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After five seasons and two decades of story featuring a revolving door of notorious drug kingpins, Narcos is ending its run.
The hit Netflix franchise, which reset itself with Narcos: Mexico in 2018, had moved from 1990s Colombia to Mexico to track the next threat in the global drug war following the death of Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura). Narcos: Mexico set out to explore the origins of the modern drug war by going back to Mexico City in 1980 to chart the rise and fall of the Guadalajara Cartel and Félix Gallardo (played by Diego Luna).
The two-season arc captured a time under Gallardo when the Mexican trafficking world was a loose confederation of independent growers and dealers. Gallardo changed all of that, however, by developing a plaza system that would ultimately give rise to the cartels that would battle for power after his arrest and up until today, as is captured in season three: Juarez, Tijuana and Sinaloa.
“At the end of season two of Narcos: Mexico, Felix says, ‘You guys may think I’m a problem. But I was actually keeping things in line. You’re going to miss me.’ And this season is kind of about proving his point,” co-creator Carlo Bernard, who took over from Eric Newman as showrunner for the final run, tells The Hollywood Reporter of season three. “I used to joke with Eric that the only thing worse than organized crime is disorganized crime. And that’s what you’re seeing in terms of the chaos and the violence and the upheaval that this season ushers in.”
The original Narcos series, which also ran for three seasons, brought the franchise timeline up to the mid-1990s with the rise and fall of the Colombian successors to Medellin, the Cali cartel. With the origins of the Guadalajara cartel — which, to the Narcos creative team, represented the beginning of the modern Mexican drug trade — being in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Narcos: Mexico then traveled back in time. As promised by the finale of season two, the final season of Narcos: Mexico focuses on the emerging bosses from the cartels who step up in Gallardo’s place: Amado Carillo Fuentes (José María Yázpik), of Juárez; Benjamín (Alfonso Dosal); Ramón (Manuel Masalva) and Enedina Arellano Félix (Mayra Hermosillo), of Tijuana; and Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán (Alejandro Edda) of Sinaloa.
Though the events of the season track up until the late 1990s, the final season story will set up for viewers an understanding of the globalization of the drug war today.
“I saw this season as an origin story of the modern world that we live in,” explains Bernard. “For me, it felt like bringing the show up to that spot where we now recognize, for better or for worse, made sense as a place to stop it. The show has been able to lift the curtains and show you how this thing began, how it evolved. Not to say that other stories wouldn’t be compelling going forward. But to me, stopping at the moment where we had delivered the world that we now live in today made sense, thematically and narratively.”
He says, “We definitely don’t want to repeat ourselves, ever.”
Shortly ahead of the season three release, Netflix announced the next project from the Narcos team: a limited series focused on Griselda Blanco, the Colombian drug queenpin who was one of the most powerful cocaine traffickers in the 1980s and a key figure in Miami’s drug wars, to be played by Sofia Vergara. Despite having Bernard, Newman and the rest of the Narcos creative team attached, however, Netflix stresses that the series is not a spinoff from its original drug cartel drama.
In bringing this franchise to a close, at least for now, Bernard adds, “This season, where the old order of that first generation of Mexican cartels is swept aside, we usher in this more violent, chaotic world that, unfortunately, really reflects the world that we live in today.”
The final season of Narcos: Mexico is now streaming on Netflix.
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