MONEY HEIST: The Epic Saga from SPAIN

Close to a thousand series releases every year, but seldom does a series gets so close to you that you start feeling a part of it. After a long long time (after BREAKING BAD to be precise) the series that instilled similar feelings into me was MONEY HEIST a.k.a LA CASA DE PAPEL. I don’t think that this series needs any introduction. Once the Spanish series was acquired by Netflix, it was topping the charts all across the globe. Today, its popularity and fanbase is on a different level altogether. Surprisingly, with the series you either find only its ‘Die-Hard’ fans or only its Haters. Well…I am a ‘Rare Species’ who is a die-hard fan of both Breaking Bad and Money Heist. The series seems a simple heist drama from the outside, but once you immerse yourself into it, you find that it is just one drop in the huge ‘Red’ Ocean of LOVE and RESISTANCE.

Watch Money Heist: The Phenomenon | Netflix Official Site

The Plot

A simple, non-existing man with absolutely no criminal record known as PROFESSOR leads a team of robbers. His real name Sergio is only known to his brother Berlin who is also a member of the gang (he being his brother is not known by others till very long). The gang consists of members of all types and varieties. Interestingly, the Professor and his brother Berlin themselves scout out the gang members. There is a hacker, the lock-breaking specialists, people with strong muscle power as well as some calm and sharp-minded people, and Professor leading them from the outside.

The whole team comprises as well as represents those who have been betrayed by society, those who have been living against poverty and those who want to rise against the system. The sequence, where the team throws the currency notes into the air for the general public, represents hitting back at poverty, prevalent in society. The main theme here is ‘Resistance’ against the oppressive and fascist regimes and no surprise why it has inspired many real-life protests as well. Also, they are thieves with conscience and don’t steal a penny belonging to the common public. Their initial heist was into the ROYAL MINT, where they printed enough currency notes for themselves and the second heist was into the BANK OF SPAIN, where they melted and transferred the whole gold reserve of the country. The second heist wasn’t intended but was done only because one of the members (Rio) was captured by the police.

What actually gives power to the show is its Characters. Every character has got a speciality of its own. Whether it is Tokyo narrating the whole story or it is Denver’s unique laugh. Not just in features, but also every character has got its own back story, which is emotional and incomplete. It leaves each one of them fighting both their inside demons as well as the roadblocks in the mission. Also, there are several forms of rivalries and differences between the gang members, upon which they fight in several instances. But once it comes to the mission, they all come together like a bunch.

Graffiti on the Jadavpur University campus that caught our attention - Telegraph India

Attributes and Symbolism

  1. BELLA CIAO: Well…I don’t think this song needs any introduction. The way it has become a part of every culture across the planet is just surreal. Actually, it represents an anti-nazi fascist hymn of freedom and resistance. An Italian freedom fighter told ‘Bella Ciao’ to his girlfriend before leaving, which means GOODBYE BEAUTIFUL. It has been in existence since the 19th century when it was sung by the mondina (a rice paddy) workers and it went on to become the anthem of the Italian Resistance movement.
  2. RED SUIT: The red suit signifies the colour of resistance. As we know that red is the colour of blood, so it is historically associated with sacrifice, danger, courage, passion and energy. The whole team is up resisting against the system, so the whole team has immersed itself into red suits or the suit of Resistance.
  3. DALI MASKS: The mask represents the face of Spanish artist SALVADOR DALI. He was known for making rebellious paintings during his time. His paintings like ‘The Persistence’ and the ‘Burning Giraffe’ are still considered brutally brilliant. He rose up against society, went ‘too’ out-of-box and even crossed the line of ethics in many of his paintings. Even his personal life was full of controversies and depressing elements. So, Dali masks here represent rising up against the system, crossing the line and fighting all your inner demons as well.

Love, Romance and Relationships

Another interesting feature of the story is its dealing with Complex Relationships. The show depicts several stories of ‘true love’ which is something very unique for a heist thriller. On one hand, we have Tokyo who lost her love during one of her previous heists and spends her whole life feeling guilty. Now, at the time of this heist, she is a mature girl above 30 and here she meets a 22-year-old boy RIO. Surpassing all expectations, they fall in love and pass through all the highs, lows and hardships. It all happens till the most HEARTBREAKING scene of the series. Even after her death, till the very last Rio has that pendant of Tokyo in his hand.

Another interesting relationship is shown between DENVER and MONICA a.k.a STOCKHOLM. During the heist, Monica is a hostage and during the heist, she and Denver fall in love with each other. Not just do they get married and have a child together, she also joins the gang from the next heist with the name of Stockholm. Here, the name ‘Stockholm’ is of special significance, because the phenomenon of a hostage falling in love with the kidnapper is called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. But, even after their marriage, their relationship travels a Rollercoaster ride during the course of one heist only, but eventually, they get together with full affection by the end of the heist.

Netflix Money Heist: 10 Characters Tokyo Should Have Ended Up With (Other Than Rio)

Money Heist' cast: What we know about their real-life romances – Film Daily

A unique story has also been developed on the theme of Homosexuality, which in my opinion deserves special praise. PALERMO and BERLIN were the main architects of the heists. They had spent countless nights together planning out the whole heist with every particular detail. Also, Palermo was in love with Berlin, but Berlin not being a homosexual had no love interests in him. That scene in the climax, when Palermo begs the machine to work citing all the emotions he has attached with it was just so damn meaningful.

