To call Pablo Escobar a modern-day Robin Hood is akin to calling Adolph Hitler a goddamn saint. So, just to be crystal clear, Pablo Escobar was an unscrupulous, cold-hearted terrorist murderer who engulfed the southern country of Colombia with death, cruelty and terrorism for almost two decades.
OK, so now that we’re clear on that minor detail, and as Juan Camilo Ferrand stated in a recent preview screening of Telemundo’s upcoming and much-anticipated TV series Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal, when asked if Pablo Escobar was like a Robin Hood because of all the supposed good deeds he did for his community (e.g., “he spent millions on parks, schools, stadiums, churches and even housing for the poorest of Medellín’s inhabitants”), Ferrand replied– “If people only knew the atrocities and how many deaths and blood were shed for each house he gave, they would think twice before calling him a modern-day Robin Hood, but I’ll leave that up to the audience to determine.”
This is the story line and subject matter of the new TV series, which is to make its U.S. debut on Telemundo Network on Monday, July 9, 2012 at 10:00 PM, giving way to an open discussion at the office water cooler over a man who caused so much havoc in his native Colombia, but went on to become perhaps the most infamous and to a certain degree, legendary drug cartel leader of the 20th Century. Comprised of a stellar cast lead by Andrés Parra in the starring role as PABLO ESCOBAR, Angie Cepeda as REGINA PAREJO, Cecilia Navia as PATY DE ESCOBAR, Vicky Hernández as ENELIA, Nicolás Montero as LUIS CARLOS GALÀN, Ernesto Benjumea as RODRIGO LARA, and Germán Quintero as GUILLERMO CANO, to name a few, this new series is undoubtedly going to cause a major tremor in Spanish television this year.
According to Ferrand and the producers of Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal, the TV series is based on countless journalistic pieces, victims’ testimonies as well as police reports, some, never before published. And, while the initial fear for some may be that this series will glorify the gruesome acts of a disturbing criminal, the truth is, that it actually aims to shed light to the story behind not only the perpetrator but that of the untold stories of thousands of his victims.
If one thing defines Ferrand’s work, is his prowess and innate ability of objective story telling. No stranger to the world of script writing and popularity, think Las Muñecas de la Mafia and El Cartel, which he wrote, Ferrand is also an accomplished novelist, he wrote Las Fantásticas del Cartel, book which inspired Las Muñecas de la Mafia, and which I actually reviewed some time ago on this blog.
In the heels of the highly acclaimed La Reina del Sur and if history is to repeat itself, Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal promises to be a home run investment for Telemundo, as the TV series broke audience records in Colombia, where it was aired and produced by Caracol Telvision. Telemundo is certainly banking on this premise, as it did with previous Colombian imports, namely Yo Soy Bety La Fea and the aforementioned Ferrand TV hits for the network.
I have full confidence that this series will break audience records in the U.S. and may even outrank #1 heavyweight Univision in its time slot. From what I saw in the first episode, Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal, is a high-end, high touch level production, which is bound to become a major tour de force among Latino audiences in the U.S. I mean, it’s not a typical “telenovela rosa” with the same old refried story line about the poor, young girl that falls in love with the rich guy (YAWN!), and which Televisa and Univision insist on force feeding to the masses in the U.S. It’s tired, it’s old and it’s boring.
So, once again, as I’ve done before, I applaud not only Caracol, but also Telemundo for being risk takers and for thinking out of the box, offering original, thought-provoking and high quality Spanish television programing.
I don’t watch Spanish television anymore, but if I do, it seems like Telemundo is the only Spanish-speaking network in this country that does not undermine or underestimate forward-thinking Latinos who are thirsty for high quality and intriguing Spanish television dramas.
Bravo Caracol, bravo Telemundo and joven Juan Camilo Ferrand, don’t ever deprive us of your amazing writing talent. You are indeed a Latin American treasure.