Copycat Killer Ending, Explained: Who is the Serial Killer?

Directed by Chang Jung-chi and Henri Chang, Netflix’s Chinese-language Taiwanese series ‘Copycat Killer’ revolves around prosecutor Kuo Hsiao-chi, who sets out to find the serial killer who abducts and kills several young girls in the city of Songyan in the 1990s. Kuo battles his own traumas and loses to find the serial killer, who communicates with the investigators and his victims’ families through a news channel named TNB. Although the prime suspect in the case gets identified, the prosecutor’s meticulous investigation leads him to the realization that the former is just an accomplice. The crime series ends with Kuo’s attempts to bring the serial killer to justice. If you are up for a detailed take on the same, here’s what we can share! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Copycat Killer Recap

‘Copycat Killer’ begins with a masked serial killer, referred to as Noh, sending a tape to a renowned television news channel named TNB, threatening to kill prosecutor Kuo Hsiao-chi. Days before the broadcast of the tape, the police discover a severed hand in a gift box at a park. Kuo notices that the thumb of the hand is dislocated the same way a murdered girl’s thumb is found. The prosecutor finds out that the killer used thumb cuffs, which leads him to Tian Cun-yi, the murderer of the earlier victim. Kuo meets him at his prison and gives him thumb cuffs, only for the criminal to struggle to open the same. The prosecutor concludes that Cun-yi isn’t the real killer of the girl and whoever it is, he is a serial killer.

The serial killer kidnaps Cin Yi-jyun next, making her grandfather distribute flyers to find his granddaughter. Lu Yen-jhen of TNB does a story about Yi-jyun’s disappearance to help the latter’s grandfather. The old man receives a call from the serial killer, who asks the former to imitate a dog in public if he wants to see his granddaughter alive. Although he follows the killer’s instructions, the latter still kills the girl and sends a videotape of him murdering her to the former. Upon watching the same, Yi-jyun’s grandfather appears in TNB and requests the serial killer to return his granddaughter’s dead body, which is eventually found by the authorities.

Kuo notices similar lipstick marks on the faces of Cun-yi’s victim and Yi-jyun after their bodies were discovered. The observation leads him to his ex-girlfriend Hu Yun-huei’s brother and TNB cameraman Hu Jian-ho. Jian-ho assaulted a girl at the age of fifteen and the girl had a similar lipstick mark on her face. Kuo tries to meet the girl, only to learn that she killed herself. Before killing herself, she had written the name of Jia-wun under her bed. The authorities find out that Jia-wun and Jian-ho were schooltime friends and classmates. It is revealed that two more missing girls, Zih-cing and Yu-tong, are under the custody of Jia-wun.

Kuo and the police officers discover a dead body at the house of Jia-wun and set out to find him. Jian-ho meets his friend and asks him to turn himself in to the police if he has anything to do with the murders and kidnappings. Jia-wun forces Jian-ho into his car and drives away, only to get into an accident. The car crash kills both Jia-wun and Jian-ho but the police officers discover Yu-tong alive in the trunk of the crashed car. The police officers and the public believe that the serial killers are dead and gone for good.

Yi-jyun’s grandfather, however, isn’t convinced. He meets Kuo and lets him know that the serial killer who spoke to him sounded older, more mature, and more composed than Jia-wun. Meanwhile, Kuo’s uncle lets him know that TNB anchor Chen He-ping talked to him about a book on the serial killer and his murders while asking about the prosecutor. Kuo thinks about the killer always using TNB to talk to the public and how He-ping described Cun-yi’s victim as the first victim of the serial killer in his book, especially when the similarities between the dislocated thumbs didn’t get publicized.

Copycat Killer Ending: Why Does He-ping Kill?

Kuo’s suspicions concerning He-ping being the serial killer eventually turns out to be true. His murderous instincts came out when he was a child, especially when he burned down his pet dog alive. After joining TNB as a reporter, he got assigned to prepare a story about the rise of pornography in the region. He ended up in a sadomasochist club named Sodom as part of the story, only to witness people relishing the opportunity to hurt others. The time he spent at the place revived the sadist in himself as he tortured several women who worked at the place. Hurting someone made him feel superior and powerful.

