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Netflix Original ‘NARCOS’ Season 1 Review

Narcos is Netflix’s attempt to capture the same audience which was loyal to Breaking Bad to the very end. Opting for a true story rather than a work of fiction could mean that Narcos may have lost its edge but the opposite happened.

First a little back story and to do that we need to introduce our main character. Pablo Escobar: one man with a lot of blood on his hands. Determined to win the fight against the Colombian embassy, Pablo pays anyone he can to keep himself out of danger.

Pablo grew up in a poor country and his way of building up his reputation is through drug trafficking because after all, if you’ve paid every policeman to make sure you don’t get caught, why the hell not? Pablo started out by earning his money and eventually, had so much money that he gave some away to the poor to make sure he was a friendly face. He was the Robin Hood of Colombia, the man who helped those who were in a position he once was.

This 10-episode series is narrated by one of the main characters called Steve Murphy. The narration puts everything into perspective, taking us back in time to understand why things happen the way they do. Steve is a DEA agent from the United States and since Pablo sends drugs to Miami, it’s about time Steve steps up, moves to Colombia and tries to hunt down Pablo. However, the season follows the constant chase of police and Pablo’s men and there is only one way out in the end: kill Pablo Escobar.

Death. That is the only solution.

The sad part about the series is that many people die from doing right by Pablo but similarly, everyone who does him wrong dies too. The one that got me, involved a young man who was asked to record a conversation between President Cesar Gaviria and the Vice Minister of Culture on a plane. However, Pablo had thought this through: the tape recorder was actually a bomb.  Lucky for the President, he was warned against boarding the flight and did not die in the tragic accident. The first season is full of tricks like this and it’s safe to say that although Pablo is a powerful man, it seems he has met his match.

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With one phone call he can have someone killed, he can up his game and he can get revenge on those who try to take away his fame. Pablo is a rich man, he pays anyone and everyone to do everything – as long as he is safe, there will be no surrender. He doesn’t look like a typical villain though, most of the time Pablo walks around with his moustache and plays family or speaks in code over the phone. But Wagner Moura does a wonderful job of portraying a calm and collected drug lord. That doesn’t seem very harmful, does it? Sympathy is felt for his family, though, because Pablo’s wife and mother know what’s going on, but they can’t do anything about it.

NARCOS captured the country of Columbia beautifully from the sprawling cities to the dense jungles but also captured the time period well with the 60’s aesthetic strong throughout. The costumes are what particularly sold the time period for me with the questionable sun glass and thick leather jackets.

PEDRO PASCAL stars in NARCOS.
PEDRO PASCAL stars in NARCOS.

This crime drama is definitely one you have to concentrate on, especially if you don’t speak Spanish as it shares Lilyhammer’s approach in telling its story with multiple languages. There must be high hopes for a second series, seeing as in the end Pablo gets away again. Not forgetting the fact that the series was renewed anyway.

Although the season had many good highlights, I personally think that each new turn got repetitive. Pablo would make a move, get caught and then have to run away again. Let’s hope the second season brings a new story to the mix.


Should you watch Narcos?

YES – Narcos’s first season has some dry spells but overall develops a solid foundation for future series with strong characters and an exceptional story to go on.

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