The first two seasons of the Netflix Crime drama Narcos centred around the infamous Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar and his powerful Medellin cartel, told through the perspective of US DEA agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook).
By the end of season 2, Escobar was killed but the story was far from over. Season 3 follows the Cali cartel who stepped into the vacuum left by Escobar’s death this time narrated by Murphy’s colleague Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal).
This time around, the antagonists were split amongst four characters, the ‘gentlemen of Cali viz. the brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, Hélmer “Pacho” Herrera and José Santacruz Londoño.
Although ostensibly Peña appears to be the main character, in fact the protagonist that provides the pathos, tension and relatability is Jorge Salcedo (Matias Varela), a member of the cartel’s security team.
The extremely principled Salcedo’s quest is to get out of the cartel’s employment to set up his own security firm but he finds himself sucked into a mad world despite his best efforts. He then has to destroy the cartel from the inside in order to protect his wife and young children.
The audience ends up rooting for Salcedo in the end, his ultimate fate is what keeps the viewer (binge) watching. Nobody is really too concerned about whether Peña and the DEA achieve their goals or not. Thus, it is the Swedish-born Varela who steals the series with his telling eyes and inner conflicts.
Definitely as strong as the first 2 seasons with a solid change in tone to keep things intriguing. There’s little doubt that this popular series will continue with the focus on the Mexican drug cartels, as strongly suggested in the season finale.
… still there’s more …