Narcos Season 3 is now available for streaming on Netflix, but don’t expect to see drug lord Pablo Escobar in it much.
“With Pablo Escobar no longer a factor, season three will focus on the rise of the Cali Cartel,” IndieWire reports. Boyd Holbrook, who played character Steve Murphy, isn’t in season 3 for long, but Pedro Pascal is featured again as DEA Agent Javier Pena.
Both Murphy and Escobar do make appearances at the beginning of the story 3 series, but we will leave it at that so as not to spoil the plot. As American law enforcement fixated on Escobar, the Cali cartel grew in power, and suffice it to say that Escobar’s narrative reaches its real-life conclusion while Cali’s takes over. Season 3 focuses instead on the four “Godfathers” of Cali. Their inner conflicts rival those of the US (where the CIA is keeping secrets from Pena and others in the DEA).
Interestingly, it’s a man on the inside of the cartel who becomes the series’ soul: Its security chief Jorge Salcedo, played by Matias Varela, a Swedish-born actor with Spanish heritage. He, along with Pena, gets the most screen time. Yes, he’s based on a real person. Read more about the real Jorge Salcedo here.
When one member of the cartel is jailed, conflicts ensue and that leads to recklessness and danger as secrets are exposed that reach into the highest echelons of power, both American and Colombian. Cartel godfather Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela (Damian Alcazar) wants to surrender and turn legitimate (there are shades of The Godfather all over this one, especially relating to his desire to keep his lawyer son out of the family business). His more socially awkward brother Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela (Francisco Denis) is increasingly paranoid and bent on retaliatory violence.
The show raises tough questions about the “war on drugs”: Can it ever be won? When is the greater political strategic good worth sacrificing individual justice? What is justice, really? Can someone be involved in such bad things and still be inherently good (Salcedo)?
The popular Netflix series launched on Friday, September 1. “First they got the coke. Then they got the money. Now the Colombian cartels want the power. Let the drug wars begin,” the tease on Netflix reads.
Who’s in the cast? Season 3 explores “the Colombian cocaine trafficking business in the wake of the death of Pablo Escobar. The Cali Cartel, led by four powerful godfathers, operates much differently than Escobar, preferring to bribe government officials and keep its violent actions out of the headlines,” according to Daily Variety.
There are some familiar, and some new, faces. “Pedro Pascal returns as DEA Agent Javier Peña, with this season also featuring Damian Alcazar, Francisco Denis, Alberto Ammann, Pepe Rapazote, Matias Varela, Michael Stahl-David, Matt Whelan, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Kerry Bishe, and Arturo Castro,” Daily Variety reports.
You can watch the Narcos Season 3 trailer here:
Plot spoiler ahead.
At the end of season two, Pablo Escobar was “bleeding out on a Colombian rooftop. It was the logical (and historically accurate) end to two seasons of drama and violence,” reports The New York Times.
Season three, sans Escobar, brings forth new, and equally malevolent characters in the Colombian cocaine underworld. “The show also earns points with a well-crafted quartet of kingpins – leader Gilberto (Damián Alcázar), his quietly more-evil brother Miguel (Francisco Denis), New York violence-wreaker Chepe (Pêpê Rapazote), and distribution madman, who’s also mad for men, Pacho (Alberto Ammann),” reports IGN.
Some reviews aren’t missing Pablo that much. “As it turns out, season three is far better than season two, even without the effortlessly amazing Wagner Moura playing the poster boy of cocaine,” reported FirstPost.
See an episode list for Season 3 here.
CNN also gave a positive review to Season 3, saying it “splendidly hit the reset button, with Pedro Pascal moving to the center and a quartet of Cali Cartel kingpins filling the void. Boyd Holbrook’s character has moved on, leaving Pascal, as DEA agent Javier Pena, to take over the narration chores.”
The show is exclusively on Netflix, and it runs for 10 episodes.
People offered up generally positive comments on Narcos Season 3 on Twitter.