Times Netflix's Griselda Lied To You

"Narcos," the gripping crime drama that traced the rise and fall of the Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, has come to be considered a classic by many true crime fans. Escobar was a notorious criminal who was as murderous as he was ruthless, but even he admitted there was a figure in the South American underworld that scared him. That person was Griselda Blanco, a major drug trafficker who earned the nickname the "Cocaine Godmother" by establishing her own violent drug empire. Now, the award-winning team behind "Narcos" has come together to tell her story in a new Netflix limited series starring sitcom star Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family."

Like Narcos, "Griselda" is based on Blanco's true story and focuses on her most active criminal years in the late 1970s, when she made a fortune trafficking tons of cocaine into the United States and was reportedly responsible for the deaths of over 200 people. As Escobar's family did after "Narcos" told his story without his overt permission, Blanco's descendants have attempted to sue the makers of "Griselda" for unauthorized use of her likeness. But while "Griselda" is a true story, it is intended as drama rather than a documentary. Indeed, its creators have admitted to tampering with the timeline for the sake of entertainment and altering or fabricating several elements of Blanco's story.

Blanco wasn't made to sleep with her brother-in-law

While "Griselda" portrays Griselda Blanco as rising to the top of the cocaine trade in the 1970s, it also makes efforts to humanize her and draw attention to the challenges and rampant sexism that Columbian women had to contend with during the era. As such, the first episode of "Griselda" shows the protagonist being forced by her husband, Alberto, to sleep with her brother-in-law, Fernando. Alberto believes that by gifting his wife he will be able to absolve himself of the debt he owes his brother. Viewers come to understand that the stomach-churning scenario is only the latest in a string of challenges that Blanco has faced with grit and steel. She goes through with it, though she leaves Alberto in the aftermath. When he attempts to prevent her, she kills him and flees to Miami with a kilo of cocaine. The city becomes both her new home and the center of her drug trafficking operation.

But the storyline involving Fernando was fabricated, and while it appears that Blanco was just making her first steps on the drug dealing ladder when she attempts to find a buyer for her kilo of coke, the truth is that she was already a big deal before reaching Miami. Blanco had already been in the drug trade for a decade by the time she arrived in the city, and she reportedly killed Alberto after concluding that he had stolen millions of dollars from the business.

She has another husband before Alberto

Despite their relationship ending in bloodshed, "Griselda" portrays Alberto and Griselda as the parents of a typical nuclear family, with three children who are forced to flee with Blanco after her shootout with Alberto, in which she is injured. It's suggested that the three children are Bravo and Blanco's, and there is a notable scene in the first episode where the children seem curiously unmoved by the revelation that their mother and father are to split. However, the truth is that Bravo wasn't Blanco's first husband at all, and the three children weren't his. Blanco had her eldest three sons — named Dixon, Ozzy, and Uber — with her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, who, perhaps for narrative reasons, is not mentioned in "Griselda" at all.

Blanco reportedly first met Trujillo when she was just 13, by which time she had already committed her first murder — that of a child hostage she and her friends had kidnapped in an attempt to extract a ransom from the child's wealthy family. Trujillo was a pimp and forger who later married Blanco, though the couple divorced. Like Alberto, Blanco had Trujillo murdered over a business disagreement.

Her romance with Dario started with a shooting

You might think that the creators of a dramatic limited series based on the true crimes of a Colombian crime boss might take the real-life story and dial the violence up to 11. But in the case of the notorious Griselda Blanco, it seems that they often decided that it would be in the interests of the show and the audience to dial it down, as they did by omitting her first husband Carlos Trujillo and his brutal killing at Blanco's behest.

The show does make space, however, for the man who would become central to Blanco's life after the killing of Alberto: Dario Sepulveda. Sepulveda himself was a violent hitman, and one major incident early in their relationship involved him shooting three men dead in a restaurant he and Blanco were dining in, much to his new lover's approval. The two married in 1978. However, "Griselda" executive producer Eric Newman told USA Today that the scene didn't make the show's final cut. While the show suggests that Sepulveda caught up with Blanco in Miami later, the two actually traveled there together.

She didn't let Dario leave ... she killed him instead

As with her two previous marriages, Griselda Blanco's relationship with Dario Sepulveda eventually broke down. By that time, the couple had welcomed a son into the world, who they named Michael Corleone after Al Pacino's character in the "Godfather" trilogy.

Blanco had long been addicted to cocaine-derived substances, and as her power grew so did her callousness and paranoia. Eventually, even the cold-blooded killer Sepulveda had enough of the drugs and violence and decided to leave Blanco in Miami and return with his son to Colombia, much to Blanco's dismay. "Griselda" suggests that Sepulveda's escape with Michael was ultimately successful, and the show continues to focus on Blanco as her empire crumbles around her. However, the show misses out on one vital detail from the true story: That like her previous two husbands, Sepulveda was later killed at Blanco's request, reportedly in a drive-by as he sat in his car, his son Michael in the passenger seat.

Carla didn't really exist

One of the most interesting secondary characters in Netflix's "Griselda" is Carla, an employee of the titular character who, like Blanco, comes from Medellín. Carla follows Blanco unwaveringly into the drug trade and is particularly memorable for her one-liners, snappy dialogue, and oh-so-'70s bangs. She is portrayed by Karol G.

Karol G is a Grammy Award-winning Columbian reggaeton musician with a huge fanbase across the globe. She was born in Medellín, and according to a Netflix deep-dive was instrumental in giving her character a distinctive voice based on the local dialect. Praising the character's narrative arc, Karol G told Billboard that Carla is "a character that evolves. She sees what she does as a job, but also as a way to maintain her family, and she's tough! She reaches another level." It is Karol G's first acting role, and her appearance in the show has surely helped spearhead its popularity on the streaming platform. However, despite how authentic she appears on screen, Carla is a fictional creation, unlike the majority of the characters in "Griselda."