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The Reason Pedro Pascal Exited ‘Narcos’ After Season 3

Key Points: 

  • Pedro Pascal’s exit from Narcos after season 3 was planned from early on to start a new story in Mexico
  • His character Javier Peña was kept for season 3 to maintain an emotional tie, but Pascal’s departure was deliberate
  • Rumors that Pascal left due to a location scout’s murder are unfounded, as his exit was always intended

Why Did Pedro Pascal Leave Narcos After Season 3?

Pedro Pascal via Seth Meyers
Pedro Pascal via Seth Meyers

Pedro Pascal’s acclaimed performance as DEA agent Javier Peña was a highlight of the first three seasons of Netflix’s crime drama Narcos. So when Pascal departed the series after season 3, fans were left wondering about the reasoning behind his exit. According to showrunner Eric Newman, however, Pascal’s departure was simply part of the plan from early on.

“It was a part of the plan as early as season two,” Newman revealed. “The design was always to finish out the Colombian story and the players that we’ve come to know there and then start anew in Mexico.”

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Pedro Pascal’s Exit Was Always Intended to Start Narcos: Mexico

Pedro Pascal - BTS of The Last of Us
Pedro Pascal – BTS of The Last of Us

To help ease the transition to the new setting of Narcos: Mexico, Pascal’s character Javier Peña was kept around for Narcos season 3, providing an existing emotional tie for viewers. However, Pascal was very much aware his time on the show was coming to an end in order to launch the new Narcos era focused on the Mexican drug trade.

There was even some thought given to killing off Peña, but ultimately the door was left open for Pascal to potentially make cameo appearances down the line.

In the aftermath of Pascal’s exit, some unfounded rumors circulated that he had left Narcos due to the tragic real-life murder of location scout Carlos Muñoz Portal in Mexico ahead of filming for Narcos: Mexico.

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However, Pascal himself dismissed any connection between the two events when asked about Portal’s murder, expressing appropriate sadness over the tragedy but not indicating it influenced his decision to depart the series.

As showrunner Newman definitively stated, the plan was always for Pascal to move on after Narcos season 3 as the show transitioned to its Narcos: Mexico spinoff/sequel series.

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