‘Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area’ Season 1 Recap And Ending, Explained – Will There Be A Season 2?

Inspired by the Spanish series “La casa de Papel,” Netflix brings us a Korean version of it. “Money Heist: Korea- Joint Economic Area” is a thriller that keeps one on the edge of their seat till the last episode. The year is 2025 in the series, and capitalism is on the rise. A man who calls himself Professor has an elaborate plan to rob the Mint. He gathers a group of North and South Korean outcasts to join him in this heist. Do they successfully execute their master plan? Who is the Professor?


Spoilers Ahead

What Is The Story Of ‘Money Heist: Korea’?

Set in the year 2025, the series focuses on North and South Korean government who decide to allow transportation between the two divided countries for economic growth. We hear the narrator’s story briefly, and she is a girl who loves the very famous band BTS. She is from North Korea, and while girls her age were in the “BTS Army,” she was in the military fighting real enemies on the battleground. She comes to South Korea to live the life of her dreams; however, she soon finds out that it is nothing like she imagined. There is an area called the Joint Economic Area (JEA), where these migrants are allowed to work freely.


While the big sharks on both sides were making a lot of money, we see people like the narrator struggling to even keep a house. We also see that the narrator’s migration broker lied to her about a house and job. We see her becoming a waitress. One of the waitresses even offers her food; however, she declines. The narrator thinks about the world and what is happening to it. She came to South Korea with a dream, but we see her facing the harsh reality of this cruel world. Since she is a migrant, people treat her differently, and we see her getting harassed by men. We see her going to a loan shark, and even though he behaves oddly with her, when he tries to touch her and the girl who offered her food, she murders the loan shark and his employees. However, in this fight, even the girl she was trying to save dies. 

A year later, we see her as a wanted criminal who has committed robbery and murdered the loan sharks. She is then approached by a man who calls himself Professor. He tells her that he wants her to join his team of criminals who are going to rob the Mint; the amount they are going to steal is four trillion won. When the narrator asks him who he teaches and why he calls himself Professor, we get introduced to the other members of his gang. We see their secret hideout, where the Professor trains his team. Even though they are together as a team, nobody is allowed to reveal their identity. They are asked to pick a place where they would want to go after the heist is successful. Each member picks a city. Here, we get introduced to each member by their alias. The members are Rio, who is a hacker; Denver, who used to be a street fighter; Denver’s dad, Moscow, who used to work in the mines; Nairobi, who is a con artist; two friends, Helsinki and Oslo; Berlin, who is from North Korea; and Tokyo, the narrator. Following their introduction, we see the Professor teaching them ways to get into the Mint.


How Does The Group Enter The Mint?

The Mint is a place where the Korean government plans to print a common currency for both sides. There, the heist is going to take place. The biggest question is how are they planning to enter the Mint, which has very tight security? Well, the Professor has a master plan. On the day of the heist’s beginning, we see a school trip taking place inside the Mint. We get introduced to the hostages in their master plan. First, we get to see the Director of the Bureau, Cho Young-min, who is having an extramarital affair with another employee named Mi-Seon. He is first seen talking to the vice director of the bureau in JEA. His name is Hong In. We also get introduced to a VIP, Anne Kim, who is the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador. As the field trip goes on, we get a glimpse of the Mint from the inside. On the other side, we see the team of the Professor executing their first operation. Nairobi and Tokyo dress up and are waiting outside the Mint, and the other members wear masks in a bus that is being driven by Berlin. Also, the hacker, Rio, is instructing them where the employees of the Mint are going. They follow a truck that gets access inside the Mint, and this truck is accompanied by a police car. On a bridge, we see Rio blocking the truck and police vehicle. He also blocks all communication. During this scene, Berlin and his teammates start opening fire. They threaten the police and hide inside the truck. Berlin goes inside the police vehicle while others dress up as security. Their first operation is successful, and they enter the Mint. Upon entering the Mint, the group holds the employees and the students hostage. Here, their mission begins.

