Despite having an excellent memory, Ahn Dae Sung has yet to pass his civil service examination. Studying to become a ninth grade public official, Dae Sung has taken the exam three years in a row and failed every single time. Even so, his determination remains strong and with the never ending support of his mother, Myung Sook and his girlfriend, Ah Hee, Dae Sung is convinced that the next time he takes this exam, he won’t fail. Working part-time at the convenience store his mother owns on the outskirts of Seoul, Dae Sung’s life takes an unexpected turn when a murder takes place at an apartment building nearby. As a police officer, Ah Hee feels it’s her duty to solve this case and thus begins an investigation of the murder on her own. Despite not being an official detective, she soon makes a shocking discovery. Finding a receipt from Myung Sook’s store at the scene of the crime, Ah Hee pulls Dae Sung and his mother into the investigation. With no other clues to go on, Ah Hee, Dae Sung, and Myung Sook are determined to find a way to crack this case. But how can a team of rookies catch a murderer when the pros on the job have yet to find a single clue? (Source: Viki) ~~ Adapted from the novel "The Killer's Shopping List" (살인자의 쇼핑목록) by Kang Ji Young (강지영). Edit Translation
Where to Watch The Killer's Shopping List
Cast & Credits
Actually pulled it off well...Developed by 'Studio Dragon' and produced by 'Beyond J', "Killer's Shopping List (살인자의 쇼핑목록) " is comedy cum mystery thriller drama, adapted from the novel of the same title authored by Kang Ji Young. Directed by Lee Eon Hee, Han Ji Wan has done the screenwriting and the show was broadcasted on tvN.
The story follows three people investigating about a serial murder case that has been happening in their neighbourhood , in the attempt to save the reputation of their supermarket, and all they have to rely on is the information of the items purchased by their customers. Together, they try to put an end to the miserable incidents happening to people they are familiar with, while they themselves are brought under the scanner of suspicion.
Ahn Dae Sung (Lee Kwang Soo) is a highly intelligent guy though he's lost his charm and has been failing exams for years, currently unemployed and working in MS mart, owned by his mother Jung Myung Sook (Jin Hee Kyung). It's the combined efforts and determination of the mother-son duo, that has helped them grow and prosper over years. Do Ah Hee (Kim Seol Hyun) is a police officer at the local substation and Dae Sung's girlfriend of 20 years. As the first murder takes place and the blame is shifted to Dae Sung, both him and Ah Hee begin to secretly investigate the case, soon followed by Myung Sook, and their spectrum of suspicion widens, making things messed up.
The other familiar faces you see in the drama are: Park Ji Bin, Shin Sung Woo, Oh Hye Won, Jo Aram (GGD), Moon Hee Kyung, Lee Yeon Hee, Ryu Eon Seok, Kwon Soo Hyun (4M), Bae Myung Jin, Jang Won Young and Park Chul Min. Special mention to Ahn Se Bin, the child actress playing the role of Seo Yul, who has impressed the audience so much with her satisfying skills.
Plot development is nice. The pilot episode throws light upon the story of Kwang Soo, his mother and their journey from managing a small store to a huge supermart. It's simply funny till that point the murder takes place and the investigation begins. The furtherance throughout is good, as the bring in and eliminate person by person. The final outcome was satisfying.
Writer Han Ji Wan jakkanim has a fair share of experience in screenwriting, to be able to turn a novel into a live-action adaptation, which is not always an easy job. The comedy elements incorporated into serious mystery and the shift of moods is very well drawn. The incipient establishment of ground in the first episode was decent, if not very impressive. The development is good, with several peaks, the unveiling of past consequences in bit-by-bit manner was a good idea. The final outcomes were likable.
Director Lee Eon Hee PDnim, with experiences in both direction and screenwriting has been able to make wise utilization of her skills. The scenario setup, the screenplay management, the screenediting and the cinematography of modern suburb context. The pacing is perfect, the peak moments of frequent chasing, accompanied with adrenaline-inducing background songs.
Composed by Hwang Chan Hee, there are a total of 3 released OSTs in the drama. "Why, Why, Why, Why?" by 6band is a high-beat and fast-paced rock track that's indeed heart-rushing. "Orange Dream" by Nokdu is a melancholic reminiscences to glorious past and has the vibes of a Korean indie R&B; my most favourite of the three, very well composed. "Nothing" by KOONTA is a pop and rap track about the mystery of the show.
What I liked...
# Kwang soo.. yes Kwang Soo himself is the reason you should always look forward to anything he partakes in. He def isn't someone who picks on anything, and to say that, this might not be your mind-blowing crime thriller but it's made with a lot of sense and that shows. His personal sense of humour has been reflected in his character and acting and his comic expressions are alleviating as always.
# I think I haven't watched many comic thrillers, but I loved it as experiencing something new and the comedy elements built in are entertaining and engaging. I found myself laughing out loud and rolling on the floor at instances. In short, it might seem like a simple comedy drama at first but towards the end, you end up realizing how good it was.
# The character development of Kwang Soo with contributions from all the supporting characters is surely likable. The same for Ah Hee was also nice, even so subtle, and at first seemed only like Daesung's love interest, later turning out to be a key character. In fact, the background drawn for the supporting characters is well-narrated in a short span of time, enough to create opinions about them.
