Suriname government considering legal action over “narco state” portrayal in Netflix series ‘Narco-Saints’

"Whether the practices presented [in 'Narco-Saints']... are true or false, it's creating a negative perception," said Suriname's foreign minister

The Suriname government is considering taking legal action over the way the country is portrayed in Netflix’s new Korean original series Narco-Saints.

According to Reutersa statement from the Suriname government announced plans to explore legal action against the producers of Narco-Saints (titled Suriname in its Korean promotional material), saying it negatively portrays the South American country as a “narco state”.

The statement reportedly that the series’ depiction was based on past “crime and cross-border activities”, which the government says it has endeavoured for decades to eradicate. Notably, the story depicted in Narco-Saints was based on real-life events that occurred roughly two decades ago.


Created by The Spy Gone North filmmaker Yoon Jong-bin, Narco-Saints stars Ha Jung-woo (Ashfall, Entourage) as Kang In-gu, an entrepreneur who lands in Suriname for business and ends up getting framed by a Korean drug lord operating in the country and sent to prison.

As he’s beginning to serve his sentence, In-gu is roped into a secret mission by Choi Chang-ho (Squid Game’s Park Hae-soo), an agent of the Korean National Intelligence Service. Their goal is to eventually snare Jeon Yo-han (Hush’s Hwang Jung-min), the head of a notorious drug cartel who is masquerading as a pastor as a cover for his operations.

“Suriname no longer has the image that emerges in the series or no longer participates in these kinds of practices,” wrote the country’s Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin in a statement published on September 12 on the government’s website. “Whether the practices presented [in Narco-Saints]… are true or false, it’s creating a negative perception [of Suriname]. The whole world sees these things, so this is not good.”

In his statement, Ramdin said that he would consider taking legal action against the producers of Narco-Saints, as well as lodge a diplomatic protest with the South Korean government.

According to Reuters, an unnamed official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said that the South Korean government has yet to receive a formal statement from the Suriname government on the matter.

Narco-Saints premiered on Netflix last Friday (September 9) and has since landed at number 5 on the streamer’s top non-English TV shows (for the week of September 5-11), topping the South Korean chart.