R29 Binge Club: What To Watch This Weekend

Photo: Daniel Daza/Netflix.
Remember in Entourage when Vince decided he could play Pablo Escobar, drug kingpin of Colombia, in Medellín, and it was a complete disaster? Well, you might not, because it's a fictional TV show about a fictional movie star. The important thing to note, however, is that the failure of a white guy from Queens to properly portray one of the most famous cartel runners of all time served as a lesson to all of Hollywood, both real and fictional. If you're going to have the hubris to take on Escobar's empire, you've got to do it right. Netflix has finally done it with its newest original series, Narcos, which is now streaming.

In the late '70s and '80s, Pablo Escobar — played excellently by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura — figured out how to shuttle cocaine into Miami by the ton. He did this by establishing manufacturing laboratories in Medellín, Colombia, in which workers would take coca paste trucked in from Peru and transform it into cocaine powder. From there, he hired drug mules, who, as you'll see in Narcos, were often women — sometimes pregnant ones because they were less likely to be searched. They would swallow bags of cocaine and fly to the U.S. He also smuggled the drugs in planes and cargo ships bound for Miami, where Americans were getting hooked on disco snow. He even arranged for some of his product to get discovered by the DEA so they would think they were doing their job.

For a time, Escobar ruled his empire and Medellín with an iron fist. He murdered policemen, informants, and others who didn't succumb to his will in cold blood. His business philosophy boiled down to his favorite saying, "plato o plomo" (silver or lead). Or, in other words, take a bribe or get a bullet. He and his cartel set up money laundering fronts in an attempt to make his sudden wealth seem legitimately earned.

Of course, if you know the story of Pablo Escobar, you know that it didn't last. The DEA caught wind of what was happening in Medellín, and the bloodshed escalated into an all-out international manhunt for Escobar. Narcos explores just how long it took for authorities to catch the man who ran one of the most notorious drug cartels in history, especially given the limitations of technology available for espionage during that time.

If you're a fan of epic cat-and-mouse chases, devious masterminds, subterfuge, stings, drug busts, and true stories, Narcos is the weekend binge-watch for you. Just look at that devious grin on Escobar's face as he luxuriates in front of piles of cocaine in the picture up there. This is a man with a plan. It's all going to end in hellfire and brimstone, but he's not going to go down without a fight and a really interesting Wikipedia entry.
Advertisement

More from TV

In an interview with Den of Geek, Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo had a lot of interesting things to say about his character, Victor Strand. ...
We all know what to expect from Lifetime movies, right? What about Lifetime's true-crime movies? Here's a hint: It usually includes brief glimpses of ...
A new Anne of Green Gables movie is on the way! Those of you who have been fearing the inevitable tense political debate with a long-lost relative that ...
The 2016 Emmy Awards were off to a great start when a surprising announcement came over the loudspeaker. A voiceover announced the next presenter: none ...
There are two kinds of TV-watchers out there. The first are normal, well-balanced people who are dying from the very beginning to know how a series ends...
The Pfeffermans are back! To quickly get up to speed, check out our Binge Club for season 2. Already set? Let's get this started. Episode 1: "Elizah" ...
It's been over 12 years since Friends ended. And we still miss the shit out of that show. Luckily, every once in a while we're blessed with a nostalgic ...
Kimmy Schmidt lives in her own world. It's a cross between middle school, the year 1999, and present-day New York. Mix in the fact that she was held ...
Wait, what? American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy just dropped a bomb on viewers — who are currently caught up in AHS season six, My Roanoke ...
Glee's cast sounds as dramatic as the characters they played. Ryan Murphy recently told Entertainment Weekly that all the fights and relationships ...
In a move that made Big Brother history, female contestant Nicole Franzel beat Paul Abrahamian in Wednesday night's finale, Buzzfeed reports. While this ...
It's no secret that Eleven on Stranger Things was the little-less-conversation-little-bit-more-action sort — minus the sexual Ariana Grande overtones. We...
There’s a certain feeling that wells up when you’ve just entered a room you were never supposed to be in. These rooms never have an overt warning sign; ...
Grey's Anatomy is back, and Alex is maybe a felon! The hospital's most lovable hothead finally snapped in a criminal way, beating the hell out of DeLuca ...