In Depth

Narcos TV crew rocked by Mexican murder

Production of Netflix drug drama in limbo after location scout shot dead

A location scout for the Netflix crime drama Narcos was shot dead in Mexico last week - and there are fears for the rest of the crew’s safety.

The bullet-riddled body of Carlos Munoz Munoz, 37, was found inside his car on Monday, in a violent and remote region about 35 miles north of Mexico City, reports The Daily Telegraph.

He had been scouting locations for the next season of Narcos, the hit TV show about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Series four of Narcos, previously filmed in Colombia, will reportedly focus on Mexico’s Juarez drug cartel.

Munoz’s last Instagram post, shared on Sunday, was of a field in his hometown of Puebla, southeast of the Mexican capital.

He was an experienced scout who worked for major productions including the Bond film Spectre, Apocalypto and the Fast & Furious series.

“The facts surrounding his death are still unknown as authorities continue to investigate,” said Netflix in a statement offering condolences to Munoz’s family.

A chilling warning

Murders are common in Mexico, reaching a record daily average of 70 in May. The violence is fuelled by “powerful, ultra-violent drug cartels and criminal gangs”, says the Telegraph.

But Munoz's killing has taken an unlikely twist, after an “unlikely authority” called on Netflix to make changes to its security protocol, says the The Hollywood Reporter.

Roberto de Jesus Escobar Gaviria, the brother of drug lord Escobar - who died in a shoot-out in 1993 - said the streaming service needed to “eliminate all threats” and suggested Netflix hire real-life hitmen as security for the cast and crew.

Gaviria, a former accountant for Colombia's Medellin drug cartel who was known as “chief of the hitmen”, is involved in a dispute with Netflix over rights to the Escobar story. He also said he did not want Netflix or any other production company to film any movies in Medellin or anywhere else in Colombia that related to him or his brother “without authorisation from Escobar Inc”.

“It is very dangerous. Especially without our blessing,” he said. “This is my country.”

An uncertain future

Variety says Munoz’s murder has raised questions about whether Narcos will continue to film in Mexico.

A decision to shift the production would be a blow to the country's film industry.

Earlier this year, Variety reported an “upsurge in production” in Mexico as a result of generous funding incentives. The country has hosted a number of major movie productions and was used to film the TV series Fear the Walking Dead.

Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, last month confirmed new productions to be filmed in Mexico including supernatural thriller Diablero and political drama Ingobernable.

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