Narcos: Mexico

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Narcos: Mexico
Narcos, Mexico - Title card.png
Genre
Created by
Starring
Narrated by
Theme music composerRodrigo Amarante
Opening theme"Tuyo"
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Mexico
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)
Running time55–69 minutes
Production company(s)Gaumont International Television
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseNovember 16, 2018 –
present
Chronology
Preceded byNarcos
External links
Website

Narcos: Mexico is an American crime drama web television series, created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, that premiered on Netflix on November 16, 2018. Originally intended to be the fourth season of the Netflix original series Narcos, it was ultimately developed as a companion series focusing on the illegal drug trade in Mexico, whereas the parent series centered on the illegal drug trade in Colombia.

On December 5, 2018, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.

Premise[edit]

Narcos: Mexico explores the origins of the modern war on drugs by going back to a time when the Mexican trafficking world was a loose and disorganized confederation of small-time independent cannabis growers and dealers. The series charts the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1980s as Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) takes the helm, unifying traffickers in order to build an empire. When DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña) moves his wife and young son from California to Guadalajara to take on a new post, he quickly learns that his assignment will be more challenging than he ever could have imagined. As Kiki garners intelligence on Félix and becomes more entangled in his mission, a tragic chain of events unfold, affecting the drug trade and the war against it for years to come.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

Michael Peña (left) and Diego Luna play the lead roles in Narcos: Mexico.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Camelot"Josef Kubota WladykaEric Newman & Clayton TrussellNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

The series starts with a raid by Mexican army troops on remote villages in Sinaloa that are cultivating marijuana. They manhandle people working at the farms, as well as destroying the crops and carrying out door-to-door searches. Félix Gallardo, an ex-cop, helps them flush out a local farmer (Rafael Caro Quintero) from a church, but his home has been ransacked also, although his wife was able to save a significant amount of a new hybrid seedless strain developed by Quintero by hiding it in a bunker. At a meeting with the local drug lord Pedro Aviles and his associates, Gallardo proposes that they take their farming operation over to the wealthy suburbs of Guadalajara, where a similar raid would be on front page of the press, bringing some pressure on the authorities to go easy on the farmers. One of the senior leaders present, Don Neto, disagrees as Sinaloans will not be welcomed in Guadalajara and argues that such a partnership with Guadalajara's narco bosses would never work.

Gallardo takes responsibility for this proposal and asks Aviles that Don Neto accompany him. Gallardo, Rafael and Don Neto then travel to Guadalajara. Meanwhile in Fresno in the US, DEA agent Kiki Camarena is about to bust a major drug ring, but local police intervene and months of his effort go in vain. After five years of service, he requests a transfer, otherwise his career in the DEA will become stagnant. So he takes the only available posting, which is in Guadalajara, where he spent some time as a child.

Kiki Camarena arrives at Guadalajara along with his son and pregnant wife. He meets his boss Jaime, who briefs him about key players in drug business there. Later in the evening, their team heads to a bar, where they entertain local cops with drinks in return for information. Kiki gets a first-hand view of how deep the rot has set it. There he spots DFS chief Moreno, commonly known as "El Azul".

On the other hand, Félix Gallardo, along with Don Neto and Rafael Quintero arrive at Guadalajara. On the way to their hotel, they drop Rafael at the university, where Félix has delegated him to get some specific information. Later in the day, they meet Hernan Naranjo, one of the kingpins of Guadalajara cartel. There Naranjo makes fun of Félix's offer of forming an alliance. He berates his Sinaloan existences and proceeds to leave. As he is about to leave, Félix shoots him dead. Everyone in the hotel run helter-skelter in panic along with Don Neto, but Félix calmly waits for the police. The police take Félix, Rafael and Don Neto into their custody and take them along the highway presumably to execute them in an isolated place.