We later get introduced to the negotiating officer, Woo-jin, and in whose team there is a North Korean captain, Cha Moo-hyuk. Together, they make their own plans on how to save the hostages inside. However, Woo-jin is oblivious to the fact that she is herself seeing the Professor. To her, the Professor is merely a cafe owner. In the series, we see them talking constantly. While Woo-jin tries her best to negotiate with the Professor, he is always way ahead of her. According to the Professor’s plan, Berlin is the team leader inside the Mint. He promises the hostages that nobody will get hurt if they cooperate. The Professor’s second operation involves printing money inside the Mint. The hostages are then divided into teams and given work. Some of them print money, and the others are ordered to help dig a tunnel from which the teammates can escape. Desperate to escape, the Director of the Mint comes up with a plan. He tells Mi-Seon that he has a smartwatch in his office and that she has to get it. We see Mi-Seon faking her pregnancy afterward. Denver is a soft person and takes her to another room. There, we see the U.S. Ambassador’s daughter. She helps Mi-Seon, and she successfully grabs the smartwatch. She tries to contact the police; however, Berlin catches the smartwatch. He breaks it and warns the hostages not to pull any other stunts. Berlin decides to punish Mi-Seon and asks Denver to shoot her. We later discovered that Denver could not shoot her. However, to save their lives, Mi-Seon asks Denver to shoot her in the leg, and he does so. Tokyo finds her alive and gets worried about what Berlin will do after he finds out that Mi-Seon is alive. Mi-Seon’s health is constantly declining. On the other hand, we see the Director of the Mint crying over his lover’s presumed death. He tries to persuade the others to join him and make their own plan; however, the vice director of the bureau says it is too dangerous.


Tokyo wants to remove Berlin as the leader because the Professor’s plan included not hurting any of the hostages. Berlin tells everyone that the hostages need to be scared of them; otherwise, they won’t cooperate. His plan seemed to work out, as the hostages were in shock. When Moscow finds out that his son has killed one of the hostages, he gets very angry and upset. We see that Moscow had been in jail. He says he regrets bringing his son into this heist. He never wanted his son to become like him, so he opened the main entrance of the Mint in order to surrender. However, along with him, even Denver goes out. We see that Berlin brings out hostages dressed like them in masks, and he also gives them guns. The police cannot shoot or arrest in this situation because it involves the lives of civilians. Denver then tells Moscow that he has not killed Mi-Seon, and Tokyo knows about it. The journalists are seen covering the whole situation. Tokyo says they are not there to fight or fire; they want to go inside peacefully. As they are going inside, Young-min tries to escape; he takes one of the guns and points it at Tokyo. However, Woo-jin gives the order to shoot, and one of the snipers shoots Young-min. He is brought back inside the Mint; however, he is badly injured.

What Happens To Young-min?

While we hear why each member has joined the heist, Rio’s reason was not money. We see that Rio comes from a rich family of doctors and was in medical school. However, it was against his wishes. He never wanted to become a doctor. He was frustrated with his life, so he agreed to join the heist. When he is told by the Professor that he might have to perform surgery when someone is injured, he backs out. But Tokyo threatens to send him back. The Professor tells Rio that the heist is no child’s play and is very serious.


Back to the present day, we see Young-min badly injured. The Professor informs Woo-jin that she has accidentally ordered the shooting of a civilian, and now he is suffering. The news spreads like wildfire, and the media’s eyes are now on Woo-jin. The Professor asks her how she is going to handle this situation, and she offers to send medics. She tells him that they need to build trust in order to negotiate, and this is her way of proving that the police mean no harm either. When the medics are sent inside, Moo-hyuk goes with them. He plans to put on glasses with a camera and see the hostages himself. However, the Professor manages to remember that Moo-hyuk had different glasses and that he had infiltrated the Mint. He orders the hostages to switch masks, and this confuses the police. They are caught red-handed, and the Professor warns Woo-jin not to break his trust. Meanwhile, we see that Denver steals some medical equipment to save Mi-Seon’s life. He asks Rio to perform surgery on her, but he refuses to do so. Denver decides to perform the surgery himself, but his hands shake too much. If anything goes wrong, Mi-Seon loses her leg. So Denver gives up. Meanwhile, we see that Berlin asks Tokyo what she is up to. Berlin also finds out that Mi-Seon is alive, and Denver has been hiding her all this time. Berlin says he would finish the job himself and kill Mi-Seon. Denver intervenes. We see that Denver has feelings for Mi-Seon at this point. Nairobi comes to the rescue, and they tie up Berlin because he gets too volatile. Meanwhile, Mi-Seon faints and is almost dying. Rio decides to perform surgery on her. He extracts the bullet from her leg and saves her life. We also find out that Denver is O+, so he can donate blood to anyone. He decides to donate blood to Mi-Seon to make up for the blood she lost.

