The Similarities and Differences Between 'Narcos' and 'Narcos: Mexico' Are Clear as Day in Season 2

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Apr. 24 2020, Updated 2:18 p.m. ET

narcos mexico
Source: Netflix

When Narcos premiered on Netflix, it brought to life the true story behind Pablo Escobar’s rise to power in Columbia and the legacy he left behind. And, despite painting Escobar as a sometimes hero of the people, Netflix subscribers ate up the story of drug trafficking, drama, and adventure as DEA agents chased him for the inevitable showdown.

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Once Escobar’s story was over, the show hit a slight drop and was soon after revamped as Narcos: Mexico in order to extend the story of drug trafficking a little further north. The story continues what initially began on Narcos, even with Escobar long gone in the show’s timeline. But because the shows are in the same universe and the spin-off has gained its footing, fans may be wondering how they are even connected.

narcos mexico season
Source: Netflix
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'Narcos' and 'Narcos: Mexico' have some similarities.

There wouldn’t be a Narcos: Mexico without Narcos just like in real life, there might not have been such a rise in the drug trafficking business had it not been for Escobar’s part in South America. Toward the end of the series, the Cali Cartel played a big role and was featured prominently. DEA Agent Javier Peña, who was instrumental in taking down Escobar, was later assigned to take down the Cali Cartel.

The Guadalajara Cartel, which is featured in Narcos: Mexico had real life and in-show dealings with the Cali Cartel. And while the DEA agents in the spin-off are different from those who fans got to know in the original series, the underlying power dynamics and tug-of-war between the law and the cartels is still there in both shows.

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Escobar was even featured in one episode of Narcos: Mexico in a flashback, to further string the two shows together. But, as the name would suggest, Narcos: Mexico focuses on the drug cartels in Mexico, which were intent upon moving product across the border into the United States, instead of the South American cartels that are the focus of Narcos.

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Who is in the 'Narcos: Mexico' cast?

Fans of the initial Narcos series didn't love that the Narcos: Mexico cast was full of newbies. But being that the show focuses on different cartels, agents, and historical figures involved in the drug trade, it was necessary. Michael Peña played Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent, while Diego Luna takes up plenty of screen time as Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara Cartel. 

narcos mexico cast
Source: Netflix
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Because the focus of Narcos: Mexico is no longer on drug cartels in South America, there was no reason for Pedro Pascal to return as Javier Peña. However, the end of the Narcos Season 3 finale did feature Javier witnessing drug smugglers on the Rio Grande, potentially bringing drugs in or out of the U.S., alluding to the new spin-off.

'Narcos: Mexico' Season 2 premieres in February 2020.

While the differences between Narcos and Narcos: Mexico are getting clearer as the spin-off continues to tell its own story of drugs and crime, there’s no denying that there couldn't be as much of an appreciation for it, had Narcos not come first. And when Narcos: Mexico Season 2 premieres on Feb. 13, 2020, viewers will get to see more of another war on drugs play out in a flurry of cocaine and bullets.

Narcos: Mexico Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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