1st Edition

Global Trafficking Networks on Film and Television Hollywood’s Cartel Wars

By César Albarrán-Torres Copyright 2021
    188 Pages 45 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    188 Pages 45 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book draws on a multi-method study of film and television narratives of global criminal networks to explore the links between audiovisual media, criminal networks and global audiences in the age of digital content distribution.

    Mapping out media representations of the ongoing war on drugs in Mexico and the United States, the author delves into the social, cultural and geopolitical impacts of distribution and consumption of these media. With a particular emphasis on the globalized Mexican cartels, this book investigates three areas – gender and racial representation in film and television, the digital distribution of content through the internet and streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, and depictions of extreme violence in film, television and online spaces – to identify whether there are fundamental similarities and differences in how Hollywood productions reproduce stereotypes about race, gender and extreme violence. Some of the movies and television series analysed are Breaking Bad, Ozark, Weeds, Rambo: Last Blood, No Country for Old Men, Sicario and the Netflix series Narcos, Narcos: Mexico and El Chapo.

    Taking a unique interdisciplinary approach to the study of cartels in the media, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of media studies, film, television, security studies, Latin American and cultural studies.

    Introduction: cartel media

    1 How Touch of Evil set the rules for Hollywood cartel cinema

    2 Cartel westerns: the new frontier (South of the border)

    3 From Weeds to Ozark: the suburbs, threatened

    4 Queen of the South: doing linguistic mish-mash and "Mexican face"

    5 Walter White and the use of Brown bodies in Breaking Bad

    6 The Sicario saga and chromatic othering

    7 Netflix’s Narcos: cartel media in the age of digital distribution

    8 "El Chapo" gets the Netflix treatment: theorising cartel mythologies

    Postscript: cartel media beyond Hollywood


    César Albarrán-Torres is a Mexican-Australian scholar and film critic. He is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, where he teaches Global Screen Studies. He has been widely published in academic and non-academic titles as a film and literary critic, author and translator. His current research focuses on film and television, as well as the negotiations between social media and politics in Mexico, particularly concerning the drug cartels. His book Digital Gambling: Theorizing Gamble-Play Media was published in April 2018. He is editor at the online journal Senses of Cinema.