Lee Dong-wook and Kim Hye-jun as Jinman and Jian in A Shop for Killers

A Shop for Killers is a thrilling Korean action series on Hulu with a clever backwards reveal structure. Jeong Ji-an (Kim Hye-jun) is a 21-year-old girl who grew up with her uncle, Jeong Jin-man (Lee Dong-wook) after her parents died when she was young. When Jin-man dies suddenly, supposedly from suicide, hit men come for Ji-an, and she has no idea why. As is revealed throughout the series, Jin-man had been training Ji-an for this day all along, and being a quick thinker, she is able to use her training to survive. In flashbacks, we learn about her relationship with her laconic uncle, and see how she acquires skills that she never thought she would actually use to save her own life.

For our other Korean Crime Drama recommendations, click here.

A literal Shop for Killers

Until Jin-man died, Ji-an thought he ran on online business selling industrial hoses. But her old friend from elementary school, Bae Jeong-min (Park Ji-bin), had been working for Jin-man, and together Ji-an and he discover that actually Jin-man has a thriving business on the dark web selling weapons. While Jeong-min is at the house with Ji-an, it is attacked by a gang of hit men using snipers, explosives and very scary drones. For each different type of attack, as Ji-an tries to figure out what to do, we go to a flashback that shows how she was trained for that particular threat. For her part, young Ji-an just figures her uncle is overprotective of her, especially since she is an orphan. And as she gets into her teen years, she chafes against his inflexibility, yearning to move out. As the series progresses, Jin-man’s hidden past and current empire is slowly exposed, explaining why hit men are out for Ji-an’s blood.

See what other foreign crime dramas we recommend on Hulu here.

Our Take on A Shop for Killers

My Korean friend knows I don’t like the hokey-ness of a lot of Korean shows, so when she recommends a show to me, I actually watch it. And A Shop for Killers is definitely not hokey. It’s a little TOO clever, but it has heart, great action, interesting side characters that I won’t mention because of spoilers, and good performances. Lee Dong-wook is a heart-throb in Korea, and I get the sense that this role is a little different for him. Kim Hye-jun does a great job of transitioning from a naïve girl to a kick-ass woman, and the actress who plays little Ji-an will capture your heart. There are a few Korean tropes that feel predictable, one of which is the creepy character who may or may not be a good guy, but they didn’t ruin the show for me. My only real beefs are that many action scenes are repeated from different points of view, and they could have been shortened. Also, episode 2 felt draggy. But overall, A Shop for Killers was a fun binge, and it has been renewed for season 2.

You can watch the trailer for A Shop for Killers here

Looking for more of the best in foreign TV?  Don’t miss our other great reviews HERE!