The opening shot of Narcos is an overview of Medellin’s city, with a voice-over from Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) explaining the origins of magical realism. He assures us that the events that we are about to witness may seem unbelievable, but they all happened.
Throughout its 3 season run, the show constantly serves up monumental moments that leave you astonished and in awe as you watch the rise of the Colombian Cartels and the futile efforts of the DEA to stop them.
1. Quick Review
Narcos draws inspiration from Goodfellas and Scarface, with several voice-overs, gunfights, and explosions as it tracks the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel. It is intense, and pairs sharp writing with brilliant acting to give us a phenomenal series.
Wagner Moura, Pedro Pascal, and Boyd Holbrook deliver fine performances supported by a multitude of actors from different countries, all depicting real characters with exceptional detail and care.
2. Info & Watch Links
NarcosAir Date: August 28, 2015 Status: Finished Studio: Gaument International , Netflix No. of Seasons: 3 No. of Episodes: 30
3. Is It Worth Watching?
Narcos’ opening theme Tuyo, performed by Rodrigo Amarante, casts a spell over you as the visuals depict the rich and the poor of Bogota, archival news footage, the glamour and splendor of the 80s, and the DEA’s operations to stop the constant influx of drugs into Miami.
It is an incredible theme for a show that doesn’t disappoint and will give keep you captivated throughout.
The first two seasons of Narcos follow the rise of Pablo Escobar and the formation of the Medellin Cartel. We see Escobar rise from a small-time smuggler to one of the most influential and powerful men in Spain and a global personality.
Narcos is a fictionalized account of the tale but is grounded in reality, freely mixing newspaper clippings, photographs, and archival news footage surrounding the events depicted on the screen.
We see the rise of Escobar and the formation of the infamous smuggling routes from Colombia and Mexico to Miami. In the United States, cocaine takes everyone by storm with its popularity sky-rocketing, creating an insatiable demand.
We see how the DEA tries to crack down on the drug traffic by trying to intercept shipments coming to the US but fail to acknowledge the root of the problem.
A lack of funds to the local offices in Mexico and Colombia allows the drug traffickers to run wild. The second season sees the DEA closing the net on Pablo, who continues to evade them.
There are several iconic moments such as Escobar being featured on the Forbes list of the Richest Men in the world, or traveling to the US, and taking a picture in front of the White House while he was a wanted man.
II. Season 3
Season 3 of Narcos was a true test for the creators as the mythical, influential and admirable figure of Pablo Escobar was no longer involved in the show. This season propelled Pedro Pascal to the lead role and focused on the Cali Cartel activities, who were Pablo’s rivals and bigger and richer than him.
The show managed to finish strong and offered a unique insight into one of the world’s biggest and richest criminal organizations. This season also focused on humanizing the characters and giving them rich personal stories and arcs. Pedro Pascal shined as the leading man.
III. Cast & Performances
Wagner Moura gives the performance of a lifetime as Pablo Escobar, forever cementing his association with the character. The series manages to instill a sense of fear and awe in the audience for Escobar. Moura depicts both sides of Pablo transitioning from the ruthless criminal overlord and to the dedicated family man.
Along with Juan Pablo Raba, who plays Pablo’s cousin and right-hand man, Gustavo, Narcos allows you to sympathize with Pablo but never lets you forget his horrendous actions and criminal activities.
Numerous historical figures and side characters as criminals, assassins, mistresses, soldiers, and government officials were all involved in this extraordinary saga.
The duo of Pedro Pascal and Boyd Holbrook as Pena and Murphy face off against the Escobar brothers. While Pena is Mexican, Murphy is a White American, and the series is narrated from his perspective to offer an outsider’s view.
Their painstaking efforts, constant frustration with the corrupt local government and officials, and relentless pursuit of Escobar and the Cali Cartel show us how the case comes together bit by bit.
IV. Is There a Season 4 of Narcos?
After months of speculation, it was announced that there would not be a fourth season of Narcos. Instead, a spinoff series titled Narcos: Mexico was launched on Netflix, which focused on the drug trade in Guadalajara, Mexico. Narcos: Mexico is an independent show, and you can watch it even if you haven’t watched the original series. The show has two seasons with a third in production.
5. Final Thoughts
The creators Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard manage to give Narcos a documentary feel while keeping it well-paced and thrilling. The series shows the shaky alliances and dirty tactics used by the DEA to trap Pablo, and the shot where the footage cuts to the real pictures taken on the day of his death is stunning.
Narcos follows the epic saga of Pablo Escobar and the Colombian drug trade, and Wagner Moura and Pedro Pascal shine in their performances.
The show plays out like a beam balance with the rise of Pablo eclipsing the DEA, the Colombian Government, and the US. His fall comes with a massive crackdown on the drug trade, as the “War On Drugs” reaches a fitting conclusion.