Narcos’ first episode “Descenso” using multiple jumps in time and location, and the narration of DEA Agent Steve Murphy as well as real stock-footage tells the origin story of Colombian smuggler Pablo Escobar and how he will become “The King of Cocaine” and the start of powerful Medellin Cartel, while also sowing the seeds for his eventual downfall and death.
Government spies find out the time and place when hitman “Poison”, who works for Escobar, will be with some of his killer buddies. Rather than give this intel to “Asshole” DEA Agent Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal), they give it to our narrator/protagonist “Other Guy” DEA Agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holdbrock).
And what does he do with this Intel? He calls Horacio Carrillo (Maurice Compte) head of a Colombian police narcotics task force who we’re sarcastically told has “a lot of love for narcos.” This seems like a fine and perfectly reasonable course of action, except it leads to a brutal raid that goes something like this.
The “raid” is a “blood bath” with Steve saying as much the next day as the DEA pick over the crime scene and he photographs bodies. Acknowledging that he “pushed the buttons” having known what would happen. Even if Poison hadn’t been a killer he would’ve called Carillo’s death squad anyway, admitting, “I don’t have a lot of love for narcos either.” This is Steve Murphy after only one year in Colombia.
Mateo Moreno “Cockroach” sole survivor of a Chilean operation mass producing cocaine. Skimming from the top he had a stockpile of what he knew would be the perfect product “a product whose offer created its own demand.” All he needed was someone to smuggle it.
Enter young but already powerful Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) with the ambition to be President of Colombia. When we first meet him he’s already making good money smuggling tobacco, marijuana and cigarettes. Having collected personal information on the DAAS “Colombia’s FBI” members, knowing their weaknesses (like family), we see him applying pressure in the correct places to allow his fleet of trucks to pass through Colombian borders unhindered. Though without a doubt as violent and ruthless as his peers Pablo is a man of business and reason, preferring to “make deals” or use manipulation and bribes before using outright brutality. Offering “Silver… Or lead.”
Sitting down with Pablo and his right hand man Gustavo Gaviria (Juan Pablo Raba) Cockroach proposing to sell coke in Colombia for $10 a gram making the three of them rich but Pablo clearly unimpressed, can barely fathom such lack of ambition telling him he has “no vision” saying instead “if it cost $10 a gram here… imagine how much it will sell for in Miami.” From there they start cocaine production in Medellin and start flying it straight to Miami. Going from 5kg hidden in a jacket to small plane loads of coke Pablo’s (and Cockroach’s) operation snowballs wildly, becoming larger and more profitable by the day.
Over in sunny Miami things are starting to take a turn for the darker when the flood of coke brings guns and death to the streets, with Murphy even shooting an Uzi wielding teenage boy. To which his wife responds “He sells drugs right? Well fuck him” a reaction that is explained in the show but I’ll let you watch and see if you believe her reasoning to be fair or not. I still mentally refer to her as “the bitch wife.”
The DEA organizes a sting operation with Steve and his partner doing the buy and hoping to make a major bust “1200kgs that’d get us on the cover of the Miami Herald.” Unfortunately this doesn’t go well for Steve or his partner due to the unexpected hand of Pablo Escobar. Again, I won’t go into detail here but what happens leaves Steve Murphy forever changed and sets him on the warpath towards Pablo Escobar.
The American government until this point had been mostly ignoring the coke being imported to Miami but unsurprisingly and depressingly enough it wasn’t the guns, the pregnant drug mules or dead teenagers. None of that mattered. What really got them interested was the money! Worried that this cartel from Colombia has the power to completely destroy the economy they start to take action sending a patriotic Steve and his (bitch) wife to the heart of Colombia.
Really Good 7.8/10
“79 to 84 there were 3445 murders in Miami, outside the tourist bureau and the cops no one much cared about that, what got the U.S. government to take notice was the money, billions of dollars a year all flowing from the U.S. to Colombia and that America couldn’t take” – Steve Murphy