We lingered on one particular scene of Narcos after the brutal finale of Narcos season 3. That scene foreshadowed the next installment to Colombia’s bigger cousin, Mexico. That is where Narcos: Mexico begins the next chapter in the drug war.
An origin story
This Netflix spin-off/prequel is essentially a full-fledged origins story. The premise is the beginnings of the Mexican war on drugs. Of course, the agency that rose up to combat narcotics; Drug Enforcement Administration (or DEA), features heavily. Two primary characters are at the center of this story. One is Félix Gallardo, a small-town cop with ambitions to reach to the top of the drug empire. Kiki Camarena is the other DEA agent, transferred from Fresno, California to Guadalajara.
Both officials go up against the corruption embedded in their daily work. They take strikingly different approaches to the drug war. One official takes advantage of his position, while the other fights against the grain with aspirations towards justice.
Narcos: Mexico has the violence that we have come to expect from the original series but in much more measured quantities. Also, similar to the predecessor, the show explores the dualities and contradictions of human nature.
The Mexican brandishing to textbook Narcos
The returning cast of the original Narcos makes appearances, adding consistency to the overall premise and Columbian plotline.
Mexico is slow at first, but it speeds up around the halfway point. Expectedly, Narcos: Mexico is a show with high stakes with rivalries between newly formed cartels and of course, substantial family drama. I enjoyed the high-quality production value, the spectacular cinematography, good musical queues, and pacing. It was a delight to watch A-list actors, especially Michael Peña as Kik, delivering immaculate performances.
That being said, Narcos: Mexico left something to be desired, especially in comparison to the awesome original series. It does, however, manage to forge its own identity while establishing continuity to the Narcos plot thread. I will be watching future episodes for that, and the grim cliffhanger ending that alludes to much more Narcos style drama to come.