Félix narrates how he once saved the life of brother of their chief El Azul when he was a cop and asks them to take them to him. On meeting El Azul it is revealed that he never had a brother and it was just a ploy by Félix to meet him. Félix narrates to him the vision of a unified plaza system and his new seedless strain of weed. Rafael later explains to him that there is a large source of an underground water in the suburbs of Guadalajara, which is favourable for growing weed. El Azul is impressed and instantly kills the brother of Hernan Naranjo so that Félix can go ahead with his plans.
2"The Plaza System"Josef Kubota WladykaCarlo Bernard & Doug MiroNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

The episode starts with a staged raid by Mexican Police and DEA where they find the body of Naranjo who was earlier killed by El Azul. Kiki observes that El Azul is keeping a watch on this raid and decides to pursue him. Rafael puts heart and soul into the Marijuana plantation spread over 1000s acres of land on suburbs of Guadalajara. With great effort and after digging multiple wells, he finally is able to find the water.

Each of the cartels dominates a region which they term as plaza and any other cartel doing business there have to pay a rich tribute to the owner of that plaza, who are mainly involved in their own violent power struggle. Félix plans to change that by uniting all the plaza to operate as one single organisation like a large corporate. He first travels to Ojinaga, Chihuahua with Don Neto and his nephew Amado Carrillo Fuentes to meet Acosta. Acosta refuses to join the cartel owing to enmity with Félix's boss Pedro Avilés Pérez. Félix lies to him that Pedro has requested Acosta to settle the enmity and move ahead with the union. Acosta agrees but wants high ranking govt official on board if he is to attend the meeting at Guadalajara.

Likewise, Félix travels to all the plazas with Amado who also serves as his pilot and diligently works on getting all the boss on board. He also manages to get Salvador Osuna Nava, director of DFS on board.

Kiki after being frustrated with all the sham investigations goes on his own tracking El Azul which his warehouse. He observes that a lot of cargo movement there and persuades his boss to raid it. At the raid, they find nothing but shipments of plastic pipes, which were in fact meant for irrigation of Rafael's plantation. His bosses berate him, yet he continues tracking the movement of cargo from the warehouse. At plaza bosses meeting at Guadalajara, everyone comes agrees to union and commend the efforts of Félix. Pedro is enraged to see Félix rising influence among the bosses and plays the spoilsport by severely berating Acosta and bringing up the old enmity. Acosta retracts and with that other bosses retract as well and the union falls apart within minutes. Pedro hurridly drags Félix out of the meeting to his car, presumably taking him to an isolated place to kill him. Their car is intercepted by an entourage of police vehicles who kill everyone except Félix and the driver on order of Salvador. Félix asks the driver if he would work for him, to which he agrees. When asked for his name he replies Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
3"El Padrino"Andrés BaizAshley Lyle & Bart NickersonNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

Once the union of plazas is in place, the business works smoothly. An entire supply chain is set with government officials and cops on board. Félix establishes himself firmly as the boss of the union, although not officially. Money starts flowing smoothly due to high demand in the US and with total control of the market they set the price of the weed. All the bosses suddenly get rich and start buying large villas, luxury cars, etc.

However, Salvador Nava and Azul are disappointed as they feel that they are receiving only the "leftovers" of the entire trade and consider this as an insult to their position in the business. Nava sends a group of cops who massacre the family Tijuana cartel boss. Arellano Felix brothers want revenge who are cousins of the massacred family. Félix meets Nava to sort out the issue. Nava trying to stamp his authority demands higher bribes and a task for someone important ( Minister of defence). Later a peace is brokered at the marriage of Leopoldo Sánchez Celis's son, governor of Sinaloan. The cops who massacred were earlier lead into a trap and killed and Nava is warned that he should stay away from bloodshed as every cartel boss is a family member of some other cartel and they would vouch of blood in return. Félix refuses both demands of Nava (higher bribe and task for the minister of defence) and shows him his place. Later at the marriage, Rafael courts Sofía Conesa, daughter of the minister of education and their love affair begins.

Kiki requests an aerial survey of the desert to locate the Marijuana plantations. Months later they get photographs of an aerial survey which show no existence of the plantation. Meanwhile, Kiki is able to trace trucks from the warehouse to a deserted location, where daily wage labourers assemble at night time. He befriends one of them. Early morning they are made to wear a hood and filled into the buses. Kiki is able to get onto the bus with the help of his new friend. Later they arrive at the Marijuana plantations and made to pluck weed. When Kiki narrates this incident to Jaime, he starts investigating as well. Jaime first meets Captain Alfredo Zavala, one of the pilots of the aerial survey team. He reveals that the photographs are year old.
4"Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!"Andrés BaizScott TeemsNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

The episode starts with kidnapping of Sofia by Rafael. As Sofia belongs to a sophisticated and powerful political family, they would have never approved of her relationship with a drug lord, hence the staged kidnap. Her family is enraged and sends a word to kill Rafael. Félix is quick to intervene and take the rap for his friend. He first arranges Sofia to be returned to her family and then instructs Don Neto to take Rafael to a safe house and stay hidden until he sorts out the matter.

