June 9, 2024

Who Was Carolina to Griselda: Fact vs. Fiction

Netflix’s new series about the infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco, portrayed by Sofia Vergara, sheds light on her tumultuous life and the characters that revolved around it. However, not all characters in the series are based on real people, and some are crafted to enhance the storytelling.

Griselda Blanco’s Portrayal and Real Relationships

Griselda Blanco (real) played by Sofía Vergara

Griselda Blanco Restrepo (1943-2012) was a formidable Colombian drug lord who significantly influenced the US drug trade. The series captures her violent ascent in the drug world, striving to provide a better life for her sons. Known as the "Black Widow," Blanco was a unique figure in the male-dominated drug industry, feared even by the likes of Pablo Escobar.

"Frank Cadogan Cowper (1877–1958), Study for 'Patient Griselda'" by sofi01 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/.

Her life has previously been portrayed in the “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries and the TV movie "Cocaine Godmother." A noteworthy subplot involves her son, Michael Corleone Sepúlveda Blanco, suing Netflix and Sofía Vergara over the unauthorized usage of her life story.

Media and Reality in Blanco's Personal Life

June Hawkins (real) played by Juliana Aidén Martinez

June Hawkins, a Miami police officer, was instrumental in Blanco’s downfall, portrayed in the series as overcoming male chauvinism in the police force. Her career, lasting from 1975 to 2004, is reflected in the show, including her strained relationship with her son. Hawkins' real-life challenges and professional battles bring depth to her character.

Carla (not real) played by Karol G

Carla, a composite character in the series, represents the Colombian women who assisted Blanco. As a sex worker-turned-drug mule, she plays a significant role in Blanco's rise in the US. Although not based on a single real person, her character embodies the countless women involved in Blanco’s drug operations. Karol G, a renowned reggaeton star, makes her acting debut in this role.

District Attorney (real) played by Eva La Dare

Based on Catherine Vogel, the DA during Blanco's trial, the District Attorney character captures the real-life scandal of a DA’s secretary having phone sex with Blanco's hitman. This scandal weakened the prosecution’s case, leading to Blanco securing a plea deal, her eventual deportation, and ultimately her assassination in Colombia.

Griselda Blanco's Personal and Professional Relationships

Carlos Trujillo (First Husband)

Carlos, a small-time forger and heavy drinker, was Blanco's first husband. Their marriage ended in divorce followed by Carlos’s murder, allegedly instigated by Blanco due to a business dispute. They had three sons: Osvaldo, Dixon, and Uber.

Alberto Bravo (Second Husband)

Alberto Bravo, a trafficker for the Medellin cartel, introduced Blanco to the drug trade. Their partnership ended violently when Blanco allegedly killed him during a confrontation over missing money in 1975.

Dario Sepúlveda (Third Husband)

Married in 1978, Dario and Blanco had a son, Michael Corleone Blanco. Their relationship soured, and after Dario kidnapped their son, Blanco reportedly arranged his assassination in Colombia, ensuring her son’s return to the US.

Charles Cosby

Blanco developed a relationship with Charles Cosby while in prison. The relationship soured due to infidelity, with Cosby surviving an assassination attempt orchestrated by Blanco.

Key Themes Addressed in the Show

“Griselda” explores themes of underestimated women facing and overcoming challenges in male-dominated fields. The series delves into gender dynamics and independence, as highlighted by the female perspectives of both Blanco and Hawkins.

The portrayal of Blanco, combined with fictional elements like Carla, aims to transcend stereotypical depictions of Latinos in drug trade narratives. The show’s mix of real and imaginary characters adds depth while raising interest in the dramatic retelling of Blanco’s life.

Reception and Cultural Impact

The show has sparked discussions about the blend of real-life events with creative liberties. The choice of a Colombian actress, Sofia Vergara, for an authentic cultural representation is particularly noteworthy.

Critically, the series intends to challenge and expand narrative norms, offering a nuanced portrayal of one of the most feared and notorious figures in the history of the drug trade.

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