There’s no shortage of intriguing and enigmatic characters on Netflix’s Money Heist (La Casa de Papel).
Money Heist Season 3 of the crime drama introduced fans to Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri), the lead police investigator in the Bank of Spain heist, and quite frankly, the most puzzling character to date.
Sierra is an exciting and worthy replacement for former police inspector Raquel Murillo aka Lisbon, who left her policing days behind to join the Professor’s merry band of robbers following their first heist at the Royal Mint.
With a lollipop in hand, Sierra is ready to stop the robbery of the bank in its tracks and finally bring the criminals to justice.
Her actions and decisions bring a new level of unpredictability to the series, which makes her a worthy opponent for the Professor. Raquel played by his rules, but Sierra has figured out his rules and kept up with them… almost too well.
She’s in it to win it, and prior to her introduction, we hadn’t seen anyone who was equally as cunning as the Professor.
She's defined by her brutality; while others would shudder at the thought of using family members as leverage, she’s overjoyed to cross the line on multiple occasions, including when she uses Nairobi’s son and Raquel's ailing mother to manipulate them.
Sierra isn’t just crazy good at her job, she’s simply crazy… and that allows her to go head-to-head with the Professor, with or without the support of law enforcement. She's a sociopath, in her own way, that’s equally as complex, ruthless, intelligent, and confident as both the Professor and Berlin.
There are also many parallels between her and Raquel.
They’ve both been outsmarted by the Professor on a few occasions, they both lost the support of their team while working the heist investigations, they were both turned into scapegoats for the agency, and they both used their instinct to successfully hunt the Professor down.
But there’s a key difference that sets Sierra apart from Raquel -- she’s not in love with the Professor.
Raquel pursued the Professor, but she was also blinded by love. The trust they developed when she didn't know who he truly was made it easier for her to understand that, though flawed, his intentions behind the heist were noble.
Sierra, on the other hand, was motivated to find the Professor to finish a job. She never once lost sight of the prize, and one could say her dedication to the job and capturing the bad guys have been fueling and motivating her.
The dramatic Season 4 cliffhanger, which ended with Sierra finding the Professor’s hideout and ambushing him by pointing a gun at his head, proves we’ll dig deeper into her character come Season 5.
She may have the upper hand as things stand now, but there’s a huge chance the Professor will manipulate and outsmart her while giving us some much-needed background about her.
The vagueness about Sierra's villainous character has drawn much attention from fans who are theorizing how she’ll play into the storyline moving forward.
All we know for certain is that she and Raquel attended police training together, her husband died a few months ago due to cancer (we don’t even know who German is or if he’s important to the story), and that she’s pregnant (and even that’s questionable).
The thought that Sierra may be faking her pregnancy crossed my mind while binge-watching the series.
Even before Sierra was roped into leading the investigation at the Bank of Spain, she was responsible for inhumanely torturing Rio through illegal tactics such as waterboarding and burying him alive.
Much of her actions indicate that she doesn’t have much of a maternal bone in her body, and it’s possible that she’s faking her pregnancy to gain sympathy from the public in the instance that her sadistic actions come to light.
The sympathy card has worked on many occasions for the Professor and his robbers, and realistically, we’re all less likely to judge a pregnant woman’s action.
It could be the reason why the agency attempted to place the blame solely on her when the Professor exposed their torture tactics on a civilian.
There have also been other moments where Sierra is seen smoking, gorging on junk food, and drinking caffeine. All of that compounded with the stress of the job cannot be good for a woman in such an advanced pregnancy.
One could chalk this up to personal quirks and Sierra’s unhealthy coping mechanisms, or, it could be a huge red flag that the pregnancy isn’t real.
Don’t even get me started about the stamina needed to spend hours interrogating someone or hunting down the Professor without any assistance.
There’s an added level of suspense to having a pregnant maniac in charge -- especially so far along in the pregnancy -- because the audience is always wondering when she’ll go into labor.
The most likely (and predictable) scenario lends itself to Sierra going into labor while pointing the gun at the Professor.
It would catch her off guard, put her at a disadvantage, and force her to rely on the Professor to help her give birth. It would also allow the Professor to regain control of the situation.
Even though he has some of the most meticulously thought-out plans that anticipate every possible outcome, luck has a tendency of working in his favor.
But that’s the key to all of this -- anticipation. The Professor has played out every possible scenario in his head. Even the ones that have taken him by surprise have, at some point, crossed his mind, so it’s unlikely that he’d be careless enough to leave behind a trail leading directly back to him.
If Raquel was able to find his first hideout, the chances are high that he would consider that another agent, one that isn’t blinded by love and is more cutthroat than Raquel, would be able to track him down, too.
Not to mention the Professor also has an advantage this time around because Raquel knows Sierra personally and can predict how she'd act in certain situations.
By making Rio’s torture private, he could’ve anticipated that the agency would try to save face by placing the blame on Sierra, as they did with Raquel, and thus, figured she would seek him out.
