By Penny Dafogianni & Loenora Solomou
Money Heist (in Spanish: La Casa de Papel; literally, The Paper House) is a Spanish television series created by Álex Pina. It’s crime/thriller drama. The series was initially intended as a limited series and premiered on 2 May 2017, on Spanish network Antena 3. Antena 3 distributed the first two parts of the series in Spain, before the series was acquired in late 2017 by Netflix that edited and re-released the two parts worldwide; and will release a new, third part in 2019. Netflix announced in its first report of 2018 that Money Heist was the most-watched, non-English language series ever on their streaming service.
This show deals with a heist… but not just any heist: the takeover of Spain’s Royal Mint by a diverse group of criminals, with the goal of forcing the workers to print 2.4 billion euros in untraceable banknotes over the course of 10 days.
In the planned robbery, the group is to follow three rules:
- No Killing: as part of what they want is to appear to be Just like Robin Hood, they intend not to hurt anyone, because, if they kill anyone, they will lose the battle of public opinion.
- No Names: Everyone (save for The Professor) is nicknamed after a city. This, supposedly, prevents attachments and avoids the potential problem of someone outing them.
- No Personal Relationships: this, technically, is supposed to prevent attachments and allow the group to go on their way without a problem once the robbery is done.
The day of the heist coincides with the visit of a group of students, among who stands out Allison Parker, the daughter of the British Ambassador to Spain, and who is to play an important role in the Professor’s plan. The first phase of the plan goes swimmingly, but soon it becomes obvious that no plan survives contact with the enemy, and even the most obsessive Crazy-Prepared plans can be screwed up by human nature.
The headquarters of the Spanish National Research Council, Money Heist’s principal filming location:
Although the storyline is set at the Royal Mint of Spain, the series was filmed at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) headquarters, which bears a passing resemblance to the Mint in Madrid.
The Italian anti-fascist song «Bella Ciao» is sung multiple times throughout the series. The character Tokyo recounts in one of her narrations, «The life of the Professor revolved around a single idea: Resistance. His grandfather, who had fought against the fascists in Italy, taught him the song and he taught us.»The song is also played in other emblematic moments, such as when the thieves succeed in their escape out of the Mint – a metaphor for freedom.
- Úrsula Corberó as Silene Oliveira (Tokyo): The protagonist and narrator; she was a runaway robber until scouted by the Professor to participate in his plan.
- Itziar Ituño as Raquel Murillo: An inspector of the National Police Corps who is put in charge of the case.
- Álvaro Morte as Sergio Marquina (The Professor / Salvador «Salva» Martín): The mastermind of the heist who assembled the group.
- Paco Tous as Agustín Ramos dos Hermanas (Moscow): A former miner turned criminal and Denver’s father.
- Pedro Alonso as Andrés de Fonollosa (Berlin): A jewel thief and the Professor’s second-in-command.
- Alba Flores as Ágata Jiménez (Nairobi): An expert in forgery in charge of printing the money for the group.
- Miguel Herrán as Aníbal Cortés (Rio): A young hacker and Tokyo’s boyfriend.
- Jaime Lorente as Daniel Ramos (Denver): Moscow’s son who joins him in the heist.
- Esther Acebo as Mónica Gaztambide: One of the hostages who is Arturo Román’s secretary and mistress.
- Enrique Arce as Arturo Román: A hostage and the Director of the Royal Mint of Spain.
- María Pedraza as Alison Parker: A hostage and daughter of the British ambassador to Spain.
- Darko Peric as Yashin Dasáyev (Helsinki): A veteran Serbian soldier and Oslo’s cousin.
- Kiti Mánver as Mariví Fuentes: Raquel’s mother.
The action shots are excellent throughout the series. The use of flashback scenes to develop character backstories and the study time before the heist, allows the action to begin in the first episode. The show is very well made and extremely clever. Who is good and who is evil is immediately clear, but at times it can be hard to tell who you’re rooting for. We highly recommend checking it out; it’s the best show we’ve watched. To sum up, it’s an adrenaline-pumping, TV-version of a page-turner. One episode is never enough.