The Kidnapping Day

The Kidnapping Day

An instantly engaging web of intrigue about a whole tangle of social and class issues


TV Show

South Korea
Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery
Jeon Yu-na, Kim Sang-ho, Kim Shin-rock
59 min

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There are lots of burning questions here, but none more so than: is that the same house from Parasite?? She's a star!

What it's about

As the death of a wealthy couple is being investigated, a reluctant kidnapper finds himself taking care of a precocious young girl who has lost her memory.

The take

Genuinely exciting but with more than enough heart to keep its genre trappings from overwhelming the story, The Kidnapping Day wastes no time setting the stakes and its plot into motion. Several crimes occur seemingly at the same time, which not only keeps the show's various mysteries equally interesting, but emphasizes how our protagonist (the kidnapper Myeong-joon) is ultimately just a naive person caught in the crosshairs of something larger. But because of his poverty and desperation, he becomes a natural target of suspicion by the  people who don't know his full story.

And accompanying Myeong-joon from the beginning of the series is 11-year-old Ro-hee, who wakes from a dazed state with no recollection of who she is, but with knowledge beyond her years. The somewhat antagonistic but tender bond she gradually forms with her reluctant kidnapper is the furthest thing from Stockholm syndrome. Instead, their relationship becomes a window into a particular class dynamic that runs throughout The Kidnapping Day (as well as a host of other South Korean films and shows). In these first two episodes watched for this review, the series already presents a world characterized by a deep yet normalized divide between the rich and the poor.

What stands out

It's especially clever how The Kidnapping Day ends up making pointed observations on South Korean class dynamics without really calling attention to itself. (Which makes it feel appropriate that the murdered rich couple's house looks so similar to the one used in Bong Joon-ho's Parasite.) Early on, the show already breaks through any preconceived notions of the poor being simple-minded or the rich being consistently loving, upstanding citizens. The characters always interact with a particular distance between them—a smart bit of writing that emphasizes how, even if they may occupy the same general places, both classes of people see their world from very different vantage points.

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