The Great Heist (El Robo Del Siglo)

Dept. of Compelling Crimes


First things first. Netflix’s new Spanish language miniseries The Great Heist is no Money Heist. Yes, it is about a group of thieves trying to break into a national bank to steal money, but two main things set these shows apart. 1) The Great Heist is based on a true story of a Colombian heist in 1994. 2) It doesn’t have a happy ending.

The Great Heist tells the story of Chayo and Molina, a pair of robbers who have a falling out after a robbery gone bad in the opening of the first episode. Fast forward two years and Chayo, who is now running a failing jewellery store, needs one more big score to get back on his feet and pay off some debts he has with people you don’t want to have debts with.

Molina and Chayo after too much drink and too much dance.

So Chayo gets a crew together, gets a plan going, and through strategic bribes, (and an unexpectedly protracted safe breaking situation) get the money, and get out.


The first half of this six episode limited series was focused on the planning and the heist itself. Things don’t go smoothly, because of the protracted safe breaking, and some internal baggage between Chayo, his financier, and Molina. The back half of the series is the “what happens next” portion of the story. Basically it all goes to pot. Upon discovery of the heist, the government of Colombia announces the serial numbers of the bank notes stolen thus making the money worthless. Now, needing capital to rob the bank, and having gone to an even bigger, more dangerous mob for that money, the robbers are left unable to pay them back. Mayhem (read: death and murder) ensues.

At the end of the series, Chayo’s family leaves him and he is left to hide out in the mountains with his money, until he is finally apprehended by the authorities. Remember kids, crime does not pay.

The problem with The Great Heist is that despite being based on a true story, a lot of the more interesting bits were changed. Chayo is actually based on a high ranking member of a drug cartel. Drama was added for drama’s sake. Chayo and his friend Molina never had a falling out. Being part of the mob, it is fair to say Chayo’s wife probably knew about it. And the way the crew got caught was made to be more salacious then it actually needed to be. 


Even before doing research into the real world heist, the series left me wanting. It was a by the book tale of a bank heist, in a time that doesn’t really exist anymore. The Great Heist didn’t really have anything to say. Was it about desperate thieves and one last score? Was it about the corrupt police who would turn a blind eye to crime for money? Was it about the government who, in making the stolen money worthless (genius move by the way), also caused the unintended consequence of disrupting the Colombian economy? It was all of these things and none of them at the same time.

The Great Heist is based on a story about a real bank heist that made history as the biggest heist of all time. But The Great Heist isn’t that story. And maybe it should have been, because that sounds like it would have been a really good story.

The Great Heist
Netflix, 6 episodes
Showrunners: Camilo Prince and Pablo Gonzalez
Directors: Camilo Prince, Pablo Gonzalez, and Laura Mora
Writers: Camilo Prince, Pablo Gonzalez, Natalia Santa, and Nicolas Serrano
Cast: Andres Parra, Christian Tappan, Marcela Benjumea, Waldo Urrego, Paula Castaño, Juan Sebastian Calero, Rodrigo Jerez, Juan Pablo Barragan, and Ramses Ramos.

The Great Heist (El Robo del Siglo) is now streaming on Netflix.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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