Griselda | Becoming a Godmother in a male world
Griselda | Becoming a Godmother in a male world

Griselda | Becoming a Godmother in a male world

Posted on 26 February, 2024



More Info







Original language



The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco.

Pablo Escobar

Among the most awaited TV shows of January 2024 was Griselda, a biopic about the so-called ‘Cocaine Queen’ Griselda Blanco. It premiered on Netflix on the 25th: it reached number one in 89 countries and topped Global Weekly’s Top 10 TV. The show is directed by Andrés Baiz and produced by Eric Newman and Sofía Vergara, who also plays the protagonist.

It isn’t the first time that this character has inspired episodes or items of pop culture. She has also appeared in a number of documentaries, and some films and telenovelas (one of the most famous is Cocaine Godmother, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones). Shortly after the debut, Blanco’s youngest child criticised Netflix for portraying his mother without asking for any form of consultation. Nevertheless, the show was praised for its realism.

Enacting a crime legend

When Griselda (Sofía Vergara) arrives in Miami, she’s not so different from many poor women escaping from their husbands. She carries her three children, Dixon, Uber, and Ozzy (Orlando Pineda, Jose Velazquez, and Martin Fajardo), and a wound from the last fight. But she carries also some rather atypical luggage: some kilos of cocaine she stole from the husband she killed. Her idea is to make some money to give a better life to her children and start over. Her thirst for power wants more, though.

Griselda. Sofia Vergara as Griselda in episode 1.01. Cr. Elizabeth Morris/Netflix © 2023

The increasing violence pushes the police to go deeper into their investigations of the drug trade, but their efforts bring them nowhere. Even though they often see Griselda in videos and photos, they can’t believe she’s a leader. “No one, just a woman. Maybe someone’s wife”, they say. Underestimated both by other criminals and by the law, the ascent of the ruthless Godmother seems unstoppable. If not for a police commissioner who is also an underrated woman.

From a different point of view

She is a true anomaly in that there has never been a woman who achieved that level of prominence in any drug cartel. Ever. And obviously, that immediately piqued our interest.

Eric Newman in an interview for The Independent

Griselda shares with Narcos the showrunners, the director Andrès Baiz, and the creator Doug Miro. Yet, as underlined by Newman, its protagonist makes the series unique: Griselda is a lone woman in a male world. Many shows dealt with drug smuggling and gangsterism: from the Italian production Gomorra and Romanzo Criminale, to the multi-awarded Narcos and Peaky Blinders. They all have something in common: not only most of them are based on real stories, but women are accessory characters who disappear behind male bosses. Only Polly (Peaky Blinders‘ aunt played by Helen Elizabeth McCrory) occupies a superior position, but she’s far from being a leader.

Griselda. (L to R) Diego Trujillo as German Panesso, Camilo Jimenez Varon as Rafa, Sofia Vergara as Griselda in episode 1.03. Cr. Elizabeth Morris/Netflix © 2023

Griselda, on the contrary, is an absolute female protagonist. The whole show revolves around the character and the remarkable performance of Sofía Vergara. She already proved her talent as Gloria in Modern Family, but this show brings her to a new level. Any exact gesture, and detail contribute to a realistic reconstruction. The actress spent ten years preparing for this role, and she becomes totally absorbed by the character. The accurate choice of costumes and props, as well as the warm cinematography that recalls the seventies atmosphere, build a frame for an unforgettable character.

The more she gains, the more she can loose

Griselda’s main strength also reveals her biggest weakness. For all of her life she’s been ready to do anything to protect her family, but she ends up losing everything. Her path shows some similarities with Walter White‘s in Breaking Bad: both him and Griselda are so focused on the achievement of success, that they lose themselves, destroying their everyday, private dimension, as well as their professional life. As with many other women that occupy a prominent position (in fictional stories as well as in reality), her role is constantly questioned by the mere fact she’s not a man. They have to work harder, and prove more than any man so as to be able to succeed. Yet, they always have much more to lose, as their hard-earned position can be destroyed in the snap of a finger.

As underlined in the successful films Barbie and Poor Things, women are often given command of the weightiest issues almost as if to cause their failure. In comparison to men’s, their errors weigh much more, especially if they’re trying to push themselves up. Even though her enterprise belongs to the criminal world, Griselda’s story isn’t different. In the end, the incomparable Godmother shares the difficulties of many other business women. Pablo Escobar feared her; nevertheless, he became much more popular. And despite the fact that they were both arrested, Griselda’s losses were much more. Yet, she remains a unique case: the story of a female success in a terrible crime world.


Lovingly Related Records