Are Breaking Bad And Narcos The Same?


Narcos is one of the most popular series on Netflix right now. It follows the DEA’s efforts to capture Pablo Escobar, the most powerful drug kingpin in history.

The main character is played by Wagner Moura. The series is directed by Jose Padilha, who was at the helm of the recent Robocop remake.

Narcos is set in the 80’s, and you are going to see a lot of mustaches and fabulous fashion choices from the time in the series.

The complex characterization of characters is one of the main reasons why this show has been garnering such great reviews. Some even link it with Breaking Bad. The biggest difference between the two of course being, one is fiction (Breaking Bad), and the other being a true story (Narcos).

But if you can get passed that difference, you will find a few similarities.


Pablo Escobar and Walter White

He is much more successful and happy than the dying chemistry teacher. He is also richer than he could ever have imagined. On the other hand, Walter managed to rake in the money but found it hard to hold on to it long enough to do anything substantial with it. Both are unlikely criminals, though. They both believe that what they are doing is for the good of their families. That’s the connection.


Steve Murphy and Hank Schrader

Murphy is far more glamorous than Hank from Breaking Bad. Providing the narration and the eyes for most of the show, Murphy is America’s moral compass and maps the change from small-scale cocaine smuggling in the 70’s to the industry it had become under the Medellin cartel. Hank had just one nemesis while Murphy had a host of targets. Steve starts off naive thinking he can just go to Colombia and get things done. But once he’s there, he realizes that things are far more complicated. There are bad-bad guys and there are good-bad guys. To make things worse, there are also gray guys.



Jose Padilha and Vince Gilligan

Padilha’s Narcos looks just like his earlier work on Elite Squad in 2007. Since he is known for his documentaries, and since Narcos is based on a true story, he uses archival footage along with real photos with drama shots at real locations. They didn’t use a studio for the scenes. They were actually in Medellin. On the other hand, Vince Gilligan’s recognizable and color saturated cinematic style shines brightly in Breaking Bad. But you could draw parallels between the chaotic movements and energy between characters. Even though Narcos is far more serious, the situation humor and lightness of touch of Breaking Bad are what ensured it became a hit with viewers all over the world.