Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

A light week for Netflix new releases is saved by Sofia Vergara as a murderous drug queenpin

Published Jan 27th, 2024 12:05PM EST
Griselda on Netflix
Image: Elizabeth Morris/Netflix

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Netflix’s newly released cartel drama Griselda, starring Sofia Vergara as one of the most infamous drug queenpins of all time, opens with an ominous quote from Pablo Escobar: “The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco.”

That ought to tell you most of what you need to know about the real-life woman from Colombia who built one of the most powerful cartels in history — and about the kind of career-best performance that Vergara delivers in this six-episode limited series. Over the course of this Netflix release, which saves an otherwise light week of new content from the streaming giant, we watch a gun-toting Vergara as Blanco blow a sicario’s brains out; savagely beat a man with a baseball bat; and, in a paranoid fit, smoke a crack pipe at a party before threatening to shoot all of her friends and loved ones with a golden machine gun.

Goodbye, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett; we never knew you.

Griselda on NetflixImage source: Elizabeth Morris/Netflix

We already previewed this series, which comes from some of the same team behind Narcos, in our look-ahead from last week. Because there are almost no new interesting Netflix releases coming over the next several days, Griselda is sure to have a big first week on the platform — which is why we’re pointing to it once again.

“When I started to develop the project I wanted to challenge myself, because Griselda Blanco is such a complex character,” Vergara said about the ruthless and violent drug lord in a Netflix interview. “She’s not a hero, and many of the things she did were very terrible. But she was also very interesting.

“There were so many nuances to explore in terms of who she really was — as a cartel leader and a fearless business woman in Miami in the ‘70s, and of course, as a woman, as a mother. That was not a very usual mix. She was someone who did whatever it took to protect her family. At least that’s what she supposedly said was driving her. I really wanted to explore that from the point of view of her being one of the only women in history to have gone as far as she did.”

A devoted mother, Blanco rose from obscurity to create and lead one of the most profitable cartels in history. Moreover, during her bloody reign, Blanco was involved in the drug land wars in Miami during the 1970s and 80s, known as the Cocaine Cowboy period, when cocaine trafficking surpassed that of marijuana. Her distribution network, at one point, reportedly was bringing in $80 million per month.

Griselda on Netflix
Camilo Jimenez Varon as Rafa, Alberto Guerra as Dario, Sofia Vergara as Griselda, and Diego Trujillo as German Panesso in episode 103 of “Griselda.” Image source: Netflix

A New York Times article from 1976 details how federal prosecutors convicted 12 people of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and marijuana from Colombia. Griselda and her second husband Alberto Bravo were the leaders of that operation, with the article detailing how Blanco “allegedly outfits female couriers in special bras and girdles designed to conceal narcotics.”

The “Godmother” went by several names: La Madrina, The Black Widow, and La Dama de la Mafia. But the Netflix series makes clear that Blanco became mostly synonymous with death. “We were very careful not to glorify her in the series,” Vergara continues in the Netflix interview. “But we also wanted to take time to uncover the deeper story of Griselda, how beyond all odds, a poor uneducated woman from Colombia managed to create a massive, multi-billion dollar empire in a male-dominated industry, in a country that was not her own, through tactics that she devised that were both ingenious and cruel.

“The truth is that, as much as Griselda broke down barriers, she’s definitely not a hero and she should not be idolized. So, what I loved about the project was getting to explore Griselda’s origin story, the making of a monster.”

As for what other new Netflix releases are worth checking out next week:

If bloody cartel sagas aren’t really your thing, there’s unfortunately not a whole lot else interesting enough to check out on Netflix over the coming days. Some of the few other worthwhile new releases include:

Alexander: The Making of a God — This six-episode docudrama combines expert interviews with gripping battle reenactments to explore the life of Alexander the Great through his conquest of the Persian Empire. Release date: Jan. 31.

Doctor Slump — Last but not least, there’s a new Netflix K-drama with a swoon-worthy romance at its core. Per Netflix, “Once rivals in school, two doctors run into each other again at rock bottom — and help one another find solace and healing amid a blossoming romance.” Now streaming.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

More Entertainment

Latest News