Narcos is about the Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar. He was the leader of the Medellín Cartel, which was one of the largest drug cartels in Colombia from the 1980s to the mid-1990s. The fight against drug trafficking claimed countless victims from civil society and the politics sphere. This Netflix series chronicles Pablo Escobar’s rise in becoming a feared drug lord. It addresses the violent impact of drug trafficking in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as institutional corruption. The story is based on true events. Historical archive and video materials are repeatedly incorporated, such as Pablo Escobar's political campaign and his advocacy for the poor. However, some storylines and characters are dramatized or invented. The first two seasons show the role of Pablo Escobar and the years-long manhunt for the drug lord by agents Stephen Murphy and Javier Peña. They were part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The third season is about Javier Peña's fight against the Cali cartel. The two former DEA agents Stephen Murphy and Javier Peña were on hand to advise during the production of the series.
The series is one of GUMELAB's case studies. It is suitable for analysis, partly because the it was seen worldwide and made the story of Pablo Escobar and Colombia known internationally. The motivation the US producers had for making a series about Colombia's drug wars seems unclear, but it is possible that commercial considerations were the most important motivation. Narcos is an action-thriller series and, unlike the Colombian telenovela Pablo Escobar - El Patrón del Mal, it is not about highlighting the memories of those involved in the conflict or contributing to Colombian historiography. In the storyline, the DEA agents and Pablo Escobar are given almost equal time in the portrayal. Thus, it is possible for the audience to feel sympathy for both sides that were involved in the drug war. The computer game "Narcos: Rise of the Cartels" is based on the first season of the series. In 2018, the follow-up series Narcos: Mexico about the Guadalajara cartel in Mexico was released.
Sources and references:
IMDb (o. J.): „Narcos (2015-2017) Full Cast & Crew”. Available online at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2707408/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr_sm#writer. Last checked on. 27.07.2021.
Borcholte, Andreas (2015): „Gangsterserie ‚Narcos‘ auf Netflix. Die größte Waschmaschine der Welt“. 28.08.2015. In: SPIEGEL online (publisher). Available online at: https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/tv/narcos-netflix-serie-ueber-pablo-escobars-kokain-imperium-a-1050118.html. Last checked on 27.07.2021.
Ferrer Calle, Javier (2020): Representaciones del político corrupto en Narcos: una mirada interdisciplinaria sobre la corrupción en América Latina. In: Pensar los estudios latinoamericanos en Suiza. Ginebra: La Revista, Bulletin de la société suisse des americanistes, S. 79–87. Available online at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TLABE8urBV8MnIKvohYVHyOuW9EkPo-J/view.
Wikipedia (German, 2021): „Narcos”. Available online at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcos. Last checked on 27.07.2021.