‘Money Heist: Korea’: Everything you need to know about Netflix’s new crossover series

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‘Money Heist’ (also known as ‘La Casa de Papel’) flourished on Netflix after a short stint on Spanish TV, and the platform quickly capitalized on the hype with a documentary titled ‘ Money Heist: The Phenomenon”. When the show wrapped its five seasons last year, Netflix released another documentary, ‘Money Heist: From Tokyo to Berlin,’ featuring the cast and crew discussing the end of the beloved series. .

But that wasn’t really the end of “Money Heist,” which is given new life, once again, with the new “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area.”

“Money Heist: Korea” is more crossover than derivative: the series stays true to the original plot, in which a mysterious criminal mastermind recruits a gang of thieves to help him pull off a daring heist at Spain’s National Mint. But the latest iteration manages to feel like a different show because it’s specific to its setting – and largely a K-drama. Here’s everything you need to know about “Money Heist: Korea”.

“Money Heist” flopped on Spanish television. On Netflix, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.

There are many familiar names and faces.

Fans of the original “Money Heist” know that the Professor’s recruits use international city names to hide their identities during their criminal exploits. The characters in “Money Heist: Korea” use the exact same nicknames. Like in the original, the professor (Yoo Ji-tae) first bonds with the series’ narrator Tokyo (Jun Jong-seo) as she tries to evade authorities following a crime. The team is completed by Berlin (Park Hae-soo), Moscow (Lee Won-jong), Denver (Kim Ji-hun), Rio (Lee Hyun-woo), Nairobi (Jang Yoon-ju), Helsinki (Kim Ji – hoon) and Oslo (Lee Kyu-ho).

The setup of the first episode is largely the same: thieves take over the Mint while high school students, including the daughter of a particularly prominent character, visit the building. And the hostages are forced to dress like their captors to get rid of the police.

The characters also maintain physical and personality parallels with their “Casa de Papel” counterparts: Tokyo rocks a blunt bob like no other (okay, maybe another). Moscow, hoarse and bearded, is often seen trying to calm down his hot-headed son-in-law, Denver. Rio is a nice goofball. Nairobi does what she wants. And Berlin – which will be instantly recognizable to “Squid Game” fans – is not to be bothered.

Kim Yun-jin takes on the role of Seon Woojin, the police negotiator who tries to figure out what the Professor and his team want, unaware that she is closer to him than she could ever imagine. In addition to the audacious crime she hopes to solve, Seon Woojin (like Raquel Murrillo before her) also faces workplace sexism, which she’s decidedly better at than all the men around her.

It’s culturally specific.

“Money Heist: Korea” is subtitled “Joint Economic Area” because the series is set in the near future that finds North Korea and South Korea on the verge of reunification. The Mint is located in the JEA, giving both Koreas jurisdiction over the crime scene. And because the professor calls in criminals from both sides of the border — Tokyo is among the North Koreans hand-picked for the heist — “Money Heist: Korea” joins other K-dramas including “Squid Game” and “Crash Landing on You” offering a rare window into life under totalitarian dictatorship.

“La Casa de Papel” begins with Tokyo on the run following a bank robbery. But in this version, Tokyo – a former soldier in the North Korean army – descends into a life of crime after being exploited and forced to defend herself. When the professor asks his work group to choose nicknames, “Tokyo” does not go unnoticed. When Rio asks why she chose “Tokyo of all names,” she replies “because we’re going to do a bad thing,” an apparent reference to Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula.

The theme of inequality takes on a deeper meaning in this version in alignment with Korean television and movies which are more inclined to take economic disparity into account. “South Korea has become a global exporter of culture (particularly through movies, TV and music), a fact that American consumers are finally catching up to,” Washington Post TV critic Inkoo Kang wrote after “Squid Game” has become the unexpected streaming juggernaut of the past year. . “And Netflix, which has invested heavily in K-dramas in recent years, regularly encourages subscribers to overcome the ‘one-inch-tall caption barrier,’ as the ‘Parasite’ director memorably called them. “Bong Joon-ho, featuring foreign programming and international reality TV franchises. (“Money Heist: Korea” is available with English subtitles or dubbed into English like the original.)

Viewers will also notice that while the thieves are wearing red jumpsuits like the “Casa de Papel” characters, they are not wearing the same Salvador Dalí masks. Instead, they wear traditional Hahoe masks.

International streaming hits are proof that good TV translates, no matter the language

When Netflix picked up “La Casa de Papel,” the streamer made adjustments, cutting the 15-episode first season into 22 installments, spread over two seasons. “Money Heist Korea” launched with just six episodes, and as a result, gets to the character stories much faster. And unlike the original “Money Heist,” where the Professor voluntarily meets Raquel (Itziar Ituño) in the third episode, the Professor and Seon Woojin have known each other from the start.

It is likely to be very popular.

“Money Heist” has long been one of Netflix’s most popular titles. And K-dramas — as well as non-English titles, in general — have thrived on Netflix and other streaming services. We won’t be surprised to see “Money Heist: Korea – JEA” atop Netflix’s world TV charts next week.

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