The Victims’ Game: Is Pinglin City a Real City in Taiwan?

Image Credit: ZHUTOR/Netflix

A string of inexplicable murders shakes the residents of Pinglin City in Netflix’s murder mystery show, ‘The Victims’ Game.’ As the people are gripped by paranoia and the esoteric nature of the crimes, a forensic investigator, Fang Yi-Jen, in the Pinglin Police Department has to tackle an even more significant threat as his past resurfaces through the deaths. The show’s dark, macabre tone is brought to the fore in the conspiracy unraveling in the urban locale. It features media agencies, construction companies, nursing homes, hospitals, and other institutions embroiled deep amid the ploy. With its primary focus on a police procedural narrative, the setting becomes an integral viewing lens into society’s deeper and darker passions, inciting a look into Pinglin City’s roots and genesis.

Pinglin City is a Fictional City

Pinglin City is a fictional creation in ‘The Victims’ Game.’ It was crafted by the show’s writers Shih-Keng Chien, Jui-Liang Hsu, Yu-Chia Huang, Shu-Ting Liang, and Joyce Liu, as well as Tian Di Wu Xian, who penned the novel ‘The Fourth Victim’ from which the show was adapted. The city is an urban center of commerce, journalism, art, and healthcare, as all walks of life get entangled in the central chain of murder cases, prompting an investigation into their inner workings. Additionally, the conspiracy is confined to the city, offering a deeper understanding of how interconnected lives and people’s unfulfilled desires get sparked in a sprawling municipality of teeming masses. The depiction of Pinglin is often dark and shrouded in the cover of night, reflecting the show’s bleaker themes.

Although no city called Pinglin can be found in Taiwan, Pingliang City, in China, has a similar name. Situated in the eastern part of the Gansu province, the city is a historical and cultural hotspot for its relevance during the Silk Road trade. Although manufacturing industries have been built over the years, the area’s economy primarily relies on its agricultural base. The city in ‘The Victims’ Game’ and Pingliang may share names that closely approximate each other, but they are entirely different in their bustling nature. Pinglin is portrayed as a vibrant and busy center of civilization thriving with opportunities, whereas the latter lacks the impressive skylines and the metropolitan buoyancy in its aesthetic.

Filming for ‘The Victims’ Game’ took place in Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan. The concrete jungle was utilized to depict the fictional city of Pinglin in the show. Several sequences featuring buildings and establishments were shot amidst the skyscraper-infused skylines of Taipei. The scenes featuring the 201 Tattoo Shop, which become integral to the narrative’s central mystery as Fang Yi-jen attempts to narrow down his leads after all avenues are blocked, were shot in the actual 201 Tattoo Shop at No. 23, Lane 114, Section 2, Guiyang Street, Wanhua District. A blend of real and fictional places keeps the show’s drama grounded in the reality of its urbanscape.

Interestingly, the name Pinglin can also be traced to a district in New Taipei City, a municipality within Taipei City. Pinglin district is a mountainous region graced with the largest tea museum in the world, Pinglin Tea Museum. However, it is a poorer region where most inhabitants engage in tea plantations, thus eliminating too many connections to the show’s location. Therefore, while Pinglin may be fictional as a creation, its name can be traced to various levels of municipality around the continent, even though its actual filming location was Taipei City. However, its roots in real, tangible places within the capital city of Taiwan don’t alter its genesis as a fictional metropolis infested with gruesome and inexplicable murders.

Read more: Netflix’s The Victims’ Game: Exploring All Filming Locations