Theme music composer Rodrigo Amarante
Composer(s) Pedro Bromfman
Languages Spanish, English
Opening theme "Tuyo"
First episode date 28 August 2015
|Genre Crime thrillerBiographical|
Created by Chris BrancatoCarlo BernardDoug Miro
Starring Wagner MouraBoyd HolbrookPedro PascalJoanna ChristieLuis GuzmánAndré MattosRoberto UrbinaDiego CatañoJorge A. JimenezPaulina GaitánPaulina GarcíaStephanie SigmanDamian AlcazarMartina García
Nominations Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Cast Wagner Moura, Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook, Paulina Gaitán, Joanna Christie
Narcos is an American crime web television series created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. Season 1, comprising 10 episodes, originally aired on August 28, 2015, as a Netflix exclusive.
- Season 1 2015
- Season 2 2016
- Main cast
- Recurring characters
- Special guest appearances
- Opening theme and title sequence
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Awards and nominations
Set and filmed in Colombia, season 1 tells the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who became a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine, while also focusing on Escobar's interactions with drug lords, DEA agents, and various opposition entities. The series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on September 2, 2016 with 10 episodes. On September 6, 2016, Netflix renewed the series for a third and fourth season.
Season 1 (2015)
Season 1 chronicles the life of Pablo Escobar from the late 1970s, when he first began manufacturing cocaine, to July 1992. The show chronicles the main events that happened in Colombia during this period and Escobar’s relationship to them. It is told through the perspective of Steve Murphy, an American DEA agent working in Colombia. The series depicts how Escobar first became involved in the cocaine trade in Colombia. He was an established black marketeer in Medellín, moving trucks worth of illegal goods (alcohol, cigarettes, and household appliances) into Colombia during a time when this was strictly forbidden, when introduced to Mateo "Cockroach" Moreno, a Chilean exile and underground chemist, who pitched the idea that they go into business together, with Moreno producing and Escobar distributing a new, profitable drug—cocaine. They expand beyond Moreno's small cocaine processing lab by building additional, larger labs in the rainforest and, using the expertise of Carlos Lehder, transport their product in bulk to Miami, where it gains notoriety amongst the rich and famous. Soon enough, Pablo develops larger labs and more extensive distribution routes into the USA to supply growing demand. With cocaine's growth into a drug of importance in the American market, one that accounts for a large flow of U.S. dollars to Colombia and escalating drug-related violence in the United States, the Americans send a task force from the DEA to Colombia to address the issue. Murphy is partnered with Javier Peña. The purpose of Murphy's task force is to work with the Colombian authorities to put an end to the flow of cocaine into the United States. It ends when Escobar escapes La Catedral prison.
Season 2 (2016)
Season 2 is a continuation of where Season 1 ended. Some soldiers find Escobar and his entourage right outside the perimeter of La Catedral, but are too petrified by Escobar to make an arrest. At the embassy the US sends a new ambassador who brings the CIA into play. In the beginning, there is little change for Escobar, as he still has the loyalty of his cartel. However, this starts to slip as Escobar needs to use lot of time and resources to hide from the government. Among the tricks he uses to avoid being seen are hiring a cab driver, who in turn hires a young woman to sit in the backseat as a decoy, while Escobar is hiding in the trunk; and having young look-outs reporting about Search Bloc attempts to find him.
At the beginning Escobar easily adapts to his new life, giving money to the community while ruthlessly killing those who tried to grab his empire. The Colombian police and Escobar engage in massive battles, resulting in high tension and unrest in Colombia. The Cali cartel forms an unlikely alliance with Judy Moncada and Don Berna, and decide to bring in the Castanos. Agent Peña starts working with Los Pepes, who kill Valeria and Fernando Duque. After La Quica and Blackie are caught, Escobar goes on the run with Limon. Pablo and Limon hide in a safehouse where he celebrates his 44th birthday. When Pablo tries to make contact with his family, the DEA and military track him down via radio triangulation and corner Pablo on the rooftops. Pablo is hit twice in the ensuing shootout, and though he might survive his injuries, Trujillo executes him with a shot to the head. Tata goes to the Cali Cartel for their help in leaving the country. Peña returns to the U.S. and is asked to provide intel against the Cali Cartel.
Special guest appearances
The series was announced in April 2014, through a partnership deal struck between Netflix and Spanish language network Telemundo. The series is primarily written by Chris Brancato and directed by Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha, who directed the critically and commercially successful Elite Squad (2007), before directing its sequel in 2010, which became the highest-grossing film ever in Brazil.
