New Netflix series Griselda is a fictionalised ccount of the true story of Griselda Blanco, a murderous cartel leader who became one of the most prolific drug traffickers in Central America.


The six-part drama explores how Blanco - who earned the nicknames "Cocaine Godmother" and "Black Widow" thanks to her ruthless reputation - managed to rise through the ranks of Miami’s criminal underworld in the 1970s and 80s.

Griselda also explores how Blanco was able to evade law enforcement for such a long time before she met her downfall at the hands of intelligence analyst June Hawkins.

But who was the real June Hawkins from Netflix's Griselda and what happened to her? Read on for everything you need to know about the real-life figure.

Is June Hawkins a real person in Griselda?

Yes. Hawkins, played by Juliana Aidén Martinez, is an intelligence analyst-cum-translator who became part of anti-drug task force CENTAC – Central Tactical Unit.

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Hawkins was a real-life Miami police sergeant.

What happened to the real June Hawkins from Griselda?

Juliana Aidén Martinez as June Hawkins in Griselda.
Juliana Aidén Martinez as June Hawkins in Griselda. Netflix

Hawkins, who was born in Miami to a Cuban mother, studied criminal justice at Florida State University before becoming a police officer in 1975 and serving for 30 years.

During an appearance on the Law Enforcement Talk podcast in 2017, Hawkins spoke about the sexism she faced from some of her male colleagues during her time in the force.

"In the beginning I was probably the only female on most of the platoons and... squads that I was on for a good while, probably the first five years," she said.

"They teased me... and the guys in the beginning especially, you could tell they were testing you, they needled you a little. Maybe they'd use really crude language to see if you got offended. But to me, it just wasn't a big deal. Sure, I had some guys that a little bit sexually harassed me... but I just kept on trucking.

"I was too busy making a living, doing my job, trying to be Eric's mum (her only child also became a police officer and serves in Boynton Beach, Florida). I didn't have time to play around or be the flirtatious little chickadee that maybe some of them expected from females."

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But eventually, there was a shift in their attitude towards Hawkins.

"It was a two-sided coin because on the one hand, there was a lot of suspicion and apprehension on the part of my male colleagues about what are these women doing in here now," she explained.

"But on the other hand... once they realised that I was really sincere, that I was a single mother, that I had to earn a living to support my son and this wasn't just a lark for me, then they became my big brothers.

"And I was serious. I'd say I was pretty dedicated and I think I was a pretty good cop. And I was very determined. I would have walked over hot coals to keep my job and do a good job."

Hawkins went on to discuss what she's most proud of from her time in the police.

"Working in homicide during '79, '80, '81 is probably not only the thing I'm most proud of, but the thing I most enjoyed because I really did impact... it was exciting, it was purposeful, I had a fire in the belly and lightning in my veins, and I was going to get those bad guys."

She added: "Because I speak Spanish and in those days, there weren't that many Spanish speakers on the department and they used me as kind of like an intelligence analyst to filter through all the names of all the people and make out who they were. And then I'd talk to informants and I'd write all these memos. I prepared a big report that wound up going to Washington with about 40 cases connected to it."

But despite being labelled a "trailblazer" and a "pioneer", Hawkins didn't regard herself as such at the time.

"I do believe that when you're in something, when you're so right up there next to it, that until you step away from it and time and years pass, that is when you see the perspective that perhaps others did," she said. "Then you can appreciate what you did."

Hawkins went on to marry Al Singleton, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective, who also appears in the show and works alongside her following detective Raul Diaz's exit.

Co-creator Eric Newman told and other press that Hawkins was an "invaluable consultant" on the show, with co-creator and writer Doug Miro adding: "They [Hawkins and Singleton] were able to give us colour and insight into who Griselda was and what the course of her story was."

Newman also drew parallels between Hawkins and Blanco, despite the two women being on opposing teams.

"She is a woman of Latin descent, a single mother in an almost equally male dominated environment, she was underestimated and dismissed because she was a woman, and she had to work twice as hard," said Newman. "And she had to find her own way and use skills that the men didn't have.

"When she proved her worth, she was able to ascend, but there was always a ceiling. Griselda, to her, never became a hero, but was inspiring, in a way."

Newman also explained how "resistant" people were to believe Griselda was a woman, despite Hawkins's insistence.

"The more that she maintained that it was a woman [who was responsible], the more they were resistant to the idea that it was a woman," he added.

"It was very hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that the person responsible for helping to make Miami the murder capital of America for a number of years was a woman who was really good at getting people to kill for her."

Where is the real June Hawkins now?

Hawkins is now retired and lives in Tennessee.

She retired in 2004, although she was on the books for a little longer.

Griselda is available to stream now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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