If you love heist movies, then Netflix has a massive treat for you. ‘Money Heist’ is its Spanish-language original that follows an elaborate heist masterminded by a man called the Professor. Apart from enjoying massive popularity in Spain, the show has also become a favourite with the international audience, owing to the exposure provided by Netflix. The series is an adventurous ride packed with many edge-of-the-seat moments. If you haven’t yet seen it, head over to Netflix. Also, this article contains the discussion of just the first season, so you needn’t worry for the spoilers if you haven’t yet watched beyond it. SPOILERS AHEAD
Summary of the Plot
Why steal someone’s money when you can make it for yourself? Normally, this would mean that you should get a job. But in the world of ‘Money Heist’, it means breaking inside the mint and printing your own money. The show begins with a woman, who identifies herself as Tokyo, running from the cops. Just as she is about to walk into their trap, she crosses paths with the Professor who offers her another job. He has come up with a plan that would get them more money than anyone has even landed from a heist. He has also recruited a bunch of other people, all specialists in their fields. For five months, they work on perfecting the plan. But when it comes to actually execute it, it doesn’t take much time for things to go south, especially with the involvement of Inspector Raquel Murillo.
Who is the Professor?
Every good plan needs a mastermind. The grander the operation, the greater the genius of the person. In ‘Money Heist’, the man behind the scenes is a man who calls himself the Professor. He brings together a team of highly experienced criminals to pull off the biggest heist in history. While the audience is curious about the plan and whether or not it will succeed, they also want to know who is pulling everyone’s strings.
Since the whole team has had a run-in with the law in one form or another, every one of them risks identification. With their records already in the system, it becomes easier for the cops to know who they are and exactly what can be held against them. But, with the Professor, there is no such thing. His record is clean, which means he has a better chance of walking scot-free out of this mess. This begs another question. What would lead a man unstained by crime to suddenly plan the heist of the century? What are his motivations and how long has he been preparing for this?
So far, reading from his interactions with various characters, we can put together some bits and pieces. His real name is Sergio, with which Berlin addresses him in the final episode. His father was a robber, but he didn’t get to know about it until it was too late. He would tell him stories of heist movies. But the day Sergio found out about his father getting shot outside a bank, he discovered that they were not films but the stories of the robberies he had committed.
Sergio was very close to his father and this discovery about his profession led him to a revelation. His father’s last wish. He had talked to him about the biggest heist ever, the one that didn’t require stealing from anyone and the one where no one got hurt. This shows that Sergio’s father was a compassionate man and didn’t want to shed any blood to serves his purpose- a rule that Sergio tried to abide by as much as he could.
The Professor mentions that he had been sick and hospitalised for a good part of his life, and so, he read a lot. Considering his father’ influence, we can deduce that he read a lot about the things that would later become integral for him to plan the robbery. With the death of his father, he started making preparations to make his final wish come true. He decided to make it as big as he could, which meant that he would need a lot of time to plan everything to the smallest detail.
Now, we don’t get to know much about the Professor’s past life in this season, but it would be an intelligent guess if I said that he might have worked as a university professor! He had to put that heist in motion, but it would take time. He had to make living in the meantime. It would seem logical for him to plan smaller robberies in the meantime, to get some experience and make some connections. However, this would mean putting himself in the radar of law enforcement. The farther he stayed from this life, the easier it would be for him after it was done.
Now, the plan was always to not steal the money, but literally make it. The only place that can be done is the national mint. The target was pretty clear for him. Now he had to scout the place and start making plans. The proof that he has been at it for a “very” long time is given when he mentions that he had a tunnel built underneath the bank five years ago! This brings us to another speculation. For someone to have intimate knowledge as the Professor has of the bank and to have something constructed inside it means that the person has worked there. This is the only way he could have regular visits to the bank and get to know about every nook and corner. To also have a tunnel built under a specific room further attests to his familiarity with the place.
Because he had once been an employee there is also the reason why he doesn’t go inside the bank himself. Some of the staff must have been working there for a long time, long enough to have worked alongside him. This means a number of people might recognize him. This also gives more weight to his desire to not hurt the staff in any way. He must have gotten close to some of them while working there.
