Watch My Show: Get Addicted to Narcos if You Loved Breaking Bad

Michael Schneider
NARCOS S01E03
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s Narcos offers a gritty take on drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) and the U.S. DEA agents who try to take down the Medellín cartel. Chris Brancato (Hoodlum), who created the show with Carlo Bernard, Paul Eckstein and Doug Miro, explains why we should get hooked.

NarcosI've got room in my life to watch just one more show. Tell me why it should be yours.
You should watch Narcos because it’s the most unique show to grace your television in years: a gripping story of ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar and the two countries that marked him for death in what was the most expensive manhunt in the history of law enforcement. It’s set in the 1980s, shot entirely on location in Colombia, and boasts some of the world’s finest actors, superb directors, and pulse-pounding action. At the same time, it’s a highly interesting, even thoughtful meditation on the competing interests at play in the search of a deadly criminal.

Who should be watching?
Everyone from 18 to 80. For some, it will be an entertaining history of the rise of the drug trade in Colombia. For others, a fascinating cat-and-mouse game between cops and crooks. For still others, a chance to relive the decadence and style that were the 1980s. It’s chock full of fascinating, larger-than-life characters. And it’s all true. Or at least almost all true.

What happens if we don't watch your show?
You will be shunned by your friends, expelled from your church, fired from your job, stoned in a public square—all because you are unable to engage in meaningful conversation about the hottest show of 2015.

What's the best thing anyone has said or written about your show?
That would take more space than this article offers. But seriously, the best thing people have told me is it’s positively addictive viewing that’s informative and entertaining…and best of all, well-written!

What's the worst thing?
I have to struggle to remember that one guy who said something negative. Oh yeah, something about too much voiceover in episode one.

Who was right?
Who do you think? The negative guy was stoned in the public square, so I no longer have to worry about him.

What's an alternate title for your show?
Powder to the People… or Chris Brancato Finally Wrote Something His Friends Like!

Give us an equation for your show.
Narcos is a gram of Goodfellas, an eight-ball of The Wire, cut with Training Day, delivered in the cargo hold of a Lear jet, multiplied by How to Get Away with Murder and ultimately followed by Intervention.

Come up with a premise for the spin-off.
That’s super easy. You go from the Medellín cartel, straight to Cali, then North Valley, then onto Mexico. Or for a more exotic flavor, you do the infamous D-Company in India, or whatever cartel Putin controls in Russia. Whatever country has Netflix, I can supply a cartel.

What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?
Robin’s Hoods. An Aaron Spelling show about five beautiful young people who live in an apartment and solve crimes. It was Melrose Place meets Charlie’s Angels. But God Bless Aaron, he gave me my first job.

Tell me one thing about your cast.
Led by the truly exceptional Wagner Moura, this is a wildly diverse international cast from dozens of countries in South and North America. We got the pick of the litter from every country in this hemisphere, and it shows.

What other series would you most like to be an executive producer on?
Hands down, The Twilight Zone.

Let's scare the network. Tell us an idea that didn't make it on to the screen.
Almost every idea made it, thanks to Netflix’s filmmaker-friendly attitude. But I wanted Pablo Escobar to strangle his mistress, played by the wonderful Stephanie Sigman. She had just been hired to be a Bond girl. Netflix put the kibosh on the strangulation right quick. It was their only “you have to do it” note of the whole year.

Finish this sentence: "If you like _______, you'll love our show.
I’m not presuming to put our show in this class, but I think it’s fair to say if you like Goodfellas or The Wire or Breaking Bad, you’ll like Narcos.

Pick another show, any show, to start a fake feud with.
Breaking Bad. Walter White versus Pablo Escobar. I’d pay to see that match…

What other show would you like to do a cross-over episode with—and how would that go?
I’d like to do a cross-over with Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid, where a team of survivalists have to mule ten kilos through the Colombian rainforest. Now that’s entertainment!

How will your show change the face of TV as we know it?
I’m hoping that it will prove the value of shooting in actual locations in foreign countries for authenticity. I’m hoping that our show—which is bilingual (with subtitles)—will encourage other shows to take similar risks. And I’m hoping that the anti-drug message at the show’s core keeps a few people off cocaine.