If you enjoyed watching the American TV show “Mindhunter,” you’ll definitely want to check out “Through the Darkness,” a compelling Korean crime thriller.

The TV series is based on a true story recounted in a book co-authored by Ko Na Moo, a writer, and Kwon Il Yong, a criminal profiler. It follows the story of South Korea’s very first criminal profiler, who faced a challenging mission. This profiler had to track down serial killers who were causing chaos with a series of seemingly random and gruesome murders across the country.

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Possible spoilers

Seoul residents experienced paralyzing terror in the 1990s as a result of a slew of violent assaults and murders. A mystery man known as “Red Cap” was killing his victims, apparently without provocation, after stalking them on the streets. The detectives are unable to anticipate his next move because of his propensity for striking at random.

Gook Young Soo, the leader of the Criminal Behavioral Analysis team, chooses Song Ha Young, a quiet, restrained, and very perceptive former investigator, for his squad after learning about the American F.B.I. and its success in using criminal profilers to identify serial killers. Gook thinks the police will have an advantage in apprehending “Red Cap” and putting an end to his murdering spree if they use this novel psychological technique.

Yoon Tae Goo, a homicide expert, and her subordinates are reluctant to venture into such unexplored terrain and question the effectiveness of this strategy. They must persuade them that using this unconventional crime-fighting strategy will boost their arrest rates in order to allay their indignation.

Based loosely on actual incidents, the show features four extremely terrifying serial killers.


8 Interesting facts about Through the Darkness (possible spoilers)

(1) Based on the 2018 nonfiction book, Those Who Read The Minds Of Evil, co-written by journalist-turned-author Ko Na-mu and Korea’s first criminal profiler Kwon Il-yong, Through the Darkness showcases Kwon’s field experiences.

(2) The TV series is based on real serial killer cases that plagued South Korea.

(3) The book includes the profiling record of Korea’s most notorious serial killer, Yoo Young-chul. You might recognise him as the Raincoat Killer. Young-chun in the TV show is based on the notorious Yoo Young-chul, whose crimes served as the basis for the 2008 movie The Chaser and who was found guilty of killing 20 people. Yoo Young Chul’s tale became one of the most well-known criminal tales in South Korea. Because of the yellow raincoat he wore while showing the police where he buried his victims, he is referred to as the raincoat killer.

(4) The Red Cap serial killer was probably modeled on Lee Chun-jae, a South Korean serial killer most known for carrying out the Hwaseong serial killings, however this hasn’t been acknowledged by the show’s creators. In addition to countless sexual assaults, Lee murdered 15 women and young girls between 1986 and 1994, mostly in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, and the neighboring districts. The serial killings are regarded as the most notorious in South Korea’s recent history since they went unsolved for 30 years.

(5) The pleasure killer, was based on Jeong Nam-gyu, a South Korean serial killer, who from 2004 to 2006 killed 14 people.

(6) Robert Ressler of the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Team, who also helped popularize the term “serial killer,” served as the inspiration for criminal profiler Kwon Il-yong extensive research.

(7) Through The Darkness is a drama that incorporates Kwon Il Yong’s experiences as the first Profiler in South Korea and his role in locating unsolved and heinous cases. The murder case committed by Yoo Young Chul and Jung Nam Kyu serves as an illustration.

Kwon Il-yong (image from MyDramaList 2022)

(8) In the late 1990s and early 2000s criminal profilers were not common in South Korea. The story explores the beginnings of criminal profilers in South Korea and the difficulties they faced.