Psychopath Diary is an utterly bizarre blend of influences. Mixing horror, dark comedy and drama, Psychopath Diary combines this with a trio of different stories interwoven together to produce an enjoyable first episode. However, with a run-time of 75 minutes this opening slice of drama takes its sweet time to get to the good stuff, which may put some people off.
We begin the episode with Dong-Sik arrested on suspicion of seven murders. As he steps out the station, the press swarm him and ask numerous questions about why he did what he did. He tells them he’s not crazy, he’s actually a psychopath and as he smiles at the crowd, we jump back 3 months before his arrest to see him in his apartment watching TV.
The next day, he arrives at Daekan Securities where he works while at a murder scene Bo-Kyung heads inside and begins looking for clues. There, she finds a bloody fingerprint on the wall while accompanied by a coat-wearing detective, a man who happens to be an apparition of her Father.
Back at work, Dong-Sik covers for Jae-Ho and asks Jae-Jun to check through the report. However, he refuses to do so and instead berates Dong Sik for waking him up in his office. Unfortunately this decision comes back to bite them as Dong-Sik and Jae-Ho come under fire for the damning report and Dong-Sik may need to be fired for what happened. Later that evening, he has dinner with Jae-Ho where he pleads with Dong-Sik to take the fall for what happened.
Thanks to Dong-Sik’s compassion for others, he finds himself at rock bottom, stuck writing a suicide note. At the same time, In-Woo, a Director who works at the same brokerage as Dong-Sik, corners a homeless man inside a public bathroom and beats him to a pulp with a toilet tank lid. Some time later, Taek-Soo happens to use the exact same bathroom and as Bo-Kyung heads in to investigate, she comments on how clean everything is before finding the toilet with the lid missing.
As it turns out, the exact suicide spot Dong-Sik has second thoughts jumping from happens to be the place In-Woo has taken his victim, who calls out for help just as he twists his arm. Sensing something amiss, In-Woo heads over to investigate just as Dong-Sik stumbles out of the construction site. Dong-Sik tries to phone the police but instead is hit by the rear-end of Bo-Kyung’s car, immediately sending him hurtling through the air and head-first into the pavement.
Brought to hospital by the two police officers, it turns out he has amnesia. Bo-Kyung brings him home while Taek-Soo hands over a diary, believing it to be Dong-Sik’s. Unbeknownst to him, it’s actually the killer’s. As Dong-Sik takes the diary and brings it inside, he realizes the entries include segments about him killing. Hiding it from Bo-Kyung, he paces back and forth before researching the entries online. To his sickening surprise, the entries are correct and did actually happen.
As Dong-Sik is brought to his Father’s restaurant by his sister, he watches them suspiciously after internally narrating his family as if they were In-Woo’s, based on what he read in the diary. After eating together, Dong-Sik heads into work where he meets Jae-Ho and although he remains pleasant, the situation with the report earlier has everyone acting on egg-shells around him. Hilariously, he misinterprets this as them feeling uncomfortable with him being a psychopath.
As fragments of his memory slowly start returning, Dong-Sik heads to the construction site but sees himself in the killer’s place. Finally believing he’s the killer, Yong-Sik cries and staggers out the site and back to work. There, he finally learns the truth about why everyone has been acting so strangely around him.
As the audit team arrive, they call him a pushover and explain what’s really going on. Eventually he caves and denies being the one who wrote the report. At his leaving party, Jae-Jun receives the bad news and confronts Dong-Sik about it, calling him a chump. Something inside him snaps and later that evening, he corners his boss alone in the bathroom. Grabbing the tank lid, he stalks Jae-Jun just like the homeless man and appears to smack him upside the heads with it where we leave the episode.
After watching the first episode, I’m on the fence with Psychopath Diary. On the one hand, the dark comedy and mistaken identity plot line is well worked into the script and both do well to accentuate Dong-Sik’s mannerisms. At the same time, the show takes a long time to get to the meat of the plot and even then, doesn’t do an awful lot to inject the show with some urgency or excitement until very late on. The preview for the next episode does look intriguing though to be fair, but whether this will be a slow burn thriller or not, remains to be seen.
I hope the show manages to keep the same level of dark comedy going through its 16 episodes and there’s certainly scope here for some deeper characterisation in the upcoming weeks too. For now though, Psychopath Diary gets off to an okay start.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!