian and Jesse.
- Sol Rodriguez is not performing Daniela's singing voice.
This is a gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.