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Beyond Evil

(Korean Title: 괴물)

 

Director: Shim Na Yeon
Writer: Kim Su Jin (Mad Dog, Special Investigation Team)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cast
Shin Ha Kyung as Inspector Lee Dong Shik, Team Leader of Dangerous Crimes Division at Manyang
- Lee Do Hyun as young Lee Dong Shik
Yeo Jin Goo as Inspector Han Joo Won, son of the Deputy Commissioner for Police Han Gi Hwan
Choi Dae Hoon as Inspector Park Jung Jae, son of Councilwoman Do Hae Won


Kim Shin Rok as Inspector Oh Ji Hwa, Team Leader of Dangerous Crimes Division at Munju
Cheon Ho Jin as Chief Nam Sang Bae of Manyang Police Substation

Choi Jin Ho as Deputy Commissioner Han Gi Hwan
Hae Yeon Gil as Councilwoman Do Hae Won
Heo Sung Tae as Lee Chang Jin, a property developer and ex-husband to Inspector Oh Ji Hwa
Lee Kyu Hoi as Kang Jin Mook, a friend of Lee Dong Shik, Park Jung Jae, and Oh Ji Hwa who has mental challenges

 


Plot Summary
When Lee Dong Shik was a young man, he was accused of the murder of his younger fraternal twin sister Yoo Young, though they never found her body, just her cut off fingers.  He didn’t go to jail, though, because of an alibi provided by his best friend Park Jung Jae who had an abnormal fascination with deer. The murder is never solved.  Both Lee Dong Shik and Park Jung Jae grow up to become police officers. Lee Dong Shik becomes the Team Leader of the Dangerous Crimes Division in Manyang while Park Jung Jae is a senior detective on his team. Their best friend from their childhood, Oh Ji Hwa becomes the Team Leader of the Dangerous Crimes Division at Munju.


A  new member, Inspector Han Joo Won, is transferred to the Manyang Police Station and paired up with Lee Dong Shik. Han Joo Won is an unusual transfer in that he comes from International Crimes Unit, has excellent credentials and reputation, and is the son of the Deputy Police Commissioner Han Gi Hwan who is assumed to become the next Police Commissioner. Han Joo Wan is young, idealistic, and has himself transferred to Manyang, determined to catch a killer. He suspects that LDS has killed his twin LYY.


In Manyang, another murder is discovered, and a serial killer is suspected, one who may be linked to Yu Young’s death.


Despite a lack of trust between Han Joo Won and Lee Dong Shik, they suspect everyone, and are able to finally determine the serial killer. However, once jailed and having confessed, the serial killer claims that he did not have anything to do with Yoo Young’s death before he commits suicide.


LDS and HJW now have the new mysteries of how the serial killer was able to commit suicide from within a secure jail as well as who really killed LDS’ sister.


The question ultimately involves politics, ambition, and money that caused various people to cover up various crimes, creating a conflicting mess of circumstances and actions. For instance, Councilwoman Do Hae Won wants to become the next mayor of Manyang so she is cooperating with Lee Chang Jin who wants to build a brand new expensive complex of buildings there. Commissioner Han Gi Hwan wants to become the next Commissioner and so mentors a Prosecutor to get info and do things for him, including keeping tabs on his loose cannon of a son Han Joo Won.


Review

While this drama purports to be about catching a serial killer, it is ultimately a psychological drama about trust and relationships, but especially a drama about family relationships, even when they are twisted and hurtful. This drama is a bit of a JTBC specialty as it combines crime with psychology and a commentary on society and the human nature.


There is the relationship that Dong Shik has with his family and how the family ultimately crumbles after the death of his sister and he falls under suspicion as the culprit. Both his mother and his father ultimately die with things unresolved, and Dong Shik ultimately left alone, still with the desire to bring justice to his sister’s killer. Not to mention, not knowing where his sister’s body is and so not entirely certain that she was dead or not.


There is the relationship between Park Jung Jae and his mother Councilwoman Do Hae Won who is extremely protective and tries to be controlling of her son. When he was younger, Jung Jae allowed her to control him for the most part, especially because he has fey moments where he is obsessed by deer and becomes frightened. Except for his friendship with Dong Shik. His mother was vehement about Jung Jae retracting his alibi for Dong Shik, but Jung Jae stuck to his story which ultimately freed Dong Shik from being a suspect in his sister’s disappearance and presumed death.