It’s entirely possible that the license plate and the footage of him threatening a cop that led Sierra to him were all part of the plan.
He laid the breadcrumbs, and she fell into his trap, thinking it was a victory.
Maybe she’s a necessary part of the plan to help the gang escape from the Bank of Spain alive and with the gold?
The Professor was able to manipulate Gandia from outside of the Bank of Spain to mess with the police, and with Sierra by his side, and possibly relying on him for her and her baby’s survival, this could play out in exactly how he needs it to.
Since we don’t know much about the copper-haired inspector, we can’t rule out that there isn’t a personal connection between her and the Professor.
I’d .be remiss if I didn’t touch upon the most popular theory circulating around the internet that Sierra is the late Berlin’s wife, Tatiana.
On the surface, the theory is promising and exciting, and you might even think you’ve finally outsmarted the writers, but let’s take a step back and pull it apart.
Sierra and Tatiana were both introduced in Season 3 and share many similar characteristics, including reddish hair and bangs, but aside from that, there are a lot of things working against the theory.
For starters, the timelines don’t add up when it comes to Berlin and Tatiana’s wedding and Sierra and Raquel’s training.
There's the argument that Berlin and German are connected because the capital of Germany is... you guessed it, Berlin. But that would mean that Berlin somehow made it out alive, which is rather impossible since we saw him get riddled with bullets.
And finally, the Professor, Palermo, Marseille, and Bogota would have recognized Sierra as the inspector immediately regardless of the five-year difference, and, in turn, Sierra would have recognized the Professor as the leader of the heist.
Some fans want this theory to be true so badly that they’ve gone as far as to say that Tatiana got plastic surgery (hey, it worked in Jane the Virgin) or that she married Berlin as part of an undercover police operation, and while this is a show where anything is possible, it’s very unlikely.
As with Sierra, Tatiana is an enigma as we’ve barely scratched the surface of who she is or was. We’ve only seen her in flashbacks, which established that she’s an important character who knew about the plan for the heist.
Her knowledge of the plan didn’t sit well with the Professor, and for that reason, he wasn’t supportive of the relationship and warned Berlin that she would be a liability because she knew too much.
Aside from flashbacks, though, we haven’t seen her in the present-day. She wasn’t a part of the planning of either heist, nor was she involved in the first heist at the Royal Mint. Where is she? What happened to her during this time-span?
The one bit of information we have to work with is that Tatiana was also a robber, so if I had to guess, I’d say she died during one of her smaller-scale heists with Berlin, which would explain her absence in the present-day.
And this brings me to a more plausible theory: Sierra is Tatiana’s sister.
If Tatiana died as a result of her involvement with Berlin, it stands to reason that Sierra would want revenge on the people responsible, which would explain why she’s so personally and emotionally invested in this case.
Sierra has a particular set of skills, skills she’s not afraid to use against the Professor, but there has to be a reason as to why she’s so determined to bring him down.
Yes, she’s an ambitious woman, but she isn't fueled by a hero complex or a desire to clear her own name. No pregnant woman would want to go rogue and put herself and her baby in the line of danger for an agency that didn't appreciate her in the first place. This feels personal because it is personal.
We know that nothing, absolutely nothing, is random when it comes to the Professor; everything happens for a reason, and every character is introduced for a reason, even if the reason is unclear at first.
My theory is that the Professor knows that Sierra is Tatiana’s sister, and Sierra knows that the Professor is Berlin’s brother. Family is a huge theme in the series, and you have to admit, there's something poetic about two people on opposing sides fighting for a similar cause -- to avenge a sibling's death.
Many fans have also wondered whether Sierra might join forces with the Professor, especially since she sings “Bella Ciao,” the anthem of the resistance, in the credits.
I'd like to think her rendition served more as a follow up to her “checkmate" comment -- a brief moment in which she underestimated the Professor and thought she won the game.
Considering she doesn’t have a romantic connection with the Professor, I truly hope she doesn’t pull a Raquel and join the resistance. Part of what makes her character so refreshing and fascinating is her unwavering dedication to being one of the “good guys."
Another huge theme is loyalty. If the Professor, Berlin, Palermo, and everyone else managed to stay loyal to the plan, it would only make sense for Sierra to stay loyal to her side of bringing the bad guys to justice.
And she might be the one with enough guts, wit, and confidence to burn this whole plan to the ground proving there’s more than one mastermind.
Plus, there’s no way she can redeem herself after putting Rio through hell and killing Nairobi. There’s too much blood on her hands for the Professor or anyone inside the Bank of Spain to ever forgive her for all the pain and suffering she’s caused.
As of now, Netflix hasn’t officially renewed the series, but Alvaro Morte, who plays the Professor, posted a photo of himself in a face mask with the caption “the Professor is back” on Instagram a few days ago hinting that the series is in production.
And considering the Spanish-language crime drama is Netflix's most-watched non-English series, another season is almost guaranteed.
I’m turning it over to you, TV Fanatics.
What are your Alicia Sierra theories? How do you think things will pan out between her and the Professor?