Narcos Star Pedro Pascal on How Season 3 Is a ‘Completely Different Animal’ After Escobar’s Death

Pascal and Arturo Castro, his costar in the Netflix original series, talk about what audiences can expect from the rise of the Cali Cartel.

by | August 29, 2017 | Comments

Pedro Pascal Ryan Fujitani

Buckle up: Narcos season 3 is headed into uncharted territory. Perhaps the biggest question going into the acclaimed series’ Sept. 1 premiere is how the death of its purported protagonist, the Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura), will affect the series as a whole. While surprises run a-plenty this round, we at least have one constant: Pedro Pascal as Detective Javier Peña.

While real-life DEA agent Peña left the Columbia drug trade after Escobar’s 1993 capture and death, Narcos’ showrunners, who have openly fictionalized several aspects of Escobar’s story, decided to rewrite Pascal into the script, tapping him to stick around for season 3’s deep dive into the Cali Cartel, who rose to power in the Medellín Cartel’s wake. Pascal is joined in season 3 by many Narcos newcomers; on the DEA front, that includes Michael Stahl-David, who plays DEA agent Chris Feistl, and Matt Whelan, who plays Feistl’s more serious partner, Daniel Van Ness.

“It was fascinating for me, because honestly, [Peña’s] return to Colombia for season 3 was as much of a surprise to me as it is to any audience member,” said Pascal, who’s also known for playing Game of Thrones’ dearly departed Oberyn Martell.

“I always knew we were playing real people that were there throughout the Pablo Escobar chapter, and so I expected to be done like everyone else — and I then I wasn’t,” he continued. “We had to go into a totally new territory in the same sense that the character did.”

Michael Stahl-David, Matt Whelan (Photo by Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix)

Pascal said that the series’ third 10-episode run posed a new and exciting challenge for him as an actor, in that he got to take the “somewhat mysterious, grumpy, depressive DEA agent” that he’d developed over the first two seasons and put him in an all-new, fictionalized situation while dealing with the Cali Cartel. “[Peña is] given more responsibility, and his hands are more tied behind his back in terms of the enemy that he’s fighting,” Pascal explained.

So just who is this Cali Cartel? Pegged at the time as the richest drug trafficking organization in the world, the cartel is run by four godfathers who, according to Netflix, prefer “to bribe government officials and keep its violent actions out of the headlines.” In other words, they’re much different than the Medellín Cartel we have come to know. Other than the fact they both trafficked cocaine to the United States, Pascal said that “they’re different in every way, to be honest.”

It was an industry that raked in “millions and millions and millions of dollars” and, like the Medellín, was run with an iron fist — they had “a lot of violent control of the industry,” Pascal said. But they posed a different, perhaps more complex threat in that they “were very implemented into the society that they were controlling, and in the pocket of all of its facets.” Not only that, but under the four godfathers, there was more than one dictatorial target. “There were a number of things that needed to be kind of broken down — a lot of legs that needed to be cut — for the entire system to crumble,” Pascal continued, explaining that at the height of their powers, taking the Cali Cartel down was “seemingly essentially impossible. [It’s] a completely different animal.”

As we said: buckle up.

Damián Alcázar, Arturo Castro (Photo by Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix)

The Cali godfathers we meet this season are Pacho Herrar (Alberto Ammann), Chepe Santacruz Londono (Pêpê Rapazote), and the two Rodriguez brothers: Gilberto (Damián Alcázar) and Miguel (Francisco Denis). But it’s not just those four to keep an eye on; as actor Arturo Castro (Broad CityBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) told us, this is a family affair.

Castro plays David Rodriguez, Miguel’s eldest son. He revealed that, taking over his family’s operation after his father and uncle are arrested, “[David] just starts taking more and more control and becoming more and more ruthless in order to protect his father’s position.” What does that entail, exactly? As Castro put it with a dash of dark intrigue, “Torture scenes are the best.” While David’s “methods are definitely questionable,” it’s all done in the name of family, perhaps too literally fighting tooth and nail for power.

Whether that fight will pay off, however, and whether or not we will see the Cali Cartel (which after two years gave way to the Mexican cartels) return for Narcos’ already-ordered fourth season is still up in the air. Tune into Netflix to see what else in store when season 3 drops in full this Friday, Sept. 1.


