Before breaking bad and the likes came to the screens in recent years, drug lords were only displayed as villains that didn’t deserve anyone’s empathy. The film industry’s view on drug lords has changed over the years, and now most of them try to explain the drug dealer’s side of the story, sometimes turning them into heroes even. Tv shows about the greatest drug kingpins of all time are now very popular, with each protagonist vying for the top spot anywhere next to Pablo Escobar. Here is a look at the top 10 Drug-related TV shows that have outperformed expectations.
What do you do when you are a chemistry school teacher with hardly enough money to pay the bills then get diagnosed with lung cancer? Well, according to Walter White, you start cooking Meth and become the best damn cook in the Northern Hemisphere to leave enough money for your family before you go. The Breaking Bad story gave a whole new meaning to the term drug lord.
The genius school teacher didn’t exactly plan to become a Pablo Escobar, he only wanted to make enough money, but as it turned out, there is nothing easy about the drug business. Things got out of hand, and he ended up losing it all just when he thought he had it. So, was Walter a hero or a villain? No one knows.
Better Call Saul
That’s right! After becoming Walter White, Saul is the dirty lawyer you call to solve everything. Saul is this lawyer Jimmy McGill who, like Walter White, struggles financially until he finds himself defending members of the powerful Juarez Cartel.
It is a prequel to Breaking Bad which looks at the rise of the Meth trade in the US and how the cartel sets itself up to conduct its seemingly untouchable business right under the noses of law enforcement. While Jimmy is the protagonist who only gets caught up in a bad place, the people he is defending aren’t. They are dangerous drug dealers that fit every description of the Mexican drug cartels you hear of on the news.
Narcos Colombia was the turning point in the popularity of Drug TV shows. Unlike Breaking Bad which focused on a somewhat innocent protagonist, Narcos turned the most famous drug lord of all time into their main character. There is no better-detailed TV documentary or drama that explored Pablo Escobar better than this one.
It is the story of Steve Murphy, a DEA agent, explaining how and why the US got involved in Colombia’s drug problems and the life of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel. Escobar is not exactly the villain here. Everything is rather grey, and everyone gets to have their opinion, which is why it was so great.
Queen Of The South
Who said women are only underdogs in the Mexican drug cartels? The Queen of The South is now one of the most viewed crime dramas of all time, looking at the life of Teresa Mendoza. Teresa doesn’t start as a drug dealer; she was just the wife of Guero Davillas, the enforcer for the Vargas Cartel, who found herself in trouble when her husband was accused of stealing from his boss Epifanio Vargas. Now she is forced to run to the US for her life as the cartel starts retaliating, and that is where she finds herself working for Camilla Vargas before being forced to start her own business. Queen of The South goes deeper into the drug business, looking at what it takes to survive at the top and how easy it is to lose even when you have it all.
With big names like Omari Hardwick and Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) Involved, Starz’s Power became one of the most viewed TV series in the world, with lots of sequels following it. It is a close look at what a drug lord wants after they make the money they went into drugs for.
James St. Patrick, aka Ghost, has made lots of money as a drug lord but now wants out and is hoping to turn his life around and live like any other businessman. He even tries to infiltrate state politics, but his ghosts catch up with him in the end, and he loses it all. While Ghost is not exactly a hero, his death affects his family and all those people whose lives now depend on him.
Zero Zero Zero
The show first aired on Sky, and instead of focusing on one drug family, it focused on three; The Seller in Mexico, The buyer in Italy, and the American middleman. How does life look like for Don Minu, the leader of the powerful Italian ‘Ndrangheta Mafia? Well, you wouldn’t know until you follow the huge shipment of cocaine from Mexico to the coast of Italy meant to revive his dying drug business.
The entire shipment is coordinated by the Lynwood family, which owns a shipping company, and is forced to protect the shipment through multiple obstacles that result in the death of two members of the family. It is the best exposition of how shipping drugs around the globe can be a dangerous business and why mixing family and drug business doesn’t end well.
If you have never watched Ozark, then you probably think that drug lords walk around with hoards of cash and spend it without any problems. After earning drug money, you have to clean it if you are to spend it comfortably, and the Island of the Ozarks is the exact place to do that if you employ the services of the world’s best money launderer Marty Byrde. Ozark focuses on the life of Omar Navarro, the leader of the Navarro cartel, and that of his money launderer Marty as he receives the drug money and attempts to clean it as fast as possible, avoiding the FBI and also facing his own demons.
The Mexican cartel war has a body count close to that of the Korean war, yet it was never clear who was fighting who. From the powerful Sinaloa cartel to the little Tijuana cartel, Narcos Mexico went deep into the drug empires of Mexico. It follows the family of DEA agent Kiki Camarena and his family as they move to Mexico to handle the rising Guadalajara cartel. It builds on how small marijuana growers in Mexico joined powers to become the cartels they are today and why they are even more dangerous than Escobar’s Medellin Cartel.
Yes! His prison breaks are included. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, also known as the short man, is the most popular drug lord in the world, but he is not physically the main character in this Netflix series that premiered in 2017. Marco De La O plays the role of El Chapo, following his rise from a nobody in the Guadalajara cartel to the leader of the Sinaloa cartel. Netflix split the series into three parts with mixed reactions online, considering the fact that Guzman had just been sentenced to life in prison in the US. Guzman wasn’t portrayed to be as bad in the show as the US prosecutors did at his trial, but the series is still very entertaining.
Godfather Of Harlem
Godfather of Harlem is like a 1960s version of Power, except it is based on a true story about the 1960s New York City mob battles between Bumpy Johnson and the Genovese crime family. The show starts after Jonson (Forest Whitaker) returns from 10-year imprisonment to find the crime family had taken over his neighbourhood and now control its drug supply. The show also revolves around the life of Malcolm X and Black-American politics in the wake of J F Kennedy’s assassination. Bumpy is forced to become the drug lord in his neighbourhood to prevent the mobsters from using drugs to ruin his people and family.