Outside the Mint, the media is talking badly about Woo-jin. She goes to see the Professor, who comforts her. During all this, we see that a secret agent enters the Mint and blends in with the hostages. We see him meeting up with Anne Kim, Young-min, and Mi-Seon. On the other hand, we get a little background on Woo-jin. She was married to a powerful politician and had a daughter. Her mother has dementia. She tells her life story to the Professor, and we see the Professor start to fall for Woo-jin. This was not a part of his plan, but it happened eventually. Back at the Mint, Woo-jin slowly realizes that someone is planning the heist and providing information from the outside. However, she is still unaware that the man she is telling her life story to is the same man who has planned the entire heist. We see Moo-hyuk informing his superiors that one of his men is inside the Mint and trying to contact them. However, his superior points out that someone is leaking information to the robbers, as they are always a step ahead of the police. Moo-hyuk is suspicious of Woo-jin’s close friend, the Professor, and asks her questions about him. However, she refuses to give out personal information. In the series, we see that both of them had different ideas. While Woo-jin is peacefully trying to evacuate the hostages, Moo-hyuk is adamant about using force. The Professor captures Moo-hyuk and keeps him in a hideout, and the police deduce that since Moo-hyuk is a North Korean, he must be the traitor who is leaking information. Woo-jin does not believe it, but there is not much she can do. Woo-jin is constantly seen trying to decipher who the Professor could be and what his agenda is behind this heist. Slowly, they realize that it is a political issue. The politicians on both ends would benefit from the unification of the two countries that have been in a cold war for decades.


Is Tokyo A Good Leader?

Since Tokyo believes in the Professor the most, we see her as a good leader. Everyone inside is working efficiently, and even the Professor appreciates Tokyo for handling the operations well. Meanwhile, we find out that Berlin suffers from a terminal illness. Back in the Mint, the undercover spy tries to free the hostages; however, he is caught by the robbers. He is then kept in a separate room. Meanwhile, we see Woo-jin making another plan. She tells the Professor that she needs to make sure every hostage is safe because the families are worried. She knows that the Professor values public opinion. So he agrees to let her in with a cameraman. When she is inside, she personally meets everyone. Anne tries to pass a note in which she has written details about the teammates, but Tokyo stops her. Berlin and Tokyo find out her plan and warn her. Later, Woo-jin suggests that the teammates bring all the hostages together, and she will check them all at once. When she checks on each hostage, she points out that one security person is missing. She tries to turn the public against the robbers. They had assumed that their secret agent had died after hearing the gunshot; however, the robbers brought him alive and told the media that the police did not care about the hostages and it was the spy who put the lives of the hostages in danger. Woo-jin’s plan completely fails, and the robbers are again ahead of her. Tokyo makes a great leader, and even Berlin starts praising her.

What Is Woo-jin’s Next Move?

As the series progresses, we see elaborate plans being made by Woo-jin. Now, she knows that the robbers are just buying time to print their own money. We also get to see each character’s reason for joining the heist. Nairobi has a son outside who is kidnapped by Woo-jin’s ex-husband. He threatens to kill the son if Nairobi does not kill Anne. He wants to get the situation under control before the summit, at which both countries would unify. He wants to be the President of a unified Korea, and that would only be possible if he gets the situation at the Mint under control. Slowly the Professor starts conveying his message to the public via streaming. He tells the people of his country that the politicians are the real robbers, and this common currency would only make them richer while the poor would still suffer. The robbers inside the Mint start becoming family; however, one of them dies. We see the robbers grieving his death but coming back to reality. They have to escape before the police barge in to kill them. 


How Does The ‘Money Heist: Korea’ Season 1 End? Will There Be A Season 2?

