The Woman Who Defeated Griselda Blanco – The Exciting Backstory Of The Netflix Series!

MOVIE NEWS – Doug Miro, the creator of Griselda, and Juliana Aidén Martinez, the main character of the series, talked about the series’ real-life inspiration and what it was like to come face-to-face with Sofia Vergara’s Griselda Blanco.



Sofia Vergara plays Griselda Blanco in the Netflix series Griselda – the fresh and crisp review of which can be read here. An ambitious and murderous woman who became the main drug kingpin of Miami in the 1970s and 80s. But another woman’s role mirrors Blanco’s in the six-episode series: June Hawkins (Juliana Aidén Martinez), the homicide detective who helped catch the queen.

It took only 18 months of work for series co-creator Doug Miro to assess how important Hawkins was in Blanco’s eventual capture, arrest and conviction.

Initially, “[she] wasn’t part of the story at all,” says Narcos co-creator Miro, who reteamed with Carlo Bernard, Eric Newman and Ingrid Escajeda to develop Griselda. “I read everything I could, searched everything on the Internet, talked to DEA agents I knew. It was a little piecemeal, but I pieced together June’s involvement.”

Previously, the two people most credited with capturing Blanco and serving his nearly 20-year prison sentence were DEA Agent Robert Palombo and Al Singleton, who was interviewed for both the book and the documentary. (Blanco was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, import, and distribute cocaine and later pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder.) Singleton was a homicide detective in Miami; as it turns out, he is also Hawkins’ husband, although their romance did not begin until after Blanco’s conviction.

Singleton – who only has a few brief appearances in Griselda, played by Carter MacIntyre – and Hawkins already knew each other when he was investigating Blanco. But they did not meet again until the end of the eighties, when they both gave an interview for the film The Godmother. The book primarily focuses on the later stages of the hunt for Blanco, and Miro says it misses the most essential part of the story: the early stages of Blanco’s rise to power in Miami. He also doesn’t credit Hawkins enough for his role in Blanco’s capture.

She contacted Hawkins’ son, who connected Miro and Newman with Hawkins and Singleton in Nashville, where the couple now resides.

“It was amazing that we were doing the first series about a [female] drug addict, and it was a policewoman who discovered her presence in Miami – who put together the size of her organization, who understood and recognized what she was doing on the ground”.

Most interesting to Miro (and Netflix) was the similarity between Blanco and Hawkins’ story. Both were recently divorced single mothers who moved to Miami to care for their children.


Who plays Griselda Blanco’s opponent?


Hailing from Miami and originally from Colombia, Martinez heard all about “la madrina,” the godmother, growing up. But the Yale drama graduate actress had never heard of Hawkins until she was cast in Griselda.

Learning about one of the Miami Police Department’s first female homicide detectives was revelatory. “I was really excited for the rest of my community to know about her because her story needs to be told,” Martinez says from her family’s home in Miami.

Martinez and Hawkins spoke to each other several times before and during filming. Martinez frequently sent questions to Hawkins. “I am so grateful to him for her generosity in being willing to share her real-life experiences with me,” she says.

Casting a relatively new and young actress to play Hawkins was risky, and director Andrés Baiz (who co-directed Narcos with Newman) auditioned dozens of actresses, from the very famous to the completely unknown.

What struck Baiz and Miro about Martinez was her blend of power, intensity, confidence and vulnerability.

Originally, Miro and Newman planned a much more expansive story for Hawkins in the 10-episode series pitched to Netflix. Then, due to schedule and budget, they had to cut the project down to six episodes. According to Miro, they were still able to include a lot of things they wanted. According to June, she is “strong-willed, funny, charming, dynamic, does not tolerate fools gladly, but at the same time very thoughtful”.

While she was clearly a trailblazer for the Miami Police Department, Hawkins doesn’t see herself that way. She would simply describe herself as a police officer who does her job and does it well. Still, Miro can’t let go of the stories Hawkins tells her and is happy to tell them at length.

One of her favorites is that June Hawkins’ detective instincts developed as a child when she sent coded letters to her family in Cuba to tell them how to get out of the country.

This kind of talent eventually led to the capture of one of the most notorious and violent drug dealers of the 20th century.

Source: Esquire, Elle, Vanity Fair

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