Narcos still has more of an empire to build in Mexico.
Narcos: Mexico is returning for a second season, marking the fifth season overall for Netflix’s drug-cartel drama. The streamer announced the news Wednesday, less than three weeks after Narcos: Mexico made its debut (Nov. 16). There’s no word yet on a return date.
The renewal news comes as little surprise, given how the first season of Narcos: Mexico ended and showrunner Eric Newman’s overall multiyear series deal with Netflix. Though the streamer doesn’t release viewership figures for any of its offerings, Narcos is a top global performer among its original series. The commitment to continue the Narcos story also comes as both House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, two series that helped launch Netflix into the scripted originals space, are wrapping their runs (the final season of OITNB comes in 2019; House of Cards bowed its final season in November).
“I will do this as long as they’ll let me do it,” Newman had told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the renewal news, about there being more than enough real-life story material to do more Narcos seasons. “Narcos is the greatest and most satisfying professional endeavor of my life, and to write and creatively steer this show for now four seasons, it would be unique even if I hadn’t been a movie producer for the first 20 years of my career. It’s a strange transition, but man, I love it.”
It’s unclear whether Diego Luna, who also will be starring in the Star Wars prequel series for Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, will return for the second season of Narcos: Mexico. The season finale suggested Luna’s character would play a big part if the series continued. When speaking to THR ahead of the launch, the actor said he wanted to see the reaction to the season before discussing the possibility of returning: “One step at a time,” he said. “Right now, the only thing I hope is that the story we told gets seen by people and opens up a debate.” (Update: Luna was later announced as star of season two, along with Scoot McNairy.)
Narcos: Mexico, the fourth season of the series, was billed as a reset since it travels back in time. Set in 1980s Mexico, the season tracks the birth of Mexico’s drug war and the origins of the Guadalajara cartel, led by “El Padrino” — the Godfather — Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna).
The first three seasons of Narcos were filmed in Colombia and told a two-season story of the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), followed by the cocaine kings who succeeded Escobar in season three, Cali. The Cali cartel bosses were made up of Rodriguez brothers Gilberto (Damian Alcazar) and Miguel (Francisco Denis), Pacho Herrera (Alberto Ammann) and Chepe Santacruz Londono (Pepe Rapazote). The end of the third season, which featured a largely new cast, shifted the series to Mexico when exiting leading man Pedro Pascal announced Guadalajara as the next threat in the drug war. The third season had brought Narcos up to the mid-1990s with the deaths and incarcerations of the four Cali cartel bosses.
Luna and Michael Pena, the latter portraying real-life DEA agent Kiki Camarena, picked up the starring roles in Narcos: Mexico, which moved production to Mexico City. Traveling backward in the Narcos timeline, California newcomer Kiki (Pena) and his fellow DEA agents face an uphill battle when working against the Guadalajara Cartel as Felix (Luna) takes the helm and unifies traffickers to build his empire. When Kiki goes undercover to garner intelligence on Felix, he becomes more entangled in his mission and a tragic chain of events unfolds, affecting the drug trade and the war against it for years to come. Kiki’s fate was revealed in the season finale and the final scene introduced the star who would be taking Pena’s place as the next DEA agent to run the show in Mexico: Scoot McNairy.
Narcos is a key piece of Netflix’s global plan and a strong player abroad. The renewal comes as the streamer furthers its international push with a recently announced host of new films and original series telling stories from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Germany and India. A recent THR poll also placed Narcos among the top five original series that viewers like to binge-watch.
Narcos: Mexico is produced by Gaumont Television for Netflix. Jose Padilha, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Andres Baiz executive produce along with Newman.