K-Drama Review : ‘Gap Dong’ Tries to Build Up the Suspense and Plot Twist, But Fails Spectacularly

gap dong

Another Drama Based on the Real-Life Unsolved Hwaseong Serial Murder

It’s time for another K-Drama review, everybody! And for this article, Channel Korea prepared all the information about a crime-thriller K-Drama. And also, SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to get the information about this drama, you’ve been warned!

In 2014, TvN released a crime-thriller drama called ‘Gap Dong’, which is inspired by the Hwaseong serial murder case. If you didn’t already know, these murders were just like a nightmare for Koreans, and happened from 1986 to 1991 in the Taean Neighborhood of Hwaseong, South Korea.

Other K-Dramas based on this unsolved murder case are ‘Signal’, which was released in 2016, and ‘Tunnel’ in 2017. But for now, we will talk about ‘Gap Dong’. So, let’s get started!


Gap Dong : Review

gap dong

From the first, we’ve already told you about SPOILER ALERT for ‘Gap Dong’. So, if you feel you’re ready for the spoilers, keep scrolling!

‘Gap Dong’ (갑동이 in Korean), also known as ‘Gap Dong, the Memories of Murder’, is a crime-thriller Korean Drama that ran from April 11 until June 21, 2014 in South Korea. This drama was written by Kwon Eum-Mi and directed by Jo Soo-Won. Based on Asian Wiki (asianwiki.com), the first script reading took place at CJ E&M Center in Sangam Neighborhood, Seoul.

The plot is about a main character named Ha Moo-Yeom, played by Yoon Sang-Hyun, a detective who works to capture the killer known as Gap Dong. Ha Mu Yeom’s father had killed himself because he suspected to be the serial murderer Gap Dong, which is what drives Moo-Yeom to really want to catch the real killer.

gap dong

Ha Moo-Yeom is best described as hot-headed and always tries to act his own way, but he really has a sharp intuition as a detective. He can feel if someone made some weird movement or act.

When the statute of limitations expired for this case and Moo-Yeom believes that Gap Dong is already dead, he suddenly finds new clues that will bring him to Gap Dong appear and it makes him set out to catch the killer once again, with his only chance this time.

gap dong
aminoapps .com

This scene, according to someone’s review on this platform, said that Gap Dong’s twisted smile is so disturbing, whether he’s committed a murder, or in the process of committing murder, or is just threatening someone.

gap dong

This is the section when a character named Maria Oh (Kim Min-Jung) is in an interrogation room as Chief Cha Do-Hyeok (Jung In-Ki) waits for her in tense anticipation, ready to share her memory of Gap Dong’s face.

gap dong

Gap Dong was rated 7.6/10 at IMDb, which suggests this is a good one to watch, and the fact that this drama is based on actual case will give you chills. Gap Dong, itself, actually focused on the crimes that were committed by a copycat killer, who feels inspired by the real Gap Dong for his way to kill many humans. The main characters try to catch Gap Dong, but what they find is the copy cat, instead, and the way the protagonists support each other through their traumas because of this tragedy. According to someone’s review from Amino Apps, in this drama the audience will see more of the murderer’s psyche rather than the victims, and what constitutes “freedom” for the murderers’ point of views.

Another viewer said that this is a good one, but a little bit heavy and difficult to watch. They also said it would have been better if the number of episodes were shorter, because they realized that there were some things in some episodes that just seemed to repeat things over and over but the real answer is never revealed. Even so, they still really give applause for the surprise plot twisting and the brilliant acting from the cast.


The Cast

gap dong

This drama’s success isn’t just because of the way they presented everyone’s nightmare with the good serial killer story and the way it gets solved. Gap Dong is truly full of brilliant actors to play the characters. The character development’s really to the point. Of course it can bring us into their perspectives and make us feel what they feel.

So, let’s get to know more about the actors behind it!


Yoon Sang-Hyun as Ha Moo-Yeom

yoon sang hyun

Yoon Sang-Hyun is a Korean actor and singer that was born in September 21, 1973, with the blood type B. His breakout role was in the drama Queen of Housewifes, which was released in 2009. Yoon Sang-Hyun’s weight is 74 kg and he’s 182 cm tall. He’s a Virgo, and also a good husband and father for Korean singer and songwriter, Maybee and their three children.

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In Gap Dong, he played as the lead male character, named Ha Moo-Yeom, a temperamental detective who has really sharp intuition and wants revenge on Gap Dong because of the false accusation that led to his father’s eventual suicide. His character can be really rude, but that’s because of his ambition to solve the murders. But after all, he is really a good man. Yoon San-Hyun’s acting can make the audience feel the flaws for his actions in every scene.


Kim Min-Jung as Maria Oh

kim min jung

Kim Min-Jung is the beautiful Korean actress who played as one of the lead role female characters in Gap Dong, Maria Oh. She was born on July 30, 1982, and is 167 cm tall. She graduated from Kyung Ki University and then debuted at an early age, in a show called Widow on MBC. Kim Min-Jung also won for the “Best Theater” in 1990.

gap dong

Her role as Maria Oh in this drama casts her as a profiler and psychiatrist who helps Ha Moo-Yeom (Yoon Sang-Hyun) to solve the case. She works at a prison clinic, and she’s the only survivor to have escped Gap Dong about 18 years ago (from drama’s story timeline). Because of that, she is really sensitive to Gap Dong’s name and becomes very emotional from her traumatic past. Maria Oh became a psychiatrist to heal herself and to find Gap Dong, who killed her best friend.


