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The Weekend Binge: "The Killing Vote"

Fresh from her success in The Glory, Lim Ji-yeon stars alongside Park Hae-jin in a suspense thriller The Killing Vote. It’s a classic cat-and-mouse game with welcome twists and a solid script. Available on Amazon Prime.

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "The Killing Vote" starring Park Hae-jin and Lim Ji-yeon (A K-drama Review)

The Plot

Someone’s out hacking everyone’s phone and putting out a vigilante show called The Killing Vote. A masked criminal mastermind, known as Gaetal (literally "dog mask"), introduces a new target every couple of weeks. All the targets are proven to have escaped Korea’s criminal justice system and everyone gets a chance to decide whether Gaetal should kill off the criminal by voting on the app. If the majority votes yes, the target gets executed publicly in a well orchestrated crime that assures that the punishment poetically fits the crime. At a loss, the police put together a team that includes Kim Moo-chan (Park Hae-jin, From Now On, Showtime!), an unscrupulous detective who will stop at nothing to make sure a criminal gets convicted, and Yoo Hyeon (Lim Ji-yeon, Money Heist) a tech expert who specializes in data analysis. Now the police do not only have to protect known criminals, they must also consult famous convict Kwok Seok-joo (Park Sung-woong) who killed his own young daughter’s acquitted killer.

The Review

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "The Killing Vote" starring Park Hae-jin and Lim Ji-yeon (A K-drama Review)

The Killing Vote started out promising but then a series of odd scheduling decisions by its own network—putting out one episode a week instead of the usual two and a couple of delayed releases because of live sporting events—killed off its momentum. That’s such a shame because it was a pretty decent show and one that could have probably rated better if it weren’t for the unfortunate timing.

The show very obviously wants to push people’s buttons and makes them rethink their trust in a justice system that enables guilty criminals to fall through the cracks. It allows the audience to indulge in wish fulfillment by living in a morally ambiguous world where they can kill off someone and not claim responsibility. The premise makes the show an interesting study in personal and social constructs of justice and retribution. It does so with a little preachiness but mostly a lot of action and suspense.

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "The Killing Vote" starring Park Hae-jin and Lim Ji-yeon (A K-drama Review)

Because the episodes aired sometimes within several weeks of each other, the story felt chunky and ill-timed. But still not so badly that it turned me off altogether. Strong performances from Lim and Park Hae-jin, and Park Sung-woong along with the high schoolers, Kwon Ah-reum and Seo Young-joo made me root for all of them. Ultimately, I was waiting for the big pay-off----a resolution to the major conflict that would satisfy both my sense of justice and desire for closure... that never really came because ultimately that wasn't what the show was about. So if you're looking to have all your i's dotted and your t's crossed, then this show probably isn't for you. But if you thrive in the mess of an ambiguous and complex world, then you should give this show a shot.

Stream if you enjoy suspense dramas and hard-to-catch criminals.

Skip if you’re hoping that the frisson of chemistry between Lim Ji-yeon and Park Have-jin will ever get anywhere.

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