Spoilers ahead for Narcos Season 4. Narcos has been a Netflix hit since it debuted, but now a story under the same umbrella is taking center stage. The newest season of the series, named Narcos: Mexico, is connected to previous seasons of Narcos in a way, but it’s being described more as a “reset” than a traditional continuation of the story that’s been established.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Narcos: Mexico ditches Pedro Pascal, who was previously the leading man of Narcos, and takes on a new cast of characters to an unfamiliar setting. The first three seasons of Narcos set their sights on Pablo Escobar’s reign and demise as the kingpin Colombia’s drug trade, and the most recent season ran the show’s timeline through the mid-1990s. Season 4, per another THR report, will backtrack and start over a little bit to tell a drug war story that viewers haven’t previously seen from the show — the rise of Mexico’s Guadalajara cartel in the '70s and '80s.
Showrunner Eric Newman said in the same Hollywood Reporter piece that it’s not impossible for Pascal to return — “It is after all an intersecting universe. The Mexicans did a lot of business with the Colombians” — and indeed, this season’s characters do have a brief run-in with another familiar face, Escobar, around mid-season.
The cast shake-up is probably a little jarring for those who are comfortable with Pascal at the forefront, but especially with a show that’s based on real life, it’s important to know when one specific part of a story has run its course. And according to Newman, the people involved in the plot aren’t nearly as important as the common thread that unites all of them.
“The continuing character on the show was always intended to be cocaine and the futile war against it,” he continued. “Our characters are important, and there are a lot of similarities where, as we like to say, there are bad guys and very bad guys, but they are secondary to the cocaine. It’s about the ongoing war against drugs and against cocaine and the inherent, unwinnable nature of that conflict.”
For the most part, fans seem to be on board with the change, and open to the possibilities it brings. “I think it'll be different, whether that means good or bad I don't know, but I'm willing to give it a chance while knowing its a new setting, characters, etc.,” wrote Reddit user Wild_Heart. Others acknowledged that though they’ll miss the characters they became attached to, but expressed excitement for a change of scenery and the ways Narcos is changing things up. “I'll definitely miss Pena. Pedro [Pascal] is a great actor and I love his character,” another user, Sagiv1, wrote. “But It doesn't bother me that much tbh, since this is kind of a fresh start. New location, new culture and characters, new world. Easier to approach this with an open mind and accept a new lead.”
If this “reset” is successful, it could mean that Narcos has unlimited potential to move forward in the future, exploring different countries, different outlaws, and different drama. “I know we’d like to do more than four seasons and I know that we have the material. With history as a guide, we could go forever. Our M.O. is that we work very closely with people to whom these things happen, particularly on the law enforcement and DEA side,” Newman said in the piece linked above.
Narcos has got the attention of fans and has been known to deliver on hype. Now it's just time to wait and see what longtime viewers make of the fresh take.