Flower of Evil
WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Hiding a twisted past, a man maintains his facade as the perfect husband to his detective wife - until she begins investigating a series of murders.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
It's been a while since a show has tormented me. I say tormented endearingly because Flower of Evil had me scratching my head trying to figure out what's next. The plot totally consumed me, and after the third episode, I stopped trying to read the drama and focused on enjoying it. And boy, was it a thrilling ride.
For me, what makes a show good is when it leaves me scratching my head in search of answers and hungry for the next episode to see how the story will unfold. I had to stop myself from watching the show on a 'school' night because I could not switch off Netflix.
The drama centres on Baek Hee-sung (Lee Joon-gi), who appears to be the perfect husband and father. But Hee-sung is hiding a big secret from his detective wife, Cha Ji-won (Moon Chae-won). He is the son of a notorious serial killer, a fugitive, and is living under someone else's identity. When Ji-won and her team start investigating a series of copycat killings, she becomes suspicious of her seemingly perfect husband. While Ji-won is unravelling Hee-sung's façade, he goes to great lengths to stop her.
First off, this is a makjang – which uses over the top elements that aren't likely to happen in real life, very similar to the arc in World of the Married. There will be times, especially when it comes to detective work, when you will say to yourself, "logically, this doesn't make sense", and yet you somehow think it's plausible because the writers have created such a rich narrative.
The pacing of this show is quite fast; I liked that it didn't drag certain storylines and didn't keep us guessing for too long with big reveals.
From the get-go, I wasn't very sure about Hee-sung; he is emotionless and only shows warmth when he is with his daughter Eun-ha (Jung Seo-yeon) and wife. He also does some questionable things in the first episodes. Things that will convince you that this guy is a killer. But as the story developed and I got to know the character better, I ended up rooting for him.
The show makes one important point about what families, especially the children of, in this case, serial killers, have to go through. Living in the shadow of his father's actions, there really was no way that Hee-sung could ever have a normal life. Coupled with his own anti-social disorder and getting no help from psychologists, you can't help but feel sorry for him. There is one scene where Hee-sung says helplessly, "I just want to know why all of these things are happening to me," and I felt that.
Lee Joon-gi is magnetic in his performance. He gives a physical, emotional and controlled performance. A facial expression or just a motion with his eyes can convey so much. It was really a marvel to watch this performance, and his best actor nomination at the Baeksang Awards is much deserved.
Ji-won has become my favourite female lead in a K-drama. This character is unlike any other I have come across, she's a badass! I enjoyed that she didn't have an emotional reaction when she first found out about Hee-sung's secret. She meticulously does her own investigation, tails him and even taunts him at one point to make him break. While she is a playing cat and mouse game with him, she struggles to come to terms with Hee-sung's deception. But, on the one hand, she loves him.
Moon Chae-won also turns out a good performance in which she portrays the internal and external struggles that Ji-won deals with. Just imagine being a detective and your husband ends up being the main suspect; anyone would fall apart. She's so great to watch as she pieces together the puzzle of Hee-sung's life.
Another worthy mention is the main villain of the series, Kim Ji-hoon. His portrayal sent chills whenever he was on screen. A soft-spoken, fragile son at times and then a manic killer, coupled with his devastatingly good looks, it's quite a show. His character's arc once again sheds light on how crimes affect families, and in this case, to what lengths parents will go to cover up their children's crimes.
Where the show let me down a bit was the final episode, I wish that the writers would have given some closure to an important plot point, and in the end, I did not like how they closed Hee-sung's story. The character showed so much growth throughout the series that I feel that the ending didn't do it any justice. (I'm trying hard not to give any spoilers!)
If you like psychological thrillers, a redemption story with a sprinkle of romance put Flower of Evil on your list, it's an exhilarating ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: