Bright red coveralls, a Salvador Dali mask, and a song of protest, these are the makings of one of the most iconic robbery shows of our time, Netflix’ Money Heist.
Time may have come and gone by and the overall theme of the show has not changed: the resistance, indignation, and skepticism towards the system. Money Heist is a Spanish Netflix series consisting of three seasons (and now going on four), which narrates the story of a criminal mastermind, who goes by the name, “The Professor” and his team of eight seasoned criminals, codenamed after cities, who have nothing to lose. Together, they pull off the biggest heist in history by robbing the Royal Mint of Spain and threatening the police and special forces’ intelligence with mind games and manipulation. On Season 4, they continue their journey to their next impossible heist, which is stealing tonnes of gold from the Bank of Spain.
The show has such an intelligent and compelling storyline that it has hooked a mass of audiences around the globe in its first three binge-worthy seasons. With each character turning more complex as the story deepens, the fine line between good and bad begins to skew. The show challenges the audience with emotional dynamics and critical thinking, making it worth the watch. But more than just robbery, the show embodies a greater political standpoint on our society and the underlying importance of resistance.
During the roundtable video interview with the cast of Money Heist, MEGA talks with Álvaro Morte (The Professor), Alba Flores (Nairobi), Jaime Lorente (Denver), and Belén Cuesta (a hostage in the heist) to discuss Money Heist Part 4 and the fate of their characters.
PS, no spoilers.
In a departure from the male-dominated heist genre, Money Heist takes a different approach by narrating the story from the female perspective of one of the main characters, the hard-headed badass called Tokyo, played by Úrsula Corberó. In her narration, she makes the viewers take a long, hard look at the definition of crime and why their team is dead set in the success of their staged robbery. In the new season, expect to see more of these female characters to take lead in the heist.
When asked about the intent of having strong female characters in the story, Alba Flores, who plays the role of Nairobi, answers, “I think that the show is full of strong female characters. Although I always say that it’s clearly not a feminist show in itself because these characters are inside a very sexist world…But it is true that it is filled with strong female characters. And as we move forward with the seasons, they become even stronger.”
Nairobi’s character has arguably become the fan-favorite female character in the show because of her relatability and pure heart. “I don’t even know if the scriptwriters had this conscious intention or decision to make Nairobi a strong female character, fighting her ability to her work on her rights as a mother,” Alba Flores adds. “I think it just happened that way because both scriptwriters are born at a certain time and this reflects something that is happening throughout the world that is really important. There’s a feminism wave in the world that it seems finally found its place.”
Vital in their first heist is to remain the “good guys” by sticking to the plan which is not to kill any hostages under any circumstances. The Professor explains that society is trained to only see black and white; the good guys and bad guys. However, as the story progresses, it is clear that no one is inherently and purely good or evil and that their actions were a mere protest to the system of the government. Over time, by talking to the media, the robbers have earned the side of ordinary citizens who share the same grievances, protesting alongside them.
“The thing is, I believe that the world was craving to find someone to relate to and I think this script, anyone can find someone to relate to because it has to do with the system we live in,” Alba says. She then explains that seeing ordinary people who commit ordinary crimes become social heroes is a journey we witness in our day to day lives and seeing it outside of the usual Hollywood set up makes it more relatable to people who speak different languages and have different cultures. “This has been done in Hollywood many times, so seeing this in a different country, and maybe this is an art, and artistic language…this combination is made that for the rest of the world, people can relate to us.”
Jaime Lorente, who plays the quick-tempered, but loving Denver, adds that he thinks their characters are still good people put in a hopeless situation. “All the pressure that they feel takes them to a place that enables behavior that is for a bad person. Then they make mistakes as any human being,” he says. “The beauty of this new season is that we see the characters go down to hell and they are going to do things that are questionable, morally speaking. But in the case of Denver, I think he has this wonderful heart… And I think that The Professor discovers this in the third season and takes us to reflect upon what is happening and why it is happening to him.”
Money Heist Part 4 picks up from the fake execution of Lisbon and Nairobi getting shot in the chest by Alicia Sierra’s orders, the officer-in-charge of the operation. Now faced with the uncertainty of a broken team and the loss of his partner, The Professor has to save the heist and secure the gold out of the bank safely.
When asked if Álvaro Morte’s character, The Professor, met his match in the form of Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri), he answers, “I believe that including Najwa in the show was a big hit. I think that she leads The Professor to the limit beyond the fact she’s very clever. I think that she contributes something that puts him off, she’s unpredictable. When he drew up the first plan, his rival was going to be Murillo Inspector and he could expect the answers she was going to give. She had this whole range of answers she was supposed to give him when they assaulted the Royal Mint. But he didn’t have the time to study Sierra, right? You never know what she’s going to do next. That’s why she contributes much more uncertainty and it’s true that she puts him away much more.”
Alicia Sierra’s connection to the government, from the lies, the deceit, to the torture of the IT genius of the heist, Rio, has earned her and the intelligence team the subject of media and mass scrutiny. Outside the Bank of Spain, protesters, wearing the Salvador Dali masks and bright red suits, have religiously waited and supported the agenda of the robbers, making it difficult for the government to make a move that will not incriminate their corruption and state secrets.
While viewers may think that the costume is simply a way to disguise for a crime, it actually serves as a symbol of resistance. The late artist of the Salvador Dali mask was known for his work in the early 20th century about rejecting the modern capitalist society, which is also the philosophies aligned with the robbers in Money Heist, while the color red of the suits are also a symbol of love, death, and resistance. Another strong statement of resistance is in the form of a song that Berlin and The Professor constantly chants, the Italian protest song, Bella Ciao. It was sung by Mondina women in the 19th century as a protest against the fascist regime.
Money Heist is addictive at best and teaches us the importance of speaking up and taking action against those who abuse their powers. Streaming of Part 4 is scheduled to be released on April 3rd on Netflix.