K-Drama Premiere: “Psychopath Diary” Wields An Intriguing Narrative Into The Dark And Twisted Inner Workings Of The Mind
An amnesiac is having a battle with himself as some things about him do not add up.
Psychopath Diary has a dark theme, with a psychopathic serial killer on the loose and the protagonist struggling to fit in. The characters have back stories that are painful. The kind you wish never happen to someone you know or people in general. But despite the sinister and macabre aspects, the drama has incorporated humor to lighten up the frightening premise.
Yoon Si Yoon stands out with his portrayal of the main character. It makes you want to watch and root for him. Even if his transformation seems to be heading for the worst.
Premiere week rating:
Psychopath Diary Pilot Week Recap
Authorities surround Yook Dong Sik (Yoon Si Yoon). A voice over labels him a serial killer, having admitted to seven murders, six of which was documented in thorough details in his diary. Reporters are waiting outside and the moment they see him, they throw him a series of questions pertaining to the murders.
The lead detective answers for him and tells the press that they will get their answers once they are done with the investigation. Yook Dong Sik removes his face mask and says he is not crazy. He is just a psychopath and a murderer. The admission takes everyone by surprise and pandemonium ensues. Media people would like to question him more while he smiles creepily in the background.
Three months before the arrest
Dong Sik is an analyst working for Daehan Securities. His collection of books and DVDs displays his love for murder-mysteries. An encounter with a thug-looking neighbor pretty much establishes his character as non-confrontational.
At work, his co-workers also like to walk all over him. Some prefer to gossip behind his back while another, blatantly takes advantage of his timid personality. His immediate supervisor also care less about his existence.
Officer Shim Bo Kyung (Jung In Sun) is at a crime scene where an old lady is found dead in what looks like a suicide. Her doubts grow the more she looks at the scene as there are some peculiarities.
She is talking to someone relaying her observations when his partner asks her if she can see ghosts because she seems to be talking to someone else when she is all alone in a crime scene.
She says that she is reminded of her conversation with her dad (a legendary detective) as she finds his crime scene stories more fascinating than any fairy tales.
A colleague asks Dong Sik to finish and hand in a report favoring a pharmaceutical company even though there are inconsistencies with the data. Dong Sik does what he is told and submits the report.
However, he voices out his concern and wants to double-check the report. His manager scolds him and tells him the order to give Yuseong Biomedi a “strong buy” status came from above.
Meanwhile, Officer Sim Bo Kyung and his partner are just leaving when Dong Sik arrives to walk her parents’ dogs. On his way with the dogs in tow, he meets a homeless man and gives him a coupon to his father’s restaurant.
The murder, the witness and the accident
The next day, problem arises at work as reports reveal that Yuseong Biomedi hid the results of their clinical trials where test subjects died. This cause the company’s stock prices to crash and investors to lose their investments. There is clamor for Daehan Securities to take responsibility due to the analyst’s recommendation.
Yook Dong Sik’s manager summons him and blames him for the mistake. He instructs Dong Sik to admit to it during the Internal Audit Investigation. Clearly distressed, he is quite hesitant to go inside his nephew’s birthday party, but his sister sees him outside and invites him in.
When his father proudly reveals that he works for Daehan Securities, a couple of guests, who invested in Yuseong Biomedi, lashes out and demands apology. His father gets angry and blames Dong Sik’s tendency to readily apologize as the cause of his problems.
Feeling ashamed, he goes back to the office building and writes a suicide note. He then proceeds to the construction site for the new adjoining Daehan building.
Meanwhile, Seo In Woo (Park Sung Hoon) attacks the homeless man in a public bathroom and brings the unconscious body to the building site.
Several moments later, Bo Kyung and her partner stops in the same bathroom as he conducts his business. Bo Kyung notices the homeless man’s cart and asks Heo Taek Soo (Choi Sung Woon) if there is a homeless man inside.
He says he did not notice and acting on her gut-feeling, they go back inside finding no else. She then observes that the public bathroom is clean, too clean.
At the same moment, Dong Sik is at the highest point of the building in construction and unable to jump off. He looks down and sees a car and a truck that were not there earlier when he arrives. Afraid of being caught trespassing, Yook Dong Sik decides to leave the place.
On his way down, he hears someone begging for his life and asking for help. He takes a peek and sees a man torturing the homeless man who just swats away something from the hand of his captor.
The diary, in which the bad guy just wrote down the details of his would-be murder, conveniently slides to where Dong Sik is hiding.
The homeless man, sees Dong Sik from his hiding place and asks for his help. Sensing that his captive is talking to someone else, Seo In Woo walks toward Dong Sik who immediately escapes in panic.
On the street, he fails to avoid the police car, with Bo Kyung driving and Taek Soo in the passenger seat. They place him the back seat and takes him to the nearest hospital as Seo In Woo looks on unable to see the identity of the man.
Amnesia and Murderous tendencies
At the hospital, Bo Kyung and Taek Soo await word from the doctor. Seo In Woo is also there in the hospital trying to locate the man who saw him. He asks the nurse for a patient that was in an accident and admitted recently. The nurse points him to bed number two only to find it empty while in the next bed, Dong Sik awakens.
The doctor tells him that Dong Sik is suffering from amnesia and he may or may not regain his memories. She drives Dong Sik home, gives him a calling card and says to call whenever he needs anything. Bo Kyung concocts a story that it was Dong Sik who ran in front of the vehicle. She advises Taek Soo to just go along with it.
