5 best Netflix shows like 'Griselda'

Griselda. Sofia Vergara as Griselda in episode 103 of Griselda. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Sofía Vergara may be known best for her Emmy-nominated work as the feisty, fun-loving Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, but the Barranquilla-born actress recently shocked TV fans with her transformative turn as notorious Colombian drug lord, Griselda Blanco, in the Netflix miniseries "Griselda."

Where to stream "Griselda"

All six episodes of "Griselda" are streaming on Netflix.

The six-part biographical crime drama — which is a fictional dramatization of the real-life story of "Griselda Blanco's journey from Medellín to becoming 'the Godmother' of Miami's drug empire," per Netflix — debuted on the streamer on Thursday, January 25, and quickly shot up to No. 1 on the platform's most-watched list. The combination of the 1970s period details, the gritty, gripping storylines and Vergara's acclaimed portrayal of the ambitious cartel queen (down to "Blanco’s lethal blend of unsuspected savagery and charm") clearly won over Netflix viewers.

It's not a surprise that "Griselda" was successful in selling its subject matter, given that it was co-created by "Narcos" and "Narcos: Mexico" showrunner Eric Newman and all six hourlong episodes were directed by fellow "Narcos" alum Andrés Baiz. (Along with starring in the series, Vergara also executive produced the title.)

And if it's more captivating cartel drama you're after, these five Netflix shows like "Griselda" should be added to your watchlist. 


Pedro Pascal in Narcos season 3

(Image credit: Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix)

As mentioned, "Narcos" is a natural watch-next option once you're finished with "Griselda," given the writing and production talent behind both series. Like "Griselda", this Netflix drama is based on the story of a real-life cartel kingpin — this time, Colombian drug lord and Medellín Cartel leader Pablo Escobar, played by Wagner Moura. (Fun fact: Legend has it that Escobar once said, “The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco.”)

The gritty series, which ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2017 and expanded with a similarly acclaimed spinoff series "Narcos: Mexico," chronicled Escobar's billion-dollar rise through the cocaine trade in the 1980s and '90s, as well as his dramatic fall at the hands of the Colombian police, the U.S. government and rival gangs like the Cali Cartel. The show is told from the point of view of Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), DEA agents tasked with bringing down Escobar and the other cocaine-trafficking cartels. 

Stream on Netflix

'Queen of the South'

Queen of the South

(Image credit: USA Network)

An English-language remake of the Telemundo telenovela "La Reina del Sura," which is adapted from Arturo Pérez-Reverte's 2002 novel of the same name, "Queen of the South" centers around another woman who gains wealth and power by building a vast drug empire. 

Unlike Griselda, though, our heroine here — Teresa Mendoza, played by Alice Braga— is fictional, but her story still feels stressfully high stakes through the show's five seasons, which aired from 2016 to 2021 on USA Network. Teresa is a poor woman living in the Culiacán barrio in Sinaloa, Mexico whose world flips after she falls for a member of a drug cartel. 

When her boyfriend is killed, she flees across the border to Dallas, Texas, where she not only plans to avenge his death by bringing down the drug trafficking ring that murdered him but also becoming the country's top drug smuggler. 

Stream on Netflix


Ozark season 4 photo with Jason Bateman as Martin 'Marty' Byrde, Sofia Hublitz as Charlotte Byrde, Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde

(Image credit: Netflix)

Mexican drug cartels meet Missouri's Ozarks region in this Emmy-winning crime drama, which stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as Marty and Wendy Byrde, a married couple who move their family from Chicago to Osage Beach to set up a money-laundering scheme that will pay off a major debt to a scary drug boss (Felix Solis as Omar Navarro). Marty and Co. must launder $500 million in five years, so it goes without saying that things are plenty stressful in the Byrde household, as the family gets more and more involved in the area's criminal underbelly.

The series, which also stars Julia Garner, Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner, was critically acclaimed through its four-season Netflix run, nabbing 45 Emmy nominations including three nods for Outstanding Drama Series, an Outstanding Directing win for Bateman in 2019, and three wins for Garner's supporting work. 

Stream on Netflix

'El Chapo'

El Chapo

(Image credit: UNIVISION)

Similar to "Griselda," "El Chapo" is a crime biography series that follows the rags-to-riches-to-ruin story of another world-famous drug lord, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. 

Starring Marco de la O as the titular character, the three-season drama — which premiered on Univision in 2017 before it began airing on Netflix worldwide — trails the kingpin's early days in the 1980s working for the Guadalajara Cartel, to his powerful heyday in the '90s as the head of the international crime syndicate, the Sinaloa Cartel and culminates with his ultimate downfall in the 2010s. (And, yes, we even get another perspective on Escobar, played here by actor Mauricio Mejía.)

Stream on Netflix

'Breaking Bad'

Breaking Bad

(Image credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

There are few TV shows, let alone crime dramas, that are as universally loved and lauded as "Breaking Bad." The AMC series, which premiered in January 2008 and concluded five seasons later in September 2013, focuses on the odd-couple meth-cooking collaboration between high-school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his former pupil Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). 

When Walter is faced with an inoperable lung cancer diagnosis, he takes to a life of crime to make sure that his family — wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and teen son (RJ Mitte) — will be financially provided for upon his death. However, as Walter and Jesse's crystal-meth operation becomes more and more successful, the men run into trouble not only with other local drug lords (like Giancarlo Esposito's Gus Fring) but also with law enforcement, including Walt's own DEA agent brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris).  

Stream on Netflix

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is a writer-editor covering culture, food and drink, travel and general lifestyle in New York City. She was previously the Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life, the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.