Griselda Blanco's Son Has A Lot To Say After Watching The Netflix Series

The Netflix limited series "Griselda" has proven to be a blockbuster hit for the streaming platform. Released in January 2024, the show stars "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara as the real-life figure Griselda Blanco a.k.a "The Black Widow," a deadly Colombian cocaine trafficker who is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people as she built her empire during the 1970s and 1980s.

As reported by Collider, the show, which topped the Netflix charts, was the most viewed content on the planet following its release, with the platform's subscribers collectively spending more than 100 million hours with "Griselda." Critics have praised Vergara's performance, as well as the slick production values and convincing portrayal of the period in which Griselda committed her crimes.

But while the stylish retelling of the life of one of Colombia's most notorious drug traffickers has found a devoted following among Netflix viewers and true crime aficionados, others have mixed feelings about the hit show. Chief among those who have been critical is Blanco's only surviving son, Michael Corleone Blanco. In recent years Michael has been open to discussing his family's story through various media outlets, but while Blanco's incredible story is now in the public record, he is also protective when it comes to ensuring his mother's life is recalled accurately.

Michael Blanco thinks the show underplays his mother's impact

Michael Corleone Blanco was not impressed by the way Netflix's "Griselda" portrayed how his mother Griselda Blanco made her first steps into the drug trade. In the first episode of the limited series, which is set in 1978, the mother of three is shown escaping from her husband in Medellín, Colombia, and relocating with her three sons to Miami, where he attempts to locate a buyer for a kilo of cocaine that she has smuggled into the United States with her. However, Michael takes issue with this version of his mother's story, claiming that it makes her look like she was just starting out when in fact she was already a queenpin of the drug trade. As he noted on the podcast "The Real Griselda," the story was not accurate. 

"It was quite embarrassing ... The lady was the number one cocaine distributor in the world by 1975," he told the podcast "The Real Griselda." "She created the industry ... You could say my mother was the first official whale because nobody had hundreds of kilos, fifty kilos. Nobody had the laboratories. She pioneered the routes. She pioneered everything in the modern-day cocaine industry as we know it." Despite Michael's reservations about "Griselda" and his accusations that the show's truncated timeline fails to reflect the enormous power she already wielded in the period in which the show is set, it is arguable that "Grisleda" actually makes a point of portraying her as a pioneer, with the trailer going so far as to euphemistically describe her as an "innovator."

Further inaccuracies

Michael Corleone Blanco also claims that there are several other plot points in "Griselda" that are based on commonly held myths about his mother Griselda Blanco, rather than historical fact. According to Michael (speaking on "The Real Griselda,") Griselda's relationship with Alberto Bravo, who is portrayed as her love interest in the show, isn't quite accurate.

He states that his mother told him that Bravo was never her romantic partner, but that the pair were best friends who got married for the sake of getting U.S. citizenship for Griselda and her sons. The show also replicates the common story that after Griselda and Bravo's friendship broke down, she killed him in a shootout. However attractive such a story might be to viewers of a limited series, the rumor — which has been around for decades — is fabricated, according to Michael, who simply calls it: "lies." It is also noted in the podcast that the story of Griselda killing Bravo is just one of four distinct versions of events that are in the public realm.

Michael appreciates the focus on family

Nevertheless, Michael Corleone Blanco admits that seeing the story of his mother and family on screen was an experience he found deeply moving. "It's a rush of emotions, you know. It's very surreal. I'm not going to lie to you; it was very emotional ... I found myself gasping for air. I found myself happy. I found myself sad," he told "The Real Griselda" podcast. Michael is also aware, however, that his mother's life is now the stuff of myth, and explains this is the reason he feels it must be told well. "I feel that the story ... it's so complex and so legendary it should be shown respect when it comes to storytelling ... I think the story deserved a little more," he said.

However, there are aspects of the show that Michael appreciates, in particular how "Griselda" portrays Griselda Blanco's children as being at the center of her life, whatever the obstacles she faces at any particular moment. "I liked that wherever my mother went, we went with her ... I liked the fact that they tried to humanize the character. That was nice." His comments come after legal action that Michael has undertaken against the makers of the show for uncredited use of material he says he supplied them which was incorporated into the show, and for using his family's likeness without proper permission.