From the 1983 film Scarface:
Tony Montana: In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.
From the 2015 Netflix Original Series Narcos:
First they get the coke. Then they get the money. Now the Columbian cartel wants the power. Let the drug wars begin.
From The Godfather:
Don Corleone (talking to Johnny Fontane, the singer/actor) : You look terrible. I want you to eat, I want you to rest well. And a month from now this Hollywood big shot’s gonna give you what you want.
Johnny Fontane: Too late. They start shooting in a week.
Don Corleone: I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.
From the 2015 Netflix Original Series Narcos:
Escobar: I am Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. I make deals for a living. You decide… plata or plomo…
Yeah, Pablo Escobar’s idea of making an offer no one could refuse was to say Silver or lead. While those three words don’t have the same amount of actual menace as did The Godfather’s offer – either your signature or your brains will be on this contract – it was certainly clear to any one who was told this by Escobar that if they made the wrong decision, it would be their last decision. Period.
Netflix has release all 10 episodes of the Original Series Narcos today. At this point I’ve only watched the first episode, so this post will serve as a more of an introduction then a full-bodied review.
This a tale of every increasing mounds. One is the mounds of cocaine. When a chemist/crook named Cockroach somehow survived the death squads of Pinochet,
he crawled out of a mass open grave unscathed. He washed up in the jungles of Peru, and began an operation of making cocaine. But the demand far exceeded the amount of the drug that he could actually have smuggled out in small cars, hidden in the spare tires.
But the word spread. While the size of a kilo of this Peruvian Marching Powder remained stable – after all, a kilo is a kilo is a kilo, the stacks of kilo’s grew exponentially.
And the word reached Mr. Escobar, who was immediately interested. You see Escobar had the vision that Cockroach lacked. They partnered up and from then on – there was just a simple question that occupied Escobar.
If a gram of this cocaine cost $10 in Peru – imagine how much it would fetch in Miami?
So what happened next is that smuggling expanded as did the amounts of money spent to acquire this drug coke. Which meant that Escobar now had to deal with the ever-expanding mounds of cash.
The third thing that would expand would be the outcome from the natural relationship of money and violence. So what expanded was the amount of people getting killed while doing this business.
Yes, this reached all the way to the Reagan White House. On October 14th, 1982 then US President Ronald Reagan declared that illicit drugs to be a threat to national security. Yes that made headlines all over the world, as did Nancy Reagan who said, When it comes to drugs – Just Say No!
But what was at their heart of it all was the vast amounts of US dollars that were leaving the US having been spent on illicit drugs. And that was what was the most disturbing to those in the corridors of power in Washington.
So a war on drugs began. The idea was to reduce the supply. DEA agents were sent to places in Columbia, and Mexico, and other key distribution centers. There was just one problem – reducing the supply would prove to be far more difficult than they thought, and what’s more, that would have no effect on the demand other than increasing.
So in this particular series we will be looking at the war on drugs from two specific vantage points. One would be from the very top of the supply pyramid and that would mean Mr. Escobar who is portrayed by Walter Moura.
The other would be from the perspective of one DEA agent Steve Murphy who is played by Boyd Holbrook. He would say – With the money, came the violence – which is the leit-motive at the heart of the series.
The shows plays at times, as a quasi-documentary with the narration made by Agent Murphy. And if this reminds you of Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill in Goodfellas, you’d be right. But you can only go so far in merging archival news footage with live action drama.
So to make this series into something more than just a history lesson, a world-class director was brought in. That would be Jose Padilha, a Brazilian. Moura is also Brazilian and worked with Padilha in two excellent dramas about drug in Brazil: The Elite Squad and the sequel which was called The Elite Squad; The Enemy Within. Both of which I reviewed.
So expectation are high for the series.
Filmed in and around Bogotá, Columbia – the first episode does more than expected. I’m caught. I’ve swallowed the hook, and have no desire to walk away from the next nine episodes.
This series started TODAY on Netflix. Give it a shot.