Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 1 Review

A fresh take on the gang of robbers and the greatest heist ever

Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 1 Review
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 1 is now on Netflix. Image credit: Netflix

Even before the launch of Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, the expectations have been very high. Who does not know about the original Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)? It turned out to be one of the most-watched series on Netflix and eventually got the International Emmy Award in 2018.

Currently, it is the golden age of Korean media. So, the Korean version of Money Heist opens a wonderful opportunity for Netflix to get more from an already popular franchise. Those who have watched the original Money Heist will notice that the remake, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area borrows some basic traits from the original.

Familiar narratives can be seen developing in the Korean remake as well. The characters are also very similar in nature although with different backstories.


Just recently, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area launched the first six episodes after getting a green light from Álex Pina, the creator of Money Heist. The show is set in the future, where South Korea and North Korea have become a Joint Economic Area.

The show portrays the two nations as being unified with a shared currency that is printed at the Unified Mint. On the other hand, the professor seems to be highly disillusioned as he notices the economic impact that the unification brought. This includes low-wage workers getting exploited and the economic gap between people widening even further.


Eventually, the professor decides to put together a group of 8 thieves who would conduct a 4 trillion won heist at the Unified Korea Mint. From what it looks, all the characters from this group seem to have similar tendencies toward violence, mercy, and innocence. We see the Yoo Ji-tae playing the role of the professor as he switches back and forth between a robin-hood-like character and someone who has a knack for manipulation.


Other than that, we also see Kim Yunjin bringing balance to the show by delivering an incredible performance as senior inspector Seon Woo-jin, as she plays a game of negotiation involving high stakes.

Park Hae-soo from the Squid Game is seen playing the role of Berlin, who believes that fear is a great tool for wielding power. But deep inside, he carries some unresolved trauma from his days spent in the Gaecheon concentration camp in North Korea.

The role of Tokyo is played by Jeon Jong-seo, who is a woman from North Korea trying to put together all her dreams as she suffered abuse and fraud as a migrant worker. The strength of this cast is coupled with some amazing action sequences throughout the show.


Furthermore, the basic premise of the show seems to be rather straightforward. It is about getting into the mint, holding everyone hostage without killing anyone, printing money, and then leaving. However, at many points, it may feel like Money Heist: Korea is struggling to get out of all the ambitions that it has set for itself.

The viewers must be able to root for the protagonists no matter how flawed the character is. It is important to see everything from their shoes and feel their successes or defeats. However, Money Heist: Korea makes that slightly difficult for the viewers. One cannot help but question why anybody would root for some thieves who are primarily motivated by the greed for personal riches.


The endings of the original Money Heist seasons were quite satisfying. However, it is uncertain what direction the Korean remake will take. More on that will be uncovered after part 2 of the remake comes out.

Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 1 Review
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 1. Image credit: Netflix

Today, Korean media has become quite a favourite among binge-watchers. Recently, shows like Squid Game, Kingdom, and D.P. have proven to be worth watching due to their sharp social commentary and action-packed plots. But on the other hand, it sometimes feels like the commentary in the Korean remake of Money Heist does not really stick out amidst all the hostage crises.


Surprisingly, some of the top sequences in Money Heist: Korea appear in the very first few minutes of the episodes as we get to see glimpses of the characters’ backstories. This helps us in developing a full sketch of every character’s journey in the show and their reasons for siding with the professor.

Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area

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