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Netflix's Money Heist Characters Ranked From Worst To Best

"Money Heist," the Spanish series known as "La Casa de Papel" in its homeland, has swept the world with its well-choreographed dance of emotions, tested loyalties, guns, explosions, and next-level cat and mouse. As of now, the show centers on two heists, each with its own unique sets of hostages, guards, and authorities. While the core group of thieves is basically the same in both schemes, there are a couple of key changes and additions.

The sheer number of chess pieces on these boards would be overwhelming to keep straight for anybody but The Professor. Still, the complexities of these characters, from names to plot points, are part of what makes this more than just another cops and robbers story. As we prepare for the next season of "Money Heist," let's look at where we've been by running down the list of characters we love and loathe. For this list, we'll be ranking characters from worst to best. But including everybody would be far too much, so we're focusing on the most dynamic characters with the most screentime. This list is full of spoilers, so if you haven't watched, I suggest doing so immediately.

14. César Gandia

In the second heist of Seasons 3, 4, and 5 on Netflix, the main antagonist inside the Bank of Spain is a self-righteous, angry guard named César Gandia. He takes his role as the arm of "right" very seriously, viewing it as his responsibility to take down the thieves. He gets his chance when Palermo, angry at his ouster from the crew, gives him a tip for how to escape. Of course, Rio is too weak to stop Gandia, and after his release, he executes everybody's favorite member of the team. His actions in her death aren't those of a noble hero, though — he executes her specifically because she's a woman and of mixed descent, which made her power over him something he could not accept.

Gandia gets out and immediately returns with a special forces team. But his anger and ego jeopardize the mission, and even his fellow ruthless killers get tired of his swaggering and posturing. He's also easily rattled, like when Tokyo points out that he obviously came back because he doesn't care about his family or find his wife attractive. Gandia is toxic masculinity personified, with racism and hypocritical self-righteousness thrown in to boot. No wonder he's the worst on this list.

13. Arturo Román

Gandia and Arturo would make a dream team of men hungry to take down "bad guys" not because they want to help others but because they want to be labeled heroes. In Seasons 1 and 2, Arturo tries to rally the hostages against the heisters despite the fact that there is no physical danger to them. Every one of his plots involves somebody else taking the big risk while he's ready to claim victory. Then there's Mónica Gaztambide, his mistress. When Arturo finds out she's pregnant with his child, he says it will hurt his family and rejects her. But when she falls for Denver, he tries to get her back. Helsinki labels the man "Arturito" ("little Arturo") because he's a little boy playing a big boy game.

In Season 3, Arturo is giving big speeches as the hero who led the revolt against the thieves in the first heist. When he sees the second heist going down, he runs in because he lives for the adulation he has created around his own mythology. There, he again tries to rally people against their captors, eventually arming up for the apparent purpose of killing Denver and taking back what's "his." Which leads Mónica, now code-named "Stockholm," to shoot him herself. He's a petty, egocentric man happy to justify his own desire for revenge and adoration with a quest to save the day.

12. Colonel Tamayo

Colonel Luis Tamayo is the new chief of operations in the second heist (Seasons 3 through 5) and is the perfect example of why people find themselves rooting for thieves over their own government and police. Indeed, Tamayo lies and cheats at every turn. After having tasked Alicia Sierra with using any means necessary to get information out of Rio, he quickly disavows her when the truth comes to light.

Tamayo is willing to suffer civilian casualties to take down The Professor's team. In fact, he's even caught on tape saying it'll gain him public sympathy if he can pin a hostage death on the abductors. Of course, he proves just how self-serving he is when he throws Alicia Sierra under the bus, essentially turning her into an international criminal by claiming she worked with The Professor after she tells the world that everything she'd done was under his command. Ready to betray enemy and "friend" alike, Tamayo is a ruthless, self-serving autocrat hungry to prove he deserves the hot seat.

