It was early 2017 when the beginning of a robbery was filmed in an industrial estate in Colmenar Viejo (Madrid) that, without knowing it, would mark a turning point for the Spanish television industry. The same ship that had previously hosted the filming of Vis a vis It had been transformed into a false National Currency and Stamp Factory in which robbers in red jumpsuits and a Dalí mask had just barricaded themselves with hostages to make banknotes and more banknotes. The Money Heist brought to the small screen the heist movies of a lifetime, popcorn entertainment outright, with a cinematic aesthetic. Nobody imagined then that what was being forged in that Colmenar ship, where it was absurdly cold, would end up almost five years later as an international phenomenon that will have at least one continuation in the form of a derivative series.
Many things can be said about the last batch of chapters of The Money Heist, five chapters that Netflix premiered this Friday and that put an end to the second robbery of the gang of thieves with city names. You could say that the series has gone on much longer than it should have lasted. That the dialogues have become more and more artificial, with grandiose phrases that no one would say under normal circumstances (and less under circumstances as extraordinary as a robbery of that magnitude). That some interpretations border on over-acting. That, if analyzed carefully, many decisions of the characters do not make sense and that the plot takes to the extreme the suspension of disbelief, that tacit agreement between the spectator and the work of fiction by which the former decides not to consider whether what they are facing counting is really possible. That sensual dances are not relevant. Which appears to be shot with the autopilot on. Or that a certain sense of d is inevitablealready seen with its end.
You could also say many things that have already been said before, because at this point in the game we all know what we are coming for. Already The Money Heist It has always been possible to draw problems and many virtues can also be pointed out. Like the emotional connection that it achieves with the viewer. Because the action (frantic, and increasingly) were joined by characters with personal stories to identify with. That emotional part has been blurred in the final section of the series in favor of action, with no time to delve into the characters beyond The Professor and Berlin. What it has remained faithful to is a strong aesthetic bet and an iconography that is already an unmistakable brand of the house. Also to the adrenaline-charged sequences and unexpected twists. And the use of music to highlight certain scenes and relieve stress in others.
But all that is the least of it. Because today we would not be talking about The Money Heist If between that filming in that ship in Colmenar Viejo and this ending, a lot of small miracles had not happened. At the end of 2017, the series entered the Netflix catalog and the rest is history: it became the first great international success of a non-English-speaking program on the platform, which decided to recover it to tell a new robbery, to the Bank of Spain this time. The Professor, Tokyo, Denver, Rio, Nairobi and even Berlin (because not even death could separate a good character in this series) had 26 extra chapters to continue making history. Meanwhile, awards of all kinds, including the International Emmy for best drama – the only one achieved by a Spanish series – sealed the international phenomenon it had become. Fans recognized the actors wherever they went, cheered them as heroes. The audience had connected with the characters in a way that only fiction can achieve.
The epic of the loser
The Money HeistAt the end of the day, it was from the beginning the story of a group of people who had nothing left to lose and who decided to give the system a pulse. And at the same time, this creation by Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, the first of the Vancouver production company and which was born with the encouragement and support of Atresmedia, ended up being decisive in placing the Spanish industry in the focus of fiction production in the age of platforms. The success of The Money Heist It made Netflix look at Spain, to see the potential of an industry with tons of talent and capable of launching projects with a very good value for money. In the age of global television, it doesn’t matter where good ideas come from: they can go anywhere; the important thing is that you connect with the viewer. In the last press conference before the launch of the final chapters, Álex Pina highlighted how the jump to Netflix allowed the series to play in a league that could not be played before and that has allowed the local to compete with the international .
At one point, with two chapters remaining, the surviving robbers begin to sing the Bella Ciao, that hymn that the series has made its own, to the rhythm of batucada. It is difficult for those who have followed the adventures of these losers not to release a knowing smile at that moment. It is the epic of the loser. The Money Heist he had everything to lose. But even that first time, when it was a free-to-air TV series, he didn’t lose even then: he managed to finish on his own terms, how and when he wanted, with a closed first season. Now, turned into legend, it ends again. And, like then, he has won again, and by a landslide. The rest of what we can say does not matter.
‘Berlin’, a continuation for 2023
When a platform or a television network has in its hands one of those rare hens that lay golden eggs, it is difficult to let it escape. The Money Heist it was cannon fodder for a sequel. The most obvious had already been outlined in the series itself, which had traveled to the past of Berlin, the character played by Pedro Alonso, to tell his adventures before the first robbery and present the relationship with his son. Last Tuesday, Netflix confirmed that it will be released in 2023 Berlin, series focused on the past of one of the most popular characters in The Money Heist. In fact, in the last chapters of the mother story, some robberies that the character gave before devising together with his brother (The Professor, played by Álvaro Morte) the coup at the National Currency and Stamp Factory are mentioned very opportunely, in addition to point out some personal circumstances (such as a mention of his father) that could be the threads to pull in this new production of which no further details have been advanced at the moment.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.