Griselda Commits Far Worse Sins Than Being Filmed Outside Miami

If you’ve ever seen the great documentary sequel, Cocaine Cowboys 2, you’re familiar with the fascinating story of Griselda Blanco. In a cocaine smuggler subculture of machismo and cruelty, no one was rougher or tougher than the woman nicknamed the Godmother. When news came out that Netflix was putting out a miniseries about Griselda by the creators of Narcos, I figured we were in for a real treat. Narcos like the Cocaine Cowboy documentaries did a great job of entertaining viewers while exposing us to some of the most vicious serial killers in modern times.

And when Griselda starts off with a quote from the Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar saying, “The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco,” my appetite was fully whetted. But over the course of six hours, the mini-series betrays its subject, by doing the unthinkable, making this intriguing and unique character, boring and predictable.

Local outlets have mocked Griselda for not bothering to hide that a story supposed to be set in Miami was actually shot in California.  The mountains, and the too tall palm trees and the way the California light hits, makes it obvious to any Miami local that we’re not really in the Magic City. But I’m willing to forgive geographical errors, what’s unforgivable was how they tried to portray Griselda as some kind of feminist anti-hero rather than leaning into her being a murderous villain.

It makes me think of William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade, where the legendary screenwriter recounts the trouble a storyteller has with movie stars. The movie star always wants the character they’re portraying to be seen in a positive light even if it gets in the way of the story. I have to assume Sofia Vergara who stars as Griselda and also produced the series fell into this trap.  If she’s not willing to sacrifice her sexiness to play a character who was decidedly unphotogenic, then she probably wasn’t too keen to portray someone so coldblooded.

And so we get a show that goes halfway with a story we’ve seen a thousand times, the rise and fall of the gangster.

The real Griselda undoubtedly would have ordered everyone responsible for this timewaster to be executed on sight.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Jitney on Patreon! The Jitney needs gas. Please donate or become a Patron here
Become a patron at Patreon!

David Rolland

David Rolland edits the Jitney blog. He is the author of the novels Yo-Yo & The End of the Century.