According to folklore, the devil’s biggest trick was telling the universe that he didn’t exist. Similarly, the biggest trick pulled off by the Spanish TV show Money Heist as convincing audiences that they were watching a heist drama about a group of robbers breaking into the Royal Mint of Spain, printing a billion euros, and fleeing with it.
What the audience didn’t realize — and couldn’t have guessed — was that they were watching a love story. In reality, there are many love stories: the first flush of romantic love, the bond between brothers, comrades-in-arms, and the strong abiding bond between father and son. The heist, as awesome and entertaining as it is, is just a warm-up act.
The series’ original title, La Casa De Papel, which translates to “The House of Paper,” is much more interesting than the dull, predictable Money Heist, which could turn off viewers just by its title.
During Season 2 of Money Heist, love is evident everywhere. Season 1 ended with the enigmatic and cerebral Professor breaching rule number 1 of his carefully thought out plan: There are no attachments. By falling in love with the case’s lead investigator, Raquel Murillo. She also happens to have discovered the thieves’ original hideout and training ground, complete with DNA and incriminating evidence and is one step closer to apprehending her man.
Pun fully intended. Although Tokyo is undeniably the subject of Season 1, the crux of Season 2 is the relationship between the Professor (aka Salva Martin aka Sergio Marquina) and Raquel, the woman he drives to distraction with cat-and-mouse games throughout the day and who drives him to distraction with very different kinds of games in the evenings they spend together.
What could have easily slid into over-dramatic Telenovela-style territory of star-crossed lovers, causing viewers to roll their eyes, instead feels won and real (sadly not a given for TV relationships these days). It also helps that the actors are great in their roles and that their chemistry is off the charts.
I found myself repeatedly pressing the rewind button on my remote control to replay their scenes. We’ve had the age of difficult men for far too long: Walter White, Don Draper, Tony Soprano, and many others. We’re supposed to sympathize and empathize with flawed masters of the universe.
Money Heist does a fantastic job of making us sympathize and empathize with its two female characters, Tokyo and chief inspector Racquel (and to a lesser extent the rest of the supporting female cast). Look at the world from their eyes: Laughed at, ignored, and spoken down to. Women who prioritize their own interests and professions.
Fear not, those who have no interest in matters of the heart: the action is heart-pounding, the story is outrageous without being outlandish, and you’ll be left marveling at the imagination and daring more often than not.
Money Heist is, without a doubt, Netflix’s most binge-worthy series.