Netflix’s Griselda has emerged as one of 2024’s major television hits, with audiences and critics both having nice things to say about it. The biographical crime drama tells the story of Griselda Blanco, aka, The Cocaine Godmother, who ruled the Miami underworld in the ‘70s and ‘80s and helped establish cocaine trade links between Colombia and the United States. At the height of her criminal empire, her distribution ring is reported to have brought in a whopping $80 million a month.
From marvelous performances (especially from Sofia Vergara as the titular lead) to the incorporation of ‘80s pop hits into the soundtrack, Griselda is a perfect show in many ways. The only thing worth complaining about is the length, since it ends after just six episodes. Thankfully, there are many options for viewers looking for dramas of the same kind. Similar shows are mainly those that have women crime bosses or revolve around the drug trade. Here are 15 TV shows like Griselda to watch next.
15 ZeroZeroZero (2020)
Based on Robert Sariano’s similarly titled novel, ZeroZeroZero is an intriguing story of a cocaine shipment’s journey from Mexico to Italy. The suppliers are Mexican narco-traffickers, Enrique and Jacinto Leyra, aided by corrupt law enforcement officers, and the buyer is the mafia boss, Don Minu La Piana. Right in the middle is an American family known as the Lynwoods, the owners of the shipping company needed to make it all happen. The show’s title is derived from the whitest wheat flour (000), which is the same term drug traffickers use to refer to the purest cocaine.
The Complexities of the Supply Chain
ZeroZeroZero digs deep into the complexities of the supply chain, showing how the presence of numerous intermediaries always makes things complicated and reduces the profit margins for the supplier while increasing the cost for the buyer. The same kind of dynamics play out in Griselda, where Colombian traffickers try to either unseat or buy out Blanco so that they can have easy penetration into the Miami market and the United States at large. Stream on Prime Video
14 Queen of the South (2016-2021)
Based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s novel, La Reina del Sur, Queen of the South chronicles the rise of Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) from a poor woman in Sinaloa, Mexico, to the biggest drug trafficker south of the United States. Her growth opportunities are born out of misfortunes, as she is first forced to flee Mexico when her Sicario boyfriend gets murdered, only to find herself working for the estranged wife of the kingpin who is after her. Slowly, she begins learning about the business and eventually builds her empire.
An Immigrant Making the Most of New Surroundings
Queen of the South is perhaps the closest thing to Griselda, as both shows have similar protagonists and plots. Each story features women who flee from their home countries and settle in America. They then go on to become major drug traffickers. Griselda Blanco has to move from Medellín to Miami after she kills her abusive husband, but the switch turns out to be a blessing in disguise. While in their new surroundings, both women have to overcome challenges stemming from chauvinism, and within no time, they become forces to reckon with. Stream on Netflix
13 Animal Kingdom (2016-2022)
From its title, Animal Kingdom could be mistaken for a Nat Geo documentary, but it’s a gripping crime drama. Based on the Australian film of the same name — which was inspired by the notorious criminal Pettingill family — the show covers the adventures of the law-breaking Cody family, headed by the matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin). The Codys make a living by partaking in different kinds of criminal activities in Oceanside, California.
Sons at the Center of the Criminal Empire
Among the things that make Griselda enjoyable is the drug trafficker’s strong bond with her sons. She loves them dearly and is willing to do everything to protect them. Well, Smurf exhibits the same motherly love to the point where incest is hinted at. She is happy to see her sons making major moves in the underworld and spoils them to the point where they become irresponsible. Unfortunately, fans are unlikely to be served any spin-offs because TNT discontinued scripted programming. Stream on Max
12 Power Book II: Ghost (2020-Present)
Power happens to be one of the shows with the most spinoffs and Power Book II: Ghost is arguably its best one. It follows the young Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.), the rebellious son of the parent show’s antihero, as he juggles between college life and criminal undertakings. While trying to make a name for himself in the underworld, Tariq is forced to deal with the ruthless crime boss, Monet Tejada (Mary J. Blige), and her equally bloodthirsty children.
Monet Is also a Black Widow
Apart from The Cocaine Godmother, Griselda Blanco was also known as The Black Widow because she killed three of her husbands. Money from Power Book II: Ghost doesn’t love unconditionally either. So far, she has killed two of her lovers, including the lover of her children, and hasn’t lost sleep about it. Dating her is clearly a mistake, but her charm and grit are too powerful for men to resist. Apart from the murder and mayhem, both shows heavily rely on the theme of family and feature law enforcement officers in recurring roles. Stream on Max
11 Claws (2017-2022)
Claws follows nail salon owner Desna Simms (Niecy Nash) and her employees, as they launder money for a criminal outfit while attempting to set up their own independent illegal businesses. As expected, her lifestyle constantly gets her in trouble, but she soon becomes so addicted to it that she refuses to quit. When she is not having confrontations with crime bosses, she spends time taking care of her autistic brother, Dean.
