I always gravitate towards TV shows about the mafia, drugs & cartels. While watching these types of shows, I love getting to see the reasons behind why people make these choices & why they get involved in these ventures. Some are very violent, some are really gritty & most have characters that you root for.
Bingeworthy Mafia and Drug Cartel TV Series
This is a modern mafia show with fantastic writing. Every episode is fantastic & I’ll binge the hell out of it any day of the week! To this day, The Sopranos is my favorite HBO show of all time. It definitely belongs at the top of our Bingeworthy Mafia and Drug Cartel TV Series List.
Snowfall is my favorite show centered around drugs – EVER. While this is isn’t based on one true story, it follows a teenager at the forefront of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. Viewers see this group of teenagers create their own drug organization. The main character, Franklin is brilliant. He is the mastermind of it all. he loops in his friends & family & they start raking in the cash. We also see the deterioration of his neighborhood. John Singleton knows how to write the stories. It’s truly phenomenal storytelling. I will say it is very violent, so if you can handle that, then you will enjoy this one.
This show hit at the same time I was starting my family. I was able to relate to Walter in that he was doing what he could for his family. Remember, he thought he was about to die & wanted to set his family with the time he had left. Breaking Bad also features Gus, who is one of the most badass villains on TV.
Better Call Saul
The storytelling is very similar to Breaking Bad. It’s really cool to see how Saul turns from a shady lawyer to full-on corruption. Again, the storytelling is top-notch. I will say it’s a bit of a slower burn, but I love it.
Sons of Anarchy
This is about a biker crime organization. While they do really terrible things, viewers get to know & root for these characters. Truly, we love them & see behind the scenes. For the exception of Ron Perlman & Katey Sagal, the cast was not super well known. For me, that is great because each character is able to take on these larger than life personas. It’s got lots of drama, secrets, drugs & a decent amount of violence. It’s kind of like The Sopranos, but with bikers. While I didn’t include the sister show, Mayans to this Bingeworthy Mafia and Drug Cartel TV Series List, it is still a great show.
What I like about Ozark is that it’s faster-paced than Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul. This is also a really violent show. One cool thing about this shows the kids are in the loop with what’s going on. That really adds to the storytelling. Seeing Laura Linney’s evolution from a timid wife to a crime boss is really captivating.
Honestly, Narcos was a little hard for me to get into. It gives viewers different insights into Pablo Escobar. Most of what I’ve seen about Escobar is documentary style. Narcos takes tries to tell the story from a law enforcement point of view. We see how the cops try to track him down & what lengths they’re willing to go to try to get him. People get kidnapped & tortured & we also see the effects on the family members of law enforcement. It’s a bit violent, fairly fast-paced & easy to binge-watch.
This is very similar to Narcos, but set in Mexico. The show is centered around the growing drug cartels in Mexico. If you like Narcos, you’ll like Narcos Mexico. Michael Peña & Diego Luna are both really great in this.
Weeds is fun! While it’s more of a comedy crime show, it is a really great binge watch. Mary Louise Parker is a desperate mom who starts peddling a little bit of weed here & there. Eventually, it snowballs & she gets herself into trouble. The later seasons are a little goofy with reaching storylines. The first few seasons are so great, it still deserves a spot on our Bingeworthy Mafia and Drug Cartel TV Series List.
The Wire is the first of its kind. Set in Baltimore & based on Ed Burns’s time as a homicide detective it is truly one of the all-time greats. The Wire is gritty, authentic & has some of the most iconic characters of all of TV. Yes, I’m talking about Omar Little. Almost 20 years later, The Wire holds up. truly, it’s a great drug crime show.
Euphoria is like a modern-day, Kids. Lots of drugs & sex involving teenagers. It also features the role social media plays in interacting with one another, creating drama, etc. People living their life on social media & not knowing or understanding how that can have such a negative & emotional effect on someone else. While Euphoria is gritty & hard to watch because they are teenagers, undoubtedly it’s a decent representation of what some young people are going through.
Queen of the South
While Queen of the South is still a show about drugs, it also deals with immigration issues, which I think is cool. It’s adapted from a telenovela & is fast-paced & takes place in my home state of Texas. While this is a good binge-watch, I don’t think the budget for this show allows it to be as good as it could be. The female lead is awesome & has decent depth to it.
Like this List? We have a lot of Book & TV Lists here. I’ll be sure to update this list as I come across more shows. Any favorites I left out?