Match made in heaven: ‘Money Heist Korea’

Published June 23, 2022, 10:43 AM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Netflix’s “Money Heist” is one of the all-time most-watched and loved crime series on the streaming platform. Content coming from Korea constantly enjoys an avid following all over the world, as we witnessed last year with “Squid Game,” and previously with “Crash Landing On You.”

So what could be a more perfect match than combining the two into a new series that debuts on Netflix on Friday, June 24. It’s called “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area,” and there’s a premise that’s quite unique, and should guarantee a rapt worldwide audience following each episode.

The promising premise is how the series is set in a near future, on the cusp of the unification of South and North Korea. The mint producing the new currency that will be put in use upon unification is the target of our “Money Heist” gang, and led by The Professor, it’ll once again be a game of cat and mouse as the gang members named after global cities go head-to-head against police forces both from the South and the North.

Both an adaptation and a spin-off, there’s enough original thought placed into the screenplay to have inspired the producers to green light this project; and I’m certain it’ll be anticipated by many in all the regions where Netflix operates.

A media press event was held last Wednesday, June 22, and from the attendance coming from the Asia-Pacific region, one could sense and feel the excitement surrounding this series, and how excited people are to catch the first two episodes on Friday.

The director is a great fan of the original Spanish series, and while he loved the idea of bringing the series to Korea, he was adamant that it not be a simple adaptation. As he commented, enough people in Korea had already watched the series, so what would have been the impetus for these viewers to tune in if it was a straight out copy. Having thrown the challenge to the scriptwriters, he was really excited when they came up with the premise described above.

While certain strokes and beats will echo the original series, the director feels there are enough original ideas and executions to make this Korean series a fine stand-alone project that will resonate with “Money Heist” fans, and with a new audience. Given the high production values, gloss, and panache that have become trademarks of Korean content, I don’t doubt that for a moment.

No spoilers here, so just look out for this series. Park Hae-Soo was in the cast of “Squid Game,” and he’s Berlin in “Money Heist: Korea.” Other lead cast members include Kim Sung-oh who should be the new crush of the female members of the audience and Kim Yun-Jin, a female crisis negotiation leader. 

“Money Heist” has always been about crisp action, and vivid, strong characters – so this new Korean series should score a home run, and zoom up the most-watched charts all over the world.

(Images courtesy of Netflix)