Drama based on murders familiar

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Drama based on murders familiar


A drama inspired by unsolved murders.

After enjoying a big hit with its drama series “Respond, 1994,” tvN is launching the thriller-mystery drama “Gapdong,” inspired by the notorious serial killing case in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, in the 1980s.

The show will focus on one of the most notorious crimes that has never been solved. The case was also the inspiration for Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 thriller “Memories of Murder.”

Although dramatic portrayals of the Hwaseong murders have been frequent, the tvN team is confident that its 20-episode series will be unlike any seen before.

“We are trying to focus on life after the tragedy,” said director Jo Su-won at a press conference held in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Tuesday. “Mass killings can terrorize so many people in both direct and indirect ways. Through our story, we will portray how people help one another heal and move on from it,” said Jo.

The director starts his tale in the fictional city of Iltan in 1996, when a young girl gets brutally killed by an unknown person on a dark night.

As the city is gripped by a succeeding series of murders, the police conclude that a man named Gap-dong is behind the crimes.

But detective Yang Cheol-gon (Sung Dong-il) is convinced that the actual killer is Ha Il-sik, a resident of the town who is intellectually challenged.

His attempt to arrest the suspect fails as Ha commits suicide to prove his innocence. His death inspires his son Moo-yeom (Yoon Sang-hyun) to become a cop to restore his father’s honor.

Seventeen years later, a series of incidents occur in the town that bear an eerie resemblance to Gap-dong’s crimes. To Yang’s dismay, Moo-yeom joins his investigation team to chase Gap-dong.


From left: Sung Dong-il, Lee Joon, Kim Min-jung, Kim Ji-won and Yoon Sang-hyun will star in the drama that tvN hopes will be as successful as its “Respond” series. Provided by CJ Entertainment

“I decided to write the story since I wanted to raise a question about the statute of limitations in the Korean legal system,” noted screenwriter Kwon Eum-mi.

The actual Hwaseong case cannot be investigated further because the statute of limitations expired in 2006, 15 years after the 10th killing in 1991.

In the past, cable television dramas were regarded as slightly inferior to those on terrestrial networks, but series like “Gapdong” show these channels can be bolder in exploring social issues on the small screen.

“Gapdong” premieres tonight at 8:40 p.m.

BY kim hee-eun, CONTRIBUTING WRITER [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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