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Movies & TV

16th Sep 2016

Narcos: The real life Murphy and Peña discuss the show and the fascinating hunt for Escobar

Paul Moore

A great read for Narcos fans.

It’s very likely that you’re currently suffering from Narcos withdrawals after Season 2 reached its bloody climax. Spoiler alert but we’re eagerly awaiting the new season as the hunt for the Cali Cartel moves into overdrive.

The Infiltrator is now in the cinema and JOE’s recommendations should help if you need to scratch that gangster itch, but if you’re looking for more details on the show, this fascinating interview with the real life Steve Murphy and Javier Peña is just the thing for you.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the former DEA agents to discuss all things related to Pablo Escobar and the show.

Here are their views on….


Real life events vs TV fiction

Pena – “We told them how it actually happened. There’s some artistic licenses, but the timeline is accurate.”

Escoabr’s death

Murphy – “I saw Pablo up close and I have photographs of him. When a gun is held close to any part of your body and a bullet is fired, little pieces of gun powder come out. They only travel a short distance, a few feet, but it strikes the body and leaves what’s called powder burns. I saw the bullet hole in the side of Pablo’s head, I saw no signs whatsoever of the powder burns on his face. So that’s how I know he didn’t commit suicide.”


Escobar’s escape from La Catedral

Pena – “That’s pretty accurate. When Escobar surrendered, many of the original Search Bloc guys got foreign assignments, which is what everybody aspires to, as a reward. So after Escobar escapes, those guys weren’t there.”

Corruption within the police force

Murphy- “One of the majors that we worked with, who we literally put our lives in his hands for an extended period of time, we later found out that he was collaborating with Los Pepes. I think he retired from the Colombian National Police and did some work with the Cali Cartel until they were taken down, and I think he eventually went to prison. To find out that he could have taken us out at any time he wanted to, we kind of attribute it to the grace of God. That’s the only thing that kept us alive.”


Escoabr’s image within Colombia

Murphy – “”We tend to say he was a Robin Hood guy because he took some of his ill-gotten gain and helped the poor, but that’s all fantasy,” he says. “Pablo really was a manipulator. Now, those people all of a sudden became 100 percent loyal to Pablo, willing to give their lives to protect him and work for him.”

The decision to kill Colonel Carillo

The real leader of the Search Bloc, Hugo Martinez, is still alive today. We absolutely adore Carillo and here’s what Murphy ahd to say about the decision that was made by the creators to kill-off the fictional character.

Murphy – “Just his appearance and demeanor commands respect. For us that was great because here’s a can-do guy and our ambassador at the U.S. embassy was a can-do guy, so all of the pieces just fell into place for us to move forward. I hated to see Maurice’s character get killed, but it was very exciting. The writers just really astound me. They’re well-versed, it was pretty neat working with them.”


Escobar’s final days

Murphy – “Javier and I were manning the 1-800 number but people would call in with all kinds of tips because there was a $500 reward on the table,” he says. “But we felt that he was still in Medellin or in the immediate area. That was home, where he felt comfortable and knew people. Everybody was willing to hide him. That’s where his stronghold was and given his situation, I can’t imagine he would leave that area.”

Pena –  “He was running out of money and he was running out of time. We put a lot of pressure on and it was that relentless pressure that we later learned is what really got him killed.”


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