“Narcos” | Season 1 | Review

narcos-s1-2015-3Grade (A+)

A small-screen show with big-screen impact.

After nearly two years of people telling me I need to watch the hit Netflix series “Narcos” I have finally completed the two seasons and can only think one thing, what took me so long. This was an excellent season, and in ten-episodes creates a compelling tale of the worlds most infamous drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar.

First the casting; it was phenomenal. A show is often only as good as its leading star and the talented Wagner Moura pours himself into the role of Pablo Escobar with the highest of efforts. I’ve heard murmurings his accent was off but regardless he looks, feels and acts the part of the famous character and his performance propels this show from one episode to the next. Watching this show and Moura’s portrayal of the character I actually felt like I was watching Escobar, with a great representation of his idiosyncrasies, personal traits, and mannerisms.

Boyd  Holbrook and Pedro Pascal were also fantastic in their portrayals of two American DEA agents working the case far from their comfort zone. As this detailed story follows the events and depicts the hardships, inner turmoil, and stress chasing Escobar puts on their lives, Holbrook and Pascal perfectly convey the range of emotions their characters go through. This show also effectively displays their determination to get the job done, sometimes at any cost.

Let’s talk about some of the issues people have had with this show, its accuracy. People have claimed there are many inaccuracies in regards to some of the events in the story-line. I will admit, with my knowledge of the subject, I did spot a few changes in the story, but did it hinder my enjoyment, not at all. This show, before each episode claims to be based on real events although some names and events may have been changed for dramatic impact. Dramatic impact being the key words. This is a television show, not a documentary, the first are designed to entertain, the second to inform. Thus watching this show from and entertainment aspect, it completely delivers.


This first season weaves a compelling story of who Escobar was, the foundations of his empire, as well as depicts how the people of his home town viewed him as a hero. The time-period is perfectly woven into the story-line and captures the drug-trafficking business in the late 80’s and the ramifications it had not only on Columbia, but the United States as well. There were so many moving parts to this story yet everything blends together into a riveting ten-episodes that only left me wanting more.

“Narcos” in this season didn’t focus on the action, it focused on the story telling and it was excellent in its organization of characters, blending of many plots and development of the key roles.  The musical score compliments the show extremely well and the incorporation of archival footage only adds to the intrigue. There are tons of cops shows on television but with Narcos you get big-screen writing and visual story-telling. Watching this season is like watching a long major motion picture with a massive budget and it gives it a polished quality, that subtly help take the entire show up a notch.

If you haven’t seen this season yet, do so. It will take you back to the late 80’s, pour you into the world of Narco trafficking, the Colombian government, and society, as well as introduce you to one of the worlds most violently captivating king-pins, Pablo Escobar.