Netflix's new drama "Griselda" is about Miami's "godmother of cocaine," Griselda Blanco.
The show, released Thursday, depicts how Blanco orchestrated multiple murders to secure her success.
The finale shows how Blanco's actions affected her four sons. Here's what really happened to them.
Netflix's latest drama, "Griselda," was released Thursday and has quickly overtaken the No. 1 spot on the streamer's list of top TV shows.
The series is a fictionalized look at the life of Griselda Blanco, starring Sofia Vergara in the title role. Known as the "godmother of cocaine" in Miami, Blanco was previously made famous by the "Cocaine Cowboys" documentaries. Vergara, who physically transformed herself to step into Blanco's shoes, also executive-produced the six-episode limited series, which tracks Blanco's rise in the 1970s and 1980s to becoming one of the most powerful and ruthless drug dealers of all time.
In addition to effectively introducing cocaine to Miami, Blanco was believed by the authorities who eventually prosecuted her to be responsible for ordering "dozens" of murders, the Miami Herald reported.
"She was a complete sociopath. She murdered people at the drop of a hat. She would kill anybody who displeased her, because of a debt, because they screwed up on a shipment, or she didn't like the way they looked at her," Stephen Schlessinger, an assistant US attorney, told the Herald in 2012.
But Blanco, who was shot and killed by an unknown gunman outside a butcher shop in Medellín, Colombia, in 2012, was also the mother of four sons. The Netflix limited series depicts Blanco's relationships with her children and the deadly impact her line of work had on them. In the finale, we see Vergara's Blanco learn that her three oldest sons — Dixon, Osvaldo, and Uber — were killed.
Here's what happened to all four of Blanco's sons in real life.
Griselda Blanco's three oldest sons were all killed
Three out of four of Blanco's children really were killed, though it's less clear when and how each death happened.
Blanco herself was finally arrested in 1985 on cocaine trafficking charges after authorities had been investigating her for a decade, the Herald reported. She served 13 years in federal prison before being transferred to Florida, where she cut a plea deal on three murder charges (including the death of the 2-year-old boy depicted in the Netflix series) in 1998. Blanco was later deported to Colombia in 2004 after her release, where was was gunned down eight years later.
Blanco's three oldest sons worked with her in the drug business. Two of her sons, Osvaldo and Dixon, were in jail at the same time their mother was and were paroled in 1992. The Washington Post reported that Osvaldo was killed in a Colombia nightclub later that same year, as depicted in the Netflix series.
The Miami filmmaker Billy Corben, who coproduced and directed the "Cocaine Cowboys" documentaries, wrote about Blanco's death for Vice in 2012, saying at the time that she was survived by her sons Dixon and Michael.
The Miami-Herald report on Blanco's death in 2012 said two of Blanco's sons were assassinated in Colombia before her death. One would have been Osvaldo, who died in 1992, and the other was presumably Uber since Dixon was still reported to be alive at the time.
In a 2020 interview with The Mirror, Blanco's youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco, said his three older brothers were all murdered, indicating that Dixon may have been killed sometime between 2012, when Blanco died, and 2020.
Michael Corleone Blanco, Griselda Blanco's only surviving son, is suing Netflix and Sofia Vergara over the series
Blanco's youngest, Michael Corleone Blanco, has maintained a relatively high public profile in recent years.
Michael, then a young child, was present when his father, Dario Sepulveda (Blanco's third husband), was assassinated by men wearing police uniforms in Medellín, Colombia, in 1983, the Miami New Times reported. Sepulveda had taken Michael and fled to Colombia to keep him safe from Blanco; associates of Blanco, who was reunited with Michael in Miami after Sepulveda's death, have claimed she was responsible for arranging the murder, though she was never charged.
When Blanco was arrested two years later, followed by the arrests of her three oldest sons, Michael was six years old.
In a 2008 interview, Michael, who was running a hip-hop label named Xtorxion Records at the time, told AllHipHop.com that he was raised by a series of legal guardians after Blanco went to prison. "I contracted legal guardians like I contract artists now. I would meet someone that my mother would know, and I would say I'm coming to you. I'm going to live in your house, and I'm going to pay you rent, and you're going to be my legal guardian. This has been since I was twelve years old," he said.
In 2011, Michael was arrested on two felony counts of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine after he attempted to buy five kilograms of the drug from an undercover detective, the Miami New Times reported. He pleaded not guilty and was still under house arrest awaiting trial at the time his mother was killed a year later. Fox News reported that his probation ended in 2018.
At the time of his 2020 interview with The Mirror, Michael lived in Miami, where he presumably still resides, with his three children.
He starred in "Cartel Crew," a VH1 reality show that followed people whose family members were connected to famous drug cartels, from 2019 to 2021. In an interview ahead of the premiere of "Cartel Crew," he told Fox News that he'd decided to turn away from the family business after learning of his mother's death.
"Right then, at that moment, I said to myself, 'What type of world did I grow up in that my whole family's dead?' My brothers are dead, my father, and they just killed my mother," Michael said. "I don't want to be in this life anymore because I don't want my kids to have this generational tie, the generational curse that I was born into. I guess that right there, the pain that I felt that day made me understand that all the money in the world wasn't worth it."
Michael now runs a "billionaire cartel lifestyle" and clothing brand named Puro Blanco, which he told Fox News paid tribute to his mother. He also wrote a book about his mother and their lives, titled "My Mother, The Godmother, and the True Story of Michael Corleone Blanco."
Ahead of the premiere of "Griselda," Michael sued Netflix, Latin World Entertainment, and Vergara in an attempt to stop the streamer from releasing the series. In the suit, which was viewed by Business Insider, Michael claims the creators used his "private artistic literary work" without permission or credit, which has created "irreparable harm."
Michael says he spoke to Andres Hernando Lopez and Rafael Alfredo Rojas Vega, two of the men named as defendants in the suit, multiple times from 2009 to 2012 in recorded interviews. He says Lopez and Rojas Vega then proceeded to "actively market and sell" his story to the "Griselda" producers Vergara, Luis Balaguer, Melissa Escobar, Latin World Entertainment, and Netflix without his knowledge or permission. Michael claims the Netflix series relies on the anecdotes and materials he provided but that he was not properly compensated for them. He's seeking at least $50,000 in damages.
A statement from the Blanco family provided to BI by their lawyer said Michael was "more than willing to share his hard work and the nonpublic details of his mother's life with Latin World Entertainment/Netflix if he was to be fairly compensated."
"Make no mistake, Michael Blanco is humble and thrilled each and every time someone reaches out to shine a light on his mother and the Blanco family," the statement continues.
"However, in the case of Netflix/Latin World Entertainment, the Defendants approached Michael Blanco to gain his work, perspective, and insight to only turn around and act like he does not exist, in an apparent attempt to reap their own profits," the statement said.
The statement added that the defendants' actions were "disappointing" and "common courtesy, consent, and compensation would have amicably resolved the issues with the Defendants and prevented this lawsuit."
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the series creator Eric Newman, who also produced "Narcos" and has received pushback from Pablo Escobar's family over that series, said Michael's lawsuit was "not my first rodeo."
"We had a very specific story we wanted to tell," Newman said of "Griselda." "I believe we told it, and I don't think it in any way prevents someone else from telling their own version of it."
Representatives for Latin World Entertainment and Vergara didn't respond to previous requests for comment from BI, and a representative for Netflix declined to comment on the suit.
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