Opening theme and title sequence
Narcos opens with a title card, from which the narrator reads: "Magical realism is defined as what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe. There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia".
The theme scores the visual montage comprising the title sequence, created by DK Studios under artistic director Tom O’Neill. The 1980s-themed images address Colombian drug trafficking in general, the United States’ attempt to control it, the era’s glamour, footage from the mountainous regions of Bogota and surrounding underprivileged neighbourhoods, shots of local residents, archival news coverage, and violence. The montage excludes some people who were unwilling to appear in the credits, but it does include some news clips and images "of Pablo Escobar and his entourage, like those at the zoo, [which] came directly from the drug baron’s personal photographer, who goes by the name El Chino." According to O'Neill, "the production team took inspiration from James Mollison’s photo book 'The Memory of Pablo Escobar'."
In Spanish, the term "narco" is an abbreviation of the word "narcotraficante" (drug trafficker). Before this usage, in the United States, the epithet "narc" (or "narco") referred to a specialist officer of a narcotics police force, such as a DEA agent.
First season received generally favorable reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes a review aggregator surveyed 45 reviews and judged 78% to be positive. The site reads, "Narcos lacks sympathetic characters, but pulls in the viewer with solid acting and a story that's fast-paced enough to distract from its familiar outline." On Metacritic, Season 1 holds a score of 77 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews". IGN gave the first season a 7.8 out of 10 score saying it "Good" and reads "It's a true-to-life account, sometimes to a fault, of the rise of Pablo Escobar and the hunt that brought him down laced with stellar performances and tension-filled stand-offs. Its blend of archival footage reminds us that the horrors depicted really happened, but also manage to present an Escobar that is indefensible but frighteningly sympathetic."
Writing for Philadelphia Inquirer, Tirdad Derakhshani reviewed the season positively calling it, "Intense, enlightening, brilliant, unnerving, and addictive, Narcos is high-concept drama at its finest." Television critic, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter also reviewed the series positively saying, "The series begins to find its pacing not long after, and we see the strength of Moura’s acting, which to his credit never races, in the early going, toward over-the-top menace or the drug-lord cliches we're all used to at this point. Credit also the fact that Padilha brings a documentary feel to Narcos." Nancy deWolf Smith of Wall Street Journal wrote, "The omniscient-narrator device works very well for a complex story spanning many years and varied sets of players." Critic Neil Genzlinger of New York Times said, "It’s built on sharp writing and equally sharp acting, as any good series needs to be." However, chief television critic Mary McNamara of Los Angeles Times wrote, "It's a grand if inconsistent experiment that, from the moment it opens with a definition of magic realism, wears its considerable ambitions on its sleeve." Writing for IndieWire, Liz Shannon Miller said, "An unlikeable character, no matter the circumstances, remains unlikeable, but an unlikeable character trumps a bland blonde man whose position of authority appears to be his only really interesting character trait, no matter how much voice-over he utters."
The second Season generated greater reviews as compared to the previous season. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, surveyed 20 reviews and judged 90% to be positive. The site reads, "Narcos' sophomore season manages to elevate the stakes to a gut-wrenching degree in what continues to be a magnificent account of Pablo Escobar's life." On Metacritic, Season 2 holds a score of 76 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". IGN gave the second season a score of 7.4 out of 10, calling it "Good" and wrote "It may go overboard with its love of Pablo Escobar, but I can't truly fault the show for taking advantage of its best performer and character – or for scrambling to find an emotional core on a show that can feel rather clinical."
Season 2 received generally positive reviews from many media outlets. Joshua Alston of The A.V. Club lauded the performance of Moura's and said, "While the show never soft-pedals the havoc Escobar created, it makes him surprisingly sympathetic, thanks in part to Moura’s shrewd, affecting performance." Critic Neil Genzlinger of New York Times said, "Mr. Moura is inscrutably brilliant at the center of it all." Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen also reviewed the series positively saying, "Where season 1 spanned 10 years, season 2 captures Escobar's last days on the loose. Each tightly packed episode moves quickly without sacrificing richness, chronicling the uneasy alliances and gross tactics employed to Snare Escobar." Television critic, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter said, "What works in the early going of season two is that the fall is almost always more thrilling, if not engaging, than the buildup. Escobar senses the loss of power and Moura does some of his best work as viewers read the worry and interior thinking on his face."