Blood and Color
Claws and Griselda are both violent shows that are very pleasing to the eyes. The cinematography is stunning, thanks to the use of many colors. Both shows are set in Florida, a state that’s known to have better-looking backgrounds compared to areas like New York or Washington. Additionally, the costume choices contribute to the color splash as the women are shown to be fashion-savvy. Despite the paradise-like setting, there is rarely any peace. People get shot every few minutes, but there is never a reason to be concerned, since the characters are tough enough. Stream on Hulu
10 All the Queen’s Men (2021-Present)
All the Queen’s Men is one of the most underrated gangster shows to come out in recent times. It’s all because BET shows rarely get any major mainstream press, but genre fans need to check it out. At the center of the events is Marilyn “Madam” DeVille (Eva Marcille), who masquerades as the proprietor of a male strip club, but is secretly a crime boss.
The Same Brand of Barbarity
Viewers who enjoyed watching Griselda because of Griselda Blanco’s unique brand or ruthlessness will love All the Queen’s Men. Griselda strangling people with her bare hands or ordering party guests to bark like dogs? Madam exhibits similar ruthlessness. She beheads people using an ancient guillotine that she builds underneath her club, and is happy to lock enemies inside cages before throwing them in swimming pools. Each of these women understands that they have to appear scary to be respected by their subordinates, so they keep topping their acts of cruelty. Stream on BET+ or Prime Video
9 Gangs of London (2020-Present)
Shows adapted from video games are rare, but once in a while, fans get treated to something as captivating as Gangs of London. In it, chaos erupts in London’s criminal underworld, after a respected boss dies. His son, Sean Wallace (played by Joe Cole from Peaky Blinders), tries to tighten the ship, but the power struggles brought about by the Albanian Mafia, Welsh travelers, Kurdish PKK freedom fighters, a Pakistani cartel, and various other factions prove to be too complicated.
No Peaceful Co-existence
The lack of harmony between different criminal factions is the main thing Gangs of London has in common with Griselda. Here, criminals keep trying to take each other out, and the same is the case in the Netflix series, where different bosses are shown to be uncomfortable with Blanco’s influence. As much as the main characters of both shows try to get everyone to be reasonable, no major progress is ever made. Consequently, violence keeps interfering with business, resulting in unfavorable outcomes for all parties. Stream on Prime Video
8 Narcos (2015-2017)
- Release Date
- August 28, 2015
- Pedro Pascal , Matias Padin , Damian Alcazar , Alberto Ammann , Michael Stahl-David
The first two seasons of Narcos cover the rise and fall of the infamous Colombian narco-terrorist, Pablo Escobar, while the third sees the more disciplined Cali Cartel taking over after his death. The Netflix series also focuses on DEA agents as they try different methods to end the drug menace and cut off the increasing supply to the United States.
There Is a Correlation
Griselda is linked to Narcos because Griselda Blanco and Pablo Escobar were both from Medellín, and, in fact, knew each other. The new series even begins with an Escobar quote: “The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco.” Additionally, there are rumors that Griselda was a member of Escobar’s Medellín cartel during its early stages, though this has never been confirmed. Besides that, both shows are produced by the same person: Eric Newman, and have similar tones and themes. Fans of either show will, therefore, find it very easy to enjoy the other. Stream on Netflix
7 Ozark (2017-2022)
- Release Date
- July 21, 2017
In Ozark, Chicago-based financial advisor, Marty Byrde finds himself in trouble when his business partner skims $8 million from a Mexican drug cartel that they have been laundering money for. To avoid getting killed, Marty (Jason Bateman) makes a new proposal to the cartel enforcer, promising to launder $500 million in four years in the Missouri Ozarks. He and his family thus relocate there, but Marty finds himself having to deal with a major obstacle: his ambitious wife, Wendy (Laura Linney).
Plenty of Badass Women Characters
While Ozark is primarily a Marty Byrde story, it excels because of its numerous badass women characters. Those who enjoyed watching Griselda Blanco bossing the proceedings will be impressed by Wendy as she moves out of her husband’s shadow and makes deals for herself. There is also the opium dealer, Darlene Snell, who is arguably one of TV’s most sadistic villains, the soulless cartel lawyer, Helen Pierce, and the tough-talking hillbilly, Ruth Langmore. Stream on Netflix
6 Good Girls (2018-2021)
Financial strain often leads to desperation and impulsiveness, so in Good Girls, three suburban mothers, led by the proactive Beth (played by Christina Hendricks from the Mad Men cast), decide to rob a supermarket. The plan is for it to be a one-time gig, but it turns out the business is a front for a money laundering operation. In exchange for sparing their lives, the gang leader, Rio, gets them under his thumb and forces him to do various criminal gigs for him.
