recent review of La casa de papel, Money Heist

Money Heist (Spanish: La casa de papel, “The House of Paper”) is a Spanish heist crime drama television series created by Álex Pina. The series traces two long-prepared heists led by the Professor (Álvaro Morte), one on the Royal Mint of Spain, and one on the Bank of Spain. The series was initially intended as a limited series to be told in two parts. It had its original run of 15 episodes on Spanish network Antena 3 from 2 May 2017 through 23 November 2017. Netflix acquired global streaming rights in late 2017. It re-cut the series into 22 shorter episodes and released them worldwide, beginning with the first part on 20 December 2017, followed by the second part on 6 April 2018. In April 2018, Netflix renewed the series with a significantly increased budget for 16 new episodes total. Part 3, with eight episodes, was released on 19 July 2019. Part 4, also with eight episodes, was released on 3 April 2020. A documentary involving the producers and the cast premiered on Netflix the same day, titled Money Heist: The Phenomenon (Spanish: La casa de papel: El Fenómeno).

The series was filmed in Madrid, Spain. Significant portions of part 3 and 4 were also filmed in Panama, Thailand and Italy (Florence). The narrative is told in a real-time-like fashion and relies on flashbacks, time-jumps, hidden character motivations, and an unreliable narrator for complexity. The series subverts the heist genre by being told from the perspective of a woman, Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó), and having a strong Spanish identity, where emotional dynamics offset the perfect strategic crime.

The series received several awards including best drama series at the 46th International Emmy Awards, as well as critical acclaim for its sophisticated plot, interpersonal dramas, direction, and for trying to innovate Spanish television. The Italian anti-fascist song “Bella ciao,” which plays multiple times throughout the series, became a summer hit across Europe in 2018. By 2018, the series was the most-watched non-English language series and one of the most-watched series overall on Netflix,[4] with a particular resonance coming from viewers from Mediterranean Europe and the Latin world.

Cast and characters

Main

  • Úrsula Corberó as Silene Oliveira (Tokyo): a runaway robber until scouted by the Professor to participate in his plan; she also acts as an unreliable narrator.
  • Álvaro Morte as Sergio Marquina (The Professor / Salvador “Salva” Martín): the mastermind of the heist who assembled the group, and Berlin’s brother.
  • Itziar Ituño as Raquel Murillo (Lisbon): an inspector of the National Police Corps who is put in charge of the case until she joins the group in part 3.
  • Pedro Alonso as Andrés de Fonollosa (Berlin): a terminally ill jewel thief and the Professor’s second-in-command and brother.
  • Paco Tous as Agustín Ramos (Moscow; parts 1–2; featured parts 3–4): a former miner turned criminal and Denver’s father.
  • Alba Flores as Ágata Jiménez (Nairobi): an expert in counterfeiting and forgery, in charge of printing the money and oversaw the melting the gold.
  • Miguel Herrán as Aníbal Cortés (Rio): a young hacker.
  • Jaime Lorente as Ricardo / Daniel[b] Ramos (Denver): Moscow’s son who joins him in the heist.
  • Esther Acebo as Mónica Gaztambide (Stockholm): one of the hostages who is Arturo Román’s secretary and mistress, carrying his child out of wedlock. During the robbery, she falls in love with Denver and becomes an accomplice to the group.
  • Enrique Arce as Arturo Román: a hostage and the former Director of the Royal Mint of Spain.
  • María Pedraza as Alison Parker (parts 1–2): a hostage and daughter of the British ambassador to Spain.
  • Darko Perić as Mirko Dragic (Helsinki): a veteran Serbian soldier and Oslo’s cousin.
  • Kiti Mánver as Mariví Fuentes (parts 1–2; featured parts 3–4): Raquel’s mother.
  • Hovik Keuchkerian as Bogotá (parts 3–4): an expert in metallurgy who joins the robbery of the Bank of Spain.
  • Rodrigo de la Serna as Martín Berrote (Palermo / The Engineer; parts 3–4): an old Argentine friend of Berlin’s who planned the robbery of the Bank of Spain with him and assumed his place as commanding officer.
  • Najwa Nimri as Alicia Sierra (parts 3–4): a pregnant inspector of the National Police Corps put in charge of the case after Raquel departed from the force.
  • Luka Peroš as Marseille (part 4; featured part 3): a member of the gang who joins the robbery of the Bank of Spain.
  • Belén Cuesta as Julia (Manila; part 4; featured part 3): godchild of Moscow and Denver’s childhood friend. She is a trans woman who joins the gang and poses as one of the hostages during the robbery of the Bank of Spain.
  • Fernando Cayo as Colonel Luis Tamayo (part 4; featured part 3): a member of the Spanish Intelligence who oversees Alicia’s work on the case.

Recurring

  • Roberto García Ruiz as Dimitri Mostovói / Radko Dragić[c] (Oslo; parts 1–2; featured parts 3–4): a veteran Serbian soldier and Helsinki’s cousin.
  • Fernando Soto as Ángel Rubio (parts 1–2; featured parts 3–4): a deputy inspector and Raquel’s second-in-command.
  • Juan Fernández as Colonel Luis Prieto (parts 1–2; featured parts 3–4): a member of the Spanish Intelligence who oversees Raquel’s work on the case.
  • Anna Gras as Mercedes Colmenar (parts 1–2): Alison’s teacher and one of the hostages.
  • Fran Morcillo as Pablo Ruiz (part 1): Alison’s schoolmate and one of the hostages.
  • Clara Alvarado as Ariadna Cascales (parts 1–2): one of the hostages who works in the Mint.
  • Mario de la Rosa as Suárez: the chief of the Grupo Especial de Operaciones.
  • Miquel García Borda as Alberto Vicuña (parts 1–2; featured part 4): Raquel’s ex-husband and a forensic examiner.
  • Naia Guz as Paula Vicuña Murillo: Raquel and Alberto’s daughter.
  • José Manuel Poga as César Gandía (part 4; featured part 3): chief of security for the Bank of Spain who escapes from hostage and causes havoc for the group.
  • Antonio Romero as Benito Antoñanzas (parts 3–4): an assistant to Colonel Luis Tamayo, who is persuaded by the Professor to do tasks for him.
  • Pep Munné as Mario Urbaneja (featured parts 3–4): the governor of the Bank of Spain.
  • Olalla Hernández as Amanda (featured parts 3–4): a hostage that Arturo rapes.
  • Mari Carmen Sánchez as Paquita (featured parts 3–4): a hostage and a nurse who tends to Nairobi while she recovers.
  • Carlos Suárez as Miguel Fernández (featured parts 3–4): a nervous hostage.
  • Ramón Agirre as Benjamín (featured part 4): father of Manila who aids the Professor in his plan.
  • Ahikar Azcona as Matías Caño (featured parts 3–4): a member of the group who largely guards the hostages.
  • Antonio García Ferreras as himself (featured part 4): journalist.

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