Tag Cloud

medical drama thriller witnail blockbuster Adult Swim Animation Marvel HBO Max dragons Ghostbusters revenge AMC 007 Mary Poppins Returns game of thrones 71st Emmy Awards Anna Paquin Amazon Prime Comics on TV sports Tomatazos Crackle RT History Classic Film disaster Sneak Peek The Purge comic Super Bowl tv talk A&E anthology zombie blaxploitation elevated horror travel 2020 ABC Family Rocketman Fall TV spider-man composers BBC America PaleyFest toy story Podcast Hallmark Christmas movies sequel San Diego Comic-Con Pride Month screenings Black Mirror Valentine's Day Musicals Disney movies video Kids & Family quibi joker Rocky cancelled TV series Holidays cats Nat Geo WarnerMedia SDCC GIFs Pop breaking bad Box Office APB Action Pixar WGN Song of Ice and Fire Freeform Election Extras latino Superheroe psycho Disney Channel SundanceTV Year in Review E! romantic comedy discovery singing competition Watching Series werewolf Peacock romance 24 frames National Geographic The CW Music Disney streaming service Superheroes ghosts Summer cancelled TV shows Awards unscripted TCA Countdown crime drama hispanic richard e. Grant Drama Horror 2018 cinemax The Walking Dead LGBT science fiction war supernatural Nominations NYCC YouTube Premium BET 20th Century Fox independent zero dark thirty Masterpiece FX space Sci-Fi Infographic justice league Polls and Games Brie Larson Lifetime Christmas movies Turner Classic Movies television RT21 award winner TNT Lucasfilm psychological thriller Trivia period drama halloween Martial Arts Cartoon Network Dark Horse Comics Chernobyl 2016 slashers Syfy CW Seed police drama 21st Century Fox Rom-Com boxoffice Paramount Network Toys Spectrum Originals ESPN spain Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCM cults versus TCA 2017 ratings Women's History Month VICE political drama 2019 New York Comic Con IFC Films DC Comics kids robots President Pirates Teen Grammys 2015 Emmys technology Reality Family sitcom series renewed TV shows Nickelodeon Captain marvel spy thriller Rock Opinion jamie lee curtis Showtime canceled TV shows Best and Worst Comedy Apple TV Plus Calendar Emmy Nominations USA Network streaming Apple Quiz A24 Netflix Binge Guide CNN Film spanish language Spike Ovation Pet Sematary Turner The Arrangement Photos true crime Schedule batman Trophy Talk E3 MSNBC Creative Arts Emmys Holiday mockumentary First Reviews MTV Heroines Interview Stephen King See It Skip It finale talk show biography TV renewals game show Premiere Dates Western rotten movies we love Food Network El Rey Writers Guild of America Marvel Television Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cars what to watch Star Trek TV Marathons Mystery Tumblr TV Land Ellie Kemper Comedy Central Red Carpet miniseries OWN Character Guide MCU YouTube Red crossover mutant Set visit 45 Warner Bros. Winter TV natural history Starz foreign nature Certified Fresh south america FOX canceled BBC strong female leads adventure cartoon YA comiccon Universal Lifetime LGBTQ aliens politics Amazon Prime Video Fox News indie Comic Book TBS Columbia Pictures hist Apple TV+ HBO facebook historical drama Cosplay Television Academy teaser social media Sundance christmas movies Marvel Studios Hallmark animated doctor who Biopics Mudbound DGA VH1 cops free movies transformers PBS Tarantino Sundance Now golden globes vampires TruTV NBC theme song based on movie CMT ABC children's TV cooking Musical Reality Competition Film Festival diversity crime Shudder Paramount Country festivals Spring TV Mindy Kaling zombies book Hulu Disney+ Disney Plus Elton John Logo ITV dramedy Shondaland cancelled television TIFF Sony Pictures Walt Disney Pictures binge Mary poppins cancelled Disney Plus Vudu History stand-up comedy crime thriller Britbox comics Amazon The Witch IFC Bravo CBS Trailer Fantasy Lionsgate Cannes anime dceu YouTube docudrama FXX Netflix Christmas movies DirecTV Thanksgiving Mary Tyler Moore TLC GLAAD casting DC Universe Star Wars spinoff Awards Tour dc green book CBS All Access Epix Oscars SXSW DC streaming service serial killer 2017 First Look GoT Arrowverse harry potter adaptation American Society of Cinematographers Crunchyroll USA Esquire Acorn TV X-Men Video Games Christmas Winners