Netflix’s original series Narcos returned this long weekend ready for a binge. This season follows the theatrical demise of one Pablo Escobar and turns its focus towards the Cali Cartel, notorious for their Fortune 500 style of running a bloody and cruel cocaine empire after the space Escobar left in the market.
With this shift in story and tone, season three includes Canadian talent Ray Ablack, who many might recognize from Degrassi: The Next Generation, who stars at Stoddard, a green DEA agent learning the ropes when it comes to how moral ambiguity goes hand and hand with the muddy pursuit of justice, in Ablacks words his character, “ [has] gotta realize the actual practice of police isn’t like how it is in the textbooks. Those lines between ethics and morality get blurred in order to see the bigger picture or bigger goal.”
Ablack was already a fan of the show when he was cast and revels in the authenticity the show continues throughout its third step up to base, “The thing I love about the show is that it’s all subtitles, like it really is in Spanish and gives the flavour to an American audience of stories elsewhere in the world.”
There might be some jitters a new young actor might feel stepping onto set on an already established show; however, Ablack testifies about the power and inspiration he received from cast mate Pedro Pascal, who plays the main DEA agent Javier Pena.
“Everyone of my scenes, I think, is with him. It was a master class.” Ablack spoke about Pascal’s leadership on set, “[I]t’s not just Pascal’s acting on camera the makes him such a brilliant performer but also his ability to lead the show, and his ability to make his cast and crew feel comfortable. Made everyone feel involved and equal, which made the fertile ground for our best scenes.”
Set and filmed in Colombia, it was Ablack’s first time in the country. During his time there he was able to get to meet some of the folks doing the real life work his of his character, “We met with the current DEA. We traded stories of them and photos and videos of things they do. Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you.”
One major anxiety many viewers might have is missing jefe Escobar, but Ablack took a moment to ease any hesitations viewers might have,
“Pablo was theatrical and flamboyant, he blew up planes and he wanted to be a political leader… which is crazy. [T]hat’s really attractive, but when Pablo died he was literally a salary cap on how much money can be made and how much cocaine can be shipped out of Colombia and when he died the cocaine and the cartels split into four different sectors, running to like Florida, Los Angeles, New York and the money ramped up like crazy, like endless money with the crime and atrocity that are proportionate. They ran it like a company and were so mysterious and doing way more damage than Pablo.”
In other words, the story of the Colombian drug wars didn’t end with one man, and Narcos is ready to deliver the plethora of stories, “You lose a theatrical symbol of evil, but that evil didn’t go anywhere.”
You can listen to the full interview with Ablack above, where we talk addiction, hockey, and Gremlins.
Narcos season three streams on Netflix beginning September 1st 2017.