The real and fictional backstory
Pablo Escobar died on a rooftop in Medellin, Colombia, on December 2nd, 1993. This came after a 20-minute shootout involving himself, his bodyguard Alvaro de Jesus Agudelo ("El Límon"), and several members of the elite police task force known as the "Search Bloc." Escobar was on the run for over a year when the operation went down, following his escape from La Catedral, the luxurious "prison" he constructed himself, in June of 1992. The police nabbed him by tracing a call he made to his teenage son, Juan Pablo.
Narcos had been building to this bloody demise since the Season 1 finale, which set up Escobar's jailbreak from La Catedral. Although Escobar's rise to the top of Colombia's cocaine empire could have easily filled four or five seasons, the Netflix show confined it to a single stretch of episodes. Then the creators outright promised an Escobar death in the new season, turning Season 2 into a turbulent grace note.
The first hints came courtesy of the Season 2 premiere announcement, which flashed Pablo's death date in bold numbers. Then, during the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the cast straight-up spoiled it. Wagner Moura, who plays Escobar, confirmed that his character would die in Season 2. "This is definitely the last season for me," he announced. Almost to underline the point, a new trailer touting the hashtag #WhoKilledPabloEscobar dropped a month later.
Despite the upfront marketing strategy, the cast and showrunners remained tight-lipped about how the death would go down, leaning into the the murky details of Escobar's fatal shootout. The public still doesn't know exactly who shot him, and some of his family members even insist he shot himself to avoid capture. But Narcos did the best it could by approaching the scene with an almost fanatical attention to historical accuracy.