The Netflix series Narcos has managed to turn some real history into a show where you're not sure what's going to happen, and that includes some very clever marketing strategies. So, for instance, the Season 2 tagline for the show is "Pablo dies," playing on the drug lord's upcoming demise and turning it into a mystery that's driving the season. But, since the show hasn't always remained devoted to real history, how did Pablo Escobar die in real life? I know it might seem more fun to go through the season without knowing the real answer, but much of Narcos' first season was full of easily Googled information, and it still kept fans glued to the screen for all 10 episodes. This season will surely be the same.
Now, for the real history behind Pablo's death. Even though Narcos began back in the 1970s, it's quickly accelerated to the mid-90s, making the death of Pablo Escobar rather recent history. As portrayed on the show, Escobar really did go to "prison" in 1991, and escaped in 1992, according to the Los Angeles Times. By 1993, Columbia was practically in lockdown, as the whole nation hunted for the drug lord. Many believed his capture would be a symbolic "death" of the cocaine industry — or, at least, of the glorification of the drug trade.
So, in 1993, Pablo Escobar died in a shootout with Colombian security forces, according to the LA Times. According to the paper, an eyewitness claimed that Escobar was "surprised" by the ambush that lead to his death. At the time, Major General Octavio Vargas Silva took triumphant credit for Escobar's downfall. He said, "This is a success for the country and the government. The cartel has been dismantled with the death of Pablo Escobar," the LAT reported.
But, the Columbian security forces weren't the only ones who wanted Escobar off the streets. First of all, the drug trade across not just Colombia, but also the US and Europe, where Escobar's Mandellin cartel shipped tons of cocaine, made drug enforcement agents — like Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, the lead characters in Narcos — wish they could be the ones to catch Pablo. However, that became basically impossible after Escobar negotiated that he would surrender himself in 1991, but only if he wasn't extradited to the United States, where he'd likely be in much harsher conditions than the resort/prison he built for himself, called "La Catedral," according to the LA Times.
But, while law enforcement of all stripes had it out for Escobar, he was also unpopular among criminals. Other drug criminals formed "People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar," or "Los Pepes," an paramilitary group devoted to taking Escobar dow, according to Philly.com. The outlet reported that Col. Hugo Martinez claimed The Pepes were allegedly a combination of criminals and spurned accomplices, not unlike the show's newly introduced Cali cartel gangsters and the betrayal by Don Berna in Season 2, who must represent the Pepes' plans to destroy Escobar from inside the very world he helped to create.
With so many forces who were hoping to be the ones that took Pablo Escobar down, Narcos has plenty of options for fictionalizing the kingpin's death. But if they choose to stay true to real life, it will be the Colombian security forces that successfully kill Escobar.
Images: Netflix (3)