Narcos: Mexico tells the tale of the rise and fall of the Guadalajara cartel. Starring Diego Luna as Felix Gallardo, this masterful Netflix series has given us two fantastic seasons. What makes Narcos: Mexico so great are all of the characters that make up this show. One character, who has been in both seasons; is Special Agent Ed Heath. Played by Clark Freeman, Ed Heath has been the representative that the DEA agents must go through while down in Mexico. Ed Heath worked closely with Matt Letscher’s Jaime Kuykendall and Michael Pena’s Kiki Camarena.
In season two, Ed Heath works very closely with Scoot McNairy’s Walt Breslin. Walt is a DEA agent tasked with seeking revenge for the death of Kiki. It was an explosive season that made me want more.
Luckily, I was fortunate to speak with Mr. Freeman a little about season two of Narcos: Mexico. In our email exchange, Freeman gave a lot of great insider information on season two and what else he’s working on. Read below for more!
How has the reception been for Narcos: Mexico Season 2?So glad I could talk with you for a bit. The reception to season 2 has been great so far, I think. The wave of people sending me screenshots of myself on their TV in their living rooms has started, so people are definitely watching!Last time we saw Special Agent Ed Heath, he was a little…”resistant” to help the DEA in season one. Even a stern talking to from Mika didn’t seem to budge him. What was different about Ed Heath’s approach to taking down Felix Gallardo and the Federation in season two?Yeah, Mika was not happy with Ed. And it wasn’t so much that Ed was “resistant” to helping, he just wanted to keep the status quo a little. Some could argue that if they had listened to Ed, maybe the entire drug war, as we know it, could have been avoided. . . Ed has to put on a happy face for the diplomats and big politicians above him, as well as try and lead his DEA teams below him the best he can. He’s between a rock and a hard place much of the time.I think the approach in season 2 is pretty much where we left off in season 1: the DEA is going to take the gloves off and start hitting back. They are going to get some justice for Kiki – they just have to do it quietly. If either government got wind of what we were trying to do, let’s just say it wouldn’t sit very well with them. For Ed, that means less time in meetings around big tables, and more secret meetings with Walt in dark corners. Walt is like an agent of destruction bent on taking down Felix, and all Ed can do is try and steer him in the right directions. I think you saw how well that went. . .What was the filming process like, for season two? Had you known after season one that you would be back for season two?Little known fact: I was a replacement in season 1. Ed Heath was originally played by actor Nat Faxon (who ended up being in season 2 as Ted Kaye)! Due to scheduling problems, Nat had to step out, and I came in and reshot much of the work he had done, and then scrambled to finish the end of season 1. By the end of it, I had an idea that I’d be back for season 2, but you never really know until you’re on the plane to Mexico City.Filming season 2 was much less hectic for me. It was shot over a long period of time, but I was never far from home for very long. Most of my scenes were talking things through with Scoot, so they didn’t take as long as some of the other, more technically challenging scenes. I just enjoyed getting all the scripts as they were written, so I could see the journey unfold as we were shooting.Your character, Ed Heath; has a lot of scenes with Scoot McNairy’s Walt Breslin. How was it like working with someone like Scoot McNairy?Scoot? Yeah, he’s ok.In all seriousness, it was an absolute pleasure to work with Scoot. The day before we started filming, I texted a good friend of mine, Annette O’Toole, and asked her about Scoot – she had worked with him on the series Halt, and Catch Fire (which they are both incredible in, by the way). She said that I was in for a treat because Scoot was such a great person, and a giving actor. I was always impressed by how involved he was with the technical aspects of shooting. He was always interested in the shot composition, the lighting, how the camera was going to move, etc. As an actor, you can always learn from the people you work with, and I was lucky enough to get little mini-master classes during our days on set together. I can’t wait to work with him again. . .What kind of research did you do for this role? Did you reach out to any of the real-life people who were involved in taking down Felix Gallardo?I had about 48 hours from when I was cast until I was on set working, so my research was fast and furious. I read as many articles about Ed Heath as I could – interviews he gave, DEA postings he had, an interview of when he was the director of EPIC. But it was Matt Letscher, who played Jaime Kuykendall, that really put all the pieces together for me. The book Desperados by Elaine Shannon was also invaluable. Kiki’s story is such an important one to tell that it wasn’t too hard to find source material, and it was an opportunity for me to learn about him. Part of me wants to reach out to the real life Ed Heath, but I think after the things we did this season, I’ll pass on that. . .At the end of season two, we see a moment between Walt and Ed where Walt essentially asks Ed how does everything that happened sits with him. Ed Heath seems very removed from everything. I should say, he’s not emotionally attached, like Kiki and Walt were. What do you think is Ed’s mindset here? Is it all “just a job” for him or has he been in his position for so long that he’s seen it all and knows that it’s best not to be so attached?I find it interesting that you find Ed “removed” here. There is a moment at the end of season 1 where Ed tells Jaime that he is being pulled out of Mexico, and is off the case. As we were filming, the writers added the entire section about Heath’s brother dying in the line of duty years earlier (which is all true, by the way). Ed wants justice for Kiki as much as Jaime and Walt – he just has to play the game a little differently. He can’t get his hands completely dirty, like Walt, even though he really builds a bond and a friendship with Walt throughout the season. I always felt like Ed wanted to be a little like Walt, but their paths had just taken different turns.Kiki was hot headed too, and it cost him. Walt also went through hell. Ed knows that this conflict and the war on drugs isn’t going to be short or easily won – so no, he’s not detached. He’s looking forward. And as history can tell us, he was in the game for long time. . .I know it is probably too soon to say and perhaps you may not be able to say anything, but is there going to be a third season? If so, where do you see Ed Heath’s story going?Those are absolutely fantastic questions. Ones that I don’t have the answers to at this point, sadly. I hope Heath comes back for season 3. I don’t think Netflix can leave the fans hanging by pulling the plug after season 2, so my fingers are crossed along with yours!What other upcoming projects do you have like you would like to promote?Well, I shot a movie right before the holidays with Ninth House Films called Heart to Heart which I’m looking forward to seeing. I have also been developing a show with my sister, Cassidy Freeman (Longmire, The Righteous Gemstones), about our father and his long history of smuggling art out of Russian-occupied Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. And I also have a couple of films I am producing with my long time friend and collaborator, Andy Mitton (We Go On, The Witch in the Window) – but those are in the early stages. I hope you’ll be seeing more of Ed Heath on Netflix soon!