The Victims’ Game: 10 Similar Mystery Shows You Must Watch

Image Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Victims’ Game‘ offers a gripping crime show revolving around Fang Yi-jen, a forensic scientist with Asperger’s syndrome, whose past is dug up in various ways when a string of murders are unleashed across Pinglin City. The emotionally detached man works behind the scenes, avoiding his colleagues in law enforcement as he tries to nullify the personal threat linking him to the deaths. Constantly on the run, he partners up with Hsu Hai-yin, an investigative journalist, to confront his previous wrongs while trying to ensure the safety of others before the terrifying murders spread to them.

The Taiwanese thriller unearths the shocking secrets lurking beneath people’s exteriors as themes of family estrangement and personal loss are layered into a complex murder mystery. Adapted from ‘The Fourth Victim’ by Infinity, the intense narrative is brought to life through an intricately plotted police procedural with a slick design where moral and emotional dilemmas play a pivotal role in the protagonist’s judgment. For viewers who enjoyed the compelling narrative, which blends personal tragedy and suspenseful mystery, here are 10 shows like ‘The Victims’ Game’ to check out.

10. Marcella (2016-2021)

Developed by Hans Rosenfeldt and Nicola Larder, ‘Marcella‘ depicts a brutal murder case in London handled by Detective Sergeant Marcella Blackland. After leaving the police to focus on her family and personal life, Marcella returns back to detective work only to be stumped by a curiously baffling series of murders that eerily resemble events from her past. Affected by these new killings, Marcella is confounded by the challenges set in her path as deception and secrecy threaten to unravel her mind while also dealing with her personal problems with an estranged husband.

The British Nordic show offers a glimpse into the complications of leading two lives separated by a thin divide. If the series of murders in ‘The Victims’ Game’ form a major part of its intrigue, then ‘Marcella’ does the same by dangerously diving into the seedy underside of London’s pristine metropolis and what happens in the cover of night. Marcella and Fang Yi-jen are beset by their relentless need to find the truth beyond anything else, thereby clouding their reasonable nature from understanding the price of their actions. With its blend of personal emphasis and cold-case logic, it walks the narrow ledge between emotion and grittiness.

9. Top of the Lake (2013-2017)

‘Top of the Lake’ is a mystery thriller that explores the case of a missing 12-year-old pregnant girl in a rural New Zealand town. The show centers upon Detective Robin Griffin, who harbors a dark past as she investigates the whereabouts of the missing teenager while also confronting the secretive townspeople. Griffin’s journey leads her into murky waters, which are difficult to swim in and drudge up her own demons in the process.

Created by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, the crime drama asks difficult questions through its haunting atmosphere and its delivery of a gripping narrative that is suspenseful and complex. As the Taiwanese thriller forces its protagonist to face the dark truths from his past that he has hidden from everyone else, Detective Griffin has to confront her own traumas, which she has kept secret, while uncovering the conspiracy that has taken root in the rural town of Laketop. While both shows take a deep dive into dark and gruesome subject matters, they also offer a redemptive arc to their narrative, which provides a powerful heft to their emotionally complex themes.

8. Galileo (2007-2013)

In the Japanese crime show, ‘Galileo,’ titled ‘Garireo’ in Japanese, a genius physics professor, Yukawa Manabu, is tasked with providing aid to local law enforcement when tough and challenging cases show up. Utilizing his impressive knowledge of physics, maths, the mechanics governing the underlying reality, and his obsession with cracking difficult challenges, he becomes an invaluable asset to the police in their search for the truth. To keep him company, the eccentric professor, also known as Detective Galileo, teams up with rookie police officer Utsumi Kaoru as they face a series of complicated cases that have stumped everyone else.

Based on a series of novels by mystery novelist Keigo Higashino and directed by Mizuki Nishisaka, Kensaku Sawada, Gaku Narita, and Hiroshi Nishitani, the show pops open the weird science governing certain illogical decisions taken by people in their desperation, which lead to heinous acts of harm. Detective Galileo’s ability to uncover any challenging crime scene is similar to Fang Yi-jen’s antisocial but driven mind that is calibrated for finding the truth in a murky environment. The two are special assets to the police, who, while having links to them, operate mostly on their own in their pursuit of justice. Unfortunately, their lack of human understanding also leads them astray at times.

