Netflix TV Review: Narcos: Mexico

Quote from Narcos: Mexico by Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo: “Business is changing, and we must change with it.”

narcosmexico
Gaumont International Television/Netflix

Creators: Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, and Doug Miro

Directors: Andrés Baiz, Josef Kubota Wladyka, Amat Escalante, and Alonzo Ruizspalacios

Writers: Carlo Bernard,  Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, Eric Newman, Scott Teems, Clayton Trussell, Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Andy Black, and Jessie Nickson-Lopez

Major Cast: Aaron Staton, Alejandro Edda, Alfonso Dosal, Alyssa Diaz, Clark Freeman, Diego Luna, Ernesto Alterio, Fermin Martinez, Fernanda Urrejola, Gerardo Taracena, Gorka Lasaosa Guillermo Villegas, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Jackie Earle Haley, Joaquín Cosío, José María Yazpik, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Lenny Jacobson, Manuel Masalva, Matt Letscher, Michael Peña, Scoot McNairy, Tenoch Huerta, Teresa Ruiz, Tessa Ia, and Yul Vazquez

Rating: TV-MA

Episodes: 10

Running Time: Varies

*******

I wasn’t the only one binge watching Narcos: Mexico last weekend, but I’m one of them who waited to review it so here it goes.  This spin-off deals with how the Guadalajara Cartel formed to become a dominant force in drug trafficking during the 1980s.  Enter Diego Luna as Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and his sidekicks Tenoch Huerta as Rafael Caro Quintero and Joaquín Cosio as Ernesto ‘Don Neto’ Fonseca Carrillo.  The convincing portrayal of Gallardo by Luna is equally done through a glance suggesting “this is the way it’s going to be” or through more vicious means.  Huerta and Cosío give worthy portrayals of Quintero and Don Neto.

While the trailer unveils Gallardo and Camarena as the main antagonist and protagonist in this first season, there is definitely more brewing than just this cat and mouse chase although it’s uncertain how close Gallardo was in proximity to Camarena in real life.  A nod to Michael Peña who plays the recently transferred DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, known as Kiki.  He was a man on a mission and while I missed some of the relationships forged in the previous seasons among the DEA agents, it was fitting he was alone much of the time.  Kiki was an open your mouth when it’s absolutely necessary kind of man and his trust was gained with caution.  Patience wasn’t one of his strong suits, which was more than necessary since the DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, was still in its infancy.

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t success as Camarena’s relentless attitude and energy to combat drug trafficking led to a pivotal moment in the season, and one that viewers knew was coming but still find tragic to this day.  It mirrors the overall tension between the DEA and Guadalajara Cartel up to the final episode, which serves as a stepping stone for the next season.  It points in a new direction for the DEA, meaning bigger guns and rougher looking agents, to make those key players who protected Gallardo pay as well as himself.

I’m hoping there’s expansion of Isabella Bautista as played by Teresa Ruiz.  She could become an engaging force Gallardo would underestimate if they deviated from the actual story in the next season.  It was nice to see a few characters from past seasons make an appearance in this one.  Therefore, I could see a few of the characters in this season included into a minor storyline in the next.  That probably won’t happen as the narrator, voiced by Scoot McNairy, signals he’s the next in line to take the drug war to the next level with the focus being on Operation Leyenda.  In conclusion, although I preferred the seasons focusing on the Medellín and Cali Cartel, this one shined bright too.

I rate Narcos: Mexico GREAT at 90%.

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