It’s 5 am, my eyes are bloodshot and I’m wide-awake. I keep telling myself, “Just one more,” but I can’t seem to stop. I’ve been watching Narcos, Netflix’s new crime drama, all night, and I’m beyond hooked. The show details the life of Pablo Escobar, a drug trafficker in the 80s and 90s who was so powerful, he could bend the entire Colombian government to his whims. The story is narrated by Steve Murphy (played by Boyd Holbrook), a DEA agent working in Colombia tasked with hunting down Escobar. Steve Murphy and his partner Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal) are in fact real people, and the creators of Narcos consulted extensively with the pair to ensure an accurate retelling of the story.
The first episode was a little jarring, as Murphy’s character sounds like Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds and looks like Macauley Culkin with a moustache. After getting accustomed to the narrator, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the story he tells. Murphy and Pena detail Escobar’s rise to the top of the cocaine trade in Colombia, and the complicated relationship he had with the Colombian people. Escobar used much of his drug money to build homes for the poor in his hometown of Medellin, causing many citizens to view him as a sort of Robin Hood character. The series also explores the role that American consumers played in the lucrative industry, and how America’s penchant for cocaine fueled Escobar’s business ventures. Some aspects of Murphy and Pena’s adventure are so unbelievable I actually found myself googling different plot points to find out if they were true:
“Did Escobar actually have so much money he had to bury it in the jungle?”
“Did he really bribe or murder anyone who opposed him?”
Most definitely, plato o plomo!
“And what about the thing with the plane?”
Unfortunately, that’s also true.
As Escobar’s wealth continues to grow, and as the DEA and Columbian police scramble to incarcerate him, both sides start making rash, drastic decisions that often end in bloodshed. Though Narcos makes no claims to being completely historically accurate, the show paints a vivid picture of the very real fear and uncertainty that lingered over Colombia during Escobar’s most violent clashes with police.
Narcos takes you into the world of the “bad guys”, which will appeal to fans of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. Steve Murphy’s narration of the events of the show give you hints at important details to remember, and his tone always gets a little tenser before a big action scene. The fast-paced energy of the show is sure to capture the attention of everyone from casual viewers to crime drama buffs. If you do decide to start watching Narcos, I recommend sticking with small doses a few hours apart.
Paige Guscott, Online Reviewer
Image: Daniel Daza for Netflix