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

Spectrum Originals japanese asian-american 2021 Captain marvel Alien obituary DC streaming service Ovation TV Lifetime breaking bad DC Comics Comic-Con@Home 2021 Showtime target biography OneApp Marvel Studios pirates of the caribbean Black History Month Bravo Superheroe LGBTQ HBO Fox Searchlight spanish MTV halloween Masterpiece A&E TCM Vudu zombies Syfy child's play Brie Larson Rock Academy Awards Trivia game show 21st Century Fox children's TV History superhero golden globe awards war Emmys Action new zealand Pride Month talk show cancelled TV series Spike Pop TV renewed TV shows TIFF dogs Tumblr Video Games Horror batman Western Amazon The Purge Warner Bros. Sundance golden globes FXX SundanceTV Creative Arts Emmys Disney Channel universal monsters ID Mindy Kaling Pacific Islander CNN CBS All Access james bond hispanic kids BET Awards Shondaland Paramount high school MSNBC BET TruTV Grammys APB festivals 2019 women 72 Emmy Awards nature name the review 20th Century Fox cancelled television historical drama aliens Quiz Ellie Kemper Mystery reboot Tokyo Olympics IFC Films Oscars adenture french Heroines GoT Biopics hidden camera mission: impossible 2020 Toys die hard zero dark thirty international Elton John social media Logo Black Mirror ESPN based on movie FX on Hulu Song of Ice and Fire godzilla crime drama harry potter psychological thriller Sci-Fi Tarantino critics crime thriller television Writers Guild of America Best and Worst miniseries Sony Pictures streaming movies boxoffice true crime rotten dceu LGBT rt archives The Walt Disney Company Food Network classics Pop 2018 cancelled TV shows Star Trek GLAAD VICE 007 Photos ABC Signature indiana jones CW Seed President Music Disney Plus politics Tomatazos olympics facebook Comedy adaptation Television Critics Association Hallmark Endgame worst trailers Travel Channel discovery ViacomCBS australia mutant ABC Family Stephen King Year in Review Disney+ Disney Plus Mary poppins prank comics Sundance Now wonder woman disaster razzies nfl Sundance TV Hallmark Christmas movies Walt Disney Pictures Awards Tour Universal Pirates Tubi 2017 Reality Competition Winter TV all-time football anime Film Festival E! Trophy Talk zombie free movies Acorn TV Netflix Christmas movies crossover Television Academy halloween tv Apple TV+ Paramount Network 99% joker know your critic romantic comedy Comics on TV Countdown Emmy Nominations movie TLC FX teaser Summer Dark Horse Comics doctor who unscripted superman quibi Valentine's Day Amazon Prime Video animated book Wes Anderson NYCC technology franchise crime south america E3 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina christmas movies Family Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt criterion dragons jamie lee curtis X-Men BAFTA Exclusive Video Rocky dark new york political drama Nominations dramedy best TCA 2017 basketball The Walking Dead Lifetime Christmas movies Classic Film 2015 directors The Academy romance satire USA Polls and Games ghosts 24 frames First Reviews revenge 93rd Oscars parents OWN saw SDCC emmy awards tv talk WarnerMedia The Witch Infographic Winners DC Universe natural history Spring TV Women's History Month Legendary YouTube Red ITV Amazon Studios blaxploitation Holidays travel HBO Go toy story canceled TV shows nbcuniversal slashers werewolf italian First Look Set visit kaiju hollywood what to watch Epix serial killer PBS See It Skip It Broadway concert docudrama BBC hist Chernobyl legend BBC America YouTube 2016 MCU Martial Arts TV movies Sneak Peek dc cars comic books stoner The CW cancelled canceled Election blockbuster Super Bowl Nat Geo RT History Christmas Rocketman American Society of Cinematographers 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards screen actors guild Marvel Television Britbox Arrowverse Crunchyroll comiccon TCA Winter 2020 sitcom streaming police drama Pixar deadpool Turner Disney richard e. Grant rom-coms Character Guide versus Musical Certified Fresh San Diego Comic-Con Holiday psycho Cannes independent casting 1990s green book ratings Anna Paquin spinoff heist movie Shudder Baby Yoda Musicals Funimation japan justice league laika comic Pet Sematary Reality Marvel Superheroes Schedule jurassic park cops Lucasfilm Netflix Calendar worst movies anthology Rom-Com movies TV renewals 4/20 Opinion Fantasy twilight NBC Ghostbusters TBS toronto cinemax Podcast kong cooking Disney streaming service PlayStation Columbia Pictures new star wars movies Marathons Hulu comedies Trailer foreign Nickelodeon spider-man Box Office spain game of thrones 45 RT21 transformers spy thriller Mary Tyler Moore Country remakes Red Carpet Paramount Plus singing competition CMT CBS book adaptation VOD Mary Poppins Returns video on demand monster movies diversity Extras black sag awards award winner chucky Watching Series sequel scene in color USA Network elevated horror Teen Peacock Avengers WGN ABC archives Turner Classic Movies space Premiere Dates AMC vampires Lionsgate cartoon aapi Freeform documentary indie BBC One news rotten movies we love PaleyFest finale stop motion sports sequels Film GIFs a nightmare on elm street films Comic Book venice Interview YA fresh screenings cults VH1 TCA Awards blockbusters theme song reviews documentaries fast and furious Cartoon Network video National Geographic adventure mockumentary Amazon Prime Crackle New York Comic Con DirecTV Starz telelvision latino 71st Emmy Awards Hear Us Out witnail Cosplay Image Comics 90s NBA lord of the rings TV One Fox News TV Land popular scary movies robots scorecard Discovery Channel supernatural cats live action Awards FOX marvel cinematic universe suspense docuseries The Arrangement Apple TV Plus Kids & Family Drama spanish language IFC king kong Animation science fiction Star Wars festival binge Mudbound series king arthur Thanksgiving TCA Adult Swim period drama TNT HBO Max boxing YouTube Premium El Rey strong female leads Esquire Fall TV thriller medical drama composers Apple DGA stand-up comedy Binge Guide SXSW A24