La Linea: Shadow of Narco is a Netflix documentary-style TV mini-series that talks about the drugs problem that is prevelant in La Linea, a city in Spain.
Netflix is quite adept at this point at coming out with shows with a similar subgenre as this one. La Linea, however, does not take much time to get to the point, i.e., how drugs, trafficking and terrorism take place with impunity in the small coastal town. The biggest cartel of the region, the Castana cartel, keep up their operations without any fear, and we see time and again how they smuggle drugs without any fear of the police.
After the police make a significant arrest, we see that the other members amp up their violence, and it results in significant blood loss. We follow law enforcement officers as they break down homes and try to arrest people. The mayor, Juan Franco, tries with all his might to fight against the problem and starts making small changes.
The final blow comes when one of the gang’s leaders appears in a music video, and the police, taking this as an invitation, increases surveillance on his family to finally catch him. There’s some looking forward to for the officers of the region, and they decide to work with renewed enthusiasm, since drug activities surrounding La Linea have increased. According to them, as long as there’s demand, there will always be a supply.
La Linea also gives a voice to the common people in the city. There are some people who work for the cartel because they have no choice. 30% of the unemployed population have no secondary education, while half have no primary education. It is also the most neglected town in Spain. With these odds, and indifference at the highest levels, the commoners don’t really have a fair fighting chance. You feel bad for these people sometimes.
At one point, an ex-cartel member says that she has no chance of getting a job since she has no education and no job experience. With two children to feed, that’s a sad thing to hear. Apart from the drug problem, you also realise that the government has absolutely failed these people. Additionally, the drug problem being so ingrained in their system has created a sort of normalcy. A lot of people take this as a badge of honour.
You can also see the frustration of the officers who are trying to catch these traffickers with little to no resources. Even if they want to do a better job, it is extremely difficult without any backing. Even the mayor agrees that there’s a sort of indifference from people when it comes to tackling the situation and bringing reform in the area – there’s only so much he can do.
However, inspite of a very immediate show, La Linea does not seem like anything different from what we have already seen. The show features interviews with law enforcement officers and also mysterious and shady individuals working for the cartel, but it all seems very tried and tested. Even if the footage is very frantic most of the time, it fails to create that sense of urgency in the viewers.
La Linea: Shadow of Narco brings nothing new on the table, and everything, for some reason, feels very surface level. You do feel bad for the people who have to face harassment like this, but when it comes to the chase and the arrest, you just don’t feel that pressing need or excitement.
Summing up: La Linea: Shadow of Narco
With 4 episodes, each half an hour long, La Linea: Shadow of Narco fails to impress. There’s nothing new or fresh. It’s very to-the-point and straight-cut, which, sure, is great sometimes. But with shows like this popping up almost every month on Netflix, it tends to get repetitive.
La Linea: Shadow of Narco is streaming on Netflix.
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