'Narcos: Mexico' Cast Breaks Down Series Finale (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Narcos: Mexico has come to an end, but the tragic and dark real-life stories continue.
What started off in 2015 with Narcos and Pablo Escobar's beginnings, transitioned to how the drug trade flowed through Mexico. After Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) was put in jail at the end of the second season of Narcos: Mexico, the third and final season, set in the '90s, examines the war that breaks out after his arrest as newly independent cartels go to any measures to become the new kingpins.
"Endings are always tricky to land and to get right, and we felt like we had a really different and unique story to tell this third and final season," showrunner Carlo Bernard tells ET. "I felt like we had these personal stories that had some sense of resolution with personal journeys, while also tracking the larger movements of the drug trade. I saw this season as the origin story of the world we inhabit now."
In the third season, all hell breaks loose as the Arellano Felix family controls Tijuana, El Azul (Fermín Martínez) and Joaquin "Chapo" Guzmán (Alejandro Edda) take over Sinaloa, and Amado Carillo Fuentes (José María Yázpik) rules Juarez and the skies. The three cartels fight for domination as their actions bring viewers to the modernization of the drug world when trafficking crosses into the U.S. Wagner Moura also returns for his final appearance as Pablo Escobar, who after his escape from La Catedral, died in a shootout in December 1993. Bad Bunny also guest stars.
"So much of the '90s in Mexico is about what creates this modern drug industry, for better or for worse," Bernard explains. "So that in a weird way is an appropriate way to stop. Bringing us up to that point that delivers the world that we inhabit now felt like an interesting challenge."
As the individual cartels' stories are told, there's also new forces and characters that they face. The third season is the first of the Narcos franchise to feature a female narrator. The story is told via Andrea Nuñez (Luisa Rubino), a journalist writing for La Voz, a guerrilla newspaper looking to expose the cartels and their connections with Mexican politicians and community leaders. She and their whole team put their lives at risk to uncover the truth.
"She really wants the truth. She really wants to be someone in the world that has the possibility to make things right. And of course she's aware that she's risking her life and that she's in danger 24/7," Rubino expresses. "But for Andrea it's totally worth it because if she dies, or if something happens to her, she'll know, very deep within, that she's doing right and that she's doing something that she loves to do, which is being a journalist. And yeah, it's totally worth it, the danger and the risk."
As Andrea says in the final episode, "Sometimes the truth isn't enough, but if you let that stop you, I think you aren't doing your job." For people like Andrea, Rubino notes that the truth was never out there and lies were spread "trying to distract people from what was really happening."
"She thinks, 'OK, if I can tell the truth, I can make a change and I can make things stop, make the narcos stop,'" Rubino says. "Of course that perspective changes as the season goes on. She really thinks she can stop the narcos, but then she realizes she's so small, she's tiny in this huge narco world. But [she's] still trying to make a change and make things right."
There's also Victor Tapia, portrayed by Luis Gerardo Méndez. Tapia's storyline explores the beginnings of femicide in Mexico, as Méndez's character, a cop from Ciudad Juarez, is faced with a moral dilemma when asked to look into the case of a missing girl. As he begins to investigate, he discovers a series of ongoing and brutal killings of many women.
"I started asking myself, Luis, what is integrity for me and then started to understand what is integrity for this cop in Ciudad Juarez in the '90s, discovering this huge problem of all these femicides, which by the way is still the biggest problem in Mexico right now," he shares. "Every single day, 10 women get killed in Mexico, and that started there in Ciudad Juarez because it was a huge territory for drug trafficking."
"So this guy is between those two lines. He's a cop working with the drug cartels at the beginning and then he decides to take the right path," he explains. "But at the same time, he has no idea the forces he is fighting against. Honestly, we still don't know how complex this problem is. I feel pretty grateful to be able to put that story out there because I think it's incredibly relevant and incredibly painful."
As for DEA agent Walt Breslin (Scoot McNairy), he's torn between wanting to break free from the chaos in Mexico and still being part of the action. As fans saw in the third season, he left his girlfriend, Dani (Kristen Gutoskie), opting not to be transferred to Chicago to head back to Mexico and deal with the new cartels on the rise.
"I think he very much wants a personal relationship in his life, but yet his relationship to his job is like his lover. It's almost like an addict. As much as he wants to get out of this thing and have a personal life, he can't stop," McNairy shares. "So I feel like at the end of it, his closure is that he's going to keep going and not give up regardless of the struggles that he faces in his profession and his relationship. He's going to push forward through it."
