Kill It (킬잇) is a compelling example of a series that requires an upfront investment that will lead to a surprisingly emotional and satisfying conclusion. The 2019 OCN drama series starring Jang Ki Yong and Nana starts off with some intrigue before settling into a sort of oddly flat succession of disjointed stories. But that aforementioned investment and being able to stick with the series through to its almost abruptly exhilarating final minutes results in what ends up being a rewarding television experience.
Jang Ki Yong is elite assassin Kim Soo Hyun whose latest client promises answers to his past. The job requires the dispatching of several people and Soo Hyun soon learns that this all might have more to do with his mysterious past than he ever imagined.
Hotshot detective Do Hyun Jin (Nana), meanwhile, is on the case of trying to solve what appears to be the work of a serial killer. Little does she know the true culprit is her new next door neighbor, with whom she shares much more than just their building’s address. Hyun Jin is also looking for answers about her past. Unwittingly, Hyun Jin and Soo Hyun uncover their truths together while also uncovering a horrifying child trafficking ring that shockingly holds the key.
Going into a series titled Kill It, you might expect something a little more pulpy. While there are some action sequences, the series plays more like a traditional crime thriller mystery rather than a heavy action-driven series. At first, that is a little disappointing. Especially seeing the series’ promotional material:
But as the series progresses, it becomes clear just what the title may be referring to. (And there’s several options.)
Kill It is perhaps a slowburn action series. And many times, slowburn series do require that early investment. Kill It feels fragmented in its first couple of episodes. We get good introductions to Soo Hyun and Hyun Jin, as well as the wide array of supporting characters. There are some legitimately exciting action sequences. But what the series is ultimately about isn’t very clear. You don’t feel like the characters are growing or going anywhere. Developed relationships seem superficial and irrelevant.
However, all of these pieces slowly, but surely come together. Moments and details that would originally feel passive and uninteresting become integral to the final episodes. And ultimately, the explosive climactic finale.
As much investment is required of the audience, the series banks a lot of the emotional and narrative depth along the way. The necessary pieces needed to bring everything together in the end are easily picked up by the series whenever it needs them. You arrive at the final episode not knowing that you’ve been forging something with these characters all along. You might even surprise yourself at how impactful and affecting the final episodes will be.
With leads like Jang Ki Yong and Nana, there is a surprising lack of sensuality in the series. Not so much sensuality as in sex, but this sort of slick, sensual kind of attitude. Much like they exude in the series’ poster, for example. As I mentioned earlier, those promotional photos give off a certain perception about the series. Maybe a sort of sexy, violent cat and mouse game between Soo Hyun and Hyun Jin.
But it’s really not that at all. Instead, Jang Ki Yong and Nana’s strong chemistry is used in what actually might be a refreshing way. There’s obviously sexual tension between Soo Hyun and Hyun Jin. But when the mysteries about their pasts begin to unravel, that dynamic is given an entirely new dimension. It is fascinating to watch their relationship evolve over the course of the series. Part of the investment involves holding on to the hints of romance amidst bloody crime and mystery. Though things aren’t necessarily difficult to figure out when it comes to that mystery, the characters are able to grab hold and draw you in to the story.
In the end, it is their relationship and all the baggage they bring to it that leaves a lasting effect.
They are also accompanied by a strong supporting cast led by Roh Jeong Eui, Lee Jae Won, Jung Hae Kyun, Ji Il Joo and a superb guest appearance by David McInnis. All of whom play characters who are among the pieces necessary to make the satisfying conclusion a reality.
Overall, Kill It may feel a little disjointed at first. And there might be a surprising lack of action considering the series’ title. But a strong cast helps to guide the series along as pieces slowly, but surely appear. All for them to come together in what is an emotionally rewarding and wholly satisfying way.