Promo shot for The Bequeathed on Netflix

The Bequeathed is an atmospheric Korean drama on Netflix. Frustrated academic Yoon Seo-ha (Kim Hyun-joo) inherits a family burial ground from an uncle she never knew. When a creepy man appears, insisting he is her half-brother, Seo-ha’s life spins out of control. Local detectives are investigating the uncle’s death as a murder, which is causing interdepartmental strain. Meanwhile, more dead bodies pile up. What’s interesting about The Bequeathed is, the reasons behind some characters’ actions, and the mystery itself, are not what you think they are.

Yoon Seo-ha

Seo-ha is living in the city with her lousy husband and unsatisfying job as an assistant professor when she gets a call saying her uncle died and left her a family burial ground. She’s shocked. “I have an uncle?” Apparently, her father left the family when she was 7, and she never had contact with anyone on that side of the family. Nevertheless, she hosts a funeral for her uncle, during which a disturbed man named Kim Young-ho (Ryu Kyung-soo) approaches her, insisting he is her half-brother and he deserves half of the inheritance. Unfortunately, DNA tests prove that he is right.  Young-ho continually crops up in Seo-ha’s life, at one point painting a bloody talisman her door. At the same time, people close to Seo-ha are getting murdered by shotgun. While a freaked out Seo-ha is certain that Young-ho is the killer, Young-ho is insisting that he is protecting Seo-ha from the real killer.

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The Cops

In a second storyline, veteran police detective Choi Sung-jun (Park Hee-soon, who will remind you a little bit of a Korean Benicio del Toro), and his superior, Captain Park Sang-min (Park Byung-eun) are at odds over how to proceed with the investigation into the uncle’s death. When Seo-ha reports that Young-ho is stalking her, the two detectives become further divided in their opinions. But this isn’t a typical, “Close this case no matter what!” conflict. Turns out that Sung-jun and Sang-min have a very complicated back story, which I felt was the most emotional part of the series. Sung-jun, who works alone and against Sang-min’s wishes, follows clues that lead to shamanism, which eventually reveals the dark truth about Seo-ha’s family.

Our Take on The Bequeathed

The Bequeathed isn’t perfect. The production is top notch, with excellent cinematography and outstanding performances. It isn’t nearly as supernatural as the promotions make it seem, and the fact that the inherited land is a burial ground is more about family than ghosts. The first few episodes are tense and engaging. But the middle kind of drags, and the ending leaves us with questions that could have been answered easily. Also, although flashbacks give us some insight into Seo-ha’s past, we don’t really get to know her. Young-ho’s character seems a little cartoonish, but this is my first Korean series, so I’m not sure if that is a cultural thing. Some critics say that the plot was predictable, but I didn’t think so. I figured it out when the writers meant for me to figure it out. Despite the weaknesses, I liked The Bequeathed, and I binged it. Based on some of the flashbacks, I wouldn’t mind seeing a prequel.

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