If you have been captivated by the acclaimed Netflix original TV series Narcos, find out about some good choices to tune in next. Probably you are looking for shows similar to Narcos that can give you the same amount of crime, thrill, adventure, and complicated life in one of the most dangerous world trades.
Narcos is a renowned TV show created for the streaming platform Netflix by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. It spreads in three seasons, telling the story of the famous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. In its final third season, Narcos switched its attention to the Cali Cartel – an organization that, at some point, had 80% control of the world distribution of cocaine.
Starring Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, and Boyd Holbrook, Narcos won the audience’s hearts with compelling storytelling, character development, tension, and historical authenticity. The show also had some impressive cinematic quality regarding cinematography, direction, and visual storytelling. And we can all agree that Wagner Moura was amazing as Escobar, while Pedro Pascal was immense as the famous DEA agent Javier Peña.
Read on to find the 15 top picks to watch about the world of drug dealing.
Top 15 TV Shows Like Narcos You Need to Watch:
Since it aired in 2008, Breaking Bad has been one of the most nominated and rewarded dramatic TV series. The show had five successful seasons and was praised for its originality and acting. The final episode of Breaking Bad was broadcast in 2013. However, the show still appeals to a large number of people and is one of the best shows like Narcos. It tells the engaging story of a cancer-suffering chemistry teacher who finds his way into the world of drug dealing to secure his family after his death.
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The show is not only critically acclaimed because of the dynamics of the drug world, where everything is more complicated than it seems, but also because of the portrayal of Walter White by Bryan Cranston. How do you turn into a criminal after you have a peaceful life? Is the incurable diagnosis a catalyst for a significant change or a mere excuse to reveal what truly hides inside you? These and many more questions are answered in the thrilling series Breaking Bad.
The British TV series is based in Birmingham, UK, and depict the life and deeds of a criminal gang that operates in the city right after the First World War. This historical drama first aired in 2013 and quickly grabbed the attention of movie lovers. Netflix bought the rights to show it internationally. The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders was broadcast in 2022.
The show follows the rise of an Irish-origin family among the organized criminals in post-war Birmingham. Led by the ambitious Tommy Shelby, played by the incredible Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders covers several years of gang history, successfully mixing fiction with real-life events until its climax before Worl War II. Peaky Blinders is a must-see series to watch if you like Narcos.
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Among the TV shows like Narcos is the production of Shawn Ryan called The Shield, which debuted in 2002 and had seven seasons. It dwells in the crime world from the perspective of corrupted law enforcement. What is interesting about it is that you do not see the same faces all seasons, but new leads are introduced along the story.
Cleverly named The Shield, the series plays with the protective notion that officers should enforce while showing questionable ethics by those who demonstrate impeccable morals. Highly intensive and far from the traditional good-bad opposition, the TV series explore a grey area of human weakness.
Queen of the South
Unlike other shows like Narcos that depict fictionalized versions of actual events and people, the series Queen of the South is based on a character from a novel by the renowned author Arturo Perez-Reverte with the same name. Its premiere was in 2016, and the sixth and final season concluded in 2021.
Queen of the South tells the story of Tereza Mendosa, who goes from rags to riches by building a successful drug empire. Tereza is a Mexican who lives in the town of Sinaloa. The name should ring a bell for those familiar with the world of the wealthiest drug dealers as it is the very operative place for the Sinaloa cartel. Although the story of Tereza is fictional, real drug queens could be seen as an inspiration for the character depiction.
The Wire is not strictly speaking among the shows like the Narcos series, which show the drug dealing trade from different perspectives. The Wire is more of a broad topic series concerned with urban life and its multifacetedness. Written by ex-police reporter David Simon, the show focuses on the society and politics of Baltimore.
The Wire ran for five seasons from 2002 to 2008 and won no major awards. Critics were not very enthusiastic to praise it while it was running. However, nowadays, The Wire is considered one of the best TV shows to focus on urban life and the daily challenges people face in terms of crime and injustice.
El Chapo is one of the shows like Narcos on Netflix that focus on the life of a famous criminal. The three seasons that aired between 2016 and 2018 follow the life of the well-known drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman that ends up being one of the wealthiest and most notorious criminals in the drug world. El Chapo follows the story of the Sinaloa Cartel under the leadership of the eponymous hero.
Good shows like Narcos are hardly matchable, but the American TV drama Ozark has everything to hold the attention of criminal stories fans. The four seasons series ran on Netflix from 2017 to 2022 and received many favorable reviews. It is still listed as a top choice for people who like that kind of show. It tells the story of a family laundering dirty money for a Mexican drug cartel.
The Italian TV series Gomorrah is another example of a successful series based on a book. Roberto Saviano’s novel of the same name inspires both the television series and a full-featured film that are not connected. Gomorrah has five seasons that aired between 2014 and 2021. Based in Naples, the series traces the life of Ciro Di Marzio – a member of the Camorra clan. The name play is worth noticing, and the fact that the series was sold in 190 countries ranks it as one of the must-watch shows if you like Narcos.
Power is an American TV series produced by none other but the rap star 50 Cent. It centers on James St. Patrick (played by Omari Hardwick), a successful drug dealer who wishes to start his business endeavors anew while trying to save his family’s integrity. Power as a driving point turns out to be very addictive. Can the “Ghost”, as St. Patrick is called, let go of it?
Is Narcos the best show on Netflix? For many people, the answer is a definite yes. When the final season of Narcos was announced, many fans were truly disappointed. However, the companion series Narcos: Mexico focuses on the development of the drug trade in Mexico and the character of Miguel Gallardo. Across three seasons, it tells another unforgettable story of rise and fall, crime, and justice. Narcos: Mexico is a show for all those who enjoy good criminal drama.
Suppose you enjoyed Narcos because of the real-life based events. In that case, you might be interested in the original Netflix documentary series called Drug Lords. As the name shows, it traces the lives of notorious kingpins and cartels that ruled the drug dealing scene between the 70s and 90s. It consists of eight episodes starring Quinn Dalton. Netflix released it in 2018.
Often cited as one of the classics in the drama genre, The Sopranos is TV series focusing on the life of Tony Soprano, an Italian-American gangster who struggles with his roles as a mafia leader and a husband and a father. The story develops during Tony’s sessions with his psychologist and continues over six seasons. Although it has a different take than Narcos, The Sopranos is ranked high in its genre and draws millions of viewers.
Created by Ronan Bennett and starring Ashley Walters as Dushane and Kane Robinson as Sully, the series tells the story of two drug dealers based in London and their criminal relations with other mobs in the city. There are four seasons released so far, and a fifth one is expected to air on Netflix in September 2023. Top Boy is surely one of the TV shows like Narcos you need to watch.
Weeds resembles Narcos with the criminal activity it depicts, but it is a rather dark comedy than a drama series. It focuses on a widowed mother of two who sells marijuana to make ends meet. During the show’s eight seasons, we see that not only the suburb of the privileged are entangled in crime but the Botwin family too.
Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy is an action drama TV series that tells the story of a motorbike club society with its fair share of crime. The male main character Jackson Teller leads the viewer on a journey that questions love, devotion, family ties, and brotherhood. The series explores topics such as violence and racism, as well as corruption. It is certainly catchy and possesses a depth of character that will glue you to your seat.
Grab your popcorn and start your next favorite TV series. We are sure you will find it among those 15!
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