Drama Casting & News
Three Days writer returns with Memories of Murder-inspired thriller
by | January 30, 2015 | 15 Comments

Writer Kim Eun-hee of thrillers Three Days, Sign, and Ghost is heading back to SBS with a new drama titled Signal (a working title), which is in planning for a broadcast later this summer. This drama is reported to be a reworking of the much-lauded Bong Joon-ho film Memories of Murder. Wait, wasn’t that already a drama, and wasn’t it called Gap-dong?

It’s certainly possible, and even common, for multiple dramas to be about similar topics — Hyun Bin’s Hyde, Jekyll, Me and Ji Sung’s Kill Me, Heal Me are two current examples — but I’m taken aback by this news because Signal and Gap-dong both explicitly state that they are based on Memories of Murder specifically (and I believe in some instances, the distributors actually used the English title Memories of Murder to market Gap-dong).

The movie Memories of Murder was inspired by the true case of the Hwaseong serial murders that occurred in the 1980s, which claimed the lives of ten women victimized by a rapist-murderer who was never caught. Gap-dong set its story in a fictional setting that served as a thinly veiled substitute for Hwaseong, and imagined that a new string of murders arose after the original case’s statute of limitations had expired. More of a psychological thriller than a crime investigation, it intertwined the crimes and twisted psyches of a copycat murderer with those of the original perpetrator.

Signal will be taking yet a different approach to the Hwaseong case, and promises to tell its story in Writer Kim’s own style. I’m taking that to mean more of a slick crime-procedural than twisted dark mystery, since she’s had success with that kind of format in her past dramas. Plus, I don’t expect a broadcast television show to be take a hard-hitting, grim approach to the macabre cases, especially when comparing with a cable station that has more freedom (even if the station’s a bit softer like tvN). But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, since I’ve already seen Gap-dong; if we’re going to see another version of the same story, I’d rather at least get a fresh approach.

Signal will be a Wednesday-Thursday drama on SBS and is looking at an August launch.

Via Star News


15 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. risa

    It really does seem like there’s a herd mentality among the drama deciders. I still can’t believe that there are two dramas about D.I.D. airing back to back, with another to follow shortly. Speaking of lack of originality, lol @ writing one drama called Sign, and another called Signal. At least this title doesn’t involve any math.

    I find Kim Eun-Hee’s writing to be really uneven, often leaving me with a “this drama could have been so much better” kind of disappointment. That’s especially true of Ghost, which I thought was awesome in the beginning, but then it fizzled into mediocrity.

    • 1.1 John

      risa –

      Gap Dong was the same. Should have would have could have. More like Gap Don’t. The gap signified the holes in the plot. Memories Of A Murderer was scary from the stand point of a police force hell bent on getting their man, even if it was the wrong guy.

  2. Lilly

    I am thrilled. Yes, I am one of those that watched different versions of the Jack the Ripper serial killer movies and dramas also. I think this is going to be fantastic because of who is doing it.

    I can hardly wait. I hope they get some really scary actors.

  3. alpha

    They need some originality. Same plot reusing? And not like its some great plot that can be told in a different way than it already has anyway.

    • 3.1 Lilly

      Oh but they can since the murders can be used as the sub plot foundation and the main story laid over it. They can also come up with their own version of who the killer really was.
      That is what a lot of the Jack the Ripper stories did.

      Now that through DNA testing they have found out who the real Jack the Ripper was, that will all dry up and go away, but as long as there is a serial killer that was never caught, like the Zodiac killer of the USA, they can make all kinds of different stories up around it.

  4. juniper

    Memories of Murder is one of my all-time favorite movies…seriously, no drama is ever going to tell that story better. It’s just about the best police procedural I’ve ever seen–it wasn’t about catching the killer, it was about the journey, following a couple of small town cops’ clumsy, violent struggle to cope with the familiar becoming strange in the most horrific, brutalizing way possible. Where MoM used the murders as a profound, harrowing window into the ugliness of human nature, this new drama will probably settle for titillation, like Gap-dong did. If anyone is interested in the topic, I highly recommend you skip the dramas and watch the movie instead.

    • 4.1 Lindy12

      I agree; Memories of Murder is an exceptional film. It was the first Korean movie I ever saw and it turned me into a Korean film fanatic. Lucky me. I didn’t watch Gap Dong although I do intent to do so soon and this new drama could be okay. The subject matter of the Hwaseong murders, like all unsolved serial killings, is a natural and can be revisited again and again because it so open ended. It’s the reason why 126 years after the fact Jack the Ripper still fascinates and why people are still trying to figure out just who he was. It appears the most recent attempt, using DNA from one of the victims shawls, was unsuccessful because the DNA was too degraded to give a credible result.

      • 4.1.1 Sam

        I’ve been reading your comments and you seem to have a real passion for the Jack the Ripper mystery 😀 I’m from the East end of London and if you live in the UK, or even if you’re from somewhere else, if you get the chance you should definitely go on a Jack the Ripper guided tour of Whitechapel. They do them fairly often and I think you’d enjoy them 🙂

        • Lilly

          I like walking tours. That sounds fun.

      • 4.1.2 Sam

        Oops, wrong person! This was supposed to be to @Lilly. I wasn’t paying attention when I scrolled back up from reading the comments and saw ‘jack the ripper’ and just pressed reply. Although, I definitely recommend it to you as well if you’re interested and ever get the chance 🙂

        • Lindy12

          I took a tour of the Whitechapel murders area, but don’t know if it was the same tour you mention, when I visited London as a teenager with my family. Fascinating! I have had an interest in Jack the Ripper as well since my early teens when I took a book on the Ripper murders from my father’s library for bedtime reading. I thought it would put me to sleep. It had some truly gruesome autopsy photos which gave me nightmares! I was so freaked out and had to sleep with the light on for days but now I have a very strong stomach for this stuff and Korean films do it so well.

  5. Stuart

    She wrote Three Days? The Drama featuring the most criminally incompetent VIP security service on the planet? The Drama featuring an army of goons rampaging unchecked and apparently unnoticed through huge swathes of South Korea with military style fully-automatic weapons targetting the country’s President without any interference from the police or military? Then I’m sure this one will be another must-watch, if it features the same level of commitment to realism in storytelling.

    • 5.1 revlow

      LOL. Yeah, that got real old real fast, didn’t it? And don’t forget the whole time issue! “Three Days” was just title.

      • 5.1.1 pogo

        They did have a decently-written President and hero, and I give full credit to Son Hyun-joo and Yoochun for their performances, but that villain plot was nonsense.

        Still, compared to how some dramas in 2014 turned out, it wasn’t that bad, I even think rather fondly of it now.

  6. lilac

    I really hate it when they make drama out of good films. What’s the point? We already know what’s about to happen. What’s wrong with them? they ran out of ideas?

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