Real-Life June Hawkins In ‘Griselda’: Where Is CENTAC 26’s Officer Now?

Netflix’s Griselda is as much about Griselda Blanco as it is about June Hawkins, the female police officer who played a crucial part in catching the Godmother of Coke in Miami back in the day. In many ways, the show puts the two women in parallel positions, and despite their opposite professions, they face the same sort of problems. While Griselda was trying to make her name in the world of narcotics and drug lords, June was simply trying to do her job in the machismoland of the Miami police department. While in the show, we start with events that take place after 1978. June started as a police officer back in 1975. Not only was she a woman, but she was also a single mother, so you can only imagine the sort of discrimination she faced for simply existing, or at least, that’s how it’s depicted on the show. In the show, we see her being asked to keep the coffee warm and write memos. The so-called “police” force even makes sexually juvenile jokes about her. A lot of the details in the series are supposedly true to real life; however, we never get to see the true extent of Griselda’s habitual murdering and her scandalous lifestyle (much worse than depicted in the mini-series).


On the other hand, though, the real June Hawkins says she didn’t have time to be the kind of “female” officer that everyone expected back in the day. So she only saw the good side of the force, which is quite different from what we see in the depiction on Netflix, even if facts such as officers ignoring her memos and her instincts regarding Grisilda’s case were very true. However, it seems even to this day that there is some sort of apprehension when it comes to female officers, just because of preconceived notions about women and law enforcement. The real-life June, similar to Griselda, moved to Miami after a divorce with her son to make a new life for herself. She heard from a friend that the department was looking for Spanish-speaking people, and since she was half Cuban, she went for it. Suddenly, she had a 30-year career in the police force. June’s journey to becoming a homicide detective is quite fascinating, and the real-life hero claims she kept her head low and worked very hard to get where she had to. Of course, the series takes many liberties to parallel the lives of these two women and make it a more entertaining show; however, that doesn’t take away from the work June put into catching the murderous queenpin.

June, who is in her 70s right now, doesn’t believe herself to be special or a trailblazer as a female officer. In fact, there’s no mention of her anywhere when it comes to the case. I suppose the one thing that is really clear from hearing her talk and seeing the show is that she was very dedicated to raising her son and being there for him. Just like Griselda did everything for her sons, so did June, which is why the show could build so well on that aspect of things.


Spoilers Ahead

What Does June Symbolize?

Now that we’ve spoken a little bit about the real-life heroine, let’s quickly talk about what she does for the show. I find it rather interesting to see how many times in shows such as this, there’s a star detective or law enforcement officer who happens to be very determined to catch a single criminal and will go to any length to get that person. It’s rather fascinating how this whole experience parallels so well with parasocial relationships between fans and their favorite celebrities. I feel like in this particular series, we see this very clearly between June and Griselda. In order to get into Griselda’s head, June has to admire her and truly understand everything that she’s doing. I’d easily credit this particular phenomenon for her finding and decoding important information about Griselda that eventually led to her capture and imprisonment.


There are many moments in the series where June talks about Griselda being a mother. A single mother specifically, because it’s the one thing that puts June above all the male officers in her department; she knows how far Griselda will go to look out for her offspring. It’s just the same for June too. However, we can’t simply make it about gender when it comes to how she caught the narco. June used her intuition and actually listened to witnesses, unlike her male counterparts. However, later, she got some decent partners to work with. After Diaz got kicked out of his own taskforce, thanks to Griselda’s sneaky business, June ended up partnering with Al Singleton and continued the operations of CENTAC 26.

I suppose in the series, June’s role is a representation of everyone who worked collectively to catch Griselda Blanco. However, in real life, she was the only analyst who could speak Spanish and helped translate everything the witnesses said, making her very valuable. In the end, the show shines a light on the woman who played a huge role in finding her and was never named for it. It’s fantastic that the real June was able to contribute to the show and even helped actress Juliana Aidén Martinez understand her role in the case and how she navigated the male-only office space.


Where Is June Hawkins Now?

In the series, we see brief interactions between Hawkins and her partner, Al Singleton. In real life, soon after Griselda was caught in the 80s, Hawkins and Singleton hit it off as more than just friends. They were interviewed for a documentary and a book, and eventually they ended up married. On the other hand, Hawkins’ son, Eric, became a police officer in Florida and was involved in a vicious shooting incident. Eric is doing just fine now and lives with his wife and child. June did retire back in 2004, as shown in the series, after a career spanning 30 years. June Hawkins is still humble and doesn’t believe herself to be all that much, even after all these years. She’s definitely proud of what she’s done and how she’s raised her son.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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