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Everything we know about Sofía Vergara's new crime drama 'Griselda'

The Emmy-nominated actor takes on her darkest role yet in the Netflix series, out in January.
/ Source: TODAY

Sofía Vergara takes on her darkest role yet in “Griselda,” a new Netflix crime drama about the dark world of drug queenpin Griselda Blanco.

In her first role since being the fun and sassy Gloria Pritchett in “Modern Family,” the Emmy-nominated actor underwent a total transformation to portray the notorious Colombian head of a cartel.

The first trailer for the six hour-long episodes dropped on Nov. 30, showcasing a never-before-seen side of Vergara. The first look shows how Griselda has successfully been distributing cocaine in Miami and the danger that she puts — not only her family and friends — but herself in.

Produced by Vergara and the team behind the “Narcos” franchise, “Griselda” also includes the on-screen debut of Karol G, as well as co-stars Alberto Guerra, Christian Tappan, Martín Rodríguez, Juliana Aidén Martinez and Vanessa Ferlito.

What is 'Griselda' about?

“Griselda” follows the ambitious Griselda Blanco (Vergara), who would go on to be known as La Jefa (The Boss) and Godmother, after she builds one of the most profitable cartels in the ‘70s and ‘80s in Miami.

Per the show's notes, Griselda spent 10 years as the brains behind her husband Alberto’s (Darío Sepúlveda) drug trafficking operation in Medellín, Colombia, and New York. When she gets the chance to escape to Miami with her three sons, she uses that knowledge to build her own empire.

The miniseries shows the Colombian queenpin — known for being ruthless, savage and yet charming — use her lethal blend of unsuspected savagery to handle the dark business of drug trafficking all while raising her sons.

Sofia Vergara in her darkest role yet in "Griselda."
Sofia Vergara in her darkest role yet in "Griselda."COURTESY OF NETFLIX

As shown in the trailer, Griselda's journey will not be an easy one as she goes head-to-head with other notorious drug dealers, putting her life at risk. At the same time, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seeks to bring down her highly successful operation.

"She didn't walk like a woman who's a girlfriend," one woman can be heard saying in Spanish in the trailer.

"Well, how did she walk?" another asks.

"Like the boss."

Is 'Griselda' based on a true story?

“Griselda” is inspired by real events and the real-life Griselda Blanco. Born in 1943 in Cartagena, Colombia, she would relocate to Medellín when she was a child and have a rough and violent upbringing, per Vice.

According to the BBC, Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia. During her reign, she established many of the smuggling routes that the Medellín cartel would eventually take over after she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking in the U.S.

After returning to Colombia, Blanco was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding assassination when she was leaving a butcher shop in Medellín in September 2012, NBC News reported at the time.

She would become known as Godmother of Cocaine and Black Widow. However, in her depiction of Blanco, Vergara said they were not trying to "glorify her" in the show.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda in "Griselda."
Sofía Vergara as Griselda in "Griselda."Netflix

“Most of the people know of Griselda as the ruthless, violent drug lord that she was,” Vergara said in the press notes. “So we were very careful not to glorify her in the series. But we also wanted to take time to uncover the deeper story of Griselda, how beyond all odds, a poor, uneducated woman from Colombia managed to create a massive, multi-billion dollar empire in a male-dominated industry, in a country that was not her own, through tactics that she devised that were both ingenious and cruel.”

Vergara is quick to note that despite breaking down barriers, Griselda is “definitely not a hero and she should not be idolized.” She added that it’s an exploration and origin story of “the making of a monster.”

The series has resulted in Blanco’s son, Michael Corleone Blanco and his wife, Marie, suing Netflix for damages “in excess of $50,000,” as well as an emergency temporary injunction to block the release of the show, arguing that the series and its promotional materials use the unauthorized “image, likeness and/or identity” of family members, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

When will ‘Griselda’ be released?

Fans can see Sofía Vergara as the titular character in “Griselda” when it streams Jan. 25 on Netflix.