Félix then agrees to Nava's earlier offer of a task from the minister of defence is as the favour for Rafael's safety. Nava insists that Félix personally get this task done. It is later revealed that the task is a shipment of weapons to Nicaragua. Félix takes Amado with him to flies the cargo plane to Nicaragua. On landing, to the designated spot they are abducted and trashed by the militia for information.

Kiki is surprised and enraged to see senior police officer Guillermo González Calderoni with warrants for Rafael only after the abduction saga. Although he assists the investigation he is bitter the entire time that police is doing it out of vested interests. After a series of raids on various properties of Rafael, they finally locate the safe house after tracing a call to Sofia. They raid his safe house.

Here in Nicaragua the Militia release Félix. He then realises that thrashing was actually a way of retribution from Nava. To his surprise, he finds tons of cocaine accumulated there, because the US govt has sealed the air traffic along the Atlantic coast, which was an entry point for Colombian cocaine. Now the only air route for the cocaine into the US is through Mexican airspace and Félix sees a big opportunity there.

As Kiki and his team are inches away from arresting Rafael, Guillermo gets a call to abort the raid (presumably from Minister of Defense after receiving confirmation of his delivery).

When Félix returns to Mexico, Rafael apologizes for his mistake and thanks Félix for saving his life. Felix then meets Isabella and requests her assistance in setting up the air route for trafficking Colombian cocaine.
5"The Colombian Connection"Amat EscalanteAndy BlackNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

Salvador Osuna Nava(Ernesto Alterio)'s men threatens, kiki's wife. Felix Gallardo & Isabella meets Matta about fixing meeting with Colombian drug lords, in order to expand business in cocaine. Matta explains the seriousness and risks of indulging into cocaine business. Matta tells him about Calli drug cartel and Medellin drug cartel.

Kiki with his office mates, worried about threats to their families.

Felix Gallardo hosting a party. Felix feeling ambiguous to tell his wife about the new cocaine business and Colombia trip. Alas he tells the truth to his wife.

Kiki uses good help of his neighbor, who works in telephone department. He records all the communication coming to/from hotel americas, main hub of Felix Gallardo. Now the DEA getting full picture of chain & head of Felix marijuana cartel. DEA call this Operation PADRINO.

Felix and Isabella fly off to Calli, Colombia and meets to Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, Hélmer "Pacho" Herrera and José "Chepe" Santacruz-Londoño. Felix succeeds in getting Cocaine business from Calli cartel.

Here in Maxico, The Falcon raids one of the Felix truck, looting & destroying payloads. Falcon making audacity of Colombian trip of Felix.

Pablo escobar's men abducts Felix and Isabella, taking both to pablo's place in Medelline. Here, Pablo Escobar meets Felix asking him why he wanted to do Cocaine Business. Felix replies, he wants control of Fu**ing world. Pablo forces Felix to take one load from him for every load of Calli. Half Calli, Half Medelline.

Kiki goes to hotel americas, a Felix business hub and succeeds by sneaking into office and taking bank accounts numbers.

Back in Maxico, Don Neto and Rafa meets Felix, surprising by Felix trip to Colombia. Rafa was satisfied with all marijuana business and does not want to get involved in Cocaine.

Jaime receives call from D.C. Administrator Mullen, asking about the work he has done. Mullen says to Jaime that they are not on the priority.

Salvador Osuna Nava comes to know the deep work of DEA in Guadalajara, Maxico. He takes this as a serious matter and kills one DEA officer in a restaurant & threatens Roger Knapp in his home.

