'Narcos' Star Pedro Pascal Talks 'Game of Thrones' Comparisons: "We Don't Need Dragons"

Narcos, Netflix TCA Tour - H 2015
Eric Charbonneau/Netflix

Narcos, Netflix TCA Tour - H 2015

Game of Thrones alum Pedro Pascal is moving from one battle to another for his latest series.

In his starring role on Netflix's new drama Narcos, Pascal plays a DEA agent trying to bring down Colombia’s legendary crime lord Pablo Escobar and stop the war on drugs.

"I think they're very comparable to one another," Pascal said Tuesday at the show's Television Critics Association press tour panel. "I would say that Game of Thrones would take a lot of inspiration from this story."

One very notable difference? "We don’t need dragons, we've got cocaine," said Pascal.

The 10-episode drama is a serialized take on Pablo Escobar (Brazilian star Wagner Moura) and the formation of the Medellin Cartel. One part of the story focuses on the small-time criminals "who stumbled by luck, by chance upon a product that you can call the perfect product," said executive producer Jose Padilha about cocaine. "Those guy didn't really know what they had until cocaine hit Miami." 

The other half will show how the cocaine coming out of Colombia "created havoc in Miami," he said. It's "the story of how cocaine hit America and how it brought violence to America."

Although the creative team originally envisioned Narcos as a movie, it became clear it would work better as a series "when you get into the complexities of the drug world, of the characters," said executive producer Eric Newman. "You sort of realize you need a lot of time to tell that story.

"You can take characters down very dark roads and bring them back," Newman added about the benefit of doing a series. "In movies … you just don’t have time to redeem them."

Keeping in that vein, Padilha said the characters will go on a complicated journeys throughout the 10 episodes. Although Escobar is a "sociopath," as Padilha described him, "that doesn’t mean he can't have a soft side with his family," he said. "We tried not to have that caricature in the show."

Moura said it was these complex portrayals that attracted him to the project. "I like the fact that this is not a regular cop/bad-guy show," he said.

Added Pascal: "The more you learn about it, the less black and white it will become."

Although the show will embrace these gray areas, one thing that is more definitive — at least in Padilha's eyes — is the need to change drug policy in America. "We don’t make a prescription on the way to fix the failed drug policy that the world has adopted," he said. "By portraying how cocaine in particular has been dealt with, certain things become kind of obvious. You could question why there haven’t been changes in the policy."

Narcos premieres Aug. 28 at 12:01 a.m. PT.