Netflix turns to drug world again for upcoming ‘El Chapo’ series

netflix univision el chapo series flickr
Day Donaldson/Flickr
The dangerous drug empire shown in the crime thriller series Narcos has proven successful for Netflix, so it’s not surprising that the streaming network is ready to focus on another infamous cartel and its leader. Univision announced today that it is teaming up with Netflix to co-produce El Chapo, a new drama that will center on notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman.

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Nicknamed “El Chapo,” Guzman is known as one of the most powerful drug kingpins of all time. As the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, he has been charged with everything from drug trafficking to murder over the years, but keeping him imprisoned has proven difficult. Guzman has escaped from prison not once but twice, most recently in 2014, before being recaptured earlier this year. Although plot details haven’t been unveiled, it’s safe to say that Netflix and Univision will be able to draw ample inspiration from his eventful life.

El Chapo could focus on anything from Guzman’s rise to power to his brushes with the law and daring escapes to his time on the run. There’s even a perfect opportunity for Sean Penn to make a cameo; the series could weave in the actor’s infamous September 2015 interview with the drug lord.

It remains to be seen which direction the series will take, but the streamer clearly has high hopes for El Chapo. “We are thrilled to partner with the award-winning Univision Story House on the timely and globally relevant drama series based on the life story of El Chapo,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, in a press release.

Interestingly, the Univision agreement marks a departure from Netflix’s usual release model. The series will first air on UniMas in 2017 before becoming available to the streamer’s U.S. subscribers. (In other parts of the world, El Chapo will be exclusive to Netflix.) Fellow Netflix series Narcos and Club de Cuervos — both of which are already available for streaming — will air on TV as well, on Univision Network and UniMas.

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