Millions of people all over the world love the original content and distinctive tales produced by the South Korean entertainment industry. Thus, the first thought that occurs to viewers of Money Heist: Korea Joint Economic Area is, “What went wrong this time?” The Korean series, which is loosely based on the original Spanish series of the same name, has so far followed a very similar premise that it nearly becomes tiresome for fans to keep seeing the same scenarios. For the vast majority of viewers, who are not fluent in Spanish or Korean and thus rely largely on the English subtitles to follow the story, everything appears to be the same, although having new faces and taking place in a little different environment. So once more, was this show created because of the fans? Or was it just a poor studio choice?
Everything that the original series was known for is absent from Money Heist: Korea. Because revolutions, revolts, and anarchy are emotions that result from a nation’s internal turmoil, it lacks the Bella ciao element. It is impossible to just absorb or copy and paste their struggles. The ongoing tension between South and North Korea has been integrated as part of the designers’ attempt to address that problem. Does it make sense to set the political war between two countries in a hypothetical near future? The first episode of Season 1 only shows a small portion of the political conflict between the two governments aiming to join the Korean Peninsula, and it appears that the Professor is involved in the plotting. Once more, is the Professor’s strategy solely motivated by financial gain, or is there a deeper plot or bigger purpose? We have been eagerly waiting for a solution to that important topic, but Season 1’s first half refuses to provide one. Instead, the narrative only establishes the universe and characters, about which we already know a great deal, in six episodes that last about an hour apiece.
What Money Heist: Korea Joint Economic Area Is About?
In a confined North Korean society, a little girl later known as Tokyo (played by Jeon Jong-seo) is a free bird. As the prospects for North and South Korea’s unification dwindle, she enlists in the military and gets ready for battle. Then, all of a sudden, the soldiers learn that the two governments are forming an economic union and will soon create a single currency that will enable citizens of both nations to conduct transactions on the united Korean Peninsula. Tokyo leaves Pyongyang right away and travels to Seoul to pursue her dream of becoming a Korean.
The Joint Security Area, which had previously represented the partition of the two nations, was changed into a Joint Economic Area in 2025, serving as a trial run for economic cooperation. In order to create new banknotes for the united Korean peninsula, they also formed a combined Korean Mint. Tokyo is tricked by her broker when she lands in South Korea, and as a result of the lack of employment options, she begins doing odd jobs. Later, after seeing North Korean refugees being harassed, she makes the decision to kill the predatory loan sharks that prey on them. She consequently becomes the main suspect in a number of homicides. The Professor unexpectedly pays Tokyo a visit and gives her a task to steal a significant amount of money that will not only improve her life but also make her a hero. A year later, as Tokyo loses all hope and grows weary of evading the police, she resolves to commit suicide. Tokyo decides to follow the Professor and quickly encounters his gang of robbers (the same characters from the original series). The Professor introduces each thief before ultimately revealing their intended target: the Unified Korean Mint in the Joint Economic Area, where they would print and take the new banknote.
After five months of training, the six criminals successfully pull off the heist. On the day that a school group is supposed to visit the Mint, they enter the structure. The US Ambassador, Marshall Kim, who is instrumental in bringing the two nations together, is the father of one of the students on the tour, Anne Kim, therefore the professor strategically scheduled the heist for this day. The police are unable to enter the building as a consequence since anything that happens to Anne could jeopardise the next conference on Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation. From here on, Money Heist: Korea Season 1 follows a similar narrative as already seen in the original series.
Inside the Mint, the robbers start printing the new currency as it will be untraceable, while on the outside, the Professor keeps an eye on the South Korean crisis management leader, Seon Woojin, and falls in love with her. The Professor has created a fake identity, Park Sun-ho, and runs a caf named Bella Ciao near the Mint, where Seon has been coming for quite some time. She, too, has feelings for the Professor, which further develops as the series proceeds, paving the way for an emotional conflict between the two.
See More: How Is Money Heist: Korea Joint Economic Area Different From La Casa De Papel ?
What Was The Professor s Escape Plan?
Instead of stealing the money, the Professor had planned to print it using the machinery inside the Mint. He told his team that these newly printed currency notes would be untraceable and, thus, they would be able to use them freely. They held the employees hostage and maintained a good reputation with the general public through the media so that they could buy some time to print the money. The Professor didn t want the police to raid the premises, which was the entire reason for creating a complex plan to fool the police and compel them to move in circles. And while the police were busy chasing the shadow, the Professor instructed Moscow to dig a tunnel inside the safe that would become their escape route out of the Mint. He had also ordered his team to force the employees to dig another tunnel in the Mint, which was a fake tunnel to trick the police and avoid a chase in the end.
