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Spanish hit series La Casa De Papel – Money Heist – Reviewed

La Casa de Papel money heist

Recently Netflix announced the return of the popular Series Money Heist for a third season. While we simply cannot contain our excitement, let’s have a look at the history of this alluring series and explore how it came into being and gained such popularity across the globe.

The most impressive fact about this program is that it was the brainchild of a Spanish director, Alex Pina, and the series is actually in the Spanish language itself, earning it the accolade of most watched non-English series on Netflix in the first half of 2018.

Can we stop and reflect for a moment as to how it goes here. Most Anglophones (that’s native English speakers if you don’t know the term) display a rather arrogant attitude towards entertainment content in another language.

It isn’t only because most English speakers are sadly devoid of the desire or ability to learn any other language, but also because they have an innate, irrational belief that Hollywood churns out the best entertainment. How utterly misinformed, right?

Regardless, the fact that scores of people are gravitating towards this fabulous product of Spanish enterprise is a testament to its brilliant standard – if it is attracting so much attention from a usually biased demographic then it simply MUST be quality content.

A Spanish Show Done Supremely Well

Don’t worry if you didn’t pay attention in Spanish class. Netflix, being the understanding, accommodating service that it is has provided not only English subtitles but also English audio if that is the kind of thing that you tend to prefer. In short, you can attribute the show’s global success to the fact that Netflix has made this consideration.

The title is indicative of the basic plotline in a brilliant, understated manner: The show revolves around a group of people (we’ll dive into more detail briefly) who attempt to not only break into the Royal Mint of Spain but print out currency while holding people hostage.

It’s the sort of stuff, in short, that makes you wish you were more of a badass while you cling, white-knuckled, to the edge of the sofa absorbing the thrill of it all.

Its name in Spanish is hauntingly poetic: Le Casa de Papel. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spanish, this means ‘House of Paper.’

The interpretations one could derive from this are multitudinous – not only does it quite explicitly allude to the idea of printing money in the establishment but also perhaps comments on the fragility of the commodity. The allusions are many and varied in this artfully crafted cinematic masterpiece.

So we’ve built it up quite heavily now, and for a good reason. It’s worth the added anticipation. But we haven’t told you anything specific about it. Don’t worry; we’re good at giving you enigmatic details that won’t spoil the plot. Is there anyone as universally hated as someone who spoils good plot lines for you? We don’t think so.

The lead figure in this heist is called ‘El Profesor,’ played by the charismatic Alvaro Morte. Now if there’s one thing you have learned as an experienced TV-show watcher, it’s that anyone with a mysterious name like that is going to be an exciting character to monitor.

Indeed, he already distinguishes himself as he is the common denominator between the eight other thieves who collaborate to get filthy rich through this devious scheme.

Tale Of Eight Cities

If we’re on the topic of cool nicknames and the implications of this on viewers’ then boy, have we got some more discussing to do. The eight thieves are all assigned with nicknames of famous cities. We’re not joking – listen to this. There’s Tokyo, Rio, Denver, and Nairobi.

It’s almost as if the show pre-emptively knew it was going to be a success across so many cities in the world.

All jokes aside, viewers will come to regard this city names with a degree of familiarity as they begin to warm to characters that bring them to life. They all have different skills that equip them to play a valuable role within the team and allow them to work together and cook a feasible plan that could work.

We see and experience this world initially through Tokyo, who narrates so that the audience develop a peculiar affinity with her.

The relationship dynamics (as in real life) becomes complicated within these eight strangers, with guilt, love, and envy working to dramatic ends throughout the heist.

Through injecting the characters with such believable loyalties and emotions, the show adds an element of human drama to what could have been a soulless, run of the mill sequence about quite simply, a bank robbery. The nuances of characters and the mind games add an extra dimension of interest to the whole thing.

The contrast between all of this inter-character complexity and intricate storyline alongside the stolid, clinical title ‘Money Heist’ is quite comical. We prefer its Spanish name if we’re completely honest here.

Is It Typical Good vs Bad?

Another element which adds spice to the whole thing (we’d rate this show as being quite spicy anyway) is the tantalizingly troublesome relationship between what we’d collectively call ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It seems quite simple in theory, navigating using a standard moral compass of black and white.

Thieves = bad and detectives and law forces = good? But can we truly view anything through such a polarised lens? Probably not. The charisma and likeability of some of the eight thieves will have you questioning your moral leanings yourself, leading to a genuinely immersive experience.

You may think that the sheer amount of characters that there are to follow makes for very disjointed watching – but the acting and quality of script means that each of the characters hold their own when it comes to individual screen time.

Such is the quality of their performance that you won’t be able to help yourself from really following the storyline and becoming rather invested in it all. The actors are of the highest caliber, though you may not know them from mainstream Hollywood.

Since we’re determined not to do any spoiling, the safest territory now seems to be to explore the actors who play the characters and learn a little bit more about some of them.

We have to, WITHOUT A DOUBT start with the enigmatic El Profesor, played by the wonderful Alvaro Morte. With a groomed beard and earnest, bespectacled eyes, he conveys a certain amount of quiet intelligence.

In an interview, Morte revealed how attached he had become to his character on the popular series. When he got the phone call that informed him that the series would be carrying on for a third season, he said that he couldn’t contain his joy. His genuine enthusiasm for representing his character shows in the TV series.

Tokyo is also one to keep an eye out for in the show. She is certainly the star of the show and our lead protagonist. Played by Úrsula Corberó Delgado, a talented actress who has appeared in shows such as the ANTENA 3 series and La embajada is recruited by the Professor to form a part of the eight, though she was previously a robber on the run.

Nairobi also performs an important role within the eight, as she is the forgery expert. During a money heist (roll credits) where the plan is to print more notes, she is a valuable asset indeed. Played by Alba Flores.

