How Historically Accurate Is Pablo Escobar On 'Narcos'? You'd Be Surprised By How Much Is Real
Maybe you've already finished all of Netflix's brand new original series, Narcos , or maybe you're saving it for another long weekend. Whatever the case, make sure it's on your to-watch list. A look at the real-life story of drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, Narcos takes us into territory we haven't yet seen about Escobar's life. So, when all is said and done, is Narcos an accurate portrayal of Pablo Escobar, or really a better version of Vinnie Chase playing Escobar in Medellin?
That was an Entourage joke. And, the last one here, because Narcos is leaps and bounds ahead of the fictional movie we saw made on the HBO show. Don't worry, if you're tuning in to Narcos for a little bit of history, the series delivers. Mostly everything we see in the show is true-to-life, though some aspects have been heightened, as with any series, to bring a little bit more drama to the table. A few names have been changed here and there, to protect their real life counterparts, but, once again, that's a given when Netflix is striving for drama, and we are dealing with drug lords, after all.
As for Escobar himself, things that might seem like they're completely over the top are, in fact, true. He gained the nickname "The Robin Hood of Medellin" with his philanthropy (feels weird calling it that) work that gave back to his community, and built schools and hospitals.
But, then on the other hand, he had such great wealth that he really did have helicopters at his disposal. So, when we saw him escape on a helicopter, that's true. It didn't necessarily happen all the time, but as Escobar's son, Sebastián Marroquín (who changed his name from Juan Pablo Escobar) explained to The Guardian, helicopters really did play a part. That felt so far-fetched, but it was true.
Watching Narcos feels like you're watching a documentary, not a drama, and that's the point. Netflix isn't trying to give us an "inspired by" story, but the real thing instead. That's why they consulted with the actual DEA agents who were on Escobar's case, Javier Peña and Steve Murphy (and it's the fictional Murphy who narrates the series). They were brought in as consultants. So these two were able to provide information about their investigation of Escobar.
They also provided information about Escobar, of course. But, it's a situation like when Hank provided information about Heisenberg — Hank of course knew stuff about him, and what he was up to, but he didn't know all the facts. So, while real life Peña and Murphy were obviously able to contribute to Netflix's story, they were still an audience for Escobar just as much as any one else during the time.
And, now we're all an audience watching Nacros unfold on Netflix. While you maybe shouldn't use the events of the series to write a history paper on Escobar, it does provide us with a very good portrayal of his character, and that's as much as we can ask of any entertainment program.
Image: Daniel Daza/Netflix (3)