Through The Darkness: Korea's 'first criminal profiler' catches serial killers

·3-min read
Kim Nam-gil as Song Ha-young in Through The Darkness. (Screenshot: Viu)
Kim Nam-gil as profiler Song Ha-young in Through The Darkness. (Screenshot: Viu)

Through The Darkness follows the story of a criminal behavioural analyst Song Ha-young (Kim Nam-gil). Despite looking seemingly nonchalant, he has a knack for understanding people and seeing through them. He always puts the victims and their families first and goes the extra mile to help them.

With very few people who understand him, Ha-young is only close to the headman of the forensics squad Gook Young-soo (Jin Seon-kyu). Realising the importance of criminal psychology, Young-soo establishes the Criminal Behavioural Analysis Team with Ha-young.

Through The Darkness has just released the first two of 12 episodes on Viu. Here are three things to know about the crime drama.

1. It's based on real crimes and events.

Through The Darkness is based on non-fiction novel Those Who Read Hearts Of Evil by Kwon Il-yong and Go Na-moo. The book chronicles the life story of South Korea’s first criminal profiler Kwon Il-yong.

Unlike the usual crime stories that focus on the serial killers, the novel, and by extension, the drama, sheds light on those who actively pursue and identify the serial killers before they can do more harm.

Kwon is known for profiling several infamous serial killers in South Korea, such as Yoo Young-chul who took 20 lives from 2003 to 2004, and Jeong Nam-gyu who killed 14 people between 2004 and 2006.

It would not be a surprise if the subsequent episodes of the drama feature these criminals, and how Ha-young identifies them.

2. It's set in the late 1990s and early 2000s when criminal profilers were not common in South Korea.

Through The Darkness takes place in a period when the word “profiling” is not widely known and accepted. It explores the beginnings of criminal profilers in South Korea and the difficulties they face.

The first two episodes of the drama illustrate how the adamant Young-soo finds it necessary to have a Criminal Behavioural Analysis Team, and how he convinces Ha-young to join the ranks and put his abilities to good use.

At the same time, Ha-young finds himself under scrutiny not just from his superiors, but also from the public for his unconventional way of solving crimes: asking for advice from a criminal.

With the current world relatively more familiar with the idea of criminal profiling — there’s even the 15-season long American drama Criminal Minds — it's difficult to imagine how they managed to introduce an entirely new concept to criminal investigations.

3. Song Ha-young is the protagonist with an interesting background.

To spice things up in the drama, Ha-young has been given an interesting background story. The first episode opens with Ha-young as a young boy who comes across a dead woman in a lake. Although most kids would have been traumatised by the encounter, he seems to feel the emotions of the dead woman, saying that it must have been scary and saddening for her to be deep underwater.

At the end of the first episode, it becomes apparent that the seemingly unexpressive Ha-young actually feels emotions way too much. Knowing that this makes him different from others, he tries to hide his emotions, which causes others to misunderstand him.

On top of the criminal profiling concept, the character of Ha-young will be another highlight of the drama, which will likely see more development as the story progresses.

New episodes of Through The Darkness are available every Saturday and Sunday on Viu.