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La Casa de Papel: Setting the bar for global television

A young man and woman hobble into a bank vault together, covered in blood. They are wearing matching red overalls; he helps her out of hers so that he can tend to her gunshot wound. Then he pulls out a scalpel and explains that he’s going to remove the bullet. She’s horrified.

“Some people have bullets in them and they’re alright,” she says. “I saw it on TV.”

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This seems convincing to him. And why wouldn’t it? They are, after all, on TV, too – in the Spanish series La Casa de Papel, known in English as Money Heist. And since the show is full of ludicrous situations and beautiful people with style – it seems perfectly likely that she’ll survive with a bullet inside her. It’s equally likely that she’ll either die, leaving her attractive shooter-turned-medic (code name: Denver) wracked with guilt, or she’ll fall in love with him. It’s all part of the soap-opera style drama within the heist, which is the central pillar of the show. The true appeal of La Casa de Papel is not how or whether the heist will happen or not, but what interpersonal dramas will emerge along the way between the beautiful robbers, their beautiful hostages and the beautiful authorities trying to negotiate with them.

For two seasons, with a third in the works, La Casa de Papel’s team of eight criminals has been holding 67 hostages at the Royal Mint of Spain as they print the billions of Euros with which they hope to eventually abscond. Though it was created for Spain’s Antena 3 network and intended as a limited series, its popularity and worldwide potential caught the eye of Netflix, which acquired it,

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