JTBC has done it again, “Beyond Evil” is easily one of its best projects in 2021. The psychological thriller has wrapped up its run recently to rave reviews. The drama also managed to score many nominations at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, which is considered one of the most prestigious awards shows in South Korea.




And while the drama has mostly flown under the radar of international and domestic fans, if you’ve watched it then you’re probably knew it was going to be nominated, so what makes it so special?

Today, I am here to discuss “Beyond Evil” and talk about why its one of the best underrated gems of 2021.

1The plot

“Beyond Evil” plot is very similar to its title, its about murders beyond evil, murders so vile and reprehensible that you can’t help but utter the words ‘beyond evil.’

“Beyond Evil” is 16 episodes long. Personally speaking, I didn’t mind it, but I felt it dragged on a bit which upset me a bit because the drama is truly a gem. 12 or 14 episodes would’ve been more than enough.

As the genre hints, “Beyond Evil” is about two detectives who hunt down a serial killer. Without getting into spoilers, let us discuss the script which is marvelous to say the least.

Its written by screenwriter Kim Soo Jin and I’ve seen so many of her dramas, I’d argue this is her best work in terms of writing. Since I also write, I can tell this script has been written ahead of time and revised many many times before it was handed to production.

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This is not often what happens with kdramas since most screenwriters hand in episode by episode as they film while they’re writing. There has been more pre-produced dramas these days and while “Beyond Evil” isn’t one. I could clearly tell everything was set in stone from the get-go.

“Beyond Evil” is not easy to figure out and even when you do, you’ll still disgusted by what you see. It doesn’t attempt to gross you out but it is about crimes so difficult to swallow.

“Beyond Evil” is one of the very few kdramas that are skillfully complicated, not complicated for the sake of it, but complicated for a reason. It’s like peeling an onion, there are many many layers that you see as the drama progresses.

At times, coincidences and connections might feel a bit iffy or ‘too’ calculated on the writer’s part but still, it is a very admirable work. I was able to tell it was probably written and revised many times towards episode 9 because I didn’t see the script crack which is very rare for a kdrama that’s been shooting and airing at the same time.

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With crime-related dramas, if you write and shoot simultaneously, you’re bound to fall into some errors, some might become a bit too noticeable by fans but in the case of writer Kim Soo Jin, she didn’t face that. She’s truly an amazing writer, one of a kind.

This is the type of kdrama that you can show to non-kdrama fans who like psychological thrillers. You don’t have to like the actors or care much about them prior to this but if you like such type of content, this alone should be enough for you to check out this drama.

There are many twists and turns in the drama. I want to talk about the dialogue because I thought it was a masterpiece.

Writer Kim Soo Jin excels at delivering powerful lines by her characters. The dialogue between the characters is carefully written and mastered to heighten the tension. There are many scenes in which one character would skillfully overpower another by using their logic against them. It’s subtle but powerful. It’s cleverly written and instead of the writer doing her best to tell you the characters are either smart or dumb, she shows you.

She doesn’t use much exposition, god knows know how grateful I was when I saw she used this minimally. She shows the viewers what these characters are, you must pay attention to details to catch on because they won’t always feed each detail to you.

2Characters

This is another strength point for “Beyond Evil,” for it has some of the most puzzling and morally ambiguous characters I’ve seen in a kdrama about such topics.

Usually, you’d get your goody-two-shoes detective and his partner who team up to solve crimes using their wits and have a moral compass. Almost all the characters in this drama don’t possess that and almost all of them make terrible terrible mistakes.

Writer Kim Soo Jin doesn’t attempt to make you like the characters either and honestly, I walked away not liking any of them that much. But still, I consider this drama one of the best of 2021, its not that the characters were terrible but not to my liking, it didn’t interfere with my viewing experience because it was done so well.

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Its difficult to write such characters and maintain viewers interest. Each character, even the supporting ones, have their own backstory and their motivations for doing whatever they do. You might end up not agreeing with their decisions but you understand why they do it.

The drama is about police work and how sometimes, police fuck up pretty bad, and I mean prettttyyyy bad. The drama doesn’t try to tell you police officials are those amazing humans who will always have your best interest in mind. The drama attempts to show a realistic view of what police force actually is, it was refreshing to see that the writer didn’t try so hard to justify their wrongdoings, she presented the facts, and each character objectives, but she didn’t attempt to force a conclusion upon us.

It resembles real life more than many other kdramas that try to tell you there will always be at least this one amazing saint police officer/detective.

I liked the work she’s done with every character and I like how they felt like puzzle pieces waiting to be placed in their right position for the drama to become complete.

3Performances

Where do I begin with this one?

Usually, I highlight the best and worst of each drama performance in this section but this time, I have nothing but praise to say about each and every single actor in this drama.

I can literally write 3 more pages about this alone. I’ll focus on some actors but even if I didn’t mention your fav, just know, they did amazing.

Shin Ha Kyun is… there are no words to describe this man’s talent. He is just… AMAZING. His performance in this drama since day one captivated me. He embodies the character so well, I forgot I was watching Shin Ha Kyun. He’s perfectly cast for this role and there is no one who can play it as well as he does.

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He is up for best actor at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, I’ve seen all the dramas in this category, and this year is extremely competitive but honestly, I think Shin Ha Kyun deserves that award. It’s difficult to pick just one of the bunch but gosh darn it, he earned it. I was scared he wasn’t going to receive a nomination because JTBC doesn’t have their own awards and he’ll have to compete among more popular kdramas across the board. I am glad he’s nominated.

Yeo Jin Goo is truly a gem. I can’t sing enough praise about this young talent. I am so happy he picked such a role. His character isn’t likeable and very different from his last hit drama but he pulls it off so well. His chemistry with Shin Ha Kyun is also amazing. They play off each other so well. I am so proud of him and his choices.

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There is a rookie actress called Choi Sung Eun in this drama, she’s a newcomer, she’s also very good. I looked her up and she started acting in 2020. She’s very talented and has a bright future ahead of her, she’s been cast opposite Ji Chang Wook in his upcoming drama so I am sure many of you will get used to seeing her face a lot more in the future.

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And while he is a supporting actor, I need to highlight him here because honestly, many probably will neglect to mention him. Choi Dae Hoon has been around for a while, this is the first time he’s amazed me. Oh MY GOD. His role was probably the second most difficult to play second only to Shin Ha Kyun’s. He’s honestly so so talented and his performance here is just … there are no words I can put here. I was amazed by his talent and I wonder why he didn’t get to show it sooner. The depth of his performance and the way he captures the internal torment of his character made him stand out easily among his peers.

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4Should I watch this drama?

The short answer as you can probably tell is yes. However, I know that not everyone enjoys such type of content. I love these type of kdramas but I know some can’t watch or dislike such genres.

I’d personally recommend it. It is easily one of the most memorable JTBC dramas in recent memory and one of the best of 2021 thus far.

So these are my thoughts on “Beyond Evil,” so what about you guys? did you like the drama? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.

1 COMMENT

  1. I totally agree with your review – on all fronts – script, acting, production – this drama is simply amazing! I expected a character-driven drama to be slow, and that for a serial killer crime show, there should be a bunch of gory kills with every epi. This show turned out to be such a great balance of both, and the pace is good, with the twists revealed in every episode. It is really masterful storytelling. A must-watch!

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