Narcos is the hit Netflix series that since 2015 has been telling the story of the rise (Season One) and fall (Season Two) of Colombian cocaine kingpin and hippo enthusiast Pablo Escobar. Anyone who knows their druglords will have realised that tale could only have one ending. Sure enough, Season Two ended with (historical spoiler alert) Escobar shot through the head on a Medellin rooftop.
But the story of the cocaine trade obviously didn’t end there. If it had, how would Be Here Now have gotten made? In fact, the Cali cartel rose to take over Escobar’s business, and that means the mission isn’t over for DEA agent Javier Pena. Pedro Pascal, who plays Pena, argues that the change of focus means the series is just getting interesting.
“When people say there can’t be a Narcos without Escobar I’m like: ‘Are you kidding? What world do you live in?’,” he says. “The show isn’t called Escobar. Cocaine sales go up after he’s dead. That alone tells you what we’re up against in Season Three. It’s an empire that’s now seemingly impossible to take down because it isn’t one target in the way that Escobar was. You won’t know what to expect. Even if you Google the shit out of it, you still won’t be able to predict exactly how it goes down.”
The fact that Escobar’s story was so well known became part of his undoing. “He built museums and schools, but then to his detriment he overplayed the Robin Hood card,” explains Pascal. “That’s where his ego exposed him and helped bring him down. The Cali people are much more hidden. They don’t fuck up very much.”
Having filmed the whole series on location in Colombia, Pascal does sympathise with locals who feel their country is always portrayed in a certain light. “I think Colombians have every right to be tired of being associated with violent crime,” he says. “There’s a whole other side to the country. I sliced my hand open – making a fucking salad, because that’s how wild shit is for me – and went to the ER and saw a hand specialist within an hour. That’s just the way the system works in Bogota.”
The show has already been commissioned for a fourth series, but Pascal says he couldn’t reveal anything about it even if he wanted to. “I’m just a meaningless actor, a cog in the machine,” he laughs. “God forbid they let me in on what their plan is for Season Four. I will say there’s a completeness to Season Three, yet it’s obvious that you can’t stop the story from going on after that.”
Sadly for Pascal, the perks of being on the show didn’t extend to attending Noel Gallagher’s Narcos-themed 50th birthday party. “I wasn’t invited, I bet you Wagner [Moura, who played Escobar] was though,” he says. When told that Moura sent Gallagher a video message, he shrugs: “Nobody wanted mine.” Is he an Oasis fan? “Yeah,” he sulks. “Well, I was.”