The series, which comes out on Thursday 25 January, stars Sofía Vergara as Blanco, and has led to some controversy as the drug lord's son, Sepulveda Blanco, is suing Netflix for making the series and for using "private narratives" between Griselda and her family without consent.
Read more: Sofía Vergara transforms herself in 'Griselda' and leaves self-doubt behind (LA Times, 17-min read)
But who was Griseld Blanco, and why is she the centre of a new TV series? Here is everything you need to know about the true story behind the drama.
The true story behind Netflix's Griselda
Griselda is made by the creators of Narcos —Doug Miro, Andrés Baiz and Carlo Bernard— and it explores the life of the notorious drug lord from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Blanco was know as the "Godmother of Cocaine" after building a huge drug empire in Miami, establishing one of the largest networks to bring the illicit drug from Colombia to the US in cities like Miami, New York and California. She was a central figure in the drug wars in Miami during this time.
Blanco is believed to have begun her criminal career as a young girl in her home country, where she allegedly started taking part in petty crimes like pickpocketing. But things seem to have escalated quickly, as allegedly at the age of 11 she kidnapped a child and held him ransom, when his parents refused to pay Blanco is said to have shot him fatally.
The trafficker is believed to have illegally immigrated to the US in 1964 with her family, and she soon developed a ruthless reputation. She is believed to have ordered the attempted murder of her first husband, and to have ordered the assassination of her second husband, a trafficker named Alberto Bravo, in 1975 —which earned her the title of the "Black Widow".
In 1975, Blanco was wanted for drug charges and returned to Colombia to avoid being captured, though she ultimately returned to Miami in the late 1970s where she continued to thrive in the illegal drug trade. Blanco was said to be ruthless with her methods, and is believed to have been the person to first suggest that assassinations could be carried out as shoot-outs on motorbikes — a method that was used with increasing frequency during this period.
As a result, Blanco became one of the wealthiest drug traffickers in the world, netting $80m every month. In 1985, Blanco was arrested in order to face the 1975 drug charges made against her, and she was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Despite her incarceration, Blanco allegedly continued to run her drug empire from jail.
During her imprisonment, prosecutors sought to indict Blanco on additional charges —she is believed to have been implicated in 200 murders— and they sought the death penalty as a result. Prosecutors aimed to achieve this by having one of Blanco's hitmen testify in court against her in 1994, but he was embroiled in a phone sex scandal that harmed his credibility as a witness. In 1998, Blanco pled guilty in exchange for a shorter sentence, and she served six years before being given compassionate release after her health deteriorated in prison.
Blanco was deported to Colombia where she is said to have retired from criminal life. However, she was not to have a quiet life as the drug trafficker was assassinated in 2012 by a gunman on a motorcycle. She was killed whilst leaving a butcher shop in Medellín.
Griselda is set to be released on Netflix on Thursday, 25 January.
Watch the trailer for Griselda:
This article originally appeared on Yahoo TV UK at https://uk.news.yahoo.com/griselda-true-story-netflix-sofia-vergara-161909921.html