In Spanish, the term narco (or its plural, narcos) is an abbreviation of the word narcotraficante (drug trafficker). In the United States, the epithet "narc" (or "narco") refers to a specialist officer of a narcotics police force, such as a DEA agent.
The show's faux cultural weight can be seen in some of the aspects that have been praised the most by US audiences as evidence of cultural sensitivity and accuracy. For example, many note that, unlike most programming made in the United States, Narcos uses Spanish -- and therefore subtitles -- extensively. Many of the scenes were also filmed in Colombia allowing viewers to see the country's large cities and not only its remote jungles. However, these places are used more as props than essential elements of the story, and it's clear from their disposable nature that a realistic depiction of the historical, political, and cultural background of the narcos is superfluous to the larger story and will only serve to reinforce preconceived notions about them.
In the case of language, as it has been extensively noted, the mismatch of Spanish accents -- and the poor efforts to mimic the local dialect and style strongly associated with the narcos by Spanish-speaking audiences -- only provide a sense of realism for those who either do not speak Spanish or are not familiar with its Latin American variations.
In a way, it reminds me of the word "barbarian," which comes from the Greek word which means "babbler." The Greeks used it to refer to all those who lived beyond their borders, and whose languages and cultures they could not differentiate, much less understand. To the Greeks, it all sounded like the same, unintelligible chatter. In Narcos, the stark differences between Mexican, Puerto Rican, Peninsular, Colombian, and even Portuguese accents, vocabulary, and rhythm seem inaudible for the producers and are conflated into the speak of the violent, modern-day barbarians, the narcos.
At the end of the day, Narcos may profess its path toward moral ambiguity, but it always puts its gringo protagonists on higher moral ground. Murphy often says that in the world of narcos, right and wrong are hard to discern. However, Steve Murphy is no Charles Marlow, Joseph Conrad's famed alter-ego in his dark, searching novels about colonialism. His actions are not constructed as morally ambiguous for an American audience. And unlike the "Heart of Darkness," this (supposed) moral ambiguity does not catalyze a process of neocolonial self-criticism and reflection. On the contrary, it reinforces the preconceived notions that consistently place the prosperity and interests of some nations over those of others.
Yes, Murphy violently interrogates a few narcos. Yes, he bullies and disobeys the -- female -- US ambassador. Yes, he yells at a taxi driver, and yes he takes a Colombian baby without consulting anybody. (It seems that a couple of episodes later a good-willed attorney might have told the writers that this actually constitutes child theft even in Colombia, and therefore the show appeases its viewers by clarifying that the baby is legally being saved from her barbaric land through adoption proceedings.) But all this violence is aimed at Colombian characters for whom the audience feels little or no empathy.
To further reassure its audience, Murphy is repeatedly portrayed performing one of the acts most deeply rooted in the construction of western heroism: saving women and children. He saves a prostitute informant from being raped and killed by the narcos; he provides protection to a female ex-guerrilla combatant that -- supposedly -- can link Escobar to the famed 1985 insurgent-led attack on the Palace of Justice; and, as close as he came to actually trafficking a child, his action is probably perceived as the generous and valiant act of saving a baby. All of these actions are fictitious and implausible, and serve no purpose in the advancing of Escobar's story. However, they play a key role in separating good from evil, heroes from villains.
1. Carlos Henao (RIP) was my maternal uncle and he was not a drug dealer he's cracked up to be in the series. In fact he was a great man, a hard worker, honest, noble and good father of the family. A good friend of my mother. Henao was an architect who helped build some houses, roads and bridges of the hacienda Naples to my father, but never got involved in illegal activities. Was never convicted in Colombia or any country for any offence. He was a Bible salesman. He was always talking about making peace, not war. Always talked about escape, not attacking anyone. He was not drug dealer and for the Netflix show to malign him. Carlos Henao was never a drug dealer nor lived in Miami. He was kidnapped and tortured with Francisco Toro, another innocent man. How sad that Netflix has shown so many corpses with the posters of people hung up, and they forgot to publish the images of my uncle Carlos tortured, in that respect they were identical and also public. But they're not happy with that, placed him at another time and place in the history of my father, and made it seem that his death was the product of a legitimate confrontation between police and narcos, when in reality it was an injustice, his death, while this violates the right to a good name, to the honor and the honor of a man who was very dear and respected in Medellín. A man blameless from beginning to end.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a brutal turn-based action strategy game based on the hit Netflix TV series. Explore the entire first season from two sides each with their own unique story. Join the narcos and expand the drug cartel empire, or take up arms with the DEA and bring it crumbling down. 041b061a72