Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) is an American DEA agent who’s been given one of the biggest assignments in his life to track down and capture the largest cocaine drug cartel leader in America, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and hopes to stop the rise of other drug kingpins in America.
Steve recalls the early days of Pablo Escobar, his rise from a simple black marketeer in the late seventies, up until his meteoric rise in the nineties, mostly funded by the growing demand of rich people in the US for pure cocaine.
Pablo gets arrested several times but manages to make his escape time and time again. But at the peak of his power, Pablo struggles as his rivals colluded with drug enforcement agencies to finally take him down, and his members begin to betray him one by one, unable to handle the pressure from his enemies.
The story of Pablo Escobar’s rise and fall is probably the most retold life story of any Drug Leader, but Narcos modernizes the intrepid story for audiences more than two decades after the life of the infamous drug leader. What makes Narcos so engaging is that it shows very little difference between the drug-running business and the exploitative legal businesses in Western countries. Many viewers will relate the trials and tribulations that most businessmen face in running a business and the common types of pitfalls that ultimately lead to corruption and their businesses’ fall.
Narcos also impressively humanizes Pablo Escobar’s turbulent life. Despite his faults, Narco’s Pablo
Escobar donated incredible amounts of money to the community even though he mostly dealt with his enemies brutally with executions and all-out war in broad daylight in the war-torn streets of Colombia.
Narco’s script impresses with a myriad of quotable one-liners that adds brevity, and most of the time tension, to most of its conflict-filled scenes. It’s a masterclass of an adaptation done right that manages to exemplify the most explosive aspects of Pablo Escobar’s life while somehow maintains a grounded retelling of his reign in the drug cartel business.
Surprisingly, the dialogue does not have as many f-bombs or other types of expletives as one would usually expect in crime dramas and is an appreciated change in its three-season runtime. But don’t expect we’ll be recommending to watch it with your kids anytime soon because this series is also dotted with hate-filled language.
Also, we’d also like to note how the cliffhanger endings were done in each episodes that just had us wanting for more and play the next episode as soon as possible. One wouldn’t be remiss to say that Narcos is the cocaine equivalent for tv series, and we’re sticking by that statement.
Characters and acting
We definitely have to note the amazing performances of Pedro Pascal as Javier Pena, as the American DEA agent who investigated the Medellin cartel and the capture of Pablo Escobar. This is the series that launched his career (aside from his short stint in HBO’s Game of Thrones) with his compelling portrayal of a DEA agent and his struggle to stop the slow decay of Colombia.
He shared remarkable chemistry with Boyd Holbrook, who played Steve Murphy, and made a convincing portrayal of their partnership as they did everything in their power to stop Pablo Escobar.
Wagner Moura, who gained a lot of weight for his stint as the enigmatic Pablo Escobar, is incredibly convincing as well. He masterfully displayed the bi-polar tendencies of the drug kingpin during his later days in the drug cartel and will have you wondering what crazy acts will Pablo be doing when faced in certain situations.
Music and cinematography
The music for Narcos, though not ground-breaking by any means, gets the job done with its focus more on setting the right tone for the action scenes. South American-inspired songs and themes are littered all over the series and adds a colorful flavor of Colombian culture into the scenes.
The cinematography is excellent throughout the entire series. Even with just the scenes whose purpose was to provide context and exposition to the story, Narcos provides a stunningly impressive-array of setpieces, showcasing the very best and beautiful spots in Latin America.
But of course, we can’t talk about crime dramas without mentioning action scenes, and Narcos is just overflowing with it. The show holds nothing back when displaying the severity of violence during the hayday of the Medellin cartel in the cocaine export industry. Expect dozens of guns, hundreds of bullets, and innumerable amounts of dead bodies whenever watching an episode of this excellent tv series.
Narcos is a shining jewel in the crime drama world with an impressive display of the promulgation of the cocaine drug epidemic that swept the US in the seventies and well into the 2000s. But it doesn’t stray too far from the narrative and shows the relationships, betrayals, and tenacity between the cartel kings in how they managed to consolidate their power from simple drug dealers to now legitimate business owners that the US Drug enforcement agency are having trouble in enacting justice with. This series is a definite must watch for viewers with a week of free-time, otherwise, view this addictive series at your own risk.