Amazon Prime K-drama The Kidnapping Day: Kiss Sixth Sense’s Yoon Kye-sang and Park Sung-hoon headline twisty and appealing mystery

In a refreshing departure from other Korean dramas, The Kidnapping Day drops us right into the action without the usual extended flashbacks to help us suss out the motivations of its main characters.

8 of the best new Korean drama series to look out for in September 2023

When we meet the scruffy-looking Kim Myeong-jun (Yoon) he is fidgeting behind the wheel of a ratty car parked outside a swanky villa in the middle of the night.

A woman keeps calling him, pushing him to do whatever it is he’s there to do. When a police car pulls up to deal with a drunk who has passed out, he loses his nerve and drives away. But just after he turns the corner, a young girl stumbles into his path, stares right at him and faints.

This is Choi Ro-hee (Yu-na, Pachinko), and she happens to be the reason he is here – Myeong-jun came to kidnap her. He picks up the unconsciousness girl, stuff her into the car and drives off.
Yu-na as kidnapping victim Choi Ro-hee in a still from “The Kidnapping Day”.

The show steadily drip-feeds us information about what’s going on. The woman on the phone is Myeong-jun’s ex-wife, Seo Hye-eun (Kim Shin-rok), and the poorly executed kidnapping plot is a ploy to raise money for an operation for their daughter Kim Hee-ae (Choi Eun-woo), who lies sick with leukaemia in a hospital bed.

None of this is important once the show begins. What matters is Myeong-jun’s predicament as he waits at home for this young stranger to wake up.

When she does, he discovers that she has amnesia. Ro-hee asks if he is her father and, given the evidence of a young girl having lived in the house and the fact that Ro-hee and Hee-ae are about the same age, Myeong-jun goes along with this spontaneous fiction.

Kim Shin-rok as kidnapper Kim Myeong-jun’s ex-wife in a still from “The Kidnapping Day”.

Even without her memory, Ro-hee is a formidable presence. She browbeats Myeong-jun, and sometimes literally beats him with a back scratcher, as she complains about food, clothes and cleanliness, not to mention his weak responses to her questions.

Despite this, Ro-hee eventually warms to Myeong-jun, sensing the warmth within him.

Beyond maintaining the father-daughter fiction, Myeong-jun has bigger problems. He has been unable to contact Ro-hee’s parents about the ransom.

The phone he rings lies idle under a bed of the mansion Ro-hee came from. Something bad has happened and, although he was in no way responsible, Myeong-jun soon finds himself on the run for it, fake daughter in tow.

Park Sung-hoon as a detective in a still from “The Kidnapping Day”.
The Kidnapping Day is strongly reminiscent of older Korean thriller movies, particularly Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, which features a similar story about kidnappers and their burgeoning relationship with the young daughter of wealthy parents.

The show’s choice of locations, all old hilly neighbourhoods and dark, twisting alleys, brings us back to Na Hong-jin’s vicious serial killer thriller The Chaser.

While the show borrows liberally from these classics, it also swaps out their crueller extremes for broader comic and dramatic elements.

The cinematic tone of The Kidnapping Day is largely down to the participation of Park Yoo-young. Originally an assistant director, first in film ( Inside Men), then for the small screen ( Kingdom), and later a second unit director ( A Model Family), Park makes his directing debut here.
Yu-na as Ro-hee and Yoon Kye-sang as her kidnapper Myeong-jun in a still from “The Kidnapping Day”.

The script by Kim Je-young, the writer-director of the Cheese in the Trap film remake, juggles a few too many elements as it keeps striking out in different directions, but the director does an admirable job of tempering them with an even stylistic tone.

Yoon, his good looks masked by oily hair and scratchy stubble, manages to be quite sympathetic as Myeong-jun; his chemistry with Yu-na shines through once they settle into their roles.

The Kidnapping Day consistently reveals little nuggets of information and, as the action unfolds, even bigger mysteries emerge. Thank to its engaging characters and engrossing style, you could do far worse than follow along on this dark and twisty journey.

The Kidnapping Day is streaming on Amazon Prime.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.