Throughout life, we may encounter certain experiences that directly challenge the character of ourselves. Often times however, the morally correct response to a given situation is not always distinctive. Despite the complications that arise when dealing with real life situations, it seems as if movie and television characters are portrayed with the unrealistic ability to hastily solve any conflict in order to help advance the pace of the plot line when necessary. Aside from these improbable capabilities, writers of television shows and films are able to further change the direction of the media by inputting social stereotypes to sway the opinions of certain characters to the viewers. The brilliance of the Netflix Original, Money Heist, is only truly understood when viewers are able to identify the contradiction between the identities of the characters themselves, and the role they might fill in your more stereotypical heist film. 

Throughout the history of film, stereotypes have been used as a way for writers to circumvent the explanation phase of their characters backstory. By doing this, the show is able to rapidly proceed to the more exciting, core parts of the plot, rather than force viewers to sit through unnecessary details. Another interesting factor that sets Money Heist apart from other shows, is the relationship between the characters and viewers.  Typically when viewers perceive characters to be bad, they often condemn them for their poor behavior and actions. Take for example, the many notorious antagonistic villains throughout the superhero fiction genre. While we know the main characters of Money Heist are obviously breaking the law by committing armed robbery, they continue to be viewed as the protagonists for their heroic effort in the fight against social inequality. Throughout the series, the criminals slowly gain the respect of Spain’s public, and are eventually viewed as saviors to the corrupt society. Whereas the reputation of the law enforcement is severely damaged from the exposure of their fraudulent operation.

Crowds dressed in the symbol of resistance, protesting outside of the bank of Spain during the heist

After Reviewing back to Victoria O’Donnell’s article, Guidelines for TV Criticism, I found myself thinking back three years ago to when I first watched the Netflix Original, Money Heist. While reminiscing however, I specifically was in search of what aspect it was about the show that got me hooked. Aside from being the thrilling story line of the largest heist ever committed (2.4 billion euros to be exact), I realized it was originally the persona of actor Álvaro Morte’s role as “El professor” that largely intrigued me into binge watching the first season upon its release. As a result of his high intelligence, resourcefulness, and strategic planning, he is able to anticipate and discern what law enforcement will do in efforts to stop them. This “cat and mouse” game between the police and the professor’s wit is truly what makes this an exciting series to watch. Oftentimes throughout the show, viewers are led to underestimate the capabilities of the criminals during interactions with the police, only to be amazed by the intellect of the professor as he frequently tends to be a few steps ahead of the authorities with ways to sabotage their advancements. In some episodes the writers of the show are able to further build suspense by presenting unexpected situations for the group, thus forcing the professor to quickly improvise and adapt his plans. 

Another captivating characteristic of the heist, is that aside from the obvious desire to gain wealth, the reason for the heist is unknown. One complaint I do have however, is that viewers are only granted an understanding of the more politically induced motives behind the heist at the end of season two. I feel that if they introduced this point earlier in season one, it would have made a bigger impact to viewers, as if you have already invested enough time into the show to watch two seasons, your probably already rooting for the success and wellbeing of the criminals.

El Professor gives a motive for the heist.

Fundamentally, Money Heist is a show that revolves around the theme of good verses evil. While its intention is clearly to advocate for the success of those doing good, it can be quite difficult for viewers to decipher which group is justified for their actions. To those who have not watched the show, it may seem obvious that the criminals actions are immoral. However, for the more openminded viewer, they are able to take into account the many wrongdoings of Spains government; such as creating unstable economic conditions for its citizens, as well as enabling it’s law enforcement to break their own regulations in order to complete the mission.

Evidence of law enforcement corruption in Money Heist