• Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar in ‘Narcos’. (SBS)Source: SBS
Want to take a deep dive into the deadly world of the most dangerous drug dealers on the planet? ‘Narcos’ is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stories about cartels.
Anthony Morris

20 Nov 2019 - 11:31 AM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2019 - 12:24 PM


As a look at the rise of Pablo Escobar, Narcos is hard to beat. Covering the rise of the Medellín Cartel from both Escobar’s perspective and that of law enforcement, the first series starts out with Escobar as a small-scale smuggler and ends with him all but running Colombia from a luxury resort disguised as a maximum security prison.

While Boyd Holbrook as DEA agent Steve Murphy is the nominal lead (alongside Pedro Pascal as his partner), it’s Wagner Moura as Escobar who dominates proceedings with his sombre yet compelling façade that can conceal deep love or cold-blooded murder – with no way to know which until he pulls the trigger.

Narcos screens Fridays at 9.30pm on SBS VICELAND and is now streaming at SBS On Demand


Escobar Exposed

You can’t get much closer to Pablo Escobar than this – his widow and son speak out in this two-part documentary. Alongside a colourful cast of insiders from the region’s criminal underworld, and featuring never-before-seen footage from the family’s own private archives, Escobar’s son (who fled Colombia in 1993) and widow (giving her first interview in twenty-five years) provide a uniquely personal peek behind the scenes of one of the century’s most notorious crime figures.

Loving Pablo

Academy Award winners Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz team up to tell the story of the romance between Pablo Escobar (Bardem) at the height of his power and the crusading journalist (Cruz) who was Colombia’s most famous media figure. His charisma and love of his country were what drew her to him; will she stand by him when the depths of his dark side are revealed and she has to choose a side once and for all?

Javier Bardem, on finally making his Escobar movie ‘Loving Pablo’, with Penelope Cruz
The star of ‘Loving Pablo’ talks about demystifying a monster, and explains how he and Penelope Cruz avoided taking their work home.

Escobar: Paradise Lost

When a young American surfer (Josh Hutcherson) visits his brother in Colombia, he thinks he’s found paradise. Perfect beaches, lush jungles and a beautiful young woman named Maria: it’s everything he could ever have wanted. And then he meets her uncle, who just happens to be Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro) – okay, maybe the title gave that part away. What happens next will shatter the young man’s dreams and plunge him into a living nightmare.

Cocaine and Crude: Mexican Drug Cartels

It’s a mistake to think of the cartels as merely being in the drug business. Their power touches Mexican life at every level, and if there’s an (illegal) dollar to be made, they’re interested. In this documentary, host Suroosh Alvi looks at the illegal oil trade in Mexico, which has become so lucrative that the cartels and government troops are fighting each other for control of the nation’s pipelines – and the ability to syphon off what flows through them.

Cyberwar, S2 E8 – Mexico’s War on Watchdogs

In Mexico, sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the government stops and the cartels begin. For journalists trying to expose government corruption, that adds a whole new layer of danger to their investigations. When hacking tools that were bought by the government for use against the cartels start turning up on journalists’ phones to track their movements and listen to their calls, host Ben Makuch investigates why.

The Escobar Effect

It’s been twenty years since Pablo Escobar was killed, yet across Colombia and Peru his legacy of drugs and death lives on. The hired killers he trained as underage hitmen are all grown up and still plying their trade, while the mountain slopes and jungles are dotted with the cocaine labs he set up. For farmers looking to get out, few crops can bring in anything close to the income the coca plant can provide; despite the desire for real change, the old ways die hard.

Vice, S3 E4 – Lines in the Sand and Outsourcing Embryos

Cocaine is back in style in Europe and its use there is skyrocketing. But how does it make its way halfway across the world from the jungles of Colombia? The popularity of the drug – and the money to be made from it – has opened up new smuggling routes, and host Ben Anderson traces the route of the new cocaine highway as it runs from the streets of Venezuela to drug smuggling boats in the Caribbean, to ports in West Africa and desert territories controlled by Islamic extremists.

Follow the author here: Twitter @morrbeat

More from The Guide
Our big fat cross cultural weddings
Explore the chaotic and colourful road to intercultural weddings in three-part series, 'Marry Me, Marry My Family'.
The best international crime shows at SBS On Demand
Looking for the best of international crime? SBS On Demand has you covered with this selection of top crime dramas the world has to offer.
A tropical island is a punishment in Hierro
When a rugged island becomes a murder scene, the local judge faces the wrath of the locals when she sets free the one man everyone is convinced did it.
All hail the queen, Olivia Colman
A national living treasure in Britain, Colman hadn’t quite hit the Helen Mirren level of international stardom until now. Well, about bloody time.
You will want to show up to jury duty alongside Belgium’s ‘The Twelve’
The accused is a respected school principal. She’s charged with the murders of her young daughter and best friend. But that won’t necessarily be at the forefront of your mind in this brilliant new series from Belgium.
‘Blue Murder’ takes us on a pub crawl of Sydney’s explosive criminal past
Billed as the most controversial series ever on its release in 1995, this landmark two-part series is based on the brutal, frightening and fascinating true story of the alliance between members of Sydney’s criminal underworld and a group of corrupt police during the late 1970s and ’80s.
10 times Kirsten Dunst deserved an Oscar
Stephanie Anderson offers 10 good reasons Kirsten Dunst should have received an Academy Award by now. Clearly.
Five reasons the French are so good at crime dramas
The gripping story of a kidnapping that still has repercussions for a wealthy family 25 years later, The Red Shadows is a great example of why French crime drama is so compelling to watch.
So noice! ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is returning to SBS in 2020
Great news, B99 fans! Your favourite precinct’s detectives are returning to TV early 2020, moving from SBS VICELAND to SBS.
The Playlist 111 - 'Morning Wars' / 'See' / 'For All Mankind' / 'Dickinson'

Is Apple's brand new streaming service a game changer? While Fiona takes a well deserved break, SBS Channel Manager Ben Nguyen is joined by SBS Viceland Channel Manager John Beohm to check out the platform and review all the new shows: Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon in 'Morning Wars' (AKA 'The Morning Show'), Jason Mamoa in 'See', alternate history 'For All Mankind' and millennial literary comedy 'Dickinson'.