Television Review: Narcos

Netflix’s original series Narcos, a show of crime, passion, life, and death, does an excellent job at emulating the ambience and atmosphere of Columbia. The beautiful scenery of Columbia helps to solidify the legitimacy of the show and, in many ways, is a character in and of itself.

Quite simply, this is a good show. Narcos features an excellent portrayal of Pablo Escobar by Wagner Moura. Moura’s role as Escobar, or “Pisa Robin Hood”, succeeds at getting the audience to sympathize with Colombia’s most infamous drug dealer. Sure, Pablo Escobar kills people, lots of people, and he commits horrendous crimes, but at the end of the day, you can’t help but root for Escobar, who often seems torn between his multi- faceted life of being a cocaine dealer, husband, father and hopeful politician.


The show features many other strong acts, such as Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones), who plays real life DEA agent Javier Peña, one of the agents at the center of the Escobar case as well as Maurice Compte who plays the head of the Administrative Department of Security, Horatio Carrillo.

One reservation I have about the show is its emphasis on the main character Stephen Murphy, who is based on real life DEA agent Steve Murphy. Though Murphy was present throughout some of the events, his role has been greatly embellished within the show itself which almost seems to make him out as the main character, which greatly reduces the show’s historical accuracy.

Overall, Narcos is a solid show that, despite its minor drawbacks, will be a hit among anyone who likes the classic rags-to-riches element of crime stories coupled with a modern twist. While the show does take liberties with Pablo Escobar’s infamous story, it does at least keep itself rooted and authentic to Colombian culture. Never before has a show brought so much South American culture into mainstream U.S. Television.

- Chace King

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