11. Berlin (Andres de Fonollosa)

Berlin is a very polarizing character, and some would say he should be nearer to the top of the list. After all, he was the brother of The Professor, a part-planner of both heists, and a great conman long before they went to the Royal Mint in Season 1. The flashback scenes during the second heist show him inspiring those around them (including his son) to criminal greatness and depict a dynamic, suave man — a Spanish Danny Ocean with a million-dollar smile. So you almost forget who he actually was, at least in Seasons 1 and 2.

Remember: Berlin played mind games with everybody, both on his team and the other side. Quite often, he seemed to get some sadistic joy out of his torments. When he takes a hostage as his concubine, he crosses the line into, well, rape. Let's not forget that. Sure, he ends the season with a last stand to let the rest escape, but he knows he'll be dead in six months anyway, so it's really not that bad a way to go out; certainly not as noble as Tokyo's eventual self-sacrifice.

So yes, Berlin was aspirational, inspiring, and seemed like he was probably a really fun guy in his early years. And he certainly loved his little brother. But by the time we see him in the Mint heist, he's a dictatorial sadist who lives for physical, sexual, and psychological power games.

10. Alicia Sierra

Alicia Sierra is the bad guy in heist two until she's not. She walks in with so much self-aggrandizement and ego you can't help but hate her from the first moment you lay eyes on her. Even before she begins negotiating with The Professor, we see her torturing poor Rio, reducing him to a shred of the human he was (and that former man wasn't very tough anyway). She loves to think of herself as the smartest, coolest person in the room, and when The Professor bests her, she appears to be in disbelief. She's much different from Raquel Murrillo in the first heist, who celebrated even her small victories with humility.

Sierra's ego is only overshadowed by her faith in the system of which she is a part, which is why she's absolutely shocked when Tamayo destroys her to save himself. She then captures The Professor, and you think your hatred of Sierra couldn't get any greater. Then she has her baby, basically by herself, on the floor of a criminal mastermind's hideout. That's toughness, and the whole experience seems to humble her. Hopefully, she'll hold onto that and realize that (in "Money Heist" at least) the criminals are the good guys.

9. Palermo (Martín Berrote)

It's interesting how many characters from the second heist are so much worse than the people from the first time around. Palermo is one such person, and the irony is that he helped plan the Bank of Spain heist with his best friend, Berlin. He also was in love with Berlin — an unrequited love, since Berlin was heterosexual, as far as we know. Indeed, Palermo all but wants to kill himself after Berlin's death, but The Professor takes him on to act in a similar role as his old friend. The thing is, while Berlin (despite his horrible character) was always calm and in control, Palermo is more of a wildcard with a tendency to get petty and indignant.

Palermo helps inspire Gandia to escape. He acts impulsively, and just like Gandia, he talks down to Nairobi (partly because of his own misogyny). Eventually, he comes back into the fold and is from then on a selfless, contributing (if not a little bit humbled) member of the team. But since his betrayal over petty bickering leads to Nairobi's death, he can never be fully redeemed. Still, his rescue of and admission of feelings for Helsinki are a step in the right direction.

8. Rio (Anibal Cortes)

Rio is the baby of the heist crew. He's constantly seen as the weakest link, both in the first heist when the authorities get his parents to plead with him and in the second when he proves as much. In particular, when Gandia escapes, Rio has a chance to shoot him but can't bring himself to do so. Anybody else in the group would've taken the supercop out, and Gandia's escape ultimately leads to Nairobi's death, putting blood on Rio's hands.

Rio is also one of Tokyo's main weaknesses — she cares about him, and that leads her to make decisions that jeopardize the rest of the crew. He freaks out when she is given up in the first heist but is easily overpowered. And while he seems nice enough and has lots of tech knowledge, he can be kind of boring. Plus, Rio is a bit more of a passive actor than an active one. More specifically, he joined the heist because he didn't have many other options, and in the second plot, he's revealed to be even less tough after his time in captivity. It'll be interesting to see if he steps up now that Tokyo is gone, but so far, he's still the weakest link.

