Premiering in 2015 as a Netflix exclusive, the first season of Narcos chronicles the life of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), who became one of the wealthiest international criminals in history, through the production and distribution of cocaine. Along the way, Escobar encounters fellow drug lords and various opposition entities, but his interactions with DEA agents – Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), who are sent to Colombia on a mission to capture and ultimately kill him – prove to be some of the most problematic.
The crime thriller, created and produced by Chris Brancato (Hannibal), Carlo Bernard (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) and Doug Miro (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), has received mostly positive reviews from critics ever since its premiere episode. Consequently, Netflix has ordered a second season of the show – with just one small hiccup, Escobar’s brother Roberto has requested to review the footage of the upcoming season prior to any release or distribution.
According to Variety, Roberto submitted what he described as a “formal, friendly request” to review the series, solely on an “informational basis.” In a statement issued by Escobar Inc., he explained:
“It is depicting me, my life, my family and my brother. I think nobody else in the world is alive to determine the validity of the materials, but me.”
Escobar registered successor-in-interest rights to Pablo and the Escobar family name through Escobar Inc. in 2015 – the same year that Narcos premiered. After reportedly failing to receive a response from Netflix prior to the series’ debut, Escobar Inc. CEO Olof K. Gustafsson added:
“I think it is important that they recognize Roberto Escobar’s wishes to review the show they are putting out, ensuring the family and viewers of an accurate portrayal of Pablo and Roberto.”
Despite a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode about how names and events having been changed for the purpose of dramatizing the story, Narcos is interested in presenting facts and details, so in order to ground the action in reality the show uses actual news footage and other artifacts from the real-life events – for instance, instead of using a fake mug shot of Moura as Escobar, a mug shot of the real Pablo Escobar is used. But where does Roberto Escobar stand in all of this?
So far, Roberto has not been depicted in the biographical series, but considering that he was the lead accountant for the Medellín cartel and (at one point) the chief of the hitmen, there is a strong possibility that his character will make an appearance in the second season.
There is a fair chance that Roberto is simply trying to position himself for a cut of Narcos’ revenue after so many films (Clear and Present Danger, The Infiltrator) and television shows (Entourage) have featured storylines or characters based upon his infamous family. Despite being based on a true story, the show often comes close to melodrama with its monstrous murders, illicit affairs, ruthless extortion and dozens of kidnappings - all of which arguably make for fascinating viewing.
Narcos season two premieres September 2, 2016 on Netflix; season one is currently available in its entirety on Netflix.
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