Taiwan Crime Stories Season 1 Review – an intriguing anthology series with obvious flaws

By Marc Miller
Published: February 2, 2023 (Last updated: January 21, 2024)
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Taiwan Crime Stories Season 1 Review
Taiwan Crime Stories Season 1 Promotional Image (Credit to Hulu)


With the fine cast, some outstanding performances, and some potent short stories, the overall final product outweighs some of Taiwan Crimes Stories’ obvious flaws.

Taiwan Crime Stories is an anthology series inspired by real-life crime cases known as Formosa or the Beautiful Isle. The series is told with four stories: “Derailment”, “A Matter of Life and Death”, “Gravity of Sin”, and “Dark Currents”, with all episodes lasting fifty minutes to over an hour. While the series has put together a fine cast, the stories are uneven, ranging wildly from intricate to unencumbered.

Taiwan Crime Stories Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The series follows a wide variety of true crime-inspired stories. The first, “Derailment”, follows the death of a lone passenger on a derailed train that involves a surviving spouse of an insurance agent and their prosecutor friend who smells something fishy. “A Matter of Life and Death”, easily the most suspenseful of the four stories, follows a reporter investigating an assassin. Why? Because a local gang employs them, he claims he did not kill all local families.

The episode “Gravity of Sin” looks at the teacher/student relationship. The script has the woman assaulted and killed, and the only witness left is a troubled student. Finally, “Dark Currents” analyzes ethical dilemmas as an innocent Taiwanese soldier is tortured until taking the heat for a crime they may not have committed. All of these stories underline themes in the country that particularly loves to explore oppression and government involvement. However, there are also touches on religion. Not to mention the boundaries that come with family and personal relationships.

One of my main complaints about Taiwan Crime Stories, which comes after decades of watching episodic television, is how the plot tends to gloss over permanent points. Even script tools or cliches to move the stories along that would have been helpful. Too often, the intrigue starts with a character coming up with a theory out of thin air, the type without any evidence or plausible plot point. (Which is evident in the very first episode). Some of the character interactions are forced and can be without merit. However, the writers do an excellent job of leaving viewers hanging with plot twists, especially at the end of each of the first two episodes.

Is Taiwan Crime Stories season 1 good?

While I am not sure how accurate the label based on true stories is to this series, it shouldn’t matter. I mean, we don’t give American products a hard time that ignore blatant facts. (Otherwise, Mel Gibson and Oliver Stone would have a half dozen less interesting films). I would find the produced storyline too lightweight if the series were one long story over twelve episodes. By breaking up this show into an anthology series, the stories are far more interesting as they compare and contrast.

With the fine cast, some outstanding performances, and some potent short stories, the overall quality outweighs some of the Taiwan Crime Stories’ apparent flaws.

What did you think of Taiwan Crime Stories season 1? Comment below.

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