'Narcos' Adds Pair of Series Regulars Amid Season 3 Shift (Exclusive)

Michael Stahl-David and Matt Whelan have joined the Netflix drug cartel drama.
Getty Images; Sacha Stejko/Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency
Michael Stahl-David (left), Matt Whelan

Narcos is beefing up its roster for season three.

The Netflix drug cartel drama has added Michael Stahl-David (Show Me a Hero) and New Zealand actor Matt Whelan as series regulars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Stahl-David will play Chris Feistl, a young American DEA agent who sought out assignment to Colombia as the drug trade shifts to the Cali Cartel's takeover in the wake of Pablo Escobar's death. Whelan will play his partner, Daniel Van Ness. Feistl is described as being the more straight-edge and serious agent of the two.

Stahl-David and Whelan join Pedro Pascal, who will reprise his role as DEA agent Javier Pena, half of the show's previously leading buddy-cop duo.

The second season signaled a shift in the series when it delivered the death of Medellin cartel kingpin Escobar, bringing about the exit of series star Wagner Moura. The finale set up a likely return for Pena as it shifted its aim to hunting the new cartel in charge, Cali, but it left the return of his partner, Steve Murphy (played by Boyd Holbrook) up in the air. 

With the filming of the third season underway in Colombia, Netflix confirmed Pascal's return Oct. 12 with a season-three photo of the actor in character (below). "The blow must go on. Pablo might be dead but the war is not over," the series tweeted from its official account. Narcos has yet to confirm the return of Holbrook, who will next appear as a big-screen villain in the third Wolverine movie, Logan.

"There’s many conversations going on about all of this stuff so we’re letting it play out," Holbrook told THR last month about his return. The actor remained vague when asked if he thought the show could continue on without the Murphy-Pena duo at the heart of the first two seasons. "Well, there’s so many anchors in this show," he said. "It’s just really interesting how every character works off each other and I think that’s really where you’re going to see the show evolve, is creating these new relationships."

Real DEA agents Javier Pena and Steve Murphy served as series consultants on the first two seasons. While showrunner Eric Newman described the plot as 50-50 when it comes to fiction and nonfiction, he told THR that they do stick to the true chronology of events. In reality, both Pena and Murphy left Colombia shortly after they brought down Escobar in December 1992. In a conversation with THR about the series, Murphy indicated that he had little involvement in the real hunt for Cali and teased the arrival of the new agents: "The agent who was there when the Cali Cartel was taken down, I think you’ll see him in season three."

As confirmed by Newman ahead of the second-season premiere, the death of Escobar brings about a new villain for the third and potentially fourth season (the show received a two-season renewal shortly after its second-season release). Instead of one mastermind, however, Cali is run by a network of villains. Additional casting is expected to be announced for the rebooted drama.

"Unlike Escobar, who had positioned himself as an outlaw, Cali was very much a part of the system," Newman told THR about the different kind of enemy. There are four Cali godfathers in charge: Rodriguez brothers Gilberto (Damian Alcazar) and Miguel (Francisco Denis), Pacho Herrera (Alberto Ammann) and a fourth named "Chepe" who has yet to enter the Narcos universe. "While Escobar was a single-cell organism, they were a complex, multicelled organism," said Newman.

Stahl-David was most recently seen as Jim Surdoval in HBO's miniseries Show Me a Hero. He also played one of the Donelly brothers on NBC's short-lived drama The Black Donnellys. The actor is repped by ICM Partners as well as Greenlight Management and Production.

Whelan is best known for the New Zealand dramedy Go Girls. He is repped by Paradigm in the U.S. 

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