Now, coming on the most surprising relationship of the series, between the PROFESSOR himself and RAQUEL a.k.a. LISBON. Profeesor approached  Raquel only to divert her from the case but…it can’t be any other series than MONEY HEIST if the leader of the robbery gang and the head of the cops fall in love with each other. Not just that, Raquel, the cop comes to believe that the purpose of the heist is not wrong and her system is the one actually corrupt. So, she too joins the gang from the next heist…HA HA.

Mental Health

The show also showcases several mental health issues. RIO being a young lad undergoes severe shocks after aggressive moments. STOCKHOLM too becomes unconscious during extremely tense moments. As I mentioned above, most of the characters are fighting the demons of their backstories. People behave differently after break-ups or heartbreaks that happen during the heist. They have to recollect themselves after losing their gang members. It shows that the robbers here are not some special people but normal humans only.

Twists and Turns

The show is one of the most gripping things I have seen in my whole life. There are continuous twists and turns at every juncture. The police lay down one plan after the other, but Professor somehow has a counter-solution ready for every plan…that too in Flashbacks. Some of the twist elements make you jump out of your seat, and cheer along with the team. While, some shockers are just heartbreaking as hell, especially when one of the prime characters is martyred during the mission, you feel a part of you go. Also, anything, absolutely anything can happen in this show at any time. That is also the major criticism of the show, but in my opinion, it’s what makes it even more interesting and unpredictable.

Women Empowerment

The show brings up a team that has a fair share of women, each with her own speciality. While Stockholm was sexually assaulted by Arturo, Lisbon was left cheated by her ex-husband, Nairobi was a single parent to her kid, Tokyo broke all odds while loving a boy 10 years younger than her. None of them bends down in tough situations when a strong male force is suppressing them. Instead, they rise up and fight the Patriarchy. As NAIROBI says…Let the Matriarchy Begin!!!

Most Hated Characters

As I said, the main power of the series is its characters, whether good or bad. Everyone has their definition of good or bad, and that’s what these series show. There are both sides to all the characters being depicted. But, some characters are there who you want to just kill as soon as they appear on your screen. The first name will of course be ARTURO…people wanted him to die so badly. He used all dirty tricks, harassed women and without any reason, just poked his nose everywhere. Still, he wasn’t killed, as our team is an ethical team. That rule was broken only for GANDIA…another immensely hated character. He was the security in charge of the bank, who used one brutal and unethical tactic after the other and lead to the death of some crucial members of the gang.

I Thought I Could Not Hate A Character More Than Arturo From 'Money Heist'. And Then Came Gandía!

And…then comes inspector TAMAYO who out of his corrupt and selfish moves, became a villain despite being a cop. Even Berlin was considered as the villain till the end of season 2 after which the fans got to know his real self. The same goes for Inspector ALICIA, who was also at par with Arturo in being hated. She almost destroyed the whole heist single-handedly, but somehow Professor managed to get her by their side by delivering her child in a crunch situation and she too ended a part of the family (Yes…you heard it right…remember I said ANYTHING and UNPREDICTABLE). Here, the actors who have played the ‘hated’ characters, especially ARTURO and GANDIA deserve double the mark of respect. It is easy to make someone fall in love with you, but if you are making the whole world wish for your death, then you are one hell of an actor…my Salute to all of them.

My Fav Character

If anyone asks who is the favourite character from the series, the majority of the answers will roam between PROFESSOR and TOKYO. But, my answer is a little different. Let me specify that I do adore both these characters and actually all the characters in the series. But, the character of BERLIN is my absolute favourite. I don’t know exactly why but there is something that makes me see myself into that character. The darkness of the character hides the fragility within him. He was also the strict and arrogant boss, but he was the only one who sacrificed himself in the end for his team. And…without doubt, the sheer brilliant act and ever charming face of PEDRO ALONSO has its own role in making that character my favourite.

Tallenge - Money Heist Berlin Netflix Poster - Small Poster( Paper,12 x 12 inches, MultiColour) : Home & Kitchen

Before we sign off, I want to give you all very good news that a spin-off series on BERLIN is going to come up in 2023. Now, for someone like me, it has raised the expectations already to a sky-high level. As we came to know by the end of Money Heist that Berlin has already executed some 27 heists in past, so watching those episodes unfold will be different experience altogether. His childhood, marriage and young son, all of which ended in a bitter note, might have some deep and emotional episodes attached. And…most importantly it will surely have some characters from the main series with some bone-chilling easter eggs. So, brace yourselves for BERLIN in 2023!!!


So, finally, I sign off from this journey one month after the series bid adieu to us. The ending of the series too was on very par with the standard set by the series. Our Professor once again used his brain and managed everything from a ‘Dead End’ situation, leaving the country’s economy on a ‘Brass Reserve’…HA HA. Especially his line “I’m a thief, I’m the son of a thief, I’m the brother of a thief and I wish to be the father of a thief” was the essence of the series. But, unfortunately, the team lost many of its members. So, now that the series has ended, I can only describe the series as ‘It started as a Robbery but ended as a Family’. This series has made me laugh, cry, shout, jump and sing all throughout the journey. The excitement level before every season of this series was on a different level altogether. I have shouted and jumped at all the Epic and Heartbreaking scenes. I have laughed and cried with the characters, writers and the team. And…yes I have sung Bella Ciao every single team it was played on the show. This is not just a show, it is a family of whom I think of myself as a part. As the series has ended, a significant part of it will stay with me and with the end, a part of me has gone with it once and forever. Thank You and Good Bye to the team, the family and the most Epic Heist Saga ever told. The RESISTANCE continues. For the one last time…..



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