What happened in season 1 of Narcos: Mexico? How is it connected to Narcos?

Netflix's hit drama looking at the drugs war in Latin America is back for another run


Narcos: Mexico is returning for a second series, as Netflix’s gritty historical drama series continues its focus on the Mexican drugs trade and the battle between the DEA and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo’s Guadalajara Caertel.


It’s been well over a year since the last series aired, so a quick refresher might be in order before fans start bingeing the next run – we’ve provided a recap below…

How is Narcos: Mexico connected to Narcos?

Initially, the first season of Narcos: Mexico was actually intended to be the fourth season of the original Narcos – but instead the decision was made to market the series as a separate, standalone series that would act as a companion to the main show.

One of the major differences is that the cast was made up primarily of a new group of actors, although this is not the first time that Narcos had undergone a major cast overhaul, with season three focusing on a different group of characters than the first two.


The main difference this time round though was that rather than simply shifting focus to a different Colombian cartel, as was the case in season three, the new series was documenting the drugs war in a completely different country – Mexico.

However there is some crossover: some characters from the first two series, notably including Pablo Escobar, do crop up in supporting roles during the first season of Narcos: Mexico, with the action occurring at the same time as events seen in the first two seasons.

What happened in Narcos: Mexico season 1?

The main focus of the first season was the game of cat and mouse between Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña), who has just moved to Guadalajara after missing out on a promotion in the US, and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna), the founder of the Mexican drug trade.

At the start of the series, Félix’s home of Sinaloa is pillaged by the army – leaving the drugs industry in tatters in the region, which prompts him to make the move to Guadalajara to takeover the drugs trade there. He obtains permission from his superior Don Aviles and then travels to Guadalajara along with his friend Rafa, who is an expert in a new type of marijuana that can only be grown in desert conditions, and Don Neto, who is altogether less enthusiastic about Felix’s plan.

Narcos: Mexico

When in Guadalajara, Felix meets with one of the Naranjo brothers, who currently run the area, and is originally mocked and told that he will be shot – only for him to later be saved by El Azul, a cop who is head of the DFS, a Mexcian intelligence agency. Felix and the incredibly corrupt Azul agree to become partners.

Felix is unsuccessful in his attempts to unite the various drug chiefs of Guadalajara due to assorted previous resentments – including between his own boss, Aviles and Pablo Acosta. This leads to Felix being sentenced to death by his boss, but once again he escapes thanks to the police intercepting the car in which they are travelling back to Sinaloa, resulting in him shooting Aviles and becoming head of the Sinaloa cartel.

Meanwhile Kiki is hugely frustrated at the level of corruption he sees in the Mexican police forces, and so opts to go on a dangerous solo undercover mission to spy on Rafa’s cannabis plantations in the desert – narrowly escaping being discovered by DFS chief Azul, who is also at the plantation.

Over the coming months, Kiki’s attempts to arrest any members of the drug trade are unsuccessful, while Felix deals with various rifts between different personalities within the Guadalajara drugs world, including a conflict between Nava and the Arellano brothers.


Not content with just partaking in the marajuana trade, Felix travels to Colombia to make inroads into the trafficking of cocaine, first reaching an agreement with the Cali cartel before a threat from Pablo Escobar forces him to deal with him as well.

At around this time, Kiki and his team agree on a plan to lure Felix north of the Mexico-US border such that they can arrest him in the US and bypass having to deal with the Mexican authorities – however just as the plan looks like it will succeed, Felix is contacted by Zuno, a high ranking political figure and close ally, who warns him of the plan.

Tensions continue to rise within the ranks of the drugs trade, with Rafa killing two American tourists as his cocaine use rises and his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, while Felix murders Nava after a failed intimidation attempt.

Afterwards the DEA and Mexican army lead a joint raid on the marijuana plantation, burning the entire crop and leading to a war with Rafa – who under pressure from Azul orders the kidnap of Kiki.


Kiki is subsequently kidnapped and interrogated under torture, while Felix advises Rafa to flee knowing that he will now be the number one target for the DEA – only for him to later tip off the DEA as to his friend’s whereabouts, knowing that his erratic behaviour is putting the drug empire at risk.

Kiki’s DEA colleagues eventually find his now-dead body after a week of searching, while Felix seeks refuge back home in Sinaloa – but he is ambushed by police when the governor betrays his whereabouts. However Felix eventually secures political protection, resuming his role as head of the Guadalajara cartel with even more power than before.

As the season ends, the DEA launches Operation Leyenda, an ambitious plan to put a stop to Felix and the cartel, which is led by Walt Breslin (Scoot McNairy) who is revealed to have been the previously unseen narrator of the series.


Narcos: Mexico season 2 is available to stream on Netflix