Lee Joon as Ryu Tae-Oh/The New Gap Dong

lee joon

Lee Chang-Seon, or, as many people know him, Lee Joon, is a former member from the Korean boy-group MBLAQ. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, on February 7, 1988. He is now a singer, dancer, actor, and model. After his contract with J.Tune Camp officially ended in 2014 he was no longer part of the boy-group, and he signed to Prain PTC (a Prain Global Company).

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He successfully played Ryu Tae-Oh in Gap Dong, a character who was a highly intellectual psychopath with an excellent, detailed memory, but who also sees the real Gap Dong as his “God”. That belief drove him to become another Gap Dong and he started murdering people the same way the real Gap Dong killed his victims. A very cold-hearted human who doesn’t understand what “love” means, he still asks himself if there’s a possibility he will stop killing people. In the end, he gets killed by his idol, the real Gap Dong.


Sung Dong-Il as Yang Cheol-Gon

sung dong il

Sung Dong-Il is a legendary Korean Actor who was born in Incheon, South Korea on April 27, 1967. Sung Dong-Il made his debut in theater in 1987 and was then recruited at SBS open talent auditions in 1991. Since then, he’s already starred in many famous films and dramas with his excellent acting skill. He’s also a really excellent husband and father for his family.

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Getting the role as Chief-Detective Yang Cheol-Gon in the drama, he successfully brought the character to life with his natural acting skill. He plays a cold and rude detective with sharp intuition, much the same as Ha Moo-Yeom. Because of their personalities, Moo-Yeom and Cheol-Gon’s relationship is really bad at first. Yang Cheol-Gom is also obsessed with Gap Dong and tries to catch him his own way, sometimes he forgets that there may be a better way to achieve his goal.


Kim Ji-Won as Ma Ji-Wool

kim ji won

Kim Ji-Won is a beautiful South Korean actress who was born on October 19, 1992. She first entered into her acting career in 2008, by taking minor roles in dramas and appearing in a few commercials. The actress also appeared in the music video for Baek Seung-Hon’s Til the Sun Rises, along with JYJ’s Jaejoong.

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Kim Ji-Won played the other lead female character in this drama, Ma Ji-Wool, an ordinary high school student and a webtoonist. In a weird way, every story that she made for her webtoon is exactly like Gap Dong’s murder case, both the real one and the copycat.  Ma Ji-Wool is the naive girl who always believes people. Because she’s easy to manipulate, she’s the one who told Ryu Tae-Oh about what “love” and “sympathy” mean for human beings. Although she nearly gets killed by Ryu Tae-Oh twice, she still doesn’t ran away from him and still tries to help him stop killing people. Ma Ji-Wool also really loves Ha Moo-Yeom, because he saved her life.


Jung In-Ki as Cha Do-Hyeok/the Real Gap Dong

jung in gi

Jung In-Ki is a South Korean actor who was born on September 12, 1966. He made his debut in 1990 and has remained active in mainstream and independent film. He became famous after his appearance as a dead man in The Fox with Nine Tails in 1994. Jung In-Ki’s height is 183 cm, his weight is 79 kg and he’s a Virgo.

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He played as Cha Do-Hyeok, which is a very important role, although he’s not on screen as much as Lee Joon (Ryu Tae-Oh). He works as a detective in the Gap Dong serial murder case, but he IS the real Gap Dong, which a major plot twist for this drama. He successfully hides his truly identity and acts like a kind-hearted detective, even though with his sharp instinct, Ha Moo-Yeom didn’t feel anything weird about him and sees him as a detective he really admired until the day everyone finds out the truth.


Other Cast

Kang Nam-Kil as Han Sang-Hoon

Jang Gwang as Monk Minjo

Jo Min-Joon as Lee Hyeong-Nyeon

Choo Soo-Hyun as Oh Young-Ae

Min Sung Wook as Nam Gi-Ri

Jung Won-Joong as Park Joong-Goo

Jang Hee-Soo as Kim Young-Mi


The Soundtracks

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As always, when there are good dramas or films, there always are good soundtracks to go with them. Here is the list of ‘Gap Dong’ Original Soundtracks, according to wiki.d-addicts.com.

Title: 갑동이 OST / Gap Dong OST

Artist: Various Artists

Language: Korean, English

Release Date: 2014-Oct-30

Number of Tracks: 14

Publisher: Danal Entertainment (다날엔터테인먼트)

Agency: Pan Entertainment (팬엔터테인먼트)

Track List

  1. Rush by Every Single Day
  2. Time (Statute of Limitations) by Every Single Day
  3. Hard Life Strings Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  4. Harsh Season Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  5. Fate Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  6. Criminal Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  7. Lust for Blood Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  8. Drone Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  9. Down Hell Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  10. Darkness Rising Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  11. Darkness Crawling Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  12. Darkness Falling Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  13. Rush (Inst.) Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day
  14. Time (Inst.) Moon Sung Nam (문성남) of Every Single Day