Why Narcos Creator Is Glad Griselda Takes Place In A Separate Universe

Summary

  • Eric Newman, showrunner for both Narcos and Griselda, is glad that the latter is not set in the same universe as the former because it allowed him to focus on Blanco’s unique story as a female drug lord in a male-dominated industry.
  • Connecting the two would have been risky, as it could have alienated new viewers who were not familiar with the previous shows.
  • The decision to keep Griselda its own separate entity from Narcos proved successful, as the show has received rave reviews, with Sofia Vergara’s performance being praised in particular.


Despite sharing a variety of connections, Eric Newman explains why he’s glad Netflix’s Griselda isn’t set in the same universe as Narcos. Newman was the showrunner on both titles at the streamer, with the latter being his latest and starring Sofia Vergara as the notorious Colombian drug lord, starting in the industry to support her family before her greed leads to her eventual downfall, including a prison sentence and the murder of her sons. The show has garnered rave reviews from critics, with Vergara’s performance in particular being singled out for praise.

During a recent interview with Screen Rant for Griselda‘s premiere, Newman opened up about keeping the show separate from the Narcos universe. The co-creator acknowledged that he and his team considered tying the two shows together, but just “couldn’t find a way” to do so, though ultimately felt it benefited the Vergara-led show. Check out what Newman explained below:

I couldn’t find a way to bring it into the Narcos universe, and I’m really glad that I didn’t because it paved the way for a phone call from Sofia asking me if I would help her become Griselda Blanco. And what was interesting, I think, about it for her was the same thing that was interesting about it for me: here is a mother, a woman succeeding in the most male-dominated culture and business maybe on earth. I think law enforcement is probably the other one, or at least was at the time.

And it was such a compelling story that I felt it had to be its own thing. It was not something that belonged in the Narcos’ universe. It needed to be her story and much more intimate telling. And it’s a tragedy, and like all great tragedies, you’re invested, and you’re rooting for this not to be a tragedy. You’re hoping that she figures it out and gets out at the right time and is able to provide for her children. So when she can’t, and she loses everything, you really feel it.


A Narcos & Griselda Connection Would’ve Been Too Risky

Between their shared homes of Colombia and being key figures in the Medellín Cartel during the Miami drug war era of the ’70s and ’80s, it would’ve been understandable for Newman to try and connect the Pablo Escobar-focused Narcos and Griselda together. Ultimately, however, he and his creative team, including Narcos co-creator Doug Miro, made the right choice in allowing the shows to exist in separate universes. By keeping the focus on the titular drug lord, it allowed the writers to better explore Blanco’s unique rise through the Colombian drug trade.

The other major reason tying Griselda and Narcos could’ve proven too risky for the former show would be audiences’ awareness of the latter. While once one of Netflix’s most popular shows during its run, it’s been almost three years since its spinoff, Narcos: Mexico, came to a close on the streamer and raised questions of how the two were connected, save for their true-story-based criminal drug empire settings. For those who didn’t watch the former shows, though, forcing a connection between them could’ve risked alienating new viewers.

Recent installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have found themselves crumbling under the weight of the franchise’s established past, requiring viewers to have seen everything up to a certain point to properly enjoy the next thing. By avoiding taking a similar approach and instead keeping the focus squarely on exploring Griselda‘s story, it made it an accessible show for all to watch, rather than solely relying on branching out the Narcos universe. With Vergara’s show even rivaling some of Newman’s prior seasons with its high Rotten Tomatoes score, the disconnected approach looks to have worked.

All seasons of Narcos, Narcos: Mexico and Griselda are available to stream on Netflix.

  • Griselda

    Griselda is a Netflix mini-series inspired by the savvy and ambitious Colombian businesswoman Griselda Blanco, who created one of the most profitable cartels in history. A devoted mother, Blanco’s lethal blend of charm and unsuspected savagery helped her expertly navigate between family and business, leading her to become widely known as the “Godmother.”

    Release Date
    January 25, 2024

    Cast
    Alberto Ammann , Paulina Davila , Alberto Guerra , Martin Rodriguez , Sofia Vergara , Diego Trujillo , Juliana Aidén Martinez , Christian Tappan , Gabriel Sloyer , Vanessa Ferlito , José Zúñiga

    Seasons
    1

    Writers
    Ingrid Escajeda , Doug Miro , Cassie Pappas

    Directors
    Andrés Baiz

    Showrunner
    Ingrid Escajeda

  • Narcos TV Series Poster

    Narcos

    Narcos is a crime-drama series created for Netflix based on the true story of Pablo Escobar, one of the wealthiest and most powerful drug cartel leaders to have ever lived. The show explores Escobar’s origins, rise, and subsequent fall in Colombia and beyond through the creation of a potent new drug known as cocaine and his other ruthless illegal business practices. 

    Release Date
    August 28, 2015

    Cast
    Boyd Holbrook , Damian Alcazar , Wagner Moura , Juan Sebastián Calero , Jorge Monterrosa , Alberto Ammann , Raúl Méndez , Juan Murcia , Pedro Pascal , Francisco Denis , Paulina Gaitan , Paulina Garcia

    Seasons
    3

    Writers
    Chris Brancato

    Directors
    Chris Brancato

    Showrunner
    Chris Brancato