From outside the Mint, the Professor used a number of strategies to keep an eye on all the actions of the police so that he could tackle an attack even before the police could implement it. With Rio s help, he planted a hacking device on Captain Cha Moohyuk s cell phone and, with the help of the device, had been listening to their entire conversation the whole time to stay one step ahead of them. But while Seon Woojin was blindly in love with the Professor, it was Captain Cha who suspected that there was something wrong with this new guy, Park Sun-ho, aka, the Professor, and thus came to meet him at the end of the first part.
Money Heist: Korea Part 1: Ending Explained Did Professor Plan The Unification Of The Korean Peninsula?
By the end of Part 1, Moscow finally found some soil in the tunnel that he was digging, which meant it would soon be ready for their escape. While Nairobi, who was looking after the printing of the currency notes, needed only three more days to wrap up the job. The entire team speculated that they would be able to leave the Mint in another 72 hours if everything went according to plan. However, on the outside, the police had already recognized three suspects, i.e., Rio, Nairobi, and Berlin. Thus, even if they successfully escape the Mint, they will have to leave the country to live a peaceful life somewhere else. Song Jung-ho, aka Berlin, was suffering from a terminal illness, probably Parkinson s disease and might die soon. It could also play an important role in the transformation of his narcissistic character in the upcoming season.
On the other hand, the Professor got carried away by his emotions and asked Seon Woojin to leave the case as it was taking a toll on her mental health. As Tokyo narrated the story, she explained why Woojin was so crucial to the success of the heist. However, if she leaves the special operation unit, then the Professor will have no means left to get the insights and that in turn could jeopardize the entire robbery. But before Woojin could take that step, she found a piece of currency inside her pocket that was dropped by Anne Kim when Woojin went inside the Mint. The piece of the newly printed currency notes probably gave her a hint about what the robbers had been planning all along, and thus she would do anything to stop them.
The first part of Money Heist: Korea Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger. Moohyuk, who suspected the new man in Woojin s life, decided to pay a visit to his cafe and finally greeted Park Sun-ho, aka, the Professor. In the Korean series, the Professor used to teach (economics) at a university a few years ago, where Seon Woojin s husband and National Assembly Member, Kim Sangman, met him. He was impressed by the Professor s idea of uniting the Korean peninsula and thus took him to a person named Oh Jaeyun, who informed the Professor that North Korea was planning to implement an open-door policy, the first step toward the unification of North and South Korea. They had the means and the capital but needed an economic development strategy to move forward, and thus Oh Jaeyun requested the Professor to plan it for them. Even at this moment, the Professor had doubts about the entire scheme, yet he probably helped the government because of which the Joint Economic Area came into existence. Maybe the Professor only proposed that plan because he intended to steal the currency from the Mint later. And if the Professor is such an important person who played such a crucial role in the unification of the Korean peninsula, then both governments would have a record of his identity that Captain Cha Moohyuk could easily access. So, the question here is, does Captain Cha Moohyuk know who the Professor is? He may not know that he is the mastermind behind the heist, but he may have an idea that he is the person who has written the future of the two countries.
What To Expect From Money Heist: Korea Season 2?
The part 2 of Money Heist: Korea Season 1, will probably shed more light on the Professor s involvement in the economic reforms while also exploring his emotional attachment with Seon Woojin. In the series, Seon Woojin has a young daughter whose custody is still under question. Woojin had accused her husband, Kim Sangman, of domestic assault, and he would go to any lengths to protect his image as he wished to run for the presidency of the unified Korean peninsula. The conflict between the two countries is the most interesting part of the entire series. It also hints that maybe Kim Sangman has made some kind of deal with the North Koreans to secure his position in the new government, and the Professor only planned the heist on the Mint to attract world attention so that he can expose Kim s sinister conspiracy. Only Money Heist: Korea Part 2 will be able to reveal what is true and what s not.
And last but not least, the success of the heist is still in question. If Woojin finds out that they are printing money inside the Mint, then she will raid the building as soon as possible, and thus the robbers have to leave the premises in haste. Hence, if we speculate on the basis of what has already happened in the original series, then indeed the heist is going to be successful, though with some collateral damage. However, it is possible that the creators can make some major changes in the second part of Money Heist: Korea Season 1, and if it happens, then indeed, the next part is going to be a fun ride for the fans.
Money Heist: Korea Joint Economic Area is a 2022 Drama Thriller series directed by Kim Hong-sun.