There is the relationship between Han Joo Won and his father, the Deputy Commissioner, with his father keeping close tabs on Joo Won, but not quite respecting each other. There is also the young prosecutor whom the the father is cultivating and is allowed to almost act like a member of the family. Joo Won’s mother died a long time ago after being confined to a psychiatric facility.


Except for Dong Shik whose story about his relationship with his parents ends once they’ve died, the other stories unfold over the episodes as we see the strain of the relationships, flashing back to incidents in their childhoods.  Additionally, a number of the other characters also have issues around their family which are explored. Even the serial killer is seen to be motivated in part by family issues.


In terms of the story, it is tightly plotted and one has to pay attention because of how dense the material is. While it is primarily about the various characters and their interactions with each other, a some of the scenes end up being a twist on itself as it reveals more about an incident that may have happened or an assumption that was wrong.  


In terms of the acting, this drama was really terrific all around with an absolutely stellar cast. Shin Ha Kyung deserved his acting Baeksang Award for this drama for a mesmerizing performance of a cop who isn’t beyond bending some laws in order to catch criminals and yet walks the edge for the most part rather than going straight into breaking laws, though he does ultimately break laws in order to catch the serial killer. He’s a flawed person with a temper who is loyal to his friends, but isn’t beyond suspecting them as new information turns up. And, even while he is doing the job that he has, it’s clear that the unsolved death of his sister is still very much alive in his mind.


The bromance between Dong Shik and Joo Won takes quite awhile to develop, and honestly, Yeo Jin Goo was a weak point for me in the earlier episodes. Yeo Jin Goo just didn’t feel old enough to play his role, and I found myself wishing for an older actor to have played the counterpart to Shin Ha Kyung. Yeo Jin Goo’s portrayal of Joo Won was a lot of bravado and idealism without the maturity to temper them to produce better decisions and actions. It ultimately worked, but against Shin Ha Kyung’s gritty portrayal of Dong Shik, Joo Won didn’t quite match up and I was left wondering about Joo Won’s actions and motivations which sometimes felt more stereotypical millenial angst. Having said that, I’m probably being too harsh on Yeo Jin Goo’s acting in this drama since he is normally a very good actor. I think he was just a shade too young with his casting for this role.

 

Final note about the Korean title of this drama. The Korean title is actually "Monster', and it speaks to several things, the monster who is the serial killer as well as how he got that way, the monster of greed and ambition that can cause humans to act in such horrific ways even if it's not readily apparent on the outside, and how sometimes the monsters are those who are closest to us, or even ourselves.

 

Ratings
Plot  9
Acting 10
Production 8
Re-watch  10 (Have to rewatch it at least once more to see everything you missed the first time.)

 

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Ending spoilers for those who really want to know who the serial killer is and who killed Yu Young. It probably won't make too much sense until you've watched the drama, but I've put it in the spoiler anyway.

 

Spoiler

Kang Jin Mook is the serial killer. Even though everything thinks he's mentally deficient, and he lets them because that causes everyone to trust him more, he's actually very devious and deviant. In the meantime, he's been killing young woman all those years, and he's finally caught when he kills his own daughter after she tells him how much she despises him and that she's probably not his real daughter anyway. Her mother had been with Jin Mook, had "their" daughter, then abandoned both of them. Jin Mook had raised the little girl until she turned wild and turned on him.

 

Dong Shik's sister Yu Young had not been killed by Jin Mook, however. YY was killed in a drunk driving accident by Han Gi Hwan, who asked Lee Chang Jin to dispose of the body. However, before Lee Chang Jin could do so, YY who was laying on the road at the time, was run over by Jung Jae who freaks out and calls his mother who also calls Lee Chang Jin to dispose of the body.

 

Jung Jae is so traumatized that later he remembers it as having run over a deer, when he remembers it at all.

 

Before Lee Chang Jin could actually dispose of the body, however, the dead body is stolen by Jin Mook who cuts off her fingers, but then hides the rest of her in the foundation of Dong Shik's family home.

 

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