We were warned at the beginning of Narcos: Mexico's first season that the story wouldn't have a happy ending, and that definitely rang true at the end of said season, when the body of DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Pena) was found outside of the compound where Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) had him tortured until he succumbed to multiple gruesome injuries.
With Kiki out of the way and the government paid off, Felix retook control of the Federation and ended Season 1 back on top. The only silver lining was the arrival of another DEA agent, Walt Breslin (Scoot Mcnairy), whom we discovered was the narrator of the show's first season and who was the person to issue the warning about how this story was going to end.
Season 2 of Narcos: Mexico, debuting Feb. 13, will pick up approximately seven months after Kiki's murder, with the earthquake of 1985, which not only had the Mexican people clamoring for change, but also put a major dent in the drug pipeline from Mexico to the U.S. As Felix scrambles to fix his dire cash flow issues, Walt and his new team of agents get busy trying to work their way up Gallardo's organization — taking McNairy out of the voiceover booth and putting him right in the middle of the action.
"I was really excited about it," McNairy told TV Guide of making the transition to the screen. "I got to obviously see that whole season and then I laid down the narration, but it was a lot of discovery that I usually don't get on other jobs. By doing the voiceover for two weeks — and [seeing] how thorough ... the producers and Eric [Newman], the showrunner, [were] during that voiceover — I really had the ability to sort of whittle out the character and sort of define him with these guys in a room for two weeks, every day, all day long."
Unlike Camarena, who had a stable family he was trying to protect as he did his undercover work in Season 1, Walt is coming from a much more dysfunctional place. Fired up by the idea of getting revenge for Camarena's death, Walt is willing to cross lines that his predecessor wouldn't have, which leads to a hard journey of self-discovery that McNairy was anxious to explore.
"Walt is really damaged from his past and his childhood, but what makes him interesting, for me, in this thing, is that he doesn't know that," the actor explained. "He's slowly starting to discover that, 'Oh, I have problems and I'm damaged and I'm not dealing with it.' That was something that I really thought was a big throughline for his character. It seemed very predominant to me as we started to shoot and the further we got into the episodes."
Will a maverick DEA agent be able to bring down a drug lord who murdered an American law enforcement official, though? This is spoiler free territory, but McNairy revealed that the warning at the beginning of Season 1 still applies as viewers tune in for Season 2. Of course, all you have to do is turn on the news to know that.
"It's just an ongoing drug war. It's just as predominant now as it was back then," McNairy said of the story. "This is a fiction show, not a documentary. It is essentially turning a mirror on that world and that war. You can see how many people it affected, how many people it hurt."
The actor hopes that overall the story being told in Narcos: Mexico is a warning to people making the same mistakes that were made in the '80s. The goal is to stop history from repeating itself.
"These leaders of these cartels injected a lot of money into those communities and these people, and the people of Mexico. You get to really see both sides of that. At the end of the day, all of it is essentially a tragedy," he said. "Watching the show should remind us of what happened back then with the corruption in politics from within, and how we can stop that from happening going forward."
Narcos: Mexico Season 2 premieres Thursday, Feb. 13 on Netflix.