Flower: blossom; come to full bloom
Evil: wickedness; malevolent
Flower of Evil… is the main character the beautiful blossom that originated from wickedness or is he, instead, malevolence in full bloom? You need to watch it to find out.
Do Hyun-Soo is a serial killer’s son who was accused of murder himself at the age of 17. To keep from being convicted of the crime, he ran away and soon after became the victim of a car accident. A wealthy couple secretly took Hyun-Soo in, giving him their own son’s name (Baek Hee-Sung) and identity and, since then, he has lived the life their son would have had. A skilled liar, Hee-Sung has managed to deceive his police officer wife, Cha Ji-Won, for the entire 14 years they’ve known each other. She has no idea the man she is married to is a notorious serial killer’s son who has been hiding from the law because they suspected him of murdering a man when he was a teenager. Hee-Sung is a devoted, loving husband and his preschool-age daughter, Baek Eun-Ha, absolutely adores her gentle daddy. Anyone who saw them would think they were the perfect family.
When someone is murdered in almost the same fashion as the victims from the serial murder case 18 years earlier, the killer’s son, Do Hyun-Soo, becomes the prime suspect. Cha Ji-Won is made a member of a team of officers charged to investigate the murders from years ago to see if they tie into the recent one and she has no idea the man she’s hunting down is her own husband. Will she manage to capture Hyun-Soo or will his insider knowledge help him stay one step ahead of her?
Do Hyun-Soo has suffered from Alexithymia (the inability to identify and describe emotions experienced by one’s self or others) all his life, and it was this condition that frightened people into believing he was a psychopath. He and his older sister were raised by his father, the Yeon Ju City Serial Murders killer, in a small mountain village. Ever since his father’s death, which was ruled a suicide, Hyun-Soo has seen the dead man watching over him. Because he was wanted by police in the brutal murder of the village head, and in his desire to avoid a prison sentence, Hyun-Soo accepted the offer the Baeks gave him to assume their son’s identity.
The Baek Hee-Sung part of Do Hyun-Soo is the owner and sole employee of Where the Morning Star Rises, a metal craft workshop located on the first floor of his and Ji-Won’s home. His father is the director of Ilsin University Hospital and his mother runs a pharmacy. There is a cold formality between 37-year-old Hee-Sung and his parents and he prefers to have them keep a distance from his wife and daughter. He is a quiet man, a thoughtful husband, and a doting father. He willingly shares with Ji-Won the responsibility of taking care of their daughter and their home.
Ever since she was in kindergarten, Cha Ji-Won’s goal was to be a police officer and, after a lot of hard work and studying, her dream finally became a reality. She is now a detective in the violent crimes unit of the Kang Soo Police Force. She liked Baek Hee-Sung the minute she saw him come into the market where she worked as a cashier. After relentlessly pursuing the quiet and standoffish young man, she finally won his heart. When she discovered she was pregnant, the two were married and are now the parents of a darling little preschooler named Eun-Ha. Ji-Won is a tenacious and meticulous cop who is part of the newly formed team involved in re-opening the 18-year-old Yeon Ju City Serial Murders case.
Kim Moo-Jin grew up in the same village as Do Hyun-Soo and even had a crush on his older sister. He knows Officer Cha from dealing with the police due to his job as a reporter for an independent outlet. When he visits Where the Morning Star Rises he his shocked to discover Do Hyun-Soo working there. Knowing he is still wanted for the murder of the village leader, Moo-Jin is more than a little uncomfortable when Hyun-Soo recognizes him, and he can’t help but wonder just how far his old schoolmate will go to make sure his whereabouts are not disclosed to the police.
Do Hae-Soo is Hyun-Soo’s older sister. She loved her brother and hated to see him treated as an outcast because people didn’t understand his Alexithymia and thought he was some kind of demon or psychopath. She has been totally out of contact with her brother, not knowing if he was dead or alive, ever since he ran away to keep from going to jail for the murder of the village head. Hae-Soo lives alone in a tiny, empty roof-top apartment and works as a makeup artist for a film company.
The man who plays the part of Do Hyun-Soo and the fake Baek Hee-Sung is actor Lee Joon-Gi. He gained recognition with his first major role in the motion picture The King and the Clown. He was relatively unknown at the time but his superb acting in the movie won him nine awards. Interestingly enough, the producer of that film said it was the fact that he was able to do a handstand that landed him the part of the clown. Joon-Gi said after his performance in The King and the Clown he found himself “at the forefront of this ‘pretty boy’ trend” and “suddenly, people were interested in me.” Joon-Gi has acted in Chinese and Japanese produced films which have made him extremely popular in both countries. Along with acting, he is a singer, having released eight albums, one single, and he sang on the Arang and the Magistrate soundtrack. He has also authored six books. From 2006 to 2018 the man earned a total of 41 awards! Now that’s impressive! I became his fan after watching Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. I adored that show and, in turn, wound up adoring Lee Joon-Gi. He is an amazingly versatile actor and a multi-talented individual.
