TV REVIEW: Narcos: Mexico – Season 1

After three seasons of focus on the Colombian drug trade, the Narcos franchise turns its eye to Mexico. This time the focus is on Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna), Mexico’s first ever cartel leader. In theory Félix is a fascinating character. He is a former police officer who became involved in the Sinoloan marijuana trade, in practise the whole seems to be a bit less than the sum of its parts.

Historically the Mexican drug trade was fractured, decentralised and fuelled by feuds, which meant the DEA invested very little resource or effort into stopping it. Félix’s ambition to bring the families together started as a radical idea. His business skills, connections, cunning and ruthlessness heralded a new era allowing him to slide a lucrative trafficking deal with the Colombians under the table with barely any notice.

Unfortunately for Félix some of his associates were not amazing at collaboration, in particular Rafael Caro Quintero (Tenoch Huerta), a loose cannon with a penchant for shagging high society politicians’ daughters and helping himself to the supply. He’s also failed to factor in the dogged determination of DEA agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camerena (Michael Peña), who was just as determined as Félix.

There are strong parallels between Félix and Kiki’s lives. Both take massive risks, both are determined to do things that others are convinced cannot be done and both are at risk of losing their families through their own ambition.

It sounds like a recipe for a great show and in some ways it is. Mexico is very different from Colombia and seeing how the Mexican drug lords, government officials and DEA interact with each other is interesting to watch.

It doesn’t all come together though. Félix is nowhere near as charismatic as Pablo so that element is missing. Peña’s potrayal of Kiki is good but he doesn’t get you in the feels the way Salcedo did. I actually thought Alyssa Diaz was more compelling as his wife, Mika. In the end Don Neto (Joaquín Cosio), Félix’s wise older advisor is the most interesting character. There are no new themes introduced. Once again it’s about how far a man will go to achieve his ambitions and how ambition can turn into something deadly. In many ways the whole series felt like a set up for what is to come in a future with Chapo (Alejandro Edda), the most famous Cartel leader of all time at the helm. Chapo is a bit player in this series but we all know his time is coming.

Too much filler, not enough killer. Take me back to Medellin/Cali!

2.5/5

2 Comments

  1. You are certainly motoring through some Netflix, Abbi. I am taking notes, in case I ever get around to watching any of these. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. It was one of those shows that didn’t grab me or hold on for more. I’m in the middle of Luther right now, just finished season two. So far so good! You and Pete raved about it. I love it a lot.

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