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As a continuation of Narcos, Narcos: Mexico centers around the inner workings of the Mexican drug trade. More specifically, the Netflix drama series delves into the lives of notorious drug lords and cartels. Although the show may dramatize some scenes for television, viewers wonder how much of the story is true. So, how much of the show is historically accurate?

Is ‘Narcos: Mexico’ based on a true story?

José María Yazpik holding a while colored phone in 'Narcos: Mexico' Season 3.
José María Yazpik | Juan Rosas/Netflix

Narcos: Mexico is loosely based on real-life events. The series follows the rise of the Guadalajara cartel and the exploitation of DEA agent Kiki Camarena. The leader of the cartel crossed paths with Camarena, which resulted in his murder. After his death, the DEA office launches a homicide investigation to find the real culprits. 

Meanwhile, viewers see a glimpse into the drug trafficking world and how it works. The show follows the leaders of the Guadalajara cartel. The group who were formed by Rafael Caro Quintero, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo in the 1980s. At first, the group mainly focused on selling marijuana. But, as the cartel grew in size, they started transporting cocaine to the Columbian cartel

‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 3 draws inspiration from one real-life event 


‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 3: Showrunner Wants Viewers to ‘Feel’ the ‘Ongoing Tragedy’ of Drug Trafficking

While the crime drama follows the lives of real people, it also features the deaths of prominent figures. For instance, the third season of Narcos: Mexico features the killing of multiple women across Juárez in the 1990s. Even though the massacre is unrelated to the drug war, the storyline plays a vital role in the show’s narrative. When inspector Victor Tapia (Luis Gerardo Méndez) starts investigating the murders, he tries to find the real culprits.

In an exclusive interview with Newsweek, actor Luis Gerardo Méndez talked about the importance of implementing that plotline. Méndez said he was “very grateful” for the opportunity to shine a light on such a tragic event. 

“When they told me the storyline of the character. I was fascinated because I think that’s, for me, the biggest problem we have in Mexico right now. The issue of femicide,” he explained. “Every single day, ten women get killed in Mexico. [It] started in the 90s in Juárez because of the rise of violence, crime [and] the drug trafficking situation.”

Méndez continued, “So, I thought it was really moving and relevant for me that the creators and showrunner decided to bring that storyline into the show because this storyline talks about the consequences of the actions [of the cartels].”

Why did the ‘Narcos: Mexico’ creators choose to spotlight the Juárez killings?

During the interview, Narcos: Mexico showrunner Carlo Bernard explained why they used the Juárez killings in the storyline. “[The] phenomenon was partnered with, and delved into, the relationship of the border between Mexico and America in the 90s, and not touch on that would be a missed opportunity,” he said.

The showrunner added, “But, that tragedy is another sort of consequence of this larger phenomenon of the drug trade. American consumption fuels corruption in Mexico. Those crimes have gone on for so long because there is so much corruption in Mexico, which America has a part in. It was trying to take some sort of an attempt acknowledging a really complex problem, and one that is indirectly tied to the drug trade.”

Narcos: Mexico Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.