‘Griselda’ Ending Explained & Series Summary: How Did Griselda Blanco Die?


With shows like Narcos and its spin-off titles, Netflix seems to have truly aced the crime drama genre, and its latest addition to the library, Griselda, reassures the above assumption. Pablo Escobar once said that the only man he was scared of was a woman named Griselda Blanco, a statement that appears right at the beginning of the Netflix show, for we are here to see her story unfold. Over a duration of almost six hours, the series presents Griselda’s rise to power and her ultimate downfall. Made with the typical Netflix big-budget shine and having brilliant acting performances, Griselda makes for a brilliantly entertaining watch.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What is Netflix’s Series about?

Griselda begins in 1978, when the titular woman is about to go through an important phase of life. Griselda Blanco has been known as the wife of a cocaine dealer in Medellin, Alberto Bravo, up until now, but she will soon have an identity of her own. One night, the woman returns to her house in Colombia with an injury to her waist, but she is even more troubled by some serious situation that has transpired. As she calls up an old friend, Carmen Rivera, it becomes clear that Griselda has left her husband, and there has been a split between the two. This seems like the only reason for Griselda’s fear, since she packs up her bags quickly and leaves the house along with her three boys, Uber, Dixon, and Ozzy. Griselda and Alberto had been partners in the cocaine business as well, as many considered the wife to have done much more for the trafficking trade than her husband.

With the help of Carmen, who runs a travel agency in Miami, Griselda shifts to the US along with her children and promises to leave the life of drugs and crime behind. However, in order to start afresh, the woman has brought along one kilo of cocaine, hoping to sell it on the streets and make money for herself. When Carmen finds out about this stash of drugs kept in her house, she turns her friend away, getting Griselda out of her house as well as from the meager job at the tourist agency. After all, Carmen had also once been involved with drugs, and she had carefully distanced herself from them. Alone in every sense, Griselda starts to look for potential buyers for the drug she has and comes across a man named Amilcar, who happens to be a notorious drug lord in Miami. Although Amilcar does not show interest in buying from the woman, he does not allow the sale of it on his turf either.

Therefore, when a dealer named Eddie agrees to buy the kilo of cocaine and even pays Griselda for it, Amilcar sends his men to kill the man and wipe out his entire gang. Griselda is left alive, possibly as she is considered just a woman, with no drugs with her anymore. However, as she has to survive in this terribly prejudiced world, Griselda decides to resort to old ways, especially after learning that the family members of her estranged husband are now looking for her.

Why Did Dario spare Griselda’s life?

When Griselda first tells Carmen about the difficult situation she is in at the moment, the woman only states that she and her husband have separated following a major argument. Carmen asks whether the reason for this argument had been the violent tendencies of Alberto; the woman says that he had done something much worse. The exact reason is revealed soon after, through a flashback scene from a few days back in Medellin, in which Alberto proposed a vile plan to his wife. The cocaine trade that they were running had faced some serious threats, because of which Alberto’s elder brother, Fernando, was angry. Fernando asked for his money back, as he, too, was involved in the cocaine business, and this was an impossible task for Alberto. In exchange, the man wanted to give his wife over to the brother for a night since Fernando always had a lecherous liking for Griselda. The woman is naturally disgusted by this proposition, but she is immediately reminded of the favors that Alberto had pulled for her, giving her a bountiful life.

Griselda was indeed once a sex worker in Medellin, but more than Alberto coming along in her life, it was the woman’s determination and will that lifted her life to what it now is. But she is manipulated by Alberto into getting intimate with Fernando, and Griselda cannot avoid the situation. However, she grows terribly angry at her husband, especially since Alberto disrespects her even more on the very same night. Unable to control her rage, Griselda pulls out her gun and shoots Alberto and his bodyguard. Although she gets shot in the waist as well, leading to the events in the opening scene of the series, the bullets fired by her are much more fatal. Griselda had to come over to the USA by herself because she had killed her husband, and this was the very same reason why the man’s family was now looking for her.