Moon Chae-Won, the actress who plays Cha Ji-Won, was studying Western Painting at Chugye University for the Arts but decided to drop out and try her luck at acting. And it certainly paid off. The 33-year-old actress began her entertainment career, alongside the already established actor Lee Min-Ho, in the teen sitcom Mackerel Run. It was her role in Painter of the Wind that was responsible for her acting breakthrough. She was also lucky enough to land a part in one of 2009’s highest-rated dramas, Brilliant Legacy. She also had the only female role in the movie War of the Arrows, which was the highest-grossing South Korean film of 2011. Other than Flower of Evil I’ve seen her in My Fair Lady, Goodbye Mr. Black, and the jaw-droppingly excellent Good Doctor. (Does anyone think she looks a bit like Kim Tae-Hee?)
Flower of Evil’s plot is fresh and original, every single minute of it. As far as mystery thrillers go, this drama gets an A+. There are lots of hold-your-breath moments but we’re also given a decent amount of downtime, time to digest what has happened and is currently happening, before the story moves on to another tense moment. The writer doesn’t tell us everything at once but slowly reveals things little by little, teasing us with bits of the information we need to figure it all out.
This show has superb writing! It’s a perfect blend of romance and thriller. Often a drama in that particular mixed-genre will lean more either on the romance or the crime part of the story but to me it seemed like Flower of Evil’s writer balanced the suspense and the love story beautifully – an even 50/50. The romance is tender and sweet while the mystery is gritty and dark.
Before Eun-Ha heads to school one day, Hee-Sung asks her to recite “Don’t follow anyone you aren’t familiar with” and she immediately starts, “I won’t follow a stranger. An adult doesn’t ask a kid for help. Mom, Dad, or Grandma would never ask someone else to come pick up Eun-Ha.” I loved that. This preschooler’s parents loved her so much that they took the time to teach her how to be safe. I know someone who had a special “code word” that only her kids knew just in case she wasn’t able to tell them ahead of time that she needed to have someone new pick them up from school. I hope all parents are being as conscientious about their child’s safety as Hee-Sung and Ji-Won.
Lee Joon-Gi’s father had him take martial arts lessons when he was a boy and he enjoyed it so much he continued to study different martial arts styles as he grew into adulthood. Because of his skills in this area, he most often does not use stunt doubles when performing action sequences, and there are plenty in Flower of Evil. Near the beginning of the drama, there is a really intense fight scene between journalist Kim Moo-Jin and Baek Hee-Sung that takes place in the basement part of the metal workshop. Seo Hyun-Woo (Reporter Kim) said he was really worried about filming that scene but because Joon-Gi is such an “action expert… he made it possible for me to film the scene safely.” He continued, “The scene involved strangling, and I felt like I was acting together with a martial arts expert. He knew how to make it look real without hurting me at all. That’s the kind of acting he was capable of.” The action in this drama is very good.
Sometimes in a Kdrama, when the story requires a flashback, I’m surprised the actor/actress chosen to play the young version of the main adult character looks nothing like the person they grew up to be. However, Flower of Evil’s casting directors get three big cheers for choosing actors who really looked like they could have been Hyun-Soo in his early years. Park Hyun-Joon plays the teenage Hyun-Soo and Cha Sung-Je plays him as a ten-year-old. They were both good picks with lots of the same facial features as Lee Joon-Gi.
Other than an “oops” too small to mention, the only negative thing about this drama is that every now and then I felt like parts of it weren’t advancing fast enough, like the scene was deliberately being stretched to fix its 16 episodes. One thing would be added and then something else would be piled on top of that, followed by another twist. That’s not bad, it’s just that, to me, it felt a bit drawn out.
In the show, they mention “The judge’s judgment isn’t bound by the jury’s judgment,” meaning the judge can over-rule what the jury decides? I couldn’t help but think if a jury comes up with a not guilty verdict and a judge can rule guilty, why even have a jury? Curiosity set in and I decided to check and see if that rule also existed in the U.S.A. (where I live), and it does. A website I found says in a “judgment notwithstanding the verdict… the rarely-granted intervention permits the judge to exercise discretion to avoid extreme and unreasonable jury decisions.” I love it when I learn new things thanks to Kdramas.
There are three songs on the soundtrack. Psycho, sung by Doko, is fast-paced with a very strong beat; In My Heart, performed by Lim Yeon, is a lovely romantic ballad; and Feel You, sung by Shin Yong-Jae, is also a ballad, although not one I was crazy about.
The background in the drama that stands out most in my memory is Hyun-Soo’s father’s dark and dirty basement workshop/dungeon. In one corner there’s a cobweb-covered metal cage where it’s said he used to keep his victims. And the smell of the place is sickening to one character, another explaining the stench is the smell of blood. Yuck!
If you’re a Lee Joon-Gi fan make sure you don’t miss Flower of Evil. Likewise, if you enjoy crime mysteries this drama needs to go at the top of your list.
Good love story
Darling Jung Seo-Yeon (Baek Eun-Ha)
Felt a little like it was being stretched to fit 16 episodes
One small “oops”