‘The Bequeathed’ by Yeon Sang-ho, is a thriller mystery series on Netflix following a strange sequence of events around a rural village, unearthing dark family secrets and creating an unsettling atmosphere. The opening scene sees a man fall dead in a graveyard atop a mountain. He turns out to be the uncle of a lecturer, Yoon Seo-ha, one that she didn’t know existed. Moreover, he leaves behind an inheritance of the family burial site where he died. At his funeral, she is met by a creepy man claiming to be her half-brother, demanding his fair share of the land.
A string of deaths in the town follows, disturbing an already rattled Yoon Seo-ha. A police investigation struggles to break the thick fog wrapped around the events and lingering in the atmosphere. Looming over the village, the ominous mountain range seems to hide dark secrets. Having elements of a police procedural and a character drama, a number of other shows like ‘The Bequeathed’ grip us with their thrilling atmosphere surrounded by mystery.
8. Watcher (2019)
Created by Han Sang-woo, ‘Watcher’ is a South Korean psychological thriller that unfolds a riveting narrative of corruption, power, and moral ambiguity. Detective Do Chi-kwang (Han Suk-kyu), Prosecutor Kim Young-goon (Seo Kang-joon), and Profiler Han Tae-joo (Kim Hyun-joo) join forces after witnessing a puzzling suicide that ties into a complex conspiracy. Delving deeper, they discover a secret society manipulating the strings of power and justice.
The show skillfully weaves a tense and intricate storyline filled with unexpected twists and character complexities. Themes of morality, loyalty, and the thin line between justice and revenge permeate the narrative. If you were gripped by the mysterious deaths in ‘The Bequeathed’ and its following police investigation, ‘Watcher’ will stand out for its mystifying storytelling, well-crafted characters, and exploration of the dark underbelly of institutions meant to uphold justice.
7. Save Me (2017-2018)
Helmed by Kim Sung-su, ‘Save Me’ is a South Korean thriller that delves into the dark world of cults and the fight for salvation. The plot revolves around Sang-mi (Seo Ye-ji), a young woman whose family becomes entangled with a manipulative religious group. After her father falls victim to the cult’s influence, Sang-mi desperately seeks help. Enter Sang-hwan (Ok Taec-yeon), a young man with a troubled past who becomes determined to rescue Sang-mi and her family. Alongside his friends, Sang-hwan exposes the sinister activities of the cult and battles against its powerful and charismatic leader (Woo Do-hwan). Similar to ‘The Bequeathed,’ ‘Save Me’ has dark family ties hidden in its plot, with both shows’ antagonists delving into the occult to create an unsettling atmosphere.
6. The Innocent (2021)
A creation of Oriol Paulo based on Harlan Coben’s novel, ‘The Innocent’ is a Spanish thriller series that weaves a complex narrative of crime, intrigue, and the consequences of past actions. The plot centers around Mateo Vidal (Mario Casas), who inadvertently becomes entangled in a web of corruption and murder when a mysterious man reaches out to him. As the story unfolds, Mateo’s seemingly perfect life takes a dark turn, revealing connections to a past crime and a relentless police detective, Lorena Ortiz (Aura Garrido), who is determined to uncover the truth.
The series skillfully employs flashbacks and present-day events to unravel a multifaceted plot filled with unexpected twists and turns. Those who enjoyed the plot of subversive mystery in ‘The Bequeathed’ alongside its police subplot will find these elements mirrored in ‘The Innocent.’ Themes of guilt, redemption, and the far-reaching consequences of decisions permeate the narrative.
5. Safe (2018)
Created by crime author Harlan Coben, ‘Safe’ is a British series based on his book of the same name that revolves around Tom Delaney (Michael C. Hall), a pediatric surgeon, who is widowed after his wife’s death. The story kicks into gear when Tom’s teenage daughter, Jenny, goes missing under unusual circumstances after attending a party in their gated community. As Tom embarks on a mission to find his daughter, he uncovers the dark secrets of his seemingly tranquil neighborhood.
The narrative is enriched with twists and turns, exploring themes of deception, betrayal, and the lengths to which individuals go to protect their secrets. Much like ‘The Bequeathed,’ ‘Safe’ is known for its suspenseful storytelling and intricate plot hiding dark secrets. Both series keep us on the edge of our seats with methodically unraveling thrilling mysteries.
4. Stranger (2017-)
A South Korean series created by Lee Soo-yeon, ‘Stranger,’ is a gripping crime and legal thriller that revolves around Hwang Shi-mok, a brilliant but emotionless prosecutor with an insensitivity to social cues, and Han Yeo-jin, a passionate and determined police detective. After the uncanny death of a businessman Shi-mok and Yeo-jin uncover corruption and political intrigue festering to the highest echelons of power.
Further killings take place and an innocent man is punished, while the investigators are left grappling with the justice system. Similar to ‘The Bequeathed,’ ‘Stranger’ follows an investigation of a string of perplexing murders and creates an ominous atmosphere of intrigue around its story. Both shows have their protagonists navigate through a maze of secrets and manipulation to bring the truth to light.
3. The Penthouse: War in Life (2020-2021)
Crafted by Kim Soon-ok, ‘The Penthouse: War in Life’ is a South Korean drama that narrates a riveting power struggle within the opulent walls of Hera Palace, a luxurious residential complex. It follows the lives of three women, Shim Soo-ryeon, Cheon Seo-jin, and Oh Yoon-hee, in a world of deceit, revenge, and societal machinations. The plot immerses us in the cutthroat world of the elite, where residents engage in fierce competition for social standing. Soo-ryeon, elegant and kind, navigates a past shrouded in mystery; Seo-jin, a successful singer, harbors ambitions at any cost; Yoon-hee, with humble origins, aspires for a better life. The story intensifies as secrets unravel, leading to murder, betrayal, and a relentless pursuit of power.
Themes of social hierarchy, wealth disparity, and the darker aspects of human nature come to the forefront. Enjoyers of ‘The Bequeathed’ who were drawn by its mysterious and secretive nature, will be captivated by its unpredictable plot twists, and morally ambiguous characters, making it a compelling and suspenseful drama.
2. Fool Me Once (2024)
A Netflix series by Harlan Coben based on his novel, ‘Fool Me Once’ takes us on a mindbending mystery around the misty British countryside which conceals hidden motives and secrets. Maya, a somewhat shell-shocked helicopter pilot loses her husband and sister in a series of muggings gone wrong. Caring for her daughter alone, she installs nanny cams, through which spots her deceased husband playing with her. Despite her family’s doubts, she is convinced there is a deeper truth buried just beyond her reach. Maya’s search, running parallel to the subplot of a police investigation will grip fans of ‘The Bequeathed,’ as it unearths secrets from the characters’ past. Both shows revel in their mystifying atmosphere and confounding plot twists, unfurling unexpected narratives
1. The Stranger (2020)
Crafted by Harlan Coben based on his book, ‘The Stranger’ is a British mystery thriller series that asks the question: What if a stranger appeared and told you something that could tear your perfect life apart? The plot kicks off with the enigmatic stranger, played approaching a family man, Adam Price (Richard Armitage), with a shocking revelation about his wife. As Adam delves into the truth, a complex web of deceit, hidden pasts, and criminal activities tied to this neighborhood unravels.
The stranger’s revelations trigger a chain of events affecting multiple characters, including police detective Johanna Griffin and her investigation into a series of inexplicable incidents. Both ‘The Bequeathed’ and ‘The Stranger’ start off with a similar premise of a life-altering discovery by their protagonists. Their narratives take us on a rollercoaster of suspense and tension as the characters grapple with the consequences of long-buried secrets.