Griselda, directed by Andres Baiz, makes us privy to the life of the notorious drug lord, Griselda Blanco, also known as “Cocaine Godmother.” A woman running the drug cartel was unheard of. Similarly, a woman leading an investigation for a law enforcement authority was also something that patriarchal society was not used to seeing frequently. As Griselda was building her empire bit by bit, June Hawkins found herself in the newly formed CENTAC (Central Tactical Programme) unit, and she worked with Raul Diaz to control the ongoing narcotics issue that had plagued American society back in the 1970s. The character of June Hawkins is inspired by a real-life person, and though Andres Baiz and his team of writers have taken a few creative liberties, a lot of things shown in the series did happen in real life.
Who Is June Hawkins?
June joined the police force in March 1975, and after that, there was no looking back for her. June had an illustrious career that spanned about 30 years, and in 2004, she finally retired. June Hawkins went to Miami Edison Senior High School, and after an acquaintance told her that the police force was looking for people who were well-versed in the Spanish language, she decided to give it a shot and apply for the post. Hawkins was one of the first women who joined the department, and from interpreting to helping in the investigation, she had diversified roles.
June worked closely with Raul Diaz, and then after he left the unit, she joined forces with DEA agents Robert Palombo and Al Singleton to pin down the drug kingpins. June Hawkins went on to marry Al Singleton, her colleague, something that is not shown in the series. June Hawkins had a son named Eric from her first husband, and we saw how society discriminated against her and what prejudices she had to face since she was a single mother. After watching the series, one thing that I can say is that, surprisingly, there were a lot of similarities between Griselda and June, even though they were at loggerheads and believed themselves to be poles apart behaviorally. Both women were trying to carve a niche for themselves and make their place in a predominantly male-dominated industry. Both were single mothers, and both had to face a lot of discrimination and additionally prove their credibility at each and every step. Griselda was far more daring and entrepreneurial than her male counterparts, and time and again, June Hawkins proved that she was a far better investigator and that she had a knack for finding details that her male peers missed.
In the series, we saw how Bill Jenson undermined her credibility time and again, made sure that he disregarded her, and did not let her contributions be known to his bosses. It was June Hawkins who figured out that there was a woman at the helm of affairs. There was a shootout that took place in the El Floridita hotel, after which the waitress who worked there, named Rosa, was called in for interrogation. Jenson believed that the woman Rosa told him about was just a nobody and she didn’t have any role to play in the deal that was happening there. Still, Rosa specifically pointed out that the way she walked, it seemed as if she was not a second fiddle but a person who had some authority vested in her. That observation got stuck in June’s mind, and she entertained the possibility of Griselda being a drug lord. At that point in time, obviously, Griselda’s name had not been known, and nobody believed June when she made others privy to her hypothesis. June wanted to catch the criminals and give her best, but all her effort and energy were being spent making her own homicide department believe in her narrative. Even when she placed the evidence in Jenson’s hands, he didn’t take it into consideration.
June had found a cigarette that had a lipstick mark on it, but Jenson told her to stick to her scope of work and leave the investigation to her male counterparts. That was the time when June decided that she was going to leave the homicide department and do a desk job within the force. Anyway, her work was not being acknowledged, so she felt that she would have the kind of job that would give her some more time to spend with her kid. Around this time, June met Raul Diaz, who was very sure that he needed someone like June to be a part of CENTAC, as the kind of expertise she had was unparalleled. There was a scene in the series where June’s colleagues turned up the air conditioner and made a disparaging, demeaning, and highly objectionable remark at her. These kinds of incidents actually happened to her in real life, and there came a point where she didn’t hold back and gave them a befitting reply. She had swallowed the hard pill and made peace with the fact that nothing would be given to her easily, and she would have to literally fight on each and every step just because she was a woman. June was one of the few people in the Miami-Dade department who could speak Spanish, and that gave her an edge over others.
As mentioned earlier, creative liberties have been taken by the makers when it comes to portraying the nitty-gritty of the investigation. Certain things have been added just to dramatize the narrative and give a kind of arc to June Hawkins’s character. It is shown in the series that June goes through a kind of introspective phase in her life when she sees Griselda’s sons getting killed in the drug war. She realized how unpredictable life was, and that’s what made her quit the force because she wanted to give more time to her family. But this is not exactly true. Griselda’s case didn’t have a role to play in the scheme of things, and the death of the boys wasn’t the reason why June took that decision. Also, the investigation was a joint effort of the entire CENTAC unit, and other officers like Singleton contributed to it.
Where Are June And Eric Now?
June left Miami after she retired and settled in Tennessee with her husband, Al Singleton. She is quite active on social media, and she keeps herself updated with all the political developments happening in the country. She never hesitates to voice her own opinion and criticize the government for its policies. She raised her son, Eric Reynolds, to be a kind and humble man, and following in his mother’s footsteps, the boy joined the Boynton Beach police force before he retired, opened his own venture, and also started working as a sports nutritionist and personal trainer. Today, he runs a venture named Keto Five-O Cops and Campers, where he sells all sorts of accessories with the motive of spreading awareness of how eating patterns, diet, and various other aspects determine the well-being of an individual.
Today, Eric is doing well, but there was a time in 2012 when things went really downhill, and he had a hard time coping with everything. Eric, while he was serving the Boynton Beach police force, was a part of a shootout. The entire incident had a really adverse impact on his mental health. He went for therapy, and he worked on himself to come out of the abyss he was stuck in and start once again from the beginning. The entire chapter of Eric going through something like that had an impact on June’s life, too. She had seen people die, but her fear of losing her own son really made her feel scared. June, while being interviewed on a radio talk show called Law Enforcement Talk: True Crime and Trauma Stories, said that after the incident, Eric called her, and her heart sank listening to the incident because she knew that he had made a near escape. Today, June takes a lot of pride in the kind of man Eric has become and how valiantly he fought the traumas of his past life.