Episode 1: Popeye The Sicario
Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, alias “Popeye,” was Pablo Escobar’s trusted lieutenant and chief sicario (assassin) for the Medellin Cartel. He’s publicly admitted to having personally killed 300 people. That’s just the beginning.
Preview: Episode 2
Episode 2: ‘DNA’
In the poor barrios of Itagui, Colombia, Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez grows up with violence all around him, including his own home. Obsessed with gangsters and guns, he quickly learns tough lessons on the streets. Searching for a way out, he finds that all roads lead back to Medellin.
Episode 3 ‘Los Magicos’
1976-Medellin, Colombia. While Popeye contemplates leaving Itagui to join the navy, miles away near the border of Peru, a determined young man is stopped and arrested while transporting 39 pounds of illegal coca paste. After unsuccessful attempts to bribe the judge, he tries a new approach: “Plata o Plomo”, “silver or lead”. Soon the paths of a group disenfranchised young men from the rough barrios of Medellin and Pablo Escobar the enterprising Paisa smuggler would soon converge
Preview: Episode 4
Episode 4: Holy Warrior
Pablo Escobar's top assassin, Popeye, addresses a number of things, from his reasons on why he became a criminal, to the war between the Medellin Cartel and the Colombian police, to international assassination plots.
Episode 5: No Limits
“Pablo Escobar was an evil machine…” Popeye gives a firsthand account of Escobar’s pattern of evil, beginning in 1986, with the killing of pilot Barry Seal, to bombing government buildings, to Avianca. Among all the violence, Pablo looked for ways to innovate his business...
Episode 6: Class Project
There is a phenomenon taking place in Medellin today; Narcotourism. Fueled by shows like Narcos and Popeye’s “Surviving Escobar”, tourists are flocking to Medellin to hear stories and visit landmarks. Troubled by the storyline of these narcotours, an intrepid journalism professor seeks to change the narrative, by challenging his students to create their own narcotour, one that focuses on stories of the victims.
Episode 7: Growing Up Colombia
If you were born in Medellin or lived there in the 1980's, odds are there was at least one person in your family connected to the Narco-trade or touched by its violence. These are just a few of those stories...
Episode 8 ‘Force Majeure’
In January of 1988, over the course of eight days, Popeye directed and personally participated in a two-stage terrorist operation which included the kidnapping of then Bogota mayoral candidate, (and future President), Andres Pastrana, and the kidnapping of Colombia’s Inspector General, Carlos Mauro Hoyos. These brazen acts shocked the nation and threatened the national security of Colombia.
Episode 9: The Last Straw
By August of 1989, Luis Carlos Galan was the most popular politician in Colombia, overshadowing his rivals in the presidential election. He understood the nation's problems and offered hope for the future. Galan supported extradition and viewed narcotrafficking as a threat to the country’s stability. For Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, preventing Galan from becoming President of Colombia was their top priority. As Pablo’s chief hitman, Popeye participated in the act that changed the country forever.
Episode 10: Empire of Blood and Fire
The Medellin Cartel was like a cult, Pablo Escobar its feared ruler. Yet by 1989 the façade of invincibility would crack. The hunt to capture Pablo was intensifying, and the barriers protecting him would begin to fall. After learning the cops were tracking his own men, Pablo shifts his strategy, instead of remaining shielded by sicarios, he orders Popeye & others to turn themselves into police, opting to be guarded by one man. Shortly after entering jail, Popeye is forced to confront life without Escobar.
Episode 11: Perspective
Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez was once Escobar’s chief assassin. He committed unspeakable acts of violence. Now after 23 years in prison, he’s out. For a lot of people this isn’t enough. But Popeye would disagree and say he served his debt to society. But he’s not your ordinary criminal. And Colombia isn’t a simple place.
Episode 12: Surprise Party
December 2017- Los Angeles. Shortly after returning from Medellin, we start to examine Popeye’s claims of repentance, when an startling event occurs, sending this story in an entirely new direction. It all starts with a birthday party, for a man called “Tom”.
Episode 13: Esteban
Esteban Orozco is an accomplished screenwriter and producer. Most recently he was a writer on the hit Netflix series, “El Chapo". From day one, Esteban provided us with insight into Medellin and it’s culture of crime. After returning to LA, Jonathan invited Esteban to sit down to discuss and help process the experience. Neither could have predicted only two days prior, Popeye would be back in the headlines after attending a party for the most wanted man in Colombia.
Because of the holiday, episode 14 will be out next Monday, Dec 3, 2018. In the meantime, please enjoy this "behind the scenes" bonus episode. A few days after Popeye was detained by police at a party for Colombia's most wanted man, Jonathan and his team discuss the breaking news and its many implications.
Episode 14: Luck of the Draw
The Medellin Cartel's victims and their families exist more as statistics than real people. Narcoterrorism has touched the lives of everyone in Colombia. Behind the stories of the plotting and scheming, are the people who were at the wrong place and the wrong time, just living their lives. Mónica Gómez Villafañe is a successful banking executive in Colombia. In 1989, a chance encounter at the Bogota airport would change her life forever. www.TheSicarioEffect.com
Episode 15: Narcoculture
The most powerful thing Pablo Escobar did was leave behind a narrative. The young, enterprising Paisa smuggler, who became richer and more powerful than all of the elites in Colombia. It appeals to the masses, especially the disenfranchised. Unfortunately, the narrative often ignores the many innocent victims. The allure of Narcoculture has a number of potentially dangerous implications. Acclaimed Colombian writer, Joseph Avski, gives us some perspective on the impact of narcoculture in Colombia.
Episode 16: The Home Office
April of 2018, five months after being detained in police raid that led to the capture of the alleged head of La Oficina De Envigado, Juan Carlos Mesa, public debate over weather Popeye should return to prison had disappeared. Regardless, his affiliation with La Oficina, gives us a glimpse into one of the most significant criminal groups in the world today. Daniel Rico is a renowned Colombian economist and leading consultant on money laundering and criminal economies analysis. Daniel breaks it all down for us.
Episode 17: Controlling the Narrative
Popeye continues to make news. This time by tweeting his support to an ultra right-wing group in Spain. Any remaining speculation about his possible return to jail seems to have completely faded away. Following Popeye the last six months has proven one thing: The real currency in Colombia, is the narrative. And Popeye is engaged in all out combat to own and control it. Daniel Urrea is committed to creating a sustainable future. He is an advisor to a Medellin city councilman and a professor at the University of Antioquia. Lucky for us, he was also there when we interviewed Popeye. Daniel provides us with some insight into the fight over the narrative. Visit our website www.thesicarioeffect.com
Episode 18: Law Abiding Citizen
Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez alias "Popeye" was once the Medellin Cartel’s chief hitman and Pablo Escobar’s most trusted lieutenant. After 23 years in jail-he was released and became a social media star. Since interviewing him in November of 2017, we watched Popeye grab headlines and create controversy with his narrative. From parties raided by cops, to his Narco-tours of Medellin. In late May, just days away from Colombia’s presidential election, Popeye inserts himself into the fray. And then, everything changes.
Episode 19: Amnesia
What does the future hold in store for Popeye? With his platform muted, will someone take his place? Or will a different narrative emerge? One thing is for sure in Colombia, the future will be determined by those who control the narrative.