iQiyi’s Who Is The Murderer is a bingeable mystery drama

·3 min read
Xiao Yang (left) as Leng Xiaobing and Dong Zijian as Xia Mu in Who Is The Murderer. (Screenshot: iQiyi)
Xiao Yang (left) as Leng Xiaobing and Dong Zijian as Xia Mu in Who Is The Murderer. (Screenshot from TV series)

Based on a Chinese novel of the same name, Who Is The Murderer is about the chase for a serial killer in Haizhou city. Due to a lack of evidence and witnesses, the case remains unsolved for 17 years.

Although the premise seemed typical, we realised that its plot actually packs originality (unlike its poster design) after watching four episodes of the iQiyi original series. Here’s how it may be your next Chinese drama to binge-watch:

1. Police officer Leng Xiaobing is driven by guilt and determination to solve the Haizhou case.

Chopstick Brothers’ Xiao Yang, known for acting in the Detective Chinatown film series, stars in Who Is The Murderer as police officer Leng Xiaobing. Back in the year 2000, Leng was a rookie policeman, who came face-to-face with the serial murderer. As he was timid and inexperienced, he was too afraid to shoot the murderer, which led to his escape and the death of a victim.

The incident has since tortured him with guilt, and trapped him in a vicious cycle of self-blame. Even if he can explain to others that his inaction is due to a lack of courage, and put on a facade that everything’s fine, deep down inside, he cannot move on from his mistake. He has been keeping tabs on the Haizhou case, in order to catch the murderer to right his wrong.

This internal conflict was well portrayed by Xiao, which makes Leng an intriguing character with great potential for development in the story. Leng, who aspires to work on major crimes, is a man of determination. His ability to follow things through despite setbacks is valued by his superior. This prominent characteristic, assisted by his guilt, sets the path for how the story subsequently unfolds.

2. The three main characters are related to the Haizhou case in peculiar ways.

Apart from Leng’s involvement as the police in the case, two other characters’ stories are intertwined with the case: Xia Mu (Dong Zijian) and Shen Yu (Zanilia Zhao). Xia Mu's foster mother had been killed by the serial murderer. Having witnessed Leng’s inability to shoot the murderer, Xia seems to detest and blame Leng, and even guilt-trips him with a recount of his less-than-fortunate childhood.

Shen Yu is a psychologist, who is more than meets the eye as she dabbles in law and forensics as well. She is not directly involved with the Haizhou case, until she receives a strange box, containing an item the serial murderer took from his victim’s place 17 years ago.

Zanilia Zhao as Shen Yu in Who Is The Murderer. (Screenshot: iQiyi)
Zanilia Zhao as Shen Yu in Who Is The Murderer. (Screenshot from TV series)

With all the introductions put in place in the first four episodes, and how the three main characters get to know each other a little bit better, the subsequent episodes will likely explore how they come together to work on the case. As they bring their own unique qualities and contributions to solving the case, the story can only get more interesting from here.

3. The series is well-paced and structured to maintain its charm.

Who Is The Murderer is a relatively short series with a total of 16 episodes, each lasting about 40 minutes. Every episode ends at a suspenseful moment, which may trigger your desire to binge-watch the series in one sitting. As the series is still ongoing and will drop six episodes each week, you’ll have to wait at least another two weeks for the complete series if you dislike being kept in suspense.

Who Is The Murderer is now on iQiyi with new episodes available every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

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