NARCOS, on its third season, begins after Pablo Escobar, the former Colombian drug kingpin is killed. Premiering on September 1st, this new 10-episode installment of the hit Netflix show is television at its finest and it’s liberated by Escobar’s death. The cartel that replaces Escobar is named Caballeros de Cali (Cali) and creates “Cocaine Inc.”
The Cali Cartel is more sophisticated than Escobar’s Medellín mob, laundering their dollars rather than burying them in oil drums, and more discreet, dumping victims’ bodies in rivers wrapped in chicken-wire, so that their bloating corpses would be sliced into morsels for the fish.
Narcos handily indicates that the story here isn’t about any one character, or even any one plot. It’s about the overall battle against illegal drugs, and the darkness that resulted on both sides.
With Escobar gone, DEA agent Javier Peña focuses on the Cali Cartel led by Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela. Gilberto, and the three other bosses, made a deal with the Colombian government to turn themselves in after six months and face little-to-no punishment. It’s an idea that’s both brilliant in its simplicity and foolish in the sense that nothing will ever go this perfectly in a criminal world populated with thieves and murderers. The clock now ticks for both the Cartel and the DEA. The Cali heads need to make sure they make as much money as they can, in one last burst of bad business, while not doing anything that would cause those in charge to second-guess their deal. For the DEA, and Peña, a choice must be made regarding if it’s even worth it to go after guys who are so protected.
Cali’s violence is highlighted by one bleak and disturbing scene portraying an openly gay Cali boss who sensually dances with his lover in the middle of the dance floor. He is completely accepted. Ten minutes later he is on his motorcycle dragging one of his victims to death.
Drug-war films tend to end when the kingpin is finally killed or locked up, leaving the police to celebrate a job well done. The reality is nothing like that: despite the demise of Escobar and thousands like him, the drugs business has ground bloodily on. “Narcos” makes this devastatingly clear- a depressing verdict on the failed efforts to stop illegal drugs.
Interestingly, since this article was published, one of the Cartels shot to death a Narcos employee seemingly warning Netflix to back off.