Fernando appoints his trusted henchman, Dario, to find out where Griselda has run off to, and he eventually finds out about her operations in Miami. Soon, both Fernando and Dario arrive in the city and reach the motel where Griselda and her sons were living. A frightful sequence plays out next, as Fernando tries to force himself upon the woman with the plans of killing her afterward, but Griselda fights back with all her might. In the adjacent room, her three sons figure out the grave danger that their mother is in, and the eldest, Uber, manages to run out, even with Dario guarding them. Getting hold of a handgun that Griselda always kept in her room, Uber holds it at Fernando when Dario rushes in. The brother-in-law orders Dario to shoot Uber, and it is now that Dario makes a switch in alliance. He instead shoots Fernando dead, saving Griselda and teaming up with her.

Dario explains that the reason for disobeying Fernando was the man’s order to shoot Uber, for the henchman is strictly against the killing of children. It can also be that Dario understood that the tides were turning in favor of Griselda and that it would be more profitable for him to side with her than remain with Fernando. By this time, Griselda had already started bringing in more cocaine to Miami and distributing it on the streets, and Dario stayed back to work as a henchman for her. Eventually, the two become romantically close, too, and much later, they get married and become an official couple. 

How Did Griselda become a notorious drug lord?

Griselda’s escape to the United States was to ensure a better life for herself and her children, away from the world of drugs and crimes, but she soon realized that she had to rely on her old practices. The job at the travel agency that Carmen gave her had terrible pay, with no big prospect either, and even when trying to sell off her only stash of cocaine, she gets misused and taken advantage of by men. As an almost desperate measure, the woman decides to set up an extensive drug smuggling ring, hiring sex workers from Medellin to bring in stashes of cocaine. The accountant of her old cartel, Arturo, also joins the woman in Miami, and together they try to sell off the drugs on the street. However, Amilcar goes back on his word about buying drugs from the duo and refuses to do business with Griselda anymore. As a result, the woman has to set up her own distribution network and employ a system of distributing free drugs to the rich, which works to great effect.

However, Griselda also ends up making enemies in Miami because of her growing influence, and one drug lord in particular, Papo Mejia, wants to bring an end to her business in any way possible. Incidentally, an interest in the expanding drug market in Miami was also expressed by the higher powers in Colombia, as the Ochoa brothers now wanted to take control of the trade. Because of Griselda’s stature, she and her partner, German Panesso, are given a rich offer by the Ochoa brothers’ representative, Rafa. The Colombians offer to pay a grand sum of money to Griselda to buy off her business, but due to the woman’s high ambitions she refuses to participate in such a deal any longer. Instead, she wants all the drug cartels in Miami to unify and negotiate with the Ochoa cartel together in order to ensure that they do not lose their businesses.

When Amilcar refuses to be a part of this union, some others, including Papo, also reject Griselda’s plan. At the time, the police department had been investigating a crime against Amilcar, and Griselda offered to get the primary witness killed, only to get the man back on her side. Amilcar does agree, but then he is soon nabbed by the police, after they found more incriminating evidence against him. The drug lord’s closest aide, Rivi, manages to escape, and since then, he becomes a close friend of Griselda. However, the woman faces ultimate betrayal when Panesso splits from her and joins with Papo to form an alliance with the Ochoa brothers through Rafa. Griselda is left alone and exposed, and as she has already started a string of violence by now, the woman refuses to stop. She hires young Cuban immigrants to do her bloody work and gets Panesso and, eventually, Papo killed off.

Griselda believes that she is now in control of the Ochoa brothers, but when Fabio comes into the scene, he gets Arturo killed as revenge for all the earlier setbacks. Nonetheless, Griselda secures her position at the head of the cartel in Miami, and together with the Ochoa brothers, she becomes a notorious drug lord.

What led to Griselda’s ultimate downfall?