He gives her the diary he found at the backseat and asks her to return it to Dong Sik as he is sure it belongs to him. After debating with the image of his healthy dad, she heeds her advise and returns the diary to Dong Sik, without reading it.
He figures out the system of reading the entries and gets the shock his life upon reading horrific words describing a murder. After Bo Kyung leaves, Dong Sik reads some more. This makes his stomach roll, not believing he is capable of committing such a crime.
His sister, who spoke with Bo Kyung earlier, is aware that Dong Sik was in an accident. She goes to his house to check up on him but realizes that he changed his code.
When Dong Sik opens the door he asks for her identity. The family learns of Dong Sik’s current situation. While they bicker, he is having an internal monologue slowly believing he wrote on the diary.
Dong Sik goes back to work, causing much ire from his superior. Thinking he could guilt-trip Dong Sik once again to admit the mistake, Park Jae Ho, who learns of his amnesia, says that he is the nicest person in the office.
He adds that Dong Sik would do anything for his teammates. So when the auditor asks again he readily admits to the mistake, to which the auditor dismisses. She tells him that they are trying to frame him, and he changes his stance.
He goes back to to the construction and memories of the violence, as written in the diary, starts rushing through his mind. This freaks him out and he emerges from the site wailing and running away from Bo Kyung.
The team dines out to celebrate and congratulate Dong Sik for saving their team, but he is not feeling it. Deciding that he is not the owner of the diary and he is not a psychopath, he gathers his coat.
He then throws the diary in the trash bin and prepares to leave. His manager receives a call requesting both him and Dong Sik to be present in another interview because their stories differ.
He admonishes and insults Dong Sik for all people at the restaurant to witness. Dong Sik is shaking and he wonders if he is afraid but soon realizes that he is boiling with anger.
He confronts his manager in the bathroom and basically re-enacts the last murder entry on the diary. The violence does not go further as the toilet lid breaks before Dong Sik is able to hit the manager.
Bo Kyung and Taek Soo respond to the altercation. They discover that it was the manager who actually assaulted Dong Sik. He ends up apologizing to Dong Sik and somehow develops a fear of him. Meanwhile, Dong Sik is now finally convinced that he has a second identity.
He now believes his timid personality is only a guise he uses to conceal his penchant for killing. He even manages to scare off his tough neighbor.
Bo Kyung comes clean to Dong Sik about the accident and gets inspired by what he says. She is now pursuing a lead about a serial killer after finding out the same M.O. from the murders of the old lady and the homeless man.
Seo Ji Hoon, an executive from Daehan Securities, is the guy in cahoots with Yuseong Biomedi. He finds out that Dong Sik posted in the community board claiming that the company wants another person to take the blame. He is now in danger of being discovered to have been the mastermind behind the high rating of the pharmaceutical company.
Dong Sik is also trying to reveal the truth and invites his teammates to his father’s restaurant. He records their conversation about how the manager asked them to lie to corroborate his false statement.
Seo Ji Hoon, feeling the threat, hires some thugs including Dong Sik’s neighbor, to scare Dong Sik and once again admit to the mistake. While the neighbor is visibly afraid of Dong Sik the others are oblivious.
They hit him in front of his father, despite the apology. One thug asks Dong Sik to refrain from going back to work. Dong Sik asks the bad guys to escort his father out before they continue.
With his father gone, his demeanor changes. Threatening to pour hot oil down his throat, the neighbor gives up the name of their boss.
Dong Sik’s parents seek the help of the people from the neighborhood. Thinking the men hurt him, they are surprised to see him opens the door and walks out of the restaurant feeling more confident.
Psychopath Diary Pilot Week Afterthoughts
Psychopath Diary is shaping to be a good addition to your drama watch list. Despite the morbid premise and the characters being flawed, it definitely caught attention. Kudos to the writer for creating characters that represents people we see every day.
Yoon Si Yoon as Yook Dong Sik, has truly embodied the social outcast and extremely awkward hero. Before the accident that caused his amnesia, I loathe how his co-workers treated him.
It is obvious that he is the brightest and the most responsible member of his team. It is just unfortunate, that he is not as sociable as people want him to be.
They take advantage of his personality and just walk all over him. Though not as obvious as Jae Ho and the manager, their gossiping behind his back and keeping silent as the manager berates Dong Sik is just as bad.
His family is as dysfunctional as the next one. Though there are arguments, his father stood up for him when the going gets tough. They are aware of how easily Dong Sik utters his apologies but despite that they were there to support him.
I am loving the idea that Dong Sik is slowly getting his confidence by believing he is the owner of the diary and the one who committed the horrendous acts. Yes, it was unconventional and somehow twisted, to have your personality change after reading the diary entries.
But people are wired differently and what others deem normal may not be the case for others. I am just hoping that he does not actually murder or hurt someone as he discovers himself. So far, all he were just threats and he has not injured people. I am all for Yook Dong Sik developing a stronger and more assertive personality
I also like how Psychopath Diary touches on different psychological concerns. In Bo Kyung’s case, she is not afraid to admit she hallucinates and carry out a conversation with her father.
She just threw it casually and her partner’s reaction did not make it weird. The image of her father in her head seems the voice of reason, guiding her as she carry on with her work.
Seo In Woo, as the real psychopath in the story, gives out that creepy vibe. His stares are cold, and he seems to have no emotions. However, I am waiting if there is more to that tough façade than meets the eye. I am looking forward to the story’s progress and the characters development.
Psychopath Diary airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30PM KST via tvN.
Images from tvN