That was when He-ping got connected with Jia-wun, a regular at Sodom at the time. They kidnapped a girl from KINK, where the DJ worked. The reporter locked her up and tortured her to feel the power he can exert on the abducted girl. The duo brought Cun-yi to take the girl’s photographs and when he started to fear her dying, He-ping went on to kill her. The reporter strangled her to death only to see Cun-yi’s helplessness and fear, which cultivated his potency. He started to cherish the control he had over the photographer, especially when he asked the latter to confess to the murder if he wanted his father to stay alive.

He-ping then continues to kill for feeling superior and potent. He wants to be the man in control, which boosts his superiority complex. More than killing his victims, taunting them or their families makes him feel like he is nothing but God. That’s the reason why he makes Jia-wun drives his potential victims to their family members. He-ping finds satisfaction in seeing the same family members suffer due to their helplessness while he determines the fates of their loved ones. Making  Shang-yong apologize for being a terrible father and Yi-jyun’s grandfather imitate a dog are part of cherishing their helplessness. He-ping witnesses their impotency while sitting with them at the TV studio.

Becoming a renowned TV personality further adds to He-ping’s superiority. Even after committing murder after murder, he ends up controlling the narrative by becoming a famed television show host. By proposing theories and pretending to be protective of his victim’s family members, he makes everybody else a fool in his mind. In his view, the people around him are impotent enough to beg him even after suffering from the misfortunes he caused. By killing their loved ones, He-ping adds to their misery, which satisfies his craving for witnessing others’ pain and suffering.

How Does He-ping Get Arrested?

When He-ping kills Yun-huei, his ex-boyfriend Kuo beats the reporter up and fires a gun at him. He-ping becomes a “victim,” gaining sympathy from all spheres of society while the prosecutor ends up in prison. Since the only way to legally lock the reporter up is to elicit a confession from him, Kuo pulls a trick on him. First and foremost, He-ping is a narcissist. He kills for the world to acknowledge him or his murderous alter ego as a superior, potent, and God-like figure. He kills his own senior Yao Ya-cih to prove to her that he become the most relevant individual she knows.

After Ya-cih’s death, He-ping becomes a sensation. His book and recovery after getting shot by Kuo add to his growing fame and acceptance. He sees fear of the killer in the eyes of the people in front of him, which boosts his narcissistic character. That’s when Kuo appears as a guest in his show. The prosecutor arranges for a man to call the program and claims to be the serial killer since it will hurt the reporter. When the caller claims to be the real serial killer, He-ping loses his senses. The reporter starts to feel threatened since the caller tries to steal the authority he gained over his community.

He-ping, as a narcissist, needs to remain the serial killer to nurture his superiority and authority. When a random caller claims to become a serial killer, he fears that the public would start to fear the former instead of him. He is not ready yet to become a forgotten star, which makes him reveal that he is the real serial killer on live TV. In a delirious state, he reveals how he had committed the murders using Jia-wun to ensure that nobody will believe the fake caller. While revealing that he is the real killer, He-ping doesn’t realize that he is confessing to the crimes. He doesn’t even care that he is arrested because the others’ fear of him remains to exist because of his revelation.

Is He-ping Dead? Who Kills Him?

After getting arrested, He-ping gets sentenced to life imprisonment. After coming out of the court, he stands in front of reporters to get featured in the television channels, only for an anonymous person to infiltrate the crowd and stab the former, killing him. He-ping’s murderer can be anyone. The most obvious guess is someone from one of his victim’s families. He-ping has killed at least four women and a relative of one of them can be the anonymous murderer. Otherwise, it can be a vigilante who wants to restore law and order in the region.

He-ping has influenced a large group to discard law and order and embrace anarchy. Even when he gets tried for the murders, the group demands his release, proclaiming that he hasn’t done anything wrong. Several criminals use He-ping’s mask to commit crimes. If his killer is a vigilante, the person may want him to stop being an influence to people who tries to imitate him. If not a vigilante, the killer can even be another narcissist who aims for the spotlight. Since He-ping becomes the hottest subject in the community, the person may want to push the former into oblivion so that he can replace the serial killer in the limelight.

Read More: Is Netflix’s Copycat Killer Based on a True Story?