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/Netfli

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/Netfli

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

First Reviews spider-man OWN TV renewals LGBT Ellie Kemper Horror Hulu singing competition cults BET Awards HBO Max Avengers A&E CNN MTV versus Spring TV Sneak Peek Arrowverse cars dogs Vudu 4/20 Hallmark universal monsters Chernobyl what to watch revenge based on movie 21st Century Fox Calendar festivals travel Infographic GLAAD Britbox cancelled TV shows YouTube Premium anime History Trailer Country Rocky game of thrones news dragons documentaries Writers Guild of America Spectrum Originals adaptation Film christmas movies Apple RT21 spinoff blaxploitation NYCC Heroines cancelled latino Star Trek TV Land CMT docudrama Shudder cancelled TV series Disney+ Disney Plus spanish language batman Discovery Channel Sundance TV witnail Amazon book Turner blockbuster El Rey worst SDCC breaking bad TV screenings Disney Channel Reality Competition Amazon Studios Mary Poppins Returns canceled TV shows screen actors guild reviews Marvel Television Election Sundance Now SXSW a nightmare on elm street Television Academy Biopics The Witch USA Network BBC One Adult Swim period drama Freeform Opinion chucky die hard ABC Family movie spy thriller TCA Awards anthology comic children's TV Polls and Games Mary poppins Walt Disney Pictures Watching Series Western Marathons Family emmy awards binge San Diego Comic-Con The Walking Dead HBO Go Spike Mary Tyler Moore cinemax Food Network medical drama 2015 Certified Fresh DC streaming service diversity Lifetime Fox News hist Travel Channel Lionsgate natural history child's play strong female leads mockumentary Red Carpet directors Reality X-Men quibi PaleyFest talk show DGA adventure sequels Comedy halloween stoner Amazon Prime 2017 ratings sports Emmys Toys political drama Ovation American Society of Cinematographers The Purge Pop TV dramedy Nominations Brie Larson Television Critics Association Crackle cooking mutant casting Bravo First Look Logo New York Comic Con ITV thriller Mystery Epix FX on Hulu 20th Century Fox aliens Captain marvel OneApp Drama ABC finale Stephen King criterion ESPN Netflix Christmas movies Schedule game show asian-american Apple TV Plus Black History Month critics festival indie zombie 2020 Tarantino sitcom TBS 71st Emmy Awards CW Seed Universal composers canceled classics miniseries Anna Paquin FOX Disney streaming service franchise WarnerMedia rotten movies we love Oscars Netflix Musical transformers Comics on TV sequel Tumblr scary movies Awards Tour 2018 RT History CBS All Access robots GoT National Geographic Cartoon Network foreign YA crime drama Acorn TV Paramount Countdown Superheroes richard e. Grant supernatural independent Shondaland VH1 Pride Month technology Premiere Dates MCU Christmas Nickelodeon reboot TLC BBC obituary Starz television Rocketman Grammys Music Superheroe Animation Action toronto Summer Turner Classic Movies comics satire Podcast Emmy Nominations movies IFC The Arrangement cancelled television crime zero dark thirty Lucasfilm disaster Endgame Super Bowl venice Disney Syfy Photos crime thriller dceu tv talk Mindy Kaling Binge Guide A24 TNT Video Games Character Guide Box Office Winter TV WGN 72 Emmy Awards hispanic concert Winners all-time Fantasy true crime Best and Worst Sci-Fi science fiction USA cats SundanceTV comedies Baby Yoda 2019 superhero 45 Black Mirror cops serial killer romance hollywood VOD Awards Fall TV DC Comics Warner Bros. rotten Academy Awards dc stop motion Comic Book theme song Martial Arts TCM Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Network stand-up comedy TCA joker Rom-Com crossover unscripted VICE HBO animated Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Ghostbusters justice league series MSNBC Peacock werewolf CBS Lifetime Christmas movies police drama Rock Set visit space Funimation mission: impossible 24 frames Hallmark Christmas movies jamie lee curtis doctor who psychological thriller spain renewed TV shows Columbia Pictures Star Wars fast and furious Trophy Talk FX Nat Geo Crunchyroll DC Universe south america NBC Interview Cosplay FXX See It Skip It E3 toy story romantic comedy golden globes laika elevated horror twilight football President Pop nfl Pirates 007 streaming zombies facebook Tubi Teen AMC LGBTQ Film Festival GIFs YouTube Elton John dark Tomatazos free movies politics green book TruTV Pixar video ghosts Marvel discovery Musicals TIFF Mudbound Extras slashers Disney Plus comiccon Holidays vampires Thanksgiving social media name the review nbcuniversal The CW BBC America 2016 Quiz video on demand Masterpiece Song of Ice and Fire harry potter Showtime Valentine's Day Comedy Central Apple TV+ remakes historical drama PlayStation documentary nature best APB scorecard biography PBS DirecTV sag awards E! kids Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt war worst movies TCA 2017 boxoffice Marvel Studios Amazon Prime Video IFC Films cartoon Cannes TCA Winter 2020 BET Classic Film Pet Sematary award winner Holiday teaser YouTube Red Sony Pictures Dark Horse Comics Women's History Month indiana jones psycho Esquire Kids & Family Year in Review Hear Us Out parents films BAFTA Trivia Sundance