7. Mónica Gaztambide (Stockholm)

We first meet Mónica Gaztambide as a put-upon underling working at the Spanish Mint. She is Arturo's mistress, and when he finds out she's pregnant, he ends things with her. Then, they get taken over by The Professor's crew, and Arturo pressures the hostages to help him be a hero. Mónica does so, and Berlin tells Denver to kill her, but he can't do it. Instead, Denver shoots her in the leg so that Berlin thinks he's done the deed, and then he rehabs her. Slowly, they fall in love, though people say it's because she has "Stockholm syndrome," which is the eventual codename she takes.

Eventually, Mónica chooses to be with Denver, and she becomes part of the crew by the end of the 2nd season after picking up a gun to help the crew escape. When round two begins, she immediately jumps into the mix, but she doesn't have the mental toughness of the former robbers. She's scared, in part for her child. After Arturo tries to kill Denver and the rest of the crew, she shoots him, which should be a moment of triumph over the man who had belittled her. Instead, she feels like she jeopardized her backup plan: having Arturo raise their biological child. Season 5 ends with her messed up on drugs she's taken to numb herself, rendering her useless during the crew's biggest firefight of the whole series. 

6. Raquel Murillo (Lisbon)

Raquel began as the enemy. In the first heist, she was constantly trying to thwart The Professor, and she was smart enough to almost pull it off before he started courting her to distract her. Then a strange thing happened — they fell in love. Her police partner didn't like their relationship from the get-go, but since she finds Sergio Marquina (aka The Professor) to be the more interesting and compassionate man, she chooses him.

After Raquel finds out who Sergio is, she's obviously hurt. But eventually, their mutual respect and affection — combined with her growing hatred for the system she was supposed to be protecting — leads her to run off and join him. In the second heist, she's part of the group under the name Lisbon, every bit as hardcore and awesome as they are but also armed with greater intelligence about the other side and working as The Professor's partner in brains and love. Even Tokyo, who obviously hates former authority figures who interrogated her, eventually warms up to Lisbon. She would be higher on the list if we didn't dislike her so much during the first heist for trying to trap The Professor and his crew.

5. Helsinki (Mirko Dragic)

In the first heist, Helsinki is the hired muscle along with his brother (by experience, not blood — they're really cousins) Oslo. At first a stone-faced golem, Helsinki shows himself to be eternally loyal, strong, and a good person, which makes him the member we most want to know. And the scene when he has to "kill" the braindead Oslo may be the first time you cry watching the series.

After the first heist, Helsinki is partnered up with Nairobi, and they have a ton of fun as lost people partying and playing a married couple. She develops a love for him despite the fact that he's gay, and while he doesn't return the romantic feeling, she becomes family. While they plan round two, he falls in with Palermo, who doesn't reciprocate his mental affections, though he's all about the physical. Eventually, Helsinki breaks through his iron shell.

The first to take up whatever tough job needs to be done, Helsinki is the member of the crew with the purest heart and the most courage. His love of Nairobi inspires all of us to care for those closest to us, and he even inspires Palermo to finally care about somebody for the first time since Berlin.

4. Denver (Daniel Ramos)

Let's start off with one blanket statement: Denver is the man. If you like hanging out with the bros, Denver would be one of the favorite members of your crew. He's fun and funny, not trapped by overbearing intellect, and certainly good-looking enough to attract the women (as exemplified by his eventual romance with Stockholm). Denver's a great soldier, loyal without hesitation, and nearly unflappable. Yet beneath his bro image and trademark laugh, Denver is surprisingly deep.

Denver is first and foremost a dreamer. Despite always being told he doesn't have much potential for greatness, he wants something great out of his life and is willing to do whatever it takes to get that. He knows he's not the smartest, and he's happy to do the best with the gifts he has as an important member of the team. He only disobeys one order — killing Mónica — and that decision ends up working for the whole crew, Denver especially.