The narrative in Griselda has a convincing progression toward what can be expected to be the reason for the downfall of anyone involved with a criminal network. Although Griselda Blanco was now at the very top, with only the Ochoa brothers being able to override her decisions, the woman started to fear getting caught. Ever since her rise in notoriety in Miami, a police worker named June Hawkins had been trying to find evidence against her and put an end to her crimes. Facing severe sexism in the homicide department of the Miami PD, June resigned from the department, only to be brought back into action through the newly formed CENTAC (Central Tactical) unit, which was a group of officers formed to solve the rampant drug crimes in Miami. June was made a detective in this unit, and she relentlessly tried to prepare a solid case file against Griselda.

Interestingly, June’s courageous efforts paid off in an indirect manner, as she successfully spooked Griselda into making her empire crumble from within. The detective cracked the code used by the gangsters and managed to find out about a drug storehouse, conducting a CENTAC raid at the place. But Griselda, who had no idea that a woman far more intelligent was in the works against her, mistook this to be a result of a mole in her gang who must have informed the police about the storehouse. Although June had indeed approached the woman’s earliest friend, Carmen Rivera, asking her to become an informer, Carmen had outright denied the offer. Instead, she went over to Griselda’s house and immediately informed her about the development. However, Griselda’s fear had already driven her to borderline paranoia by this time, and her reactions on the night made her lose the support of both her friend Carmen as well as her husband, Dario. Her crack-induced actions also jeopardize her relationship with the Ochoa brothers, and the final nail in the coffin is hit when the sister, Marta Ochoa, dies from an overdose in the presence of Griselda. The woman panics, and instead of telling the truth, she hides Marta’s body and flees with all the cocaine in the house.

Griselda, who is accompanied and helped by Rivi at this time, becomes the target of the Ochoas and of Rafa on the one side, while she is pursued by the police on the other. She escapes to Los Angeles with her three sons, along with Rivi, waiting for her final fall.

What happened to Griselda and her family?

Griselda‘s ending presents a tense climax, as Rafa finds out about Griselda’s shelter in Los Angeles and speeds to the place. Rivi gets news of this and informs the woman about the same, putting into action a plan that the two had already made. Knowing that she would surely die if Rafa found her, Griselda sends her sons away and then calls the police on herself. This gets her arrested instead of being murdered, and a lengthy trial follows. The police still had no proof of the woman’s murders, much to the frustration of June, and so she could only be tried for drug smuggling. However, June once again used her intelligence to get hold of Rivi, who could spill all the beans on Griselda’s murders, and he also agreed to help the prosecution.

Although it seemed like Griselda would finally be punished for the innumerable killings that she had ordered, Rivi managed to save the woman in the end. Rivi intentionally engaged in phone sex with the DA’s assistant, knowing that all the testimony he had provided so far would not be considered in court as per the law. The plan indeed worked, and Griselda could be sentenced to only eight years in prison. After serving her sentence and being released from prison, Griselda Blanco ultimately returned to Medellin, where she was assassinated by an unknown shooter in 2012.

Griselda series’s ending also reassures how crime breeds more crime, as the lifestyle that the three sons had gotten used to had also affected them tremendously. After Griselda and Dario’s split, the latter took their son, Michael Corleone, back to Colombia. But during her imprisonment, Dario’s house was attacked, the man killed, and the young boy kidnapped from the place to be brought back to Miami. The series suggests that it was the three sons who had conducted this operation, as they tell their mother that Dario was away on a job and had left their beloved half-brother behind. Although the Ochoa cartel could not get hold of Griselda, they seemingly took revenge in the most cold-blooded way when Uber, Dixon, and Ozzy were murdered on a day very close to Griselda’s release from jail. It is not confirmed in the show that the cartel had anything to do with these deaths, but their precise and planned manner suggests so. Even though she does get released, Griselda loses everything in life, and the rest of her life is just an empty survival, as presented in the very last scene of Griselda.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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