We see Berlin and Tokyo’s separate plans where she goes outside the Mint. Slowly, we learn that Berlin and the Professor are brothers. When Berlin and his mother tried to cross the border, his mother was shot. On the other hand, we see the Professor as a child. Their father worked very hard to get Berlin out of prison; however, he gets killed when he tries to rob a bank. We learn that the heist was also a revenge plan against corrupt criminal politicians. The heist turns into a revolutionary moment. In one of the episodes, when the secret agent kills one of the robbers, he tries to take the hostages safely back home through the terrace. Most of them jump from the terrace, and the police rescue them; however, we see that Yoon Mi-Seon and Anne deliberately do not escape. The hostages go on strike and refuse to help the robbers. However, soon, they realize that the robbers mean them no harm. Anne gets to know that Nairobi tried to contact the police in order to save her son. But Tokyo saves Nairobi’s son in operation after going outside. She later comes back inside the Mint in a very impressive manner. Soon, the left-wing hostages get to work again because Berlin promises them money. He also decides to let the hostages go back home safely. Some of them go, and some of them stay. Outside the Mint, we see the public revolutionizing the heist. The Professor’s plan is to escape on the day the summit takes place because, after the unification of Korea, the police would definitely use force and kill all the robbers. Slowly, Woo-jin realizes that her boyfriend is indeed the Professor. She tries to trick him, but he realizes that he is being tracked by the police. We also get introduced to his other teammates. Berlin’s inmates are on the outside, digging from the other side, and are constantly helping them out. We get introduced to Seoul, who is the daughter of a North Korean concentration camp’s warden. We get to know that he was a bad man who used to kill prisoners for fun. He is a sadist and gets exposed to Berlin and Seoul in the series. Seoul shares her side of the story with the world through streaming, and the public starts to side with the robbers. As the day of the summit gets closer, the politicians and businessmen on both sides get tense. The media is busy covering the Mint while they want media attention on the summit. Sangman, the elected President of unified Korea, takes over the mission and suspends Woo-jin. He decides to use force and end the heist. In one of the mishaps that take place in the Mint, Moscow gets shot. Denver gets depressed. He starts digging faster without taking a rest because he wants to save his father. However, the efforts go in vain because Moscow dies. We also see that Mi-Seon and Denver get into a relationship. At first, Moscow is adamant about the affair being Stockholm syndrome; however, when Mi-Seon takes care of him while he is dying, Moscow changes his opinion. Things for the Professor get worse on the outside as Woo-jin finds out about their secret hideout. She confronts the Professor, who then tells her the entire plan. He says she would not arrest or kill him, and while she cries, he takes the gun from her hand and points it at her. He does not kill her, but their plan is in jeopardy now. The North Korean policeman frees himself and is back. However, since the President has taken over the mission, he has ordered the use of force against the robbers. He also prepares the summit.

On the day of the summit, as soon as the countries sign papers, the police go inside the Mint. We see that Denver has successfully dug a tunnel for them to escape. During their escape, we see jam-packed, thrilling scenes between the police and the robbers. While the hostages are successfully rescued, we see Berlin sacrificing himself in order to save the other teammates, and Seoul joins him. The Professor tells everyone that his plan has failed and that the police will eventually catch them. However, there is one tunnel that was not known to anyone but the Professor’s father. Through that route, the robbers successfully escaped. Back at the place where the summit was being held, we see the robbers fooling the police with fake bombs. They planted money bombs around JEA, and we see a rain of money on the public. They successfully create a movement among people where they start questioning capitalism, and the politicians are shown as the real robbers. 


We are under the pretense that Berlin and Seoul will die. However, they make it out alive. We later find out that they have survived the bomb blast and are safe. Also, we see that Woo-jin faces a lot of charges against her, but a lawyer is sent by someone to fight her case. We can safely assume that the Professor has sent the lawyer because his feelings for Woo-jin are real. In the end, we see Woo-jin visiting the place the Professor told her about. He had earlier shared that it was his father’s dream to settle in that place. There, she asks a person if they have seen a cafe nearby, and we see the Professor answering her. They meet again and smile. The series ends with the Professor saying he has another master plan that would shake the world. The ending leaves us on a cliffhanger. Will there be another season? We can assume that another season will be coming because the Professor hints at another heist. Where will this heist be, and will we see the same members?

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Tarushi Patali
Tarushi Patali
Tarushi is an English Literature graduate, who is currently doing master's in mass communication from Mumbai. She loves making lists and is an avid reader. Also, she likes judging people by their movie taste. In her leisure time you would find her digging random conspiracy pages on Reddit!

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