Narcos Season 3 Review


Dario McCarty and Simon Clarke

From the streets of Medellin, Colombia, to the citizens of the United States, Narcos is the story of the infamous Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria and the sequence of events which knocked him off his throne as one of the biggest drug lords of all time. Nominated for best drama at the Golden Globes and the Primetime Emmy Awards, Narcos incapsulates the incredible sphere of influence in which Pablo Escobar insulated himself.

Narcos is a chilling and horrifying yet riveting Netflix drama, showing the intensity in the hunt for Escobar’s head. The people of Columbia endured the hardships of shootings, bombings, and even acts of terror on a planes.

The show features the exploits of Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, closely following their journey from small time Miami beat cops to the famous DEA agents responsible for the fall of Escobar’s behemoth of a drug cartel. Calling Escobar’s operation a behemoth is a mild understatement; Escobar’s criminal empire raked in obscene amounts of money, with his net worth reaching the dizzying height of $30 billion and turning an exorbitant $2.1 billion profit per year.

Seasons 1 and 2 were widely applauded by critics, and Season 3 has been released much to Netflix viewer’s anticipation. Season 3 took a transitional perspective; concluding what happened after the downfall of Pablo Escobar and which drug cartels took power in his place. For the contextual reality of the show, director Chris Brancato filmed most of the scenes in Medellin, Columbia. They wanted to be as close to the heart of the story as possible, and it shows through the show’s great sense of the culture and location at the time.

The show is known for its symphony of blood and raucous violence from the real events. Yet, ironic enough, the real life events surrounding Escobar era Columbia were far more crude and violently uncouth than what the show suggests. When retired DEA agent, Javier Peña, was asked about the fidelity of the real story, Peña said, “The chronology of the show is accurate, the time frame of the surrender and violence is pretty accurate. We met with creators of Narcos and they said they were going to add a few cinematic features to keep the viewers interested as any other show would do. On the subject of the violent accuracy of the show, they did not come close to the reality of the events. The streets of Medellin were bloods baths and the sicarios (Escobar’s hitmen) were ruthless killers and willing to lay their lives down for Escobar. There were car bombings every day, kidnappings, shootings and it wasn’t a pretty situation.”

However, according to Pena and Murphy, the show was historically relevant in other aspects, and they praise the show for being so accurate. “The show did a good job on exploiting Escobar’s wealth, after all he was voted the 7th richest person in the world on Forbes magazine. In achieving his wealth, Escobar had cornered the cocaine industry by making up of 80% of the cocaine distribution in the world. A kilo in those days went for 80,000 dollars and was shipping up to 13,607 kilos a day into the U.S, numbers that had been unheard of” Pena said.