# The way of unveiling of mystery is somehow natural and amusingly intriguing. The makers are so clever to let you figure out things so soon, so what they do is divert your attention to a wide range of people, making you suspect the possibility of them being involved. For me, it was quite predictable about who the most potential suspect could be, they have given plenty of hints, and yet keep making the audience pleased about the involvement of another.
# There are very few instances of accurate and meaningful lgbtqia+ representation in Kdramas, and that too trans representation. It makes me so happy that this stands out as an exemplary piece in successfully pulling off the job, in an amazing way, when there are only 8 episodes; along with creating some awareness about the identity and choices of people. In short, it was sensible enough to be talked about and applauded.
What I didn't like...
# I guess me hating on characters like 5dollar and the main detective has nothing to do with the quality of the show but yeah, they made me so angry with their stupidity and nuisance. It could be fair judging from their perspective but it was v v annoying to me, personally. Plus, the way the detective interrogates was unethical though I understand the situations were like that to have him suspect people unnecessarily, but still.
Final Remarks... Overally, "The Killer's Shopping List" is a hilariously funny yet intriguing crime thriller, made with great sagacity and insight, making a decent delivery from beginning to the ending. It was light-hearted yet engaging and you should give it a try, for sure. Watch it for Kwangsoo at least.
Slice of life murder mystery with some dark and over the top humor.It’s such a weird mix of genres and tropes, but somehow it works perfectly. You get yourself a crime murder mystery, slice of life with some deep and meaningful moments and conversations, comedy that at times is rather dark, and in other scenes slapstick and over the top. It might seem like a silly comedy at first, but it gets dark closer to the end.
The whole story is led by a genius idiot Ahn Dae Seong. He is what I would call a smart person who is unable to make smart life decisions. How can anyone have such a strong brain power, but still be so street dumb is beyond me, but it works in this scenario extremely well. That said, he is actually a truly nice and genuine person. He apologizes when he does something wrong, works hard if he thinks the cause is worth it, and he cares for people in his life. Even though he might make everyone frustrated, it’s hard not to like him and not to root for him.
The supporting cast is also to die for. Well written and built personal stories and backgrounds with well placed hints made each one of them a perfect suspect, until we found out the truth. It’s hard to predict who the killer is (at least for the first half of the show) and why they do it. As I watched, I might have felt frustrated with how Dae Seong is suspicious and calls everyone a suspect, but when you look at it from his perspective, everyone was in fact acting suspicious, just for vastly different reasons than he assumed.
From all the supporting characters, Fish was my favorite. Truly adorable little potato, knew it from the start. They also have one of the more powerful and interesting back stories of them all, that is presented in a sensible manner.
Of all the characters, the one that annoyed me was the detective and 5dollar, but I still understood where they were coming from. Dae Seong truly did everything he could to seem like a potential killer, and literally no one in that neighborhood was helping with the real investigation. And from 5dollar view, he might have seen himself as a victim, no matter how twisted it might seem from our perspective.
That said, even though I truly enjoyed the premise and many side stories, I feel like at times they tried to do too much in too little time. Since everyone was presented as a potential suspect, they all had to have their own individual stories told to explain the circumstantial evidence. Since the number of supporting characters was high, some stories were bound to get less screen time and felt more like fillers. Since some were not explored enough, they got a little bit boring for me, as I was not that engaged in them. Yet somehow, they were able to give a perfect closure for all presented plot lines.
There were also some situations that I questioned why the characters had barely any reaction to, and took barely any actions to solve them.
The last thing that was a bit unsatisfying was the reveal who the killer was. While for the most part it was not easy to predict who it might be (since everyone seemed equally suspicious), when all suspects started to be proven innocent, all hints pointed in one direction so the suspense died.
I was truly positively surprised by the acting too. Lee Kwang Soo brings a comedic aspect to everything he does, it’s hard to deny it. I was quite scared it would be impossible to create any suspense and a more serious mood when he is on screen and I was completely wrong. He aced the emotional scenes. I actually liked his more serious takes more than the silly comedy ones.
Kim Seol Hyun shined the most closer to the end. In the first half of the show, her character seemed a bit like a plot device, but it all led to quite a prominent role in the later episodes.
All the cast members did their best to present realistic and relatable characters, and for me, they all delivered. Ahn Se Bin as Yul? Amazing performance for a child actress, especially with such a demanding role!
Production value was extremely high for a mini series like that. Aesthetic wise, it had a bit of a retro vibe. Not making it look like a big production was a good choice, since it fits the world building - all happening in a small neighborhood with just a few characters - it should feel familiar.
I have to say, one song from the OST gave me chills when it was first played - Nokdu’s Orange Dream. From the arrangement, instrumentation, vocals, to the lyrics, it truly is a perfection. It serves as a good introduction to Dae Seong as a character - someone stuck in the past glory, dreams and hopes, who is unable to move on. The whole OST was lit and extremely fitting every scene specific songs were played for.
Overall, such a surprisingly good watch. I expected nothing, and got more than I could receive even if I had rather high hopes.