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Narcos: Mexico's Diego Luna Reflects on His Emotional Run as Felix Gallardo

It's goodbye, at least for now

Megan Vick

[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Narcos: Mexico Season 2. Read at your own risk!]

Diego Luna has inhabited a character that had a demoralizing effect on his home country for two seasons of Narcos: Mexico. Even though the Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo in Eric Newman's tense Netflix series is based on the real-life drug leader that banded together Mexico's warring cartels in the late 1970s, the show does not claim to be a biopic; instead, the series aims to show how corruption and cover-ups put the people of Mexico in a vulnerable position during the war on drugs.

While Season 1 saw Gallardo rise to power, Season 2 followed the fallout of the cartel leader having DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña) tortured and murdered at the end of last season. Increased police presence from the U.S. side of the border made Gallardo's dealings with the Colombians only that much more precarious, and inevitably his power-hungry ways led to a federation coup, with Gallardo's old partners deserting him to make their own cocaine fortunes. Without their support, Gallardo was left vulnerable to the DEA, and, just like in real life, he was arrested quietly at his Guadalajara residence without a single shot being fired.

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There may still a lot of story for Narcos: Mexico to cover in terms of Mexico's role in the global drug trade, but the arrest of Gallardo is the end of a very specific era and Luna's time as number one on the call sheet for the series. His final scene of the season saw Gallardo finally face off against Walter Breslin (Scoot McNairy), the DEA agent who helped to dismantle his empire. It's the only scene that Luna and McNairy shared throughout the run, and it brought a heightened emotion for Luna as his potential last scene of the series.

"I was I was finishing six months of work in a very intense and demanding job for me. Playing this role, it wasn't an easy thing. It was a very heavy weight on my shoulders through all [those] months," Luna told TV Guide. "[The final scene] was very emotional in many ways for me as an actor, [and] obviously for the character, because he had time to reflect on what he had learned through the season... He tells the agent in front of him, 'We are both victims of this... You don't know what you've created.' I really found that that moving as an actor and for the character and in my life."

Diego Luna, Narcos: Mexico​

Diego Luna, Narcos: Mexico

Courtesy of Netflix, Courtsy of Netflix

While Gallardo was a stressful character for Luna to take on, he had nothing but positive things to say about the journey of creating Narcos: Mexico and the people that helped build the powerful story the show is telling.

"More than playing the character, what was memorable is the experience of interacting with such an amazing cast and crew. Many people from my country that I've been working [with] my whole life got a chance to play a role or to be behind the camera in Narcos," he said. "The great thing of the show is that it allows us to remind the world what we're capable of. I worked with very talented people in this process. It's been, it's been quite an amazing journey... The journey was a lot of fun. And again, it was very demanding, but I was around people I admire a lot, and I learned a lot in the process."

Even as Luna's Gallardo moves out of the main focus of the Narcos: Mexico narrative -- though, we can't rule out a potential cameo if the show gets picked up for Season 3 -- the story remains an important lesson in 2020 as certain current political narratives point fingers at Mexico and Central America for a worldwide problem.

"Clearly, we haven't been able to deal with this. Whatever strategy has been applied has failed. There's a big issue -- a global issue -- where Mexico is having to deal with most of the violence of a problem that is not just about a country," Luna said. "This issue wouldn't exist if there was not a huge market in the States and in the world. So, clearly, this war was lost and we have to rethink how to attack this issue in order to solve it one day."

Narcos: Mexico Season 2 is now available to stream on Netflix.