The big name is coming up here – Francisco ‘Paco’ Martinez plays Moscow.  He plays him so well, even got nominated for the prestigious Premios Feroz award for Best Supporting Actor.

That’s no mean feat and deserves its recognition. In the series itself, Moscow used to be a miner but turned to criminal activities instead. We all contemplate career changes around middle age, don’t we? It is just a rather drastic iteration of that concept!

Right, so we’ve had a general sort of overview of some of the characters. We don’t want to get too bogged down in such specificities anyway – the beauty of series comes predominantly from the fact that all aspects of it tie up together to form an artistically attractive whole – we can’t continue looking at it federally as such.

So let’s have an overarching look at the Money Heist Seasons that have already aired, the reviews and reaction to them, and the seasons to come. Let’s get going, gang.

Oh and before that, check out the incredibly insane series trailers below.


Season 1 introduces us to all of these characters that we’ve been harping on about ever so much and sets us up for the initial Heist of the Royal Mint. The whole season revolves around this one premise and surprisingly doesn’t lose its fast pace or momentum as a result.

If anything, the 13 episodes are striking because of all the considerations that El Profesor has made, all of the contingency plans that are in place, and frankly, because of all the things that go wrong or have the potential to go wrong.

There is an interesting power dynamic presented between El Profesor and the Inspector Raquel Murillo and the tension between them could be cut by a knife. We’re not saying any more about it.

Let’s say that El Profesor knows when to evade the authorities while getting on their VERY last nerve.  Suffice it to say; his character has gained such mainstream popularity that the actor Alvaro Morte has reported that he has run into people who have a tattoo of his face on their body.

Weird or what? Well, it’s most definitely weird but demonstrates the global success of the show rather well!

We all know that IMDb has ridiculous standards (we mean this regarding the fact that it has high standards) and Money Heist managed even to impress them, scoring an impressive 8.6/ 10 which is, as we all know PHENOMENAL.


Let’s move on to Season 2 then. We know how it usually goes. A show gains immense popularity for its first season; then the writing becomes clumsy, the acting drops drastically and to put it crudely, the show suffers a massive decrease in quality.

Surprisingly, Money Heist managed to evade this inevitable outcome that many other good quality shows have had to deal with in the past. You’re probably wondering, in what way could they possibly spin the plot like to ensure a seamless continuation from the first Season?

Let us enlighten you, without revealing the whole game of course. Season 2 caused ripples in the showbiz industry as well.

Season 1 left us with many questions unanswered and Season 2 dives straight back in, hitting the ground running. In Season 2 you begin to see the intricacy of the plan, and the plan itself starts to feel like a character due to its many facets. The Heist doesn’t exist just within the realms of the Casa de Papel.

It is a web of alliances, secrets, and evidence planted way in advance which works to varying effects.

Season 2 tests the loyalties of the eight. Is the Heist worth it for the characters? Or will their circumstances cause them to become angsty and rebel against their comrades? Is loyalty worth more than practical concerns?

Individual relationships are also brought strikingly into focus as we examine the connections between members of the eight that we didn’t realize existed before. In these ways, Money Heist, or Le Casa De Papel for those of you who understand Spanish keeps its viewers on their toes.

Never are the viewers sure that they understand the ins and outs of the situation and can predict what’s going to happen – that is simply out of the question. The twists and turns that the show takes at a dizzying pace are what has earned it its global success.

And this isn’t to say that it makes you feel lost at any point – the orchestration of the interconnected storylines is impeccable and Season 2, if anything, ensures that the viewers become even more invested than they were before as they become more familiar with the characters.

In this season, we see that some of the characters knew each other before the heist, the lead detective and El Profesor seem to have a somewhat saucy history. Aha tale as old as time when opposites attract.

Will There Be Season 3?

You’re probably wondering what’s left for Money Heist to do in Season 3. Believe you us, when the announcement surfaced on social media and in the press CROWDS WENT WILD. They can’t get enough of the thrilling Spanish TV series, and for a good reason as well – it’s absolute quality television.

Now we don’t know much about what’s going on with Season 3. The production team is doing well at keeping it under wraps. No Game of Thrones style spoilers going on here! We don’t even know which of the eight will be coming back or if they’re even going to be on the series again.

The build-up is unreal, and we’re positive that it’ll be worth it.

You’re probably wondering when you’re going to be able to watch Season 3? We don’t mean to boast (watch us go ahead and do it anyway), but we know all sorts of details.

Season 3 will be available in May 2019.  We know, we know, it seems like a long way away doesn’t it? Honestly, the time will FLY by. You might want to watch Season 1 and Season 2 again to recap what has gone on so far!

To Wrap It Up

Let’s wrap things up here. A good Netflix series is incredibly difficult to find because there are lots and lots of them. The best thing here is that it’s on Netflix so EVERYONE will be able to access it.

People don’t even watch normal TV channels anymore since Netflix for the win! But if you do live in a country where Money Heist AKA Le Casa De Papel isn’t available on your version of Netflix, you could always use a Netflix VPN  to access it.

The bottom line is, this series is wonderfully crafted. Its subtleties make you think about how much effort it must have been to create such an intricate show. The meticulous effort seems to have paid off though, and we’re eagerly waiting for 2019 to see what happens in this wonderful fictional world.

That’s the whole point of creativity. Taking an age-old concept and looking at it through a completely new lens so, if we had to define Money Heist in a sentence that’s what we’d say. It’s a new twist on something that could have been so utterly, tediously boring.

And always remember, originality sells. That’s why this series became so popular in the first place, and we do not doubt that if Season 3 is half as thrilling and exhilarating as season 2, then it will become just as popular as the seasons preceding it. We hope you have fun watching it.

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