Denver's relationship with his father in Season 1 is a relationship goal for any father-son combo (aside from the whole "criminal heritage" element). Plus, his blind loyalty to his friends is one of the most admirable characteristics in the whole series.

3. Tokyo (Silene Oliveira)

Tokyo is the narrator for the whole series (so far) and thus the lead character. The series opens on her escape from authorities, when The Professor finds, rescues, and recruits her. You simply can't watch "Money Heist" without falling in love with Tokyo. She's the first to shoot but can keep her cool when she needs to, like when she's interrogated in the first heist. When roused to anger or action, her eyes flash with so much intensity that you can feel the fire, and all bets are off. The passion with which she attacks life is her greatest strength — and also her biggest weakness.

When Tokyo is focused and serious, she's unbeatable. When she acts impulsively, her colleagues pay. The biggest example is when she goes to the mainland to party, leading to Rio's capture. When she decides to return to the Mint on a motorcycle to be "cool," this stunt results in the death of Moscow, who is one of the show's most loveable characters (he would've made this list if he had more screentime). She also insults Nairobi by attacking her dream of motherhood and makes fun of The Professor's tics.

At the end of the day, Tokyo sacrifices herself to blow up the mercenary team — taking out the biggest threat to the success of the second heist, including the absolutely horrible Gandia — and you can't help but fall in love with her all over again. Also, that smirk as she reveals the grenade pins in her hands is priceless.

2. The Professor (Sergio Marquina)

The Professor is like Superman. In public, he appears meek and bookish. Yet you put him in the heist control room, and he's a giant. His superpower isn't his strength or the ability to fly but rather his bountiful intellect. He orchestrates and oversees both of these highly complex heists, attacking them like a chess grandmaster. Although he has well-planned strategies, he also studies his opponents well enough to have a counter for every one of their possible moves. That's not to say The Professor is weak, either — when he calls out Raquel's abusive ex-husband, and the cop tries to fight him, he overpowers him handily with his aikido.

The Professor is truly impressive when improvising, like when he destroys the car in the impound lot to erase evidence of the group or the game he plays with Raquel's ex as part of his strategy. He's calculating to the point that you wonder if he's devoid of feeling like his sociopath brother, Berlin. Then you see him spare Raquel's mom's life because he's actually falling for his greatest opponent. The Professor also keeps a level head even when those he's depending on make mistakes, never raising his voice despite all the petty arguments that threaten to derail his meticulous plan. Plus, his story — going from a sickly child of a thief to becoming one of the greatest thieves of all time — is the stuff legends are made of.

1. Nairobi (Agata Jimenez)

From the beginning, Nairobi is the most solid member of the crew. When minting the money in such a way that it can't be traced, even the hostage she puts in charge of the printing press says she was the best boss he's ever had. And when she has to switch gears, she's just as solid — she can handle crowd control with unwavering authority. At one point, she becomes the de facto leader of the group with the inspiring, "Let the matriarchy begin."

When she sees Alison Parker, their most important hostage, getting mocked by her classmates, Nairobi helps her find confidence and embrace her own power. Elsewhere, Nairobi's relationship with the gruff but caring Bogotá is one of the more moving romantic arcs in the show. Her undying love for and loyalty to Helsinki — despite the fact that he's gay and therefore can't reciprocate her romantic love — is nothing short of beautiful. And her respect for The Professor (to the point that she says she wants him to be the father of her child) is endlessly admirable. Her death is one of the most painful and the single most impactful moment in the whole series.

This fan favorite has become a symbol of feminine strength in a world that still has trouble embracing such a notion — a vision of nobility arising from a string of horrible circumstances. She is eternally loyal, trustworthy, and talented, and even has a building-sized mural in Berlin. It's no surprise that Nairobi tops the list.