First Season Review: Netflix’s “Narcos”

Netflix’s original series have a reputation for being compelling television. Series like “House of Cards,”“Orange is the New Black,” and “Arrested Development” have been wildly popular and successful with viewers, and have garnered significant attention at the Emmy Awards. Their success has attributed to their excellent production and compelling subject matter, and their latest show, “Narcos,” is no exception.

“Narcos” is the story of Pablo Escobar, the petty criminal turned cocaine trafficker, head of the notorious Medellín Cartel, and the richest criminal (lifetime net worth of around fifty billion USD) in history. The story is told from the point of view of Steve Murphy, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent stationed in Colombia who is tasked with bringing down Escobar’s empire. The series begins with the story of Escobar’s humble beginnings as a smuggler, and Agent Murphy’s life as a low-level DEA agent in Miami. Escobar soon begins his transition to Cocaine Kingpin, and thus began the United State’s love-hate relationship with the drug.

“Narcos” is perhaps most compelling because its storyline is heavily entrenched in the true yet stranger than fiction story of how one man brought Colombia to it’s knees with the immense wealth and power he amassed. While the plot of the show seems farfetched in the way that most TV dramas are, with episodes where Escobar does things like hiring Communist separatists to storm the Colombian Supreme Court, occupy it, and destroy evidence against him, the story is nevertheless true.

“Narcos” is a winning combination of a riveting (but true) story and backdrop, historically accurate casting, and high production value, which all bring to life the outlandish story of the fight between the U.S. government and Colombia and Escobar and his Sicarios (hitmen).

“Narcos” was a series I could not stop watching, and is easily one of my favorite shows ever, despite only having one season thus far. Not only is it entertaining and compelling television, it also serves as a history lesson on Escobar, Cocaine, and The War on Drugs in general.      

Rating: 5/5