December is the month of festivities and for many of us, it’s a month of rejuvenation and self-reward – or so we think. We take leaves in the hopes of just idling at home and savour the delicacy of time. Time we spend in front of computers and TV screen in the hopes to kill boredom. You wander off to Netflix and you stumble across a fat dude with a thick moustache. Well, he’s not just any fat dude you see round the block; he’s the head of the drug fiefdom in Colombia – Pablo Escobar. So is it any good?
Narcos is a drama-biography of the famous drug lord that plagued the streets of Colombia. The show portrays the beginning of the Medellín cartel with season 2 ending with the fatal demise of Pablo Esbobar. Throughout the show, we follow the foot steps of Escobar as he grew his drug empire far beyond the borders of Colombia and into US. Hunting close behind are the agents of the DEA as they probe deeper into the cartel to try to bring Escobar and his cartel down to their knees.
The show is reminiscent of the old C.S.I and Burn Notice with the narration of the main protagonist throughout the show, Ken Burn aerial shots over mountains and excessive chain smoking. All in all the show is generally well crafted with action and suspense cleverly woven into an engaging piece of work. Not missing the usual Netflix debaunchery, Narcos is a technical success carried upon the lesser known private life of Pablo Escobar
Season 1 builds the foundation for the story of Narcos. The main timeline of events is seen through the eyes of Steve Murphy, a promising DEA agent who has been assigned to tail Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. Together with his partner, Javier Peña; they work together with the Cali Cartel who find a common enemy in Escobar to bring down Escobar and his multi billion drug empire. The story also focuses on Escobar manoeuvre from dealing with illegal imports into the drug business, as well as his campaign to become the president of Colombia, threatening to turn Colombia into a drug country. The story heightens to Escobar’s capture and his reworks to create his own prison that turned himself into a caged bird within the very walls he built himself. Season 1 sees Escobar on the run with the DEA hot on his tail.
Season 2 returns with Pablo Escobar on the run with the DEA and the Search Bloc hot on his heels. Season 2 lightly humanizes Escobar as the story probes deeper into the personal relationship Escobar had with his family. Being on the run, his constant desire to be with his family freely grew as he was slowly pushed out of ideas for freedom. Furthermore, with the newly elected staunch president refusing to negotiate with the drug lord, we see more encounters between Escobar’s child recruits and the returning Drug Buster – Lieutenant Carrilo, which sadly ends with the deadly demise of Carrilo. The story solidifies with Escobar losing the chase with the DEA as his close advocates slowly abandoning him or killed; ending up with his only close aide – Limon. Season two ends with Escobar’s roof top chase with the police and DEA and expectedly, a gun fight which only ends with the death of Escobar and the closing of the Medellín cartel era.
Narcos is generally well scripted with action and persona development well balanced. It is easy to grasp the entire situation with no abrupt moves to another development of the plot. Each episode provides enough depth and action to keep you on track and entices you the next episode. A simple addiction that keeps you wanting more. However, there are a few instances where the predictability of the scene pushes you to skip some parts, but more or less, Narcos is a captivating drama for all kinds of viewers. It doesn’t take a crime drama lover to instantly fall in love with it. Definitely a must for any Netflix subscriber.
Producers: Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro
Cast: Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy, Pedro Pascal as Javier Pêna
Distributer: Netflix exclusive