By Lee Hae-rin
Netflix’s new Korean original series, “A Killer Paradox,” is triggering a backlash online from supporters of main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) leader Lee Jae-myung, for allegedly portraying a villainous character who reminded audiences of the politician’s physical appearance as well as scandals that occurred while he was running for president in 2022, which were not a part of the original webtoon series.
The eight-part crime thriller that hit the over-the-top streaming service Friday revolves around a cat-and-mouse scenario between an ordinary college student who accidentally kills a serial killer, played by Choi Woo-shik, and a dutiful detective, played by Son Suk-ku. It is based on the webtoon series of the same name by Kkomabi, a webtoonist.
In episode seven, a character named Chairman Hyung Sung-guk appears, who, according to some, highly resembles the current DPK leader.
Hyung, a construction company owner who takes advantage of his connections to various gangs as well as high-ranking government officials, wields a large amount of influence and corrupts those in his way, “astonishingly, he resembles Lee in appearance,” a viewer pointed out online, noting how the character has a similar face as Lee and Lee and Hyung both wear black-framed glasses and have white slicked backed hair.
Lee’s supporters also say that the series added some details about the character that immediately reminded viewers of Lee.
Notably, the scene where Hyung eats sushi while in prison due to tax evasion, embezzlement and bribery charges linked to a land redevelopment project reminded viewers of the scandal that surfaced during Lee’s 2022 presidential campaign.
At the time, when Lee was the governor of Gyeonggi Province, it was alleged that Lee’s wife inappropriately used the provincial government’s credit card to buy sushi, beef and other expensive items.
Also, Hyung’s prison number 4421 corresponds to the 442.1 billion won ($331.9 million) earned by a construction company from the lucrative Daejang-dong land development project in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, while Lee served as the city’s mayor. It has been alleged that Lee gave favors to specific developers for the project.
The sushi scene and the prison number did not appear in the original webcomic.
However, Netflix said the assumptions are “groundless” and denied any connection between the character and the DPK leader.