As Walt faces more death when he attempts to help a young kid who got involved with the wrong people, Alex Hodoyan (Lorenzo Ferro), McNairy points out that "there's hurdles and struggles along that [way] but essentially [he's] up against the world."
"But yet, they still persist and they're actually going towards something that is deeply rooted in your morals. At some point your morals will rise and you will start to question and I think we get to see that," he elaborates. "There's not always a happy ending and you don't always get what you want. You sort of have to sit with that and deal with that. That no matter how much time you put into that, some things are bigger than you. But it doesn't neglect or negate from you still trying and I think at the end of it, Walt is still pushing forward with it because what else is there to do?"
For the actual kingpins involved in the messiness of the real cartel world, Yázpik and Mayra Hermosillo, who portrays Enedina Arellano Félix, shared their guesses as to what kept their characters involved in the madness.
As the story goes, Amado died in July 1997 after undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance. From the new episodes, fans get a sense he's ready to cut ties with the drug trafficking world and disappear with a new love he met in Cuba, Marta, portrayed by Yessica Borroto.
Bernard shares that in their research there were rumors that Amado had a romantic relationship with someone in Cuba and would often travel to the country. "So that became kind of an interesting idea for us to play with and then the notion, how does that love influence his story during this phase of history where he's becoming the biggest trafficker in the history of Mexico? What does that sort of [look like]? What's the push and the pull of that?"
Yázpik, on the other hand, shares that there were many versions reporting that Amado might have not died on the operating table. "Maybe he really did get out of the game. What I liked about this season is precisely that. Carlo and the writers created this very unique and deep character," he shares. "It's not like the typical drug lord that is just a bad guy and wants to get things done. He's also living very strong circumstances with family, loved ones."
The actor can only speculate what the motives behind these real-life people are, guessing that they live in an alternate reality. "A very harsh reality pushes them into the business, not having support from the government as kids, if you don't have money for education, if you don't have money for Medicare, to feed your own family, then you have to take steps to solve that," he suggests. "I don't think anybody is born and they want to just become a bad guy. And I think the whole context of government, society pushes them towards it. But then when they get into this world, I think their mindset changes and they live in a different reality. It's like being a pop icon or a superstar."
Enedina, on the other hand, after losing her husband, Claudio, and brother, Ramón (Manuel Masalva), shares touching moments with her loved ones, but the world they live in always seeps through, leaving her brokenhearted.
"When something like this happens and this drug war takes someone that you love, you will not understand it," Hermosillo expresses, noting the tragic world that these people create for themselves. "I think she understands it like, 'We deserve that. We are criminals and in this world that we have created, we make the rules. We can kill each other. We can betray each other. We can say yes now and then no.'"
Hermosillo notes that, in her opinion, there could never be a way out for Enedina, even if she wanted one. "She couldn't make a choice. Her family was doing it before [her], so she just had to keep [doing] that," she says. "Maybe if she could choose, of course, she would say no. But [it has to be] all [of] her family. I don't think her brothers would say no."
As for El Chapo, viewers watch as he's incarcerated in 1993 and his subsequent plans to take over. In real life, the kingpin escaped from prison in 2001, before once again being arrested in 2014. But as many are aware, he once again escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico in July 2015, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for homicide and drug-related charges.
After he was found and extradited to the U.S. on Jan. 19, 2017 to face drug trafficking charges, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in 2019. He is currently serving his sentence at the maximum security prison, ADX Florence, in Colorado.
Bernard says that it's important to share these stories, "for lack of a better word, in an entertaining way," to reach and teach others who aren't aware of the dark side of the drug world. "I think telling stories is how we connect with each other and how we can hopefully slowly build some sort of common points of reference that you can use to change things," he says.
As for Yázpik, he expresses that "it's important to look at the past to see what the present is like." "The tragedy continues and we have to study and we have to know where we're coming from to have this discussion, and to think about it and to try to find ways to solve it," he says of the Narcos franchise and ongoing cartel issues. "It's a complex situation, but it's always good to look at the past."
So, could there be more Narcos series in the future? Bernard says there aren't any plans to create more, but notes, "The drug trade isn't going anywhere."
"I suppose there's always the possibility of that. There aren't any plans in the works right now," he admits. "For me, just trying to tell a sort of sweeping story that had some sense of emotional conclusion for our characters that didn't offer any kind of fake tidy endings was sort of the challenge for this season, because obviously the drug trade and the phenomenon and tragedy of that isn't going anywhere."
The third and final season of Narcos: Mexico is now streaming on Netflix.