Netflix’s ‘Narcos’: Can It Fill Your ‘Breaking Bad’ Void?


With Netflix unveiling so many original shows this year, it’s hard to keep them all straight, let alone figure out which ones are worth watching. But from the looks of the just-released full-length trailer, Narcos should definitely make it into your binge-watching queue. The first footage from the streaming service’s latest crime drama is compelling and gritty and will leave you eager to see more.

Narcos chronicles the real-life stories of the drug kingpins of the late 1980s and the efforts of law enforcement to meet them head on in brutal, bloody conflict. It follows as powerful but conflicting forces – from politicians to police to civilians – clash in an effort to control the influx of cocaine, the drug that’s fast becoming the world’s most powerful commodity.

Brazilian actor Wagner Moura (Elysium) stars as the notorious and wealthy drug lord and cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar. Meanwhile, Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl) and Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) play the good guys and real-life DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña. Juan Pablo Raba, Stephanie Sigman, Manolo Cardona, and Luis Guzman also co-star.

The project reunites Moura with acclaimed director José Padilha, the creator and executive producer of Narcos. The two previously collaborated on the 2007 crime film Elite Squad and the 2010 sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, both of which were huge box office hits in Brazil and earned critical acclaim worldwide.

Given the success they’ve had working together in the past, it should come as no surprise that Narcos looks as awesome as it does. The trailer lays out the story pretty immediately, with Holbrook’s character Murphy stating, “Imagine you were born in a poor family in a poor country, and by the time you were 28 years old you have so much money you can’t even count it.”

The clip then goes on to dive into some high-octane action, from foot chases to shoot-outs to military stakeouts and more. Clearly, this series isn’t going to shy away from violence or gritty battles – which, as we saw in Netflix’s Daredevil, can be a very good thing if done right

Of course, this is far from the first TV show to take on Escobar’s story. But Moura’s compelling portrayal is already making Narcos stand out. From the trailer alone, it’s clear that this is Moura’s show. As Escobar, the actor is terrifying and brutally powerful. Still, he makes a point to show off a more vulnerable side to the infamous figure – as seen in the poignant scenes in which he embraces his kids.

Narcos is coming just as the drug trade is seeing heightened attention, following the recent release of the documentary Cartel Land and El Chapo’s escape from prison (news that has been captivating the nation this month). Combined with Padhila’s direction, a talented cast on board, and Netflix’s willingness to go darker than traditional broadcast shows, Narcos could shape up to be your new favorite crime drama and may even – dare I say it? – help finally fill that Breaking Bad void.

The entire first 10-episode season of Narcos hits Netflix on August 28.

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