The Finale of Netflix's 'Griselda' is a Cautionary Tale

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The Finale of 'Griselda' is a Cautionary Tale 2023 © Netflix

This story contains spoilers for Netflix's Griselda.

Netflix’s latest miniseries, Griselda, tells the violent tale of Griselda Blanco, who is known by many as "The Godmother of Cocaine." Directed by Andrés Baiz, Griselda stars Sofía Vergara as the infamous crime boss. And just to be clear—that's Netflix's interpretation of Griselda's story. You can read about the true story behind Griselda here.

Over the course of the series, we see Griselda rise from a struggling single mother into a feared drug lord. What comes next, of course, is her tumultuous downfall. No matter how impressive or successful—real-life or fiction—the tale of a power-hungry leader always comes crashing down, right? That said, let’s talk through the finale.

The series finale, titled “Adios Mami,” begins with Griselda questioning her morals after she accidentally murders a two-year-old boy named Chucho. Griselda ordered a hit on the boy's father— a former employee who she believed betrayed her—but the child was struck by a bullet instead. As Griselda processes the news, she tells her friend, Marta Ochoa, “I can’t stop thinking about it.” This is the first time Griselda has expressed any form of guilt throughout the series.

And that's not Griselda's only problem. She has also begun tapping into her own supply—which, of course, makes her deeply paranoid. In a fit of hysteria, Griselda begs Marta to apologize to the boy's family on her behalf, promising to make her a business partner if she agrees. Marta, who's spent the afternoon using drugs herself, agrees—and soon after overdoses in the living room. When Griselda calls her friend Rivi for help, he hides the body, but warns Griselda that Marta's family, the Ochoas—who run a rival cartel—won’t believe it was an accident. Also, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Association is tracking down Griselda. They even have one of her closest friends, Carmen, as a witness.

In order to evade the police and the Ochoas, Griselda moves to California. The only problem is that her partner, Dario, fled the state with their son, Michael. When Dario calls Griselda to tell her that Michael is safe, she threatens to rip his “pretty face” right off. “Do you hear yourself?” he responds. “That’s exactly why I left Miami, and I’m never coming back.” Though Dario knows that betraying Griselda is a death sentence, he believes kidnapping Michael will give him a better chance at life—even if, one day, Michael has to live without him.

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Griselda’s friend, - Netflix

Griselda is enraged but doesn’t have time to retaliate, so she grabs her three other sons and flees to Long Beach. She's safe for a while, but the Ochoas are on to her. When Rivi receives a tip that Griselda’s location has been disclosed, he rushes to a payphone, only to realize he’s out of quarters. He robs a bank for a roll and makes the phone call just in time. With minutes to spare, Griselda sends her sons to a restaurant for dinner and calls the police when they leave.

Moments later, the cops burst through the door. The Ochoas arrive shortly after and realize that Griselda turned herself in, robbing them of any chance of revenge. The woman is nothing if not clever, right?

While Griselda is in jail, Rivi grabs her sons and escorts them to Chicago. She thinks she can negotiate a plea deal, but in a shocking twist, Rivi testifies against her. Remember that bank he robbed just a few scenes ago? Well, the whole ordeal was caught on camera, and the cops used Rivi’s license plate to locate him. They tell Rivi he’s connected to a slew of murderers and has two options: Face the death penalty or snitch on Griselda for immunity and protection. He chooses the latter.

Griselda thinks she’s been betrayed, but Rivi has one last trick up his sleeve. As the prosecutors’ star witness, he receives special treatment—which includes his own handler. She happens to be the District Attorney's naive assistant. And guess what? She develops feelings for Rivi. One day, they’re caught having phone sex—and just like that, he’s exempt from testifying against Griselda in court.

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Griselda gets the action-shot treatment.Netflix

I guess courting a member of your team is a legal faux pas. Either way, without his testimony, Griselda can’t be charged for her murders—and she evades the death penalty, too. Griselda learns the news from her lawyer, who passes along a message from Rivi. “Denada.”

Griselda winds up serving seven years in prison. During her stay, she orders hitmen to kill Dario and sends Michael to live with his brothers. They visit her in jail, and she promises they’ll live as a family as soon as she gets out. Then, toward the end of her sentence, the detective who arrested her stops by for a visit. She has bad news. “Ms. Blanco, your sons have been attacked,” she says. Apparently, someone shot Dixon while he was walking to his car. Plus, Ozzy was ambushed in a nightclub, and Uber was shot in Colombia while making a drug deal. Her only living son is Michael, who’s back with his grandmother in Colombia.

The series ends with Griselda taking in the news and (seemingly) understanding the consequences of her actions. She spent her adulthood chasing wealth and harming others in the process, hoping that she could provide a better life for her sons. Sure, she was successful. Griselda Blanco was the most ruthless and profitable drug dealer of her time. But at what cost?

Well, the episode ends with Griselda in jail. She escapes reality by imagining herself on a beach that she once visited with her children. It’s one of her few happy memories—but now, even in her daydreams, she’s alone.

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