How real is the depiction of the Medellín Cartel in Narcos?

I'm curious how authentic the Medellín Cartel's portrayal in Narcos is? To what extent did the show creators stick to the historical truth?

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"Narcos" is a highly popular Netflix series that paints a dramatized picture of the rise and fall of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel. However, like all cinematic representations of true events, it should be remembered that the series seeks to engage and entertain viewers and is not a documentary. The portrayals of characters and events in "Narcos" are based on true stories but with significant stylization and dramatic embellishment to enhance the narrative and captivate the audience. These dramatizations sometimes lead to distorted historical facts. For instance, the character of Steve Murphy, a real DEA agent, is shown being directly involved in numerous on-the-ground activities that, in reality, Murphy was not actually part of. Similarly, Pablo Escobar's personality depicted in the series represents a more humanized version of the character in contrast to the widely known ruthless drug lord. There are also several incidents and characters in the series that were created purely for dramatic purposes, like the character Valeria Velez, who is loosely based on the real-life journalist Virginia Vallejo but with more fictionalized aspects. To answer your question directly, the depiction of the Medellín Cartel in "Narcos" contains elements of historical fact. However, it's interspersed with significant amounts of dramatization. Audience members should therefore maintain a discerning eye when viewing, understanding that while some parts of the narrative are rooted in historical fact, a substantial portion is that of a fictionalized story created for entertainment. If you're interested in a more factual account of the Medellín Cartel, it would be beneficial to look into documentaries, historical transcripts, and biographies for a comprehensive and factual insight into the events portrayed in "Narcos." Remember, a cinematic presentation is not a substitute for historical research.
Answered on September 14, 2023.
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