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La Línea: Shadow of Narco Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Netflix puts a spotlight on a drug-smuggling hotspot in La Linea: Shadow of Narco, a four-part documentary about one particularly troubled city in Spain. La Linea de la Concepcion sits in the shadow of the rock of Gibraltar, a natural wonder that serves as a backdrop to countless boats smuggling drugs from Morocco into Europe. This series digs into the region’s social and political conflicts — and offers plenty of hair-raising real-life action by tagging along with officers trying in vain to enforce the law.
Opening Shot: A tranquil shot of a cove along the Bay of Gibraltar at twilight.
The Gist: Local cops and the civil guard patrol in boats, planes, helicopters and cars in La Linea, hoping to catch drug traffickers as they cross the strait to the Spanish coast. Embedded camerapeople capture chases, getaways, arrests, gunfire. Police sit down for interviews wearing bulletproof vests. They’re framed as selfless hero-types intent on busting crooks, but the series takes a quick turn once the opening credits finally roll.
Mayor Juan Franco walks the streets of La Linea. He doesn’t have bodyguards, he says, but he does avoid certain areas of town. Those areas, we soon learn, are sympathetic to the local Castana drug cartel, which, with loyalists outnumbering the cops, kind of own the town. Franco profiles the city: 30 kilometers from Morocco, a revolving door on the police chief position, too many citizens lacking proper education, a severe lack of support from the national government. It’s the perfect situation for criminals to exploit.
And boy, do they. In broad daylight, even. Kids on wakeboards watch as tobacco-smuggling boats zoom by. One career smuggler-for-hire, his voice distorted, talks about how he started working the mercenary beat out of necessity — should we mention the educational and financial droughts again? — and stayed with it for the adrenaline rush. Once, cops lucked out, unwittingly arresting a higher-up in the cartel, bringing him to the emergency room for treatment; 20 of his men, armed with knives and sticks, overran the hospital, overwhelmed two cops on guard and broke the guy out. Franco says he’s not insinuating anything with his commentary, but by saying he’s not insinuating, he’s actually maybe insinuating that the government turns an indifferent eye to such activity for a reason. Either way, the cops in La Linea have their work cut out for them.
Our Take: The whack-a-mole game that is the West’s war on drugs continues in yet another Netflix true-crime doc. Drug Lords, Narco Tales, Inside the Real Narcos — the streamer’s menus are jammed with narco-centric stuff, and after one episode, it’s hard to tell if La Linea will truly stand out. I can say it stirs up its share of intrigue and drama with and insider take on this sociopolitical conundrum, setting its hook with the terrifying ER fiasco, teasing that La Linea is a hair’s breadth from being a lawless Deadwood.
La Linea offers plenty of Cops-style and bodycam footage of law enforcement officers doing particularly dangerous stuff — shots are fired, crooks on motorcycles are chased, one cop nearly gets eaten up by an outboard propeller during an arrest on the beach. It’ll be interesting to see if the series is a portrait of noble futility, a subtextual argument for legalization, or if officials can actually put a dent in such rampant lawlessness.
Parting Shot: A cop on duty looks over his shoulder during a particularly dangerous situation.
Sleeper Star: The Gibraltar tourism lobbyists gritting their teeth at home as the series debuts internationally.
Most Pilot-y Line: “You don’t want to kill anyone, but sometimes you get the idea that they don’t really care.” — Ramon, a warrant officer, characterizes how brazen smugglers in the region can be
Our Call: STREAM IT. La Linea: Shadow of Narco offers a solid balance of staged interviews and fly-on-the-wall footage to draw in true-crime obsessives and the occasional passerby. And at four half-hour episodes, it’s not a significant time commitment.
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