Beth is as resourceful and fearless as Griselda Blanco. She never flinches whenever she is threatened, and always finds a way to overcome every problem. Most importantly, she has a passion for crime. Her friend and sister yearn to get back to their former lives, but Beth grows to love crime, so she never stops. She also charts the same path as Griselda, first starting as an innocent mother before morphing into a criminal mastermind. Stream on Netflix
5 Mayans M.C. (2018-2023)
- Release Date
- September 4, 2018
Mayans M.C. is a sequel spin-off, whose events take place two-and-a-half years after those of the critically acclaimed crime series, Sons of Anarchy. The central character is the biker gang member, Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (J. D. Pardo), who considers himself a good man, but is often forced to do evil things to make a buck and to help his associates, with whom he is bonded by an oath.
Crime from a Latinx Perspective
Unlike the parent series, Mayans M.C. shows the biker gang lifestyle from a Latinx perspective. EZ’s charter is stationed at the Mexico-US border, paving the way for the incorporation of cartel storylines. The themes of family and immigration are explored in detail, making the show very similar to Griselda. Viewers not only get to understand the challenges that push ordinary people into the drug trade, but are also left appreciative of the efforts a few good people make to remain clean. Stream on Hulu
4 El Chapo (2017-2018)
The incarnated Mexican drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is well-known around the globe, but details about how he rose to power, and how he became as big as Escobar are not common knowledge. Thankfully, El Chapo fills all the information gaps that might exist. The show chronicles his rise from a low-level member of the Guadalajara Cartel to the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Creativity in Smuggling
While watching Griselda, one thing that immediately stands out about The Cocaine Godmother is her creativity. She uses women as mules because they draw less attention, and designs lingerie that has tiny compartments for drugs. Guzman demonstrates creativity, too, in El Chapo by employing various trafficking methods, including stuffing foodstuffs with cocaine. And when all options don’t work, he resorts to force. The two figures also have a lot in common when it comes to personality. They are ambitious, seeking to have full control over their territories, and never take no for an answer. Stream on Netflix
3 Snowfall (2017-2023)
Set in Los Angeles during the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic, Snowfall follows budding drug trafficker Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) and his friends as they morph into major players in the city’s underworld. CIA operative Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), Mexican luchador Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), and a Mexican drug lord’s niece, Lucia Villanueva (Emily Rios) also appear frequently.
A Historical Connection
Snowfall is an essential show for Griselda fans because they are historically linked. A character like Franklin Saint would never exist without Griselda Blanco. Cocaine from Colombia landed in Miami first and was handled by her before being distributed to other sections of the United States. Away from history, the FX show is as colorful as the Netflix one, and it follows the rise-and-fall format. By the finale, Franklin is no longer the big-time player he was. Stream on Hulu
2 Weeds (2005-2012)
- Release Date
- August 7, 2005
In Weeds, tough times drive Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a widowed mom of two boys, into the marijuana trade. As the show progresses, she finds herself deeper and deeper into criminal activity. Other recurring characters include Nancy’s dumb accountant, her neglectful brother-in-law, her conceited neighbor, and her wholesalers.
Crime on a Smaller Scale
For those wishing for a small-scale version of Griselda, Weeds is the answer. Better yet, it is a funny show. Nancy doesn’t have sicarios to carry out hits for her, but she is clever, hard-working, and ambitious, so she keeps getting better in her business endeavor every day. Additionally, her motivation (the version she gives) is the same as that of Griselda Blanco. She is a single mother who is determined to provide for her sons, so she does anything in her power to make that happen. Stream on Hulu
1 Narco-Saints (2021)
Narco-Saints dramatizes the life of a real-life Korean mechanic, In-gu, who grew tired of the low income he was getting in his country and moved to the little-known South Korean nation of Suriname to take advantage of the untapped seafood market. There, he found himself in bed with a cult leader who was secretly trafficking drugs and had most of the country’s political leadership under his payroll.
New Location, More Money
Settling in a new country and making more money there? Sounds very much like the Griselda Blanco story. With more money comes more problems. Part of In-gu regrets his decision to move to South America, but another part of him is proud of the person he has become. At some point in each of the shows, the two characters acknowledge that crying inside a mansion is better than laughing inside a single-room abode. Stream on Netflix