When Denver tells him that he has had Monica killed, the reaction of the Professor shows much more than just the regret of not getting things done according to plan. Yes, he is not a cold-blooded killer, but he is also not the one who will hesitate to kill someone if that’s what it takes. It didn’t take much time for him to settle on killing Raquel’s mother. This means that the death of a stranger doesn’t disturb him as much as we think it would. But he knew Monica, they must have been friends, and this is why it hit him harder than it should have.
After a bumpy ride of sixty hours, the Professor and his team succeed in taking care of almost all the hurdles. Professor comes very close to killing Raquel’s mother but decides against it in the nick of time. To his good luck, the old lady forgets about it within seconds, which leads him to the realization that she has memory loss problem and has already forgotten about the call and its contents. With that taken care of, he becomes more relaxed.
Meanwhile, things seem to settle down at the bank as well. After the daring escape of some of the hostages, the team recovers not just from the loss of a good part of their leverage, but also from the loss of Oslo. In their attempt to escape, one of the hostages hits him with a pipe. Further, he loses a lot of blood which renders him brain-dead. Tokyo and Nairobi want to get him out so that he can get some treatment and might even be saved, while Denver suggests sticking to the plan. After a heated moment, Helsinki interrupts and says that Oslo would rather die than be sent to jail.
Moving forward with the plan, they put into motion another scheme laid out by the Professor. To prevent another uprising, they decide to give two choices to the remaining hostages- get your freedom or become an accomplice and get one million dollars from the loot. They had expected people to go with the money, but they get mixed reactions. This is another win for them because now, they have separated wheat from the chaff. The ones who chose money now have a solid reason to assist the robbers and see this thing to the end. The people who chose their freedom are the ones who would most likely stir another attempt at an escape. So, they are sent to the basement.
It goes as planned until someone makes a mistake. Denver has taken a liking to Ariadna, who had seduced him in the hopes of keeping herself alive. For a while, it seems like a dumb move because we know that the robbers have been told not to kill anyone. Until now. When she chooses her freedom, which is also motivated by the fact that she won’t have to see Denver anymore, he advises her against it. He doesn’t say anything directly, but he does hint that it could get dangerous for her if she didn’t go for the money. Picking up on it, she goes for it, and when the other hostages are making their choice, she gestures Mercedes to do the same. As a result, the teacher stops a couple of other people from crossing the line to freedom.
But the most important thing is that Arturo picks up on what’s happening and decides to stay too. Now, the problem for the robbers is that they are ready to let their guard down. They are convinced that they have turned the hostages in their favour and need not worry about any attacks from them. But Arturo and Mercedes will not sit still. Helsinki should have killed Arturo when he had the chance!
While the foundation of one problem is set, the Professor bears witness to a huge blunder. In a moment of clarity, Raquel realises that the robbers would have set base somewhere to plan out the whole thing. Since all of them know how to use guns, they must have had some practice. Ángel had already pinpointed a pharmacy from where Denver would get his medication, which makes their task easier to locate the position of the base camp. As Raquel discovers the whole plan in the attic, Professor panics in the car.
Money Heist Season 2: What to Expect?
With a cliff-hanger that will leave you short of breath, ‘Money Heist’ completely turns the table for the second season. In the first, the robbers had always been one step ahead of the cops. They had thought out every contingency and even in the face of the worst circumstances, they were ready with a solution. But now, the cops have the upper hand. Not only do they know the whole plan, but they’ll also have all of their DNAs, even the Professor’s, and the element of surprise is gone. They are on the same level, if not worse off.
The most important thing is when (because it’s not a matter of “if” now) will Raquel come to know about Sergio. Also, while the danger has hiked outside, the situation isn’t very well contained inside the bank, either. Arturo will definitely try to get back at them, most probably with Mercedes’ help and considering what a wicked person he is, the robbers should prepare themselves for a serious setback. Ariadna might also become a vital part of their plan.
The second season will also focus on the backstory of Professor and Denver, who clearly know each other very well. Considering the moment that they shared in the final episode, they might as well be brothers. It has only been around 60 hours, which means not even three days! The plan is supposed to go on for ten days; their escape route depends on it. With the cops now one step ahead of them, what will happen now?