In Netflix’s historical series ‘Griselda,’ the setting of the narrative is an important character as any other one. Griselda Blanco’s rise and fall as the “Godmother” of her city’s drug scene is also a tale of the same region’s rise and fall as one of the nation’s most dangerous narcotic hubs. The real-life Griselda was an unignorable part of the period’s narcotics and crime history. Doug Miro, Eric Newman, Carlo Bernard, and Ingrid Escajeda’s series recollects that history to portray how a woman ruled several streets on the East Coast of the country!
The Magic City from the 1970s to 2000s
‘Griselda’ is mainly set in Miami, South Florida, from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. Griselda Blanco leaves the city of Medellín, Colombia, towards the end of the ‘70s to start a new chapter of her life in Miami. Her rise to become one of the most important drug dealers in the region happens in the concluding years of the same decade. By the start of the 1980s, Griselda starts to rule the city as the “Godmother.” Her attempts to eliminate her competition, mainly Papo Mejia, take place in the first few years of the ‘80s. The Mutiny Hotel, the hub of the city’s drug dealers, is situated at Biscayne Bay, which is located southwest of the Downtown Miami Historic District on the Eastern Seaboard.
The Mutiny is located and Griselda’s operations with her high-end clients take place in Coconut Grove or The Grove, one of the most affluent neighborhoods of Miami. The creators of the show were heavily invested in building the world of Griselda. “Miami in the 1970s and 1980s gave us an opportunity to really be cheeky and have fun with the world-building. The music, the architecture, the wardrobe, the set designs really inspired me to create a unique tone, which is a bit surreal, joyful, sexy, but also transgressive and unconventional,” Andrés Baiz, the director and one of the executive producers of the show, told Netflix’s Tudum.
From Medellín to Long Beach
Several flashback sequences in the series are set in Medellín, the capital of Colombia’s Antioquia province and the center of the infamous Medellín Cartel, co-founded by Pablo Escobar. Griselda worked as a drug dealer with her husband Alberto in Medellín in the late 1970s. The scenes set in the place offer a window into her life before she becomes the Godmother. Medellín is a place extremely close to Griselda in reality. She not only thrived in the city before moving to Miami but also died in the same region. After getting murdered, Griselda is buried in the Montesacro Cemetery, which is around 11 miles away from the center of Medellín.
In the show, the first meeting between Griselda and Rafa Salazar happens on Norman’s Cay, a small island that is a part of The Bahamas. It is one of the islands that form the Bahamian district of the Exumas. In reality, the island was the hub of Carlos Lehder’s drug smuggling operations as the place was considered a transshipment base for smuggling cocaine into the United States. Lehder formed the Medellín Cartel with Escobar, Salazar’s bosses the Ochoa Brothers, and others. The meeting must have happened in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
A small sequence featuring Darío Sepúlveda, Griselda’s husband, is also set in Colombia. To safeguard their son Michael from the crimes of the latter’s mother, Darío flees Miami with the boy to end up in his home country, where he gets killed by the men sent by his wife. The show concludes with Griselda’s arrest in Long Beach, California. In reality, the arrest happened in the year 1985 at her house in the city of Irvine, which is around thirty miles away from Long Beach. As the series depicts, she was then transported to Miami. The series concludes with Griselda’s release from prison, which happened in the year 2004 in reality.
The filming of ‘Griselda’ took place mainly in Miami and Los Angeles. Californian cities like Long Beach and Redondo Beach also hosted the production of the limited series. Although scenes that feature Darío’s birthday celebrations are set in Miami, they were mainly shot in Casa Oceana, a beachfront estate in Long Beach.
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