Liz Ortecho, as she’s written in the books, is a Spanish teenager born to two parents who run the Crashdown Cafe. When the books were adapted for television in the 90s, Liz Ortecho became Liz Parker, erasing the legacy and culture associated with the character. While Liz wasn’t the only one who changed her name with the adaptation, it took away a significant part of who she was.
While “Roswell, New Mexico” gives Liz back her heritage, it’s in a slightly different way, which makes it more politically and socially relevant for the times. The character is Mexican, the daughter of undocumented immigrants who have lived in Roswell for over three decades. Returning the character to her Latina identity was a goal from the start. “There was a line I wrote for the sides of the audition,” creator Carina Adly Mackenzie described to Entertainment Weekly. “A police officer accuses Liz of being combative, and she replies, ‘I’m a Mexican-American woman in 2018. I fight when I wake up in the morning.'”
Although there are some changes to Liz’s story to better reflect current issues involving her culture, the scientific side of Liz’s character remains consistent in both TV adaptations. In “Roswell”, she analyzes some of Max’s saliva, notices his abnormal cells, and confronts him, to find out the truth. In the new series, Liz, already a working scientist, uses DNA from a straw to discover that her cells don’t look like they should.