Griselda what was left out

Griselda: What Netflix left out about The Godmother’s gruesome life

She’s actually terrifying


Griselda has had everyone in a chokehold since the show dropped on Netflix. The story of drug lord Griselda Blanco – commonly known as “The Godmother” – starring Sofia Vergara and set in the ’70s and ’80s? Like, of course it’s going to be filled with drama and chilling deaths.

But, even in her most violent moments the Netflix series shows Griselda to be a remorseful and and often queasily guilt-ridden character: When she goes to decapitate the hitman of a rival drug lord in one episode she physically can’t bring herself to do it and shoots him quickly in the head instead— a (semi) mercy killing.

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But experts are saying this remorseful woman isn’t an accurate depiction of The Godmother whatsoever. Blanco was born in Colombia in the 1940s, during a period called La Violencia, which was characterised by bloodshed. Allegedly, she made her first killing when she was only 11-years-old and murdered a boy she had kidnapped for ransom money when the payout never came through.

“The real life of Griselda is far more fascinating than the interpretation on Netflix,” Elaine Carey, historian and author of Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime, told VICE. “As the drug trade yielded more money, there was more competition.  She had to be tough, and she was from her childhood.”

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Given her blood-stained youth, she almost certainly wouldn’t have had a problem cutting off the head of a rival – or would have agonised over killing young children as Sofia Vergara’s adaptation shows.

Aside from this detail, Griselda was a seasoned criminal before she even touched down in the US: “Griselda arrived in Miami wealthy. She made millions of dollars in human smuggling and running drugs to NYC. Her investment in factories to create padded undergarments began long before her life in Miami,” Carey says.

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“She was being tracked by the DEA and the US State Department for years. As a master document forger, she had false identities so she moved around the hemisphere.  She does not arrive in Miami destitute needing to work as a travel agent.”

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∙ Fake teeth, prosthetics and wigs: Inside Sofia Vergara’s transformation into Griselda Blanco

∙ The real Cocaine Godmother’s family are suing Sofia Vergara and Netflix over new show

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Featured image credit via Netflix