The 2020 MBC miniseries She Knows Everything (미쓰리는 알고 있다/Miss Lee Knows) is a dizzying whodunit that perhaps could have benefited from having more episodes.
The miniseries focuses on the investigation surrounding the mysterious death of Yang Soo Jin (Park Shin Ah) who is found on the grounds outside a large apartment complex due for reconstruction in the middle of Seoul. Realtor Lee Goong Bok (Kang Sung Yeon), who maintains a relationship with most everyone in the building, is the one that finds the body. Her meddlesome personality clashes with detective In Cheol Ho (Jo Han Sun) who is tasked to do the official investigation.
But when someone close to Miss Lee emerges as a suspect, she launches into her own investigation using her own connections with her neighbors and tenants of the building.
Most of the miniseries entails setting the stage for a series of possible suspects, each with their own plausible motives for killing the young woman. But it does so in a way that comes across as a sort of scattered unfurling of events that may or may not be real rather than an uncovering of clues and red herrings.
Winner of the 2019 MBC Script Contest, the essentially four episode/four-hour miniseries struggles at times to get its point across. There is a fascinating tonal whiplash between legitimately amusing physical comedy and one-liners with the considerably heavier themes of mental health, corruption and, of course, murder.
Each character, as they are introduced, also somehow come off as brash and unpleasant. That certainly makes it hard to form a connection to any of these people. And it adds to the strangely disorienting flow of the series.
It does appear that this is all by design. It is a slow four hours that at the same time manages to pack in a lot of things that are never given time to breathe. There is never any time to marinate on a possible suspect before they are eliminated to introduce another.
The final 30-40 minutes of the miniseries then oddly devolves into a series of expositional flashbacks that appear meant to give the characters some kind of depth. But the dropping of backstories after the case is essentially solved (also by way of exposition), feels like a completely different show and a case of “too little, too late”.
There’s a fascinating character piece here. The final half hour dives deep into what should be powerful emotional climaxes and revelations. But they unfortunately fall a little flat with the moderately convoluted lead-up.
Kang Sung Yeon and Jo Han Sun lead a solid ensemble cast. But the story itself really suffers from trying to do too much in so little a time. Even then, the creative decision in how that story is presented never really gets a chance to work.
She Knows Everything is actually a promising premise. But its four-hour runtime hinders its ability to be a truly complete experience. Slightly convoluted, awkwardly laid out; She Knows Everything can be a quick binge. But it may not necessarily be a satisfying one when it’s all over.