Netflix hit ‘Narcos’ will head in a new direction when season 3 debuts in September

Netflix on Friday announced the third season of Narcos will return on September 1 — and there will be some big changes.

Spoiler alert: If you aren’t caught up on the show, you may want to avoid the spoilers that follow.

The upcoming season follows the rise of a new drug syndicate — the Cali cartel — following the death of Pablo Escobar at the end of the second season. The Cali cartel appeared throughout Narcos‘ first two seasons, usually as a bloody thorn in Escobar’s side. With Escobar in the ground instead of on top of the Colombian drug market, the Cali cartel is poised to show us how Narcos was never just about Escobar.

“The Cali cartel aided in the dismantling of the Medellin cartel and benefited by going from being No. 2 to No. 1,” Narcos showrunner Eric Newman said in a Hollywood Reporter interview. “From the beginning, when we decided to call the show Narcos and not Pablo Escobar, I had always had in mind to tell the continuing story of cocaine.”

DEA agent Javier Pena, played by Pedro Pascal, will return to chasing drug kingpins, but will do so without his trusted partner from the last two season, DEA agent Steve Murphy, played by Boyd Holbrook. Murphy and Pena are based on the actual DEA agents of the same names who helped catch Escobar. Holbrook’s absence from season 3 is understandable when you take into account the fact that the actual Murphy left Colombia months after Escobar’s death in December 1993. Pena left Colombia after Murphy, and that could open the door for the introduction of the agents that chased the Cali Cartel.

“The agent who was there when the Cali Cartel was taken down, I think you’ll see him in season three,” Steve Murphy said in an interview.

According to Narcos’ IMDB page, Michael Stahl-David and Matt Whelan will appear as Chris Feistl and Dave Mitchell, respectively, in season 3. Feistl and Mitchell were both DEA agents who worked in Colombia to hunt the Cali Cartel leaders. Stahl-David is listed as appearing in eight episodes, and Whelan is listed to appear in all 10 episodes of the new season.

Narcos has already been renewed for a fourth season, which is tentatively set to debut in 2018.