Is Somebody a Real Dating App? Is Seong Yun-o Based on an Actual Serial Killer?

Image Credit: Nathan K. H. Jang/ Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Somebody’ follows the story of Kim Sum, a woman who creates a dating app to help people find their soulmates. However, a serial killer, named Seong Yun-o, uses it as a means to find his victims and dispose of them without getting caught. While the cops try to find a connection between the dating app and the serial killer, things get more complicated for Sum as she meets Yun-o via the same app and falls in love with him.

This leads to a complex game of love and murder where Sum is forced to confront a few things about herself. The audience as well is brought face to face with the horrors that meeting a stranger on a dating app can lead to. Did the creators draw inspiration from any existing apps or true crimes? Let’s find out.

Someone is a Fictional App

No, Someone created by Kim Sum in the Netflix K-drama ‘Somebody’ is not a real dating app. While the show gives its own features to the app, it does retain some basic things that a lot of real-life apps have. Uploading a profile picture, writing some key things about oneself, and the left-right swipe feature is present in Someone as well. But there is a peculiar manner in which it differs from other dating apps.

Sum creates it with a unique feature in mind, where she creates a chatbot that keeps a close eye on the user. This chatbot is not only capable of having a real conversation with a person but is also programmed to remember the things that a person types on their device but never sends to anyone. Then, in situations where a user can’t speak for themselves, the chatbot talks for them, giving a voice to the people who tend to remain in the shadows because they are too shy to speak up.

Seong Yun-o: A Blend of Fiction and a Frightening Reality

In reality, there is no such real-life serial killer known as Seong Yun-o. While there have been some notorious serial killers in South Korea over the years, none of them has been connected to the use of dating apps. For creators Jung Ji-woo and Han Ji-wan, this was an opportunity to tell a twisted tale of love, one that the contemporary audience could relate to intimately. Because dating apps are so commonly used these days for romance, it didn’t feel far-fetched for the writers to think that the apps can be used for crimes as well. And they weren’t wrong.

While there haven’t been any known dating app serial killers in South Korea, a couple of such cases have surfaced in the US in recent years. In 2021, a New Jersey resident named Khalil Wheeler-Weaver was found guilty of three murders and attempted murder along with the crimes of kidnapping, aggravated arson, and desecration of human remains. It was revealed that he had lured his victims using dating apps between August 2016 to November 2016. It was the friend of one of the victims who decided to uncover his identity by setting herself up as bait. She found him on the dating site and when a time and place were agreed upon for them to meet, she notified the police. Now, he is sentenced to 160 years in prison.

In 2021, a man named Anthony Robinson was accused of using dating apps to lure and kill women. Dubbed “the shopping cart killer”, he was charged with the murder of two women and named as a suspect in the deaths of three others. It is believed that he met the women on a dating app and invited them to a hotel room, where he killed them, and then used shopping carts to dispose of their bodies. He has also been linked to the death of his girlfriend in 2018.

In light of such cases, it is not difficult to believe that there are people out there who are misusing dating apps to commit violent crimes. While Seong Yun-o is certainly fictional, his actions can’t be considered unrealistic. There is a grain of truth in who he is, what he does, and how he does it.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Somebody Filmed?