‘Money Heist: Korea’ Drastically Changes Berlin’s Backstory to Make It More Chaotic
The popular Spanish Netflix series, Money Heist, gets a remake, but this time as a K-drama. Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area takes a group of thieves on the biggest heist of their lives but in a unified Korea. Besides the setting, actor Park Hae-soo teased how his character Berlin would be more dynamic than the original. Money Heist: Korea takes Berlin’s story to new dark heights.
[WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Money Heist: Korea.]
Who is Berlin in the Spanish original of ‘Money Heist’?
Out of a group of skilled thieves and criminals from Spain, one is more dangerous than the others. From the start, Berlin (Pedro Alonso) has an air of dominance compared to the others. He is always well-dressed and witty and shows his chaotic tendencies. In Money Heist, Berlin is appointed the leader of the team by the Professor. But fans also learn he is the Professor’s half-brother.
In the Spanish series, Berlin is a ticking time bomb who goes along with the Professor’s plans not to kill anyone. But along the way, he sees certain hostages trying their luck and uses force and fear to his advantage. Berlin pushes Denver to kill a female hostage, ignoring the main rule of the heist.
Before joining the heist, Berlin was a successful jewel thief and had married many times before. In the series, Berlin’s story drastically turns when the thieves and fans learn he has Helmer’s Myopathy. He is on borrowed time.
All the details fans know that make Berlin are not the same in Money Heist: Korea. On the contrary, Berlin’s story in the K-drama is darker and grittier and makes the character the somewhat psycho that he is.
Park Hae-soo’s Berlin was a prisoner from a young age in ‘Money Heist: Korea’
In this K-drama remake, the politics of North and South Korea plays a key role, especially in Berlin’s story. In the second episode, fans learn the tragic reality of why Berlin is the way he is. The episode opens with a flashback of a young boy and his mother. Tokyo’s (Jeon Jong-seo) monologue explains the Amrok river borders between China and North Korea. The river is used by people trying to escape and become North Korean defectors.
In the scene, the young boy and mother try evading the soldiers and making it to the river. But they are spotted and swim underwater. Open gunfire kills the boy’s mother. The boy is taken to a forced labor camp and becomes a prisoner. A scene shows the boy being physically beaten by older prisoners until he snaps.
He bites one of the prisoners and, in a fit of rage, takes a shovel and murders the prisoner. The North Korean officers who were watching knock out the boy before he does more damage. He is sent to solitary confinement.
The scene changes to 25 years later, and the young boy is now Berlin. Tokyo explains, “Every time Berlin was placed in isolation, the number of people who gradually fear him increased.” The prisoners riot and take over the prison, killing the guards and setting Berlin free.
The Netflix K-drama keeps the character’s maniacal ways with a few twists
The Berlin fans knew from Money Heist has a drastically different backstory than expected. But it adds a level of fear and darkness the Spanish original did not have. Money Heist: Korea has six episodes, and Berlin is established as someone not to be messed with.
Behind his suit and tie is a maniacal character, but he does keep to the Professor’s rules and overall expectations of the heist. Berlin makes a few changes when he pits the North Koreans against the South Koreans to create a level of control.
But the K-drama has not clarified how Berlin and the Professor met. Fans know the K-drama version is also sick, but it is unclear what illness. The K-drama finale leaves unanswered questions.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, is available to stream on Netflix.