Money Heist: Korea follows a group of convicts who plan on robbing the Korean Mint and completing the biggest heist in history. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
The war between North and South Korea has ended and a time for peace and prosperity is approaching. A plan for unification has been suggested and the countries have maintained a zone called the Joint Economic Area (JEA) as a trial run.
In reality, rather than the north and the south benefitting equally, it is only the rich that have gotten richer. People at the lower levels of society are still struggling to make ends meet.
A man named Park Sun-ho decides to plan a heist and gathers a team handpicked for their abilities. They all pick different cities as codenames while Sun-ho refers to himself as the Professor.
Tokyo was a former soldier for the North during the war. When she was duped by her immigration agent while moving to the South, she was forced to take menial jobs to earn a living. One day while disagreeing with a loan shark, she ends up killing him and his henchmen.
She spends the next year robbing loan sharks with her partner until one mission goes wrong and her partner dies. That’s when the Professor approaches her with his plan and asks her to join his team.
The members of the team were Berlin, Rio, Moscow, Denver, Nairobi, Helsinki and Oslo along with Tokyo and the Professor. Each of them came from different parts of Korea and had different motivations for this job.
The Professor’s plan is for the others to go into the Korean Mint on the JEA and print their own money while the Professor handles everything from the outside.
Once they’re in and the news spreads, the Korean government sets up a joint task force to tackle the problem with Seon Woo-jin serving as the negotiator from the South and Captain Cha Moo-hyuk as the representative from the North.
Inside the mint, the gang take the employees and a group of students hostage. One of the students is Anne Kim, the daughter of the US ambassador.
The Mint director, Cho Young-min, has been having an affair with his employee, Yoon Mi-seon. He also turns out to be a disruptive influence that constantly undermines the gang’s authority.
Moo-hyuk initially wants to carry out a military raid but the gang use the hostages as cover, forcing the authorities to roll back on that decision. Woo-jin begins negotiations with the Professor which plays out like a game of chess.
Part of the plan, however, was that the Professor had bumped into Woo-jin and been closely associated with her as a way to gain insight into what the authorities have, without her knowledge. The North Koreans believe that she is a voluntary mole but Moo-hyuk disputes that claim.
When Mi-seon is caught with a smartwatch and trying to contact the police, Berlin orders Denver to kill her and strike fear in the other hostages. Denver cannot go through with it and shoots her in the leg, faking her death in front of Berlin.
The police get a picture of Rio before the smartwatch is destroyed and with the help of surveillance footage, learn the identity of Nairobi as well as the model of the vehicle they were using.
This incident causes dissension among the ranks of the gang and Tokyo aims to take the reigns because she doesn’t trust Berlin anymore. Moscow finds out that his son, Denver, has killed a hostage and goes outside because he wants to turn himself in.
The others scramble to get him back inside and in the ensuing fracas, the police shoot Young-min instead when he grabs one of the guns and tries to take control.
Woo-jin and the Professor negotiate to allow some medical personnel to come in and operate on Young-min’s wound. Moo-hyuk plans on going in with the doctors so that they can carry out a feint operation with soldiers infiltrating through the vents.
The Professor realises that this is just a distraction and thwarts the feint operation just in time but one of the soldiers, Park Chul-woo, stays behind and blends in with the other hostages.
Denver and Mi-seon get closer as they spend more time together but Young-min gets more paranoid and jealous watching them. Young-min and Chul-woo lure Denver into a storage room and try to beat the identity of the Professor out of him.
As Woo-jin follows the lead of the vehicle they used, the Professor is forced to handle the issue on his own and get to the vehicle first and get rid of their fingerprints after Oslo failed to make sure it was compacted earlier. He gets there just before Woo-jin and a chase ensues.
Chul-woo recovers his weapon and causes some chaos in the Mint to take Tokyo out, Mi-seon goes to help Denver who is being beaten up by an enraged Young-min.
If you have any doubts about the ending, here is a detailed breakdown.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area ending explained in detail:
A matter of public opinion
The Professor taught economics in his past, and was approached soon after the end of the war to create a financial plan for the unification of Korea. He agreed to do, not sure of what he was getting into.
Back in the present, after a long and winding chase, the Professor drives the vehicle into a river and sets it ablaze to get rid of the evidence, escaping the clutches of the police.
Just as Chul-woo is about to eliminate Tokyo, Berlin arrives and shoots him. Chul-woo gets one final message out to Moo-hyuk confirming that the Professor is outside the Mint.
Woo-jin calls the Professor and asks hm what was all the shooting about. He replies that it was just shooting practice and assures her that there is nothing to worry about. Both sides consider this a key moment in the investigation.
Woo-jin proposes going into the Mint herself along with a camera to ensure the safety of the hostages and the Professor agrees to her proposal.
The hostage inspection
The gang lets the hostages know that Woo-jin will be coming in with a camera to check on them. They also insist that they don’t try anything funny. Anne Kim and Young-min plan to get a message to Woo-jin written on one of the new notes that are being printed.
Woo-jin walks into the Mint and the gang brings out the hostages one by one. When it is Anne Kim’s turn, she try to get the note to the Woo-jin but Tokyo stops her in time. They take the note away from her and send her back to the group.
Woo-jin tells the gang that she wants to see all of the hostages at the same time and brings out a list they compiled. At the final moment she reveals that Park Chul-woo’s name is on the list as a security officer and accuses the gang of covering up his murder.
That’s when they bring Chul-woo out and reveal on live television that it is the authorities that are lying.
Berlin tells everyone watching that Chul-woo had planned to eliminate their leader and then the police would storm in guns blazing. The Professor hands a USB to a new struck with footage of Chul-woo grabbing his weapon and moving around the Mint.
This ruins any plans that Woo-jin and Moo-hyuk had of getting the upper hand in this situation.
Inside the Mint, things have cooled down and the gang are in high spirits, enjoying their momentary triumph. Moscow shows up and lets them know that he’s broken through the floor and reached the soil for their escape route.
On the outside, the higher ups have sent the order the Captain Moo-hyuk should be fired but Woo-jin doesn’t agree with the decision. Moo-hyuk tells her that he will still work on finding the Professor on the outside and mentions his suspicion of Park Sun-ho but Woo-jin tells him to back off.
She then calls the Professor and asks if they can spend some time together. By the time he arrives she is already drunk and the two of them are briefly separated from everything that’s been going on thanks to their feelings for each other.
As they’re walking down the street, Woo-jin reaches into her pocket and finds a piece of the currency note that Anne Kim tried to hand her. She gets an instant revelation and leaves the Professor to go back to work.
As the Professor reaches home, he finds Moo-hyuk waiting for him there and he’s left wondering what this visit might mean.