Published on 19 October, 2015 in Scroll.in
It’s not arrived on your TV sets yet, but we hope it will.
It will have you at Colombia, the mention of Narcos. Pure, unadulterated love for all things that Colombia is known for, along with a special affinity for magic realism.
So when the American crime-drama television series Narcos (from Netflix) begins with a super in red font screaming THERE IS A REASON MAGIC REALISM WAS BORN IN COLOMBIA, you know you’re in for something that was believably hard to believe.
Narcos is inspired by the real-life Colombian drug lord Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, his founding of the Medellín Cartel, and the Drug Enforcement Authority of the USA, whose officers are obsessed with bringing him in so that they can detain him for good.
But Pablo Escobar isn’t just a drug lord. He is a character with all possible shades of crime on his bio-data. His style of carrying on with nefarious activities is unmatched; he offers the choice of silver or lead to anyone who stands in his way – accept his deal or face a bullet, choose life or death.
It’s an offer valid only for a short while, for it doesn’t take long for Escobar to run out of patience. It is fascinating as well as frightening to see the man turn into a megalomaniac over time, determined to get to the top.
Although the series has Escobar at the centre, the narration is from the point of view of DEA agent Steve Murphy. He is the good cop who wants to put an end to all the bad, drug-laced things in the world. However, there is no back story to him yet to explain his unflinchingly honesty.
Perhaps Season 2 will delve more into the ensemble cast. His straightforward hunt for Escobar appears flat against his DEA partner Javier Pena, who is more real and complex as a character, not the good cop, and hotter than Murphy.
Narcos introduces you a world where there is no dearth of cocaine, but there is a genuine shortage of incorruptible men. Season 1 ends with the Colombian Special Forces raiding Escobar’s self-built palace-prison; the series has been renewed for a second season in 2016.