K-Drama ‘The Killing Vote’ Explores The Uneven Nature Of Justice

Kim Moo-chan is a police officer who doesn’t mind tipping the scales of justice. Moo-chan, played by Park Hae-jin, is more concerned with the rights of victims than those accorded to criminals. Since it’s a system that already unfairly favors people with money and power, he would rather plant evidence than let a guilty criminal walk.

There are members of the police force who would like to catch Moo-chan breaking the rules while others applaud his approach. By exploring his priorities The Killing Vote asks viewers to consider when it’s okay to disregard the law. Placing evidence at the scene of a crime might not seem so bad, if you’re sure the criminal is guilty, but where does disrespecting the law stop? What about a man who decides to play executioner while asking the public to be his judge and jury. That’s what happens early on in The Killing Vote when a masked man hacks into everyone’s phones and asks people to vote on whether the criminal he suggests should live or die? If they vote for death, then that person will be dead within the hour.

The first man to face execution is a child pornographer, who got a light sentence and is now back on the street planning more crimes. He should certainly still be in jail. But, should he die? The first vote returns with 84% of the audience condemning him to death. The execution takes place and the masked man vows to find another criminal.

With his great track record of nailing criminals, Moo-chan is seen as the best man to find the executioner before he kills again. Although Moo-chan happily pummels criminals he feels deserve it, execution goes a step too far. Since we are the police, he says, we have to catch the killer, even if the victim deserved to die. The criminal has become a victim.

Moo-chan forms an investigation team which enlists personnel from the police Cyber Safety Bureau. Joo-hyun, played by Im Ji-yeon, is a really skilled but usually underemployed cyber detective who approaches Moo-chan with some clues about the executioner’s identity. She thinks the killer might be someone Moo-chan knows. It might be Kwon Seok-joo, played by Park Sung-woong, who went to jail for killing the man who raped his daughter. Seok-joo became a criminal while seeking what he considered justice and Moo-chan arrested him.

The deftly acted drama proceeds at a nimble pace and weaves some interesting questions into a police procedural. Viewers will have to vote on how well the drama answers these questions after the last episode airs.

Park Hae-jin previously appeared in From Now On Showtime, Cheese in the Trap and Man To Man. Lim Ji-yeon can be seen in the dramas The Glory and Lies Hidden in My Garden. Park Sung-woong co-starred with Park Hae-jin in Man To Man, but can also be seen in the dramas Bloodhounds, Unlock My Boss and Snowdrop as well as the films Man of Reason and Woong Nam.

The 12-episode thriller airs on Amazon Prime. The Killing Vote is based on the webcomic Kookminsahyungtopyo written by Eom Se-yoon and illustrated by Jung Yi-poom, which ran from 2015 to 2016 via Kakao. The drama is directed by Park Shin-woo, who directed the dramas It’s Okay To Not Be Okay and Encounter.

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