El Chapo, a Mexican American series released in 2017 by the streaming platform Netflix and Univision Studios, chronicles the life of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Lora. This character is accused of running the most extensive drug trafficking organization in the world and became the most wanted person by the FBI and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). The series is divided into 3 seasons with 35 episodes of around 45 minutes. The first season starts in the 1980s when El Chapo, with few financial resources, joined the Guadalajara cartel. The second season describes his rise in popularity during the 1990s when he becomes the head of the Sinaloa cartel and finally, the last season ends when El Chapo is captured in 2016. According to Todotvnews, the final episode of the first season registered a total audience of 3.5 million viewers. The second season managed to reach 3.6 million viewers. The Netflix platform shared the fact that El Chapo was one of the most consumed series by Mexican users: it was positioned among the ten most "marathoned" series in Mexico in 2017 (Reyna, 2017).
This series provides insight into the U.S. interpretation of the Mexican drug trade and the influence and consumption of a Mexican viewership. Both the memory and emotional impact must be evaluated, which this series evokes in both Mexican and international audiences. Unlike the series Narcos or El Patrón del Mal, El Chapo is about a criminal who is still alive and whose drug trafficking continues to impact the reality of life for many Mexicans. In 2006, the Mexican president at the time, Felipe Calderón, declared war on drug trafficking. This internal conflict unleashed by the Mexican government against the drug cartels has left 125,000 dead and more than 30,000 disappeared to this day.
Opinions on the series are very diverse: some applaud the investigative work done by the producers, others shed light on the fact that this series is not a documentary but a fictional construction where the real facts have been modified.
Sources and references
AMAYA-TRUJILLO, Janny. Érase una vez en México. Ficción y memoria del pasado reciente en la serie El Chapo. Comun. medios [online]. 2018, vol.27, n.37, pp.93-105. Disponible en: http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S071915292018000100093&lng=es&nrm=iso
REYNA, E. México, el primer país de América Latina que devora una serie en menos de 24 horas. El País. Recuperado de: https://elpais.com/cultura/2017/10/17/television/1508257674_718603.html 17 de octubre de 2017
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