Kiki says, Felix holds bank accounts in Texas, under fake name. He can lure Felix to Texas, USA and can make an arrest.
6"La Última Frontera"Amat EscalanteJessie Nickson-Lopez & Clayton TrussellNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
7"Jefe de Jefes"Alonzo RuizspalaciosStory by : Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson and Clayton Trussell
Teleplay by : Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson
November 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
8"Just Say No"Alonzo RuizspalaciosDoug MiroNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
9"881 Lope de Vega"Andrés BaizClayton TrussellNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
10"Leyenda"Andrés BaizCarlo BernardNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On September 6, 2016, a few days after the release of the second season of Narcos, the series was renewed by Netflix for two more seasons.[2] Production on the fourth season began in Mexico in late 2017, following the release of the third season. On July 18, 2018, it was announced that the fourth season would instead "reset" with almost an entirely new cast as a new Netflix original series, titled Narcos: Mexico.[1]

The first season was released on November 16, 2018.[3] On December 5, 2018, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.[4]

Cast and crew[edit]

In December 2017, Michael Peña and Diego Luna were announced to star in the upcoming series.[5] A few days later, Matt Letscher joined the cast in a regular role.[6] Other key cast members revealed by showrunner Eric Newman include Tenoch Huerta, Joaquín Cosío, Teresa Ruiz, Alyssa Diaz, and José María Yazpik (reprising his role from the third season of Narcos).[7]

Newly enlisted Mexicans Amat Escalante and Alonso Ruizpalacios directed episodes for the upcoming series, while Colombian Andi Baiz, director of several episodes for the first three seasons of Narcos, also directed for Narcos: Mexico.[7]

Murder of location scout[edit]

On September 15, 2017, one of the show’s location scouts, Carlos Muñoz Portal, was reported as having been found murdered with multiple gunshot wounds, in central Mexico, near the town of Temascalapa.[8][9] A spokesman for the attorney general in Mexico state said there were no witnesses due to the remote location, but the authorities would continue to investigate.[10] The possibility of narco gangs' being involved is being considered.[11] To date, the mystery surrounding Muñoz Portal's death has not been solved.[7]

Factual differences[edit]

Although many of the events and characters are based on true history, some liberties were taken to streamline the story of the Mexican drug war into a cohesive narrative. Unlike in the television series, Mexican police say that Félix Gallardo had personally ordered the capture of Kiki Camarena. The murders of John Clay Walker and Albert Radelat were real, however it's reportedly stated that they were tortured and interrogated beforehand. The character Sofia Conesa, portrayed as the love interest of Rafael Caro Quintero, was named Sara Cosio in real life.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

The first season of Narcos: Mexico has a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews with an average rating of 7.43/10, with the critics consensus stating "Dangerous, thrilling, and highly addictive, Narcos: Mexico's first season expertly expands the franchise by exploring new territory in the drug war's grim history and showcasing electric performances from Diego Luna and Michael Peña."[13] On Metacritic, season one holds a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 9th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Drama Series Diego Luna Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Strause, Jackie (July 18, 2018). "Netflix Releases First Look at Reset 'Narcos: Mexico'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Hibberd, James (September 6, 2016). "Narcos Renewed for Two More Seasons". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Russell, Scott (September 6, 2018). "A New Empire Rises in First Teaser for Narcos: Mexico, Coming to Netflix in November". Paste. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Ramon, Dino-Ray (December 5, 2018). "'Narcos: Mexico' Renewed For Season 2 By Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (December 19, 2017). "'Narcos' Season 4 to Star Michael Peña, Diego Luna". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 3, 2018). "'Narcos': Matt Letscher Joins Netflix Drama As Series Regular For Season 4". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c De la Fuente, Anna Marie (May 17, 2018). "'Narcos' Showrunner Reveals Key Cast Members Joining Season 4 (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "La violencia en México supera a la ficción". El País. September 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Narcos filmmaker shot dead scouting for locations in rural Mexico". The Telegraph. September 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Collins, Pádraig (September 17, 2017). "Netflix scout for Narcos TV show found shot dead in Mexico". The Guardian. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Narcos location scout shot dead in Mexico". BBC News. September 17, 2017.
  12. ^ "Two Bodies Unearthed in Mexico Forest". Los Angeles Times. United Press International. June 18, 1985. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Narcos: Mexico: Season 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "Narcos: Mexico : Season 1 (2018)". Metacritic. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019.

External links[edit]