Season 3 Narcos review
Pacho Herrara = total badass source: maxim

Narcos Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. But how does the show fare without Pablo?

The first two seasons of Narcos were breathtaking. It had drama, drugs, violence, sex – pretty much everything you’d want in a TV show!

However, one of the reasons Narcos was so good was because of Wagner Moura’s portrayal of Pablo Escobar. Season 2 ended with Escobar’s death (spoiler alert if you’ve been living under a rock) but the show-runners had always planned more seasons.

The Cali Cartel are not the same as Pablo

Narcos Season 3 focuses on the reign of the Cali Cartel and DEA agent Javier Pena’s hunt to bring them down. The Cali Cartel run things differently than Escobar and the show does an excellent job of establishing this.

The Cartel is run by four leaders, Gilberto, Miguel, Pacho and Chepe, who dub themselves ‘The gentlemen of Cali’. The show gives each of them their time to shine. Although I would’ve loved to see more of Chepe (that guy was a total badass).

The strength and weakness of Narcos Season 3 lies in its four antagonists. They make for intriguing characters, but their combined presence doesn’t live up to Moura’s menacing Escobar. Then again, no one really expected them to. I bet if they gave Chepe or Pacho more screen time it might have turned out differently, but oh well.

Boyd Holbrook’s Agent Murphy is nowhere to be seen in Season 3 and his absence is felt in the opening few episodes. The show casually glosses over his character’s whereabouts, which is disappointing as he was pretty much the protagonist of the show!

However, I cannot criticise the show-runners as in real life Agent Murphy retired from the field and took a desk job shortly after Escobar was killed. Nonetheless, Pedro Pascal’s Javier Pena takes centre stage and we quickly forget about Murphy as Pascal delivers a rousing lead performance.

Narcos Season 3
Chepe is a total badass. Source: Netflix

The show introduces some truly standout characters

Narcos remains as exciting and addicting to watch as the first two seasons. In almost every episode there is this feeling of suspense that something big is about to go down. It makes for edge of the seat entertainment!

The acting also remains top notch, the main characters and the supporting cast all delivering great performances. As mentioned before Pacho Herrera and Chepe Santacruz remain standouts. They steal every scene they’re in and each have their stand out moments.

One of Narcos’ biggest strengths is its ability to get you emotionally invested in minor characters that are on the wrong side of the law. They did it with the character of Ramon in Season 2 and this season it’s the character of Jorge Salcedo.

Salcedo works as the chief of security for the Cali Cartel. The season spends a large chunk around him and his family and his resolve to get out of the Cali Cartel; you really get invested in his storyline and root for him and his family to succeed.

narcos season 3
Chepe is another standout character. source: highsnobiety

Narcos remains one of the best Netflix productions to date

Narcos Season 3 isn’t perfect but it is hard to criticise its shortcomings as they stem from historical accuracies. On one hand, I applaud Narcos’ accuracy and inclusion of real documentary footage, but it is these historical accuracies that take out some of the drama out of the show.

Miguel Rodriguez is perhaps the least charismatic of the four leaders and the show focuses on him running the Cartel, but this is what actually happened! As mentioned before I would’ve loved to see more Pacho and Chepe, but in reality they worked under Miguel.

Narcos Season 3 surpasses Season 2, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of Season 1. Pablo’s absence is felt but quickly forgotten as we get into the meat of the show.

All in all, Season 3 is thoroughly entertaining to watch and the show remains one of Netflix’s best original productions to date. Narcos has already been renewed for Season 4. It’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

Narcos Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

I love film, adore video games and am ambivalent towards anime.