Every so often, a Korean thriller comes along to captivate us with intricate plots, complex characters, raw intensity and unexpected twists to keep us on the edge of our seats. “The Worst of Evil”, Disney+’s latest sensation – which premiered on Sep 27 with three episodes – checks all the boxes, with eye candy leads to boot.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of Seoul in the 90s, the 12-episode crime thriller series is a masterful blend of action, drama, and romance. Be prepared to be pulled into the era of the Korea-China-Japan drug cartel, where danger lurks in every shadow and secrets are the currency of survival. With heartthrobs, high stakes, and heart-stopping twists, this is one show you won’t want to hit pause on.
Just a day before the premiere, the star-studded cast – Ji Changwook, Wi Hajun, and Lim Semi – and director Han Dongwook convened in Seoul for an exclusive press conference to offer a tantalising glimpse into the series.
We dive into six great reasons why “The Worst of Evil” is about to top your watchlist:
If you thought Hajun was captivating in “Squid Game” or “Little Women”, wait till you see him as gang leader Jung Gicheul.
“He started from rock bottom, and is very cruel and cold,” Hajun describes his character, a charismatic leader in Gangnam’s underworld. But Gicheul’s reserved demeanour hides a complex emotional past, which includes his relationship with his deceased friend Taeho, who we see gets killed in the first episode.
But whether he’s donning sharp suits or rocking leather jackets in Gangnam’s underworld, Hajun proves that bad guys have never looked this good.
So what kind of “sexy” can we expect from him this time?
“The worst sexy, or evil sexy,” Hajun revealed with a laugh during the press conference. “He is the worst evil, really between a rock and a hard place.”
On the other side of the drug cartel is the police department looking to take it down.
“I’m the adorable maknae of the gang!” proclaims Changwook. The heartthrob from “Suspicious Partner” and “Healer” is back, but this time he’s ditching the clean-cut look for something grittier. As an undercover cop, he’s diving deep into the criminal underworld. In the premiere episodes, we see him attempting to infiltrate the Gangnam gang and working to gain Gicheul’s trust by posing as the cousin of Taeho.
And trust us, he’s never looked better. But it’s not just about the aesthetics; it’s about the depth of the character and the story.
“When I first got the script, I felt a sense of familiarity with the undercover cop story. I wondered if it would be worthwhile,” Changwook shared at the press conference. “But after reading the script, that concern was immediately gone. The visual mood is different, the emotions are weaved into the story differently, and the character dynamics are portrayed in a way you’ve never seen before.”
“The chemistry was perfect, 100,” says Hajun about his on-screen chemistry with Changwook.
Indeed, it’s hard to believe that this is their first onscreen collaboration because the electric chemistry between the two male leads is palpable, making every scene they share a treat. Their interactions, especially the meticulously choreographed fight scenes, are a testament to their dedication and talent, promising a visual spectacle for action lovers.
Move over cliched love triangles; “The Worst of Evil” introduces a love story that’s fresh and riveting. Yu Euijeong, played by the talented Lim Semi, is an elite police member and also Changwook’s wife in the drama who joins the undercover mission to help her husband.
“She’s very self-driven, independent, a very capable cop,” says Semi. “Seeing that her husband is sent to a very dangerous, high stakes mission, she joins the operations to speed things up.”
“But my character was also the first love of the Gangnam gang boss, Gicheul,” she adds, highlighting the complicated romantic dynamics at play.
As both Euijeong and Junmo dive undercover for the same perilous mission, their relationship is tested in ways they never imagined, adding another layer of tension to the narrative.
“The Worst of Evil” isn’t your typical crime drama, either. It delves into the moral complexities of its characters, exploring their motivations, fears and desires.
Director Dongwook says, “I wanted to bring about emotions latently, without being overtly expressive.”
“This isn’t just another crime drama,” says Changwook. “The style of action in this show is not really about the choreography; we focused more on how to portray emotions through the action sequences. Action is basically fighting with someone, but we wanted to go deeper into why they’re fighting. What’s the best way to show the emotional turmoil?”
Hajun adds, “All of us really immersed ourselves in the characters.”
Changwook talked about keeping the “tension” between his cop and gang member personas, offering this teaser about his role: “When my character Junmo is at a crossroads and has to choose between different options, he breaks down and has to think for himself.”
With gut-wrenching twists and turns, viewers are left wondering: will it be a bromance for the ages, or will betrayal be the name of the game?
The drama doesn’t just rely on fictional thrills. It’s rooted in the rough realities of the 90s drug trade in South Korea.
“In the 90s, there were actual real events regarding the drug cartel of the three countries. There was a story of police catching a real drug cartel,” says director Dongwook, adding, “but instead of focusing on the provocative subject matter of drugs, we wanted to focus on the relationships between the people.”
This adds another layer of depth to “The Worst of Evil”, making it not just a compelling drama but also a nod to the complex history of the era it portrays. The conflict between the Gangnam gang and the police department is not merely a plot point but a reflection of the real-life tensions that existed during that time.
For those who can’t get enough of the genre, Disney+ offers a plethora of K-dramas to satisfy your cravings. The award-winning “Big Bet” promises suspense at every turn, while the smash hit “Moving” offers a fresh take on the superhero genre. And for the crime drama aficionados, “Han River Police” and “The First Responders” are additions to your must-watch list.
Ready for a thrilling ride? Stream “The Worst of Evil” now, exclusively on Disney+. With two new episodes released weekly and a three-episode finale on Oct 25, your weekends are about to get a lot more exciting.
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