Research article

New Culprits, True Culprits: The Re-politicization of Mexican 'Organized Crime' in 'Crimen de estado' (2009) and 'Ingobernable' (2017–2018)



Since the 1970s, Mexican and foreign fictions have persistently glamorized Mexican narcotrafficking and have, as Pablo Piccato and Oswaldo Zavala have argued, contributed depoliticized understandings of the phenomenon. According to Zavala, Mexican politicians have constructed a “hegemonic discourse” that blames narcos while concealing state responsibility. This article argues that two recent works of fiction, Gregorio Ortega Molina’s novel Crimen de estado (2009) and the Netflix TV show Ingobernable (2017–2018) work to re-politicize Mexican organized crime. Both portray the phenomenon as both an arm of and a scapegoat of politicians and law enforcement. They shift discourse away from commonly glamorized elements to cast light on the responsibility borne by government. Both based on real events in Mexico’s recent history, they avoid glorifying narcotraffickers to portray them instead as subordinates of Mexico’s political machine. The works not only hypothesize that it is Mexico’s political (under)world that pulls the strings of organized crime but also depict the process of concocting what Zavala identifies as the hegemonic discourse. Borrowing from Wolfgang Iser, I demonstrate how the “fictionalizing acts” of works like Crimen de estado and Ingobernable achieve two goals: they dismantle the hegemonic discourse about organized crime and reveal how that discourse is in fact constructed by a complicit governing State.


organized crimenarcotraffickingwar on drugsMexicorepresentationGregorio Ortega MolinaIngobernable
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 24–47
  • DOI: 10.18573/newreadings.113
  • Published on 30 Dec 2020
  • Peer Reviewed