The new series about Mexico’s rock-star supervillain and real-life drug lord, Joaquín Guzmán, has the same implausible storylines and the same slaughter of innocents as David Simon’s hit – with an added side of gore
Like all great folk villains, the Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán has a story that demands to be told. Netflix have dutifully obliged with the show El Chapo, which premiered in the UK last week. Most people became aware of Guzmán in 2015 after his “jailbreak of the millennium”, escaping from a maximum-security prison in Mexico through an underground tunnel riding a motorbike on rails. It’s the kind of break-out MacGyver storyliners dismissed as too implausible. El Chapo’s tunnel makes you wonder what miracle of mind and will made it possible. He may not look like much, but Guzmán is a rock star in supervillain circles.
Netflix junkies may well experience deja vu when they dig into the series. For the second time in two years, the streaming service shows us the rise to power of a real-life drug lord. Narcos followed Pablo Escobar’s journey from small-time dealer to billionaire robber baron. Now El Chapo offers ringside seats to Guzmán’s rise from minor member of the Guadalajara cartel to the most powerful drug trafficker on the planet.