Ozark's Alfonso Herrera Says Javi Isn't Your Typical Drug Lord

Ozark newcomer Alfonso Herrera speaks to E! News about his character Javi and the complexities of portraying a drug lord.

By Cydney Contreras Jan 25, 2022 12:29 AMTags
Watch: Laura Linney Gushes Over "Ozark" at 2019 Emmys

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

When people think of cartel leaders, they imagine infamous figures like Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Pablo Escobar. But in Netflix's OzarkAlfonso Herrera's character, Javi, is representing a new generation of drug lords.

In part one of season four, Javi is introduced as the nephew of drug lord Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), who is working with Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) to secure a deal with the FBI that would help Omar avoid criminal charges. Javi wants to prove that he can be an asset to his uncle and intervenes—unintentionally posing a potential threat to their negotiations with the FBI.

So far, Alfonso's character has been labeled a villain on social media, but in an interview with E! News, the star says there's more to Javi than meets the eye. "He just wants to be part of something important and is trying to build something bigger than just a family," the Rebelde star explains, adding that Javi gets a bad rap because he'll do "whatever" it takes to achieve his goals, even if it means murdering people who get in his way.

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His intense need to prove himself is due in part to his relationship with his uncle, which Alfonso describes as more like a "bastard son" than a nephew. "Javi's father is not present," he says. "So Omar is that father figure, but at the same time, Javi doesn't feel that protected."

Courtesy Of Netflix © 2021

Of course, this isn't totally obvious, as viewers have only gotten to know Javi through his interactions with the Byrdes. But Alfonso promises that we'll learn more about the character when his mother, played by Queen of the South's Veronica Falcon, comes into the picture in season two. He teases, "[Their relationship is] going to to be important in the future."

Part two will also explore Javi's new role as leader of the Navarro cartel after Omar is arrested by rogue FBI agent Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes). The FBI is forced to work with Javi, who isn't your "stereotypical, cliché image of a drug lord," according to Alfonso.

Courtesy Of Netflix

Javi's entrepreneurial and professional side is what drew the Mexican actor to the role, he says, along with a nuanced portrayal of the drug trade. While some series sensationalize the cartels' role in the south, Alfonso says that Ozark portrays how economies are "invisibly sustained by these type of businesses," even if they're criminal.

So will the Byrdes' businesses continue to help the Ozarks thrive, or does a more sinister fate await the sleepy community? Fans will just have to wait until part two premieres in the near future. 

Until then, stream all seven episodes of season four, part one of Ozark on Netflix.

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