December 4, 2021

Netflix Tracks Korea’s Most Infamous Serial Killer Yoo Younger-chul — Who Focused the Wealthy, Then Prostitutes

5 min read

For all of its melodramatic thrives, The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea takes homicide—and the trauma it inflicts on others—very critically. A 3-part Netflix docuseries about South Korea’s most infamous serial killer rampage, it repeatedly fixates on the grief, remorse, guilt and anguish of each the cops who labored the case, and the family of the fiend’s many victims. Such sensitivity lends emotional weight to its non-fiction story, which concerned the inexplicable deaths of quite a few people from varied walks of life, and which ultimately performed out in a vogue that was so movie-ish, it might be borderline unbelievable if it weren’t true.

The Raincoat Killer (out now) tells the terrifying story of Yoo Younger-chul, who from September-November 2003 broke into 4 completely different houses and viciously murdered their rich homeowners in Seoul’s well-off Gugi-Dong district. Contemplating that not one of the victims had been associated, and that no valuables had been taken, investigators had been baffled. Making issues tougher, there was solely scant dependable proof discovered on the grotesque scenes: matching footprints at three of the 4 places, and pictures from a CCTV digital camera that depicted a younger man, from behind, strolling down the road sporting a sufferer’s jacket. In all of those cases, the killer had bludgeoned his targets within the head with a sharp-edged weapon. Nevertheless, with out that instrument of their possession, police discovered it inconceivable to specify the exact object used within the assaults.

Even linking these homicides was tough, since as detectives and chiefs clarify in The Raincoat Killer, on the time, South Korea’s police departments largely saved to their very own districts, speaking little with their fellow officers and, in reality, going out of their strategy to maintain quiet about unsolved instances; protocol was to solely publicize crimes as soon as they’d been solved. That was the primary of a number of critical errors that helped Yoo proceed to function undetected. To their credit score, multiple speaker takes possession of these failings all through the sequence, admitting that bureaucratic and private blunders had been so widespread throughout their investigation that, in its aftermath, South Korea’s legislation enforcement operations had been considerably reformed as a way to stamp out inefficiency and corruption.

Although the path went chilly following these late-2003 slayings, police had been quickly consumed with one other string of random crimes, this time in southwestern Seoul, the place scores of younger girls had been attacked whereas strolling residence alone late at evening. These victims suffered head accidents just like these seen within the preliminary crimes, and suspicions promptly grew—each amongst police and the media—{that a} serial killer was not solely on the free however may need now switched up his modus operandi as a way of evading seize. Further homicides had been additionally going down in and across the red-light district, albeit unbeknownst to cops, for the reason that disappearance of prostitutes was hardly ever one thing that landed on their radar—thus making these weak girls good prey for a predator like Yoo.

The Raincoat Killer swiftly contextualizes this killing spree in a post-2000 Seoul that was wracked by economic hardships and rising homelessness and inequality—and guarded by a police power that wasn’t geared up for the brand new challenges it confronted. On this surroundings, the nation’s first prison profiler, Kwon Il-yong, and forensic officer Kim Hee-sook, had been at an immense drawback, left to place collectively a puzzle that was lacking key items. The sequence confidently supplies a historic framework for its narrative whereas sustaining suspenseful ahead momentum. Furthermore, its wealth of speaking heads—together with the Seoul Cellular Investigation Unit’s chief Kang Dae-won, staff chief Park Myung-sun and detective Yang Pil-joo, all of whom performed starring roles within the hunt for Yoo—lend it a measure of authenticity and immediacy, the latter peaking with recollections about Yoo’s post-arrest escape try, which was the byproduct of just about staggering incompetence on Park and firm’s half, and was solely rectified because of seasoned detective Kim Sang-joon’s fast considering and a few miraculous luck.

Interviews, household footage, graphical maps, and archival crime scene footage and information stories are all employed by The Raincoat Killer. So too are staged reenactments, that are produced in such an over-the-top method—all portentous slow-motion, fuzzy-faces, and evocative imagery—that they verge on the parodic. The floridness of these sequences is instantly at odds with the sober testimonials of its on-camera topics, whose feedback in regards to the duty they felt to the lifeless, and the toll their work took on their very own psyches, are unaffected and heartrending. The result’s a docuseries that usually feels as if it’s of two minds about methods to deal with its chosen materials, though for essentially the most half, its stronger instincts prevail, particularly because of its unwavering deal with the reminiscences of those that endured this horrific ordeal.

The result’s a docuseries that usually feels as if it’s of two minds about methods to deal with its chosen materials, though for essentially the most half, its stronger instincts prevail, particularly because of its unwavering deal with the reminiscences of those that endured this horrific ordeal.

Given how comprehensively it paperwork the pursuit of Yoo, it’s shocking that The Raincoat Killer by no means provides up a lot details about, or perception into, the killer himself. A couple of individual discusses Yoo’s resentment and hatred of ladies and the wealthy, in addition to the dual-personality nature that allowed him to stay nameless for thus lengthy. But except for the randomly revealed revelation that he had a son (and, presumably, a spouse), Yoo’s childhood, relationships, skilled profession, and prior prison report—which, it seems, was intensive—is rarely addressed by the proceedings. His uncovered face isn’t even seen on-screen; all we get are TV clips of him addressing the press whereas sporting a masks.

Yoo finally confessed to killing 26 folks (and was convicted of killing 20), and denying him the notoriety he so desperately coveted is an admirable purpose, however The Raincoat Killer goes virtually too far in withholding important particulars in regards to the madman, leaving him such a thriller that he comes throughout because the very type of mythic boogeyman he wished to be. Higher is its censure of institutional ineptitude and affecting portrait of the lingering scars that also plague the women and men whose job it was to cease Yoo from finishing up his depraved deeds—and people, like Ahn Jae-sam, who went via their very own residing hells making an attempt to grapple with the mindless slaughter of their family members.

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