‘Narcos:’ Yes, DEA Agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña Were Real People

The popular Netflix series Narcos spent its first two seasons following Drug Enforcement Administration agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña as they worked tirelessly to track down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar back in the 1980s and 1990s. The two spent countless days and nights following every possible lead until they finally took Escobar down on December 2, 1993 — just a day after his 44th birthday.

Viewers were cheering for the two throughout their entire journey on the show — and yes, they were real people.

Pedro Pascal, left, and Boyd Holbrook played Javier Peña and Steve Murphy in the Netflix series 'Narcos'
Pedro Pascal, left, and Boyd Holbrook played Javier Peña and Steve Murphy in the Netflix series ‘Narcos’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

‘Narcos’ is based on a true story

Most everyone these days has heard of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug lord who ran one of the most powerful cartels the country has ever seen. During Escobar’s reign, thousands were killed as a result of the war between various cartels. Though it’s impossible to know exactly how many lives were lost at the height of Escobar’s power, Narcos did its best to portray just how violent the city had become.

The show’s first two seasons followed United States DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña as they did their best to track down Escobar and put an end to both the violence in Colombia and the influx of cocaine into the United States. The two followed lead after lead, but Escobar and his men were always one step ahead of them.

Finally, on December 2, 1993, they got the information they needed and learned where Escobar was hiding. Police stormed the location and eventually shot and killed the billionaire drug lord. Escobar was worth an estimated $30 billion (more than $50 billion today) at the time of his death.

Pedro Pascal and co-star Mauricio Cujar (Don Berna) joke around on the set of Narcos.

Steve Murphy and Javier Peña actually worked together

When the scene of taking down Escobar was filmed, the Narcos producers incorporated an actual photo of Murphy and Peña photographed next to Escobar’s body. The question is: Were these two real? Actually, yes — Murphy and Peña were really the two men who worked to bring Escobar down nearly 30 years ago. The two men even spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about their thoughts on the show’s second season, which ended with Escobar’s death.

Steve Murphy and Javier Peña
The real Steve Murphy and Javier Peña in 2016 | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“The violence that’s depicted is all true,” Murphy said. Though his wife, Connie, did not actually leave her husband to go back to the U.S., despite what was portrayed on the show — and she made it clear she would “never leave my husband there.” There were some minor changes, but Murphy stressed that the murders of thousands of people were as real as could be.

Escobar’s kids don’t want anything to do with their father’s past

Though Narcos only portrayed Escobar’s kids when they were young children, they were both real and are both currently living completely different lives than their father did. Escobar’s son, who goes by Sebastián Marroquín, has since tried to pick up the pieces of what his father left behind, including doing his best to make amends with the children of his father’s victims. The documentary “Sins of My Father” followed Escobar’s son for five years as he apologized to the sons of many of the people assassinated under Escobar’s rule.

Esobar’s daughter, Manuela, reportedly lives in North Carolina under an alias. Neither child wants to be associated with Escobar’s reign, and both moved outside of Colombia.