Sofia Vergara wants an Emmy for “Griselda”

Actress Sofia Vergara speaks in a campaign video for Foster Grant X Sofia Vergara in 2020. Photo credit: Britt Bellamy, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Actress Sofia Vergara speaks in a campaign video for Foster Grant X Sofia Vergara in 2020.
Actress Sofia Vergara speaks in a campaign video for Foster Grant X Sofia Vergara in 2020. Photo credit: Britt Bellamy, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Miami Beach was warm and breezy on Jan. 23 as Netflix premiered their latest narco drama, “Griselda,” based on the life of notorious drug trafficker Griselda Blanco.

Emmy-nominated actress Sofia Vergara steps out of her comfort zone and takes on the role of “The Cocaine Godmother.” In addition to being the lead, she also took up an executive producer role alongside “Narcos” creator, Doug Miro.

“I couldn’t have done it without him [Miro], without Netflix, everybody who supported me and believed that Gloria Prichard was able to play Griselda Blanco. It was a big, big thing for me,” Vergara said at the Miami premiere.

The cast also includes a wonderful Latino ensemble with Alberto Guerrea, Martin Rodriguez, Juliana Aiden Martinez, Vanessa Ferlito, Christian Tappan and a debuting Karol G in her first foray into acting.

Without a doubt, Vergara is aiming at an Emmy or Golden Globe nomination with this role. She seamlessly transforms into the infamous narco queen within the first episode as we are taken back to 1978 Miami.

Her performance is raw, fierce and fluid as she embodies a frustrated woman determined to make an impact in a male-run industry. The show emphasizes the obstacles that Griselda faced within the patriarchal drug game.

In the first two episodes, Griselda is viewed by her male counterparts as a sex object that is in way over her head. Even the police refuse to believe that a woman is capable of making drug deals, let alone begin an empire.

Eventually, Griselda creates some loyal allies in her hitman-to-boyfriend-to-husband, Dario, and her former enemy-turned-loyal-sicario, Rivi.

Actress Juliana Aidén Martinez plays police detective June Hawkins, a counterpart to Griselda who also has trouble getting her fellow cops to take her seriously. They don’t initially believe that a female narco is in Miami, even though June continually provides substantial evidence.

June has to fight both the narco terror rampaging her city and the men who don’t believe that she’s capable of doing her job.

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One of the series’ highlights is how authentically Colombian it is. Every character speaks in slang and carries a natural accent. Little moments, like when Griselda takes a shot of Aguardiente, a popular alcoholic drink in Colombia, that help tie the show into reality.

The use of repeated visuals throughout the show along with its admiration to Miami’s palette colored Art Deco style truly helps bring together the Cocaine Cowboy era. Though some of the shots are clearly in Los Angeles, the occasional name drops of Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and other Miami neighborhoods help bring you back in.

The show loves to play with its timeline. It initially starts off at the early tides of the cocaine crisis in 1978, moving to key moments such as the Dadeland Mall Shooting of 1979 and ending with the eventual arrest of Griselda in 1985.

The key episode to keep an eye out for is the fourth one titled “Middle Management,” where Vergara truly transforms into the most tactical and ruthless version of Griselda. Blood and carnage run rampant throughout the episode, a perfect culmination of what makes watching “Griselda” worthwhile.

Vergara will just leave you astonished and surprised that this Diabolical, drug-crazed and loving mother all rolled into one was within her acting range.

The show could’ve used at least two more episodes to flesh out side characters like Dario, Rivi or Griselda’s sons as they all bring out Griselda’s vulnerability.

Like the Netflix show “Narcos,” “Griselda” has been criticized for romanticizing narco culture, but our anti-hero doesn’t exactly get a happy ending.

Vergara delivers the performance of her career in a show that’s semi-accurate to its historical portrayal of the Cocaine Godmother. Netflix takes liberties with characters, locations and history in this show, but it’s worth a watch if you want a quick binge-watch.