Copycat Killer is a bit of a copycat itself where other crime fiction TV titans are concerned, but it’s nonetheless a high quality and engaging whodunit.
This review of the Netflix series Copycat Killer Season 1 does not contain spoilers.
Not to state the obvious, but the point of whodunit is to keep the viewer guessing. If nothing else, the Taiwanese Netflix series Copycat Killer accomplishes that and then some.
Copycat Killer Season 1 review and plot summary
There’s nothing all that surprising here. The plot revolves around a cat-and-mouse chase between a serial killer and a prosecutor in Taipei circa 1997. The killer wants spectacle, so everything is deftly manipulated to stoke up the media, rile the public, and bamboozle the police. All the world’s a stage.
Copycat Killer is adapted from a novel by prolific Japanese author Miyuki Miyabe and produced by Greener Grass Production.
The slow-burn debauchery is reminiscent of Mindhunter, in an odd way, grounded horror that revels in the potential depravity of human beings. It isn’t just murder, but the enjoyment of it, the use of it to stoke fear, torment victims and their loved ones, and prove a point. There’s a callous disregard for life.
Such things are the building blocks of good genre fiction, obviously, but there’s a long-form sophistication to Copycat Killer as well, which plays out over ten hour-long episodes and builds characters in a comprehensive way.
Of course, that’s much too long. It results in bigger emotional payoffs but subjecting yourself to this kind of thing for ten straight hours isn’t recommended. This isn’t your ideal binge-watch fare.
Is Copycat Killer good or bad?
But stick with it, even if you’re squeamish. Copycat Killer is prone to ask awkward questions of our institutions – the media, law and order – and rattle the pillars of polite society. That leaves a little more meat on the show’s bones than if it were simply a straightforward mystery.
And the mystery is compelling, overstretched and sometimes trying though it may be. The performances are strong, the characters are deep and well-written, and there are still surprises in store even in the late game when you can predict a lot of the show’s plot beats simply through familiarity with the genre.
Is Copycat Killer worth watching?
That isn’t to say things don’t get enjoyably preposterous, though. There’s a case to be made that the absurd theatre of some of the twists and turns will undermine the seriousness for some, but for many, it’ll all be part of the grim fun. For fans of crime fiction, this is well worth sinking your teeth into.
What did you think of Copycat Killer Season 1? Comment below.
You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.
1 thought on “Copycat Killer Season 1 Review – A high-quality but longwinded whodunit”
Very violent boring movie, waste of time. No wonder there’s so much violence today.