7. Investigation Partners (2018-2019)

Also known as ‘Partners for Justice,’ the South Korean thriller directed by Do-cheol Noh teams up a grizzled forensic investigator with a rookie prosecutor as they attempt to solve several crimes together. It follows Baek Beom, a brilliant forensic scientist with an eccentric nature, who is partnered with Eun Sol, a rookie prosecutor with an enthusiasm for upholding the law, in their quest to tackle challenging murder cases that require a scientific and legal understanding. The unlikely duo overcomes several personal struggles as they grow while handling investigations with an open mind and a curiosity for the truth through their complementary skills.

Titled ‘Gumbeobnamnyeo’ in Korean, the crime drama explores the personal dynamics between an older crime operative and his younger fledgling partner. Like Fang Yi-jen’s unique personality and insight into forensic investigations, Baek Beom is equally crafty and unable to get along with people beyond a gruff exterior. However, like the former’s relationship with Hsu Hai-yin, the latter learns to open up and collaborate in his ventures of the crime-solving process to form an effective partnership that yields results. The series focuses on the intricate details surrounding a murder case, like the scientific evidence, which will garner further interest from viewers of ‘The Victims’ Game.’

6. The Killing (2011-2014)

After the body of a local teenage girl is discovered in a submerged car, Detective Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder take the reins of the investigation in ‘The Killing.’ Crafted by Veena Sud, the show takes a slow but meticulous approach to its depiction of a realistic murder procedural. With each episode set during a day of the investigation, the narrative peels back the conspiracy and deception hiding underneath the city’s political and law agencies. Linden obsessively pushes ahead with her search for the truth, which leads to her shaking the boundaries of conventional methods as they no longer suffice in the search for justice.

The crime thriller is based on the Danish TV series ‘Forbrydelsen’ by Søren Sveistrup and intimately explores the effects of corruption and the thin veil of justice that society lives under. While the narrative sparks with a murder mystery, the two protagonists have to bend the rules of engagement in a similar fashion to Fang Yi-jen, who has to combat his professional self when his daughter’s fate gets linked to the series of murders unraveling in Pinglin City. As a result, both narratives share a gripping and atmospheric storyline where the unsettling truth always threatens to upheave the lives of its characters.

5. The Long Night (2020-)

Image Credit: ChinaDaily

‘The Long Night,’ which is also called ‘Chen mo de zhen xiang,’ is a Chinese crime thriller that deals with a murder case with an obvious suspect caught red-handed while committing the crime. However, years later, the case is reopened by prosecutor Jiang Yang, who dives into the controversial scenarios suggested in the report to uncover the hidden truth. His pursuit for justice pits him against several enemies who would rather keep the actual events shrouded in secrecy. Their machinations test Jiang professionally and personally as he leverages his entire career and morality to unravel the mystery no matter the cost.

Adapted from Zi Jin Chen’s novel ‘The Long Night is Difficult to See,’ and directed by If Chen, the show is an intimate portrayal of how the cost of our actions outweigh the results in the end. As Jiang Yang relentlessly hunts down the main perpetrator, he uncovers deceit, lies, corruption, and the need to remain in power no matter how. Similar to Fang Yi-jen’s loss of his personal life, wife, and daughter due to his work, the prosecutor protagonist of ‘The Long Night’ spends significant time and effort to unearth the truth only to lose his youth, career, family, and personal life in the process. Both suffer the ultimate price in their need for answers that justify wrongdoings from years past.

4. Beyond Evil (2021)

Beyond Evil,‘ originally titled ‘Gwimul,’ is a South Korean thriller that confronts a series of eerie cold cases undertaken by two police officers, Lee Dong-sik and Han Joo-won. After breaking the law to catch a serial killer, the two men are faced with a multitude of ethical and moral dilemmas as they navigate through the intrigue and suspense of a deceitful narrative. The further they push themselves in their search for the real culprit, the more forced they are to look into the ugliness surrounding them and lie within themselves. The lines between good and bad blur in their hunt for justice, which alters the outlook of their tranquil town.

Directed by Shim Na-yeon, in ‘Beyond Evil, ‘ the viewing lens is turned on to the investigators themselves in a similar fashion to ‘The Victims’ Game.’ Fang Yi-jen’s responsibility in the string of murders is mirrored in the desperation of Lee Dong-sik and Han Joo-won, who stop at nothing to get the results they want. However, both shows provide a deeper look into how sanity can quickly devolve to smithereens in a mad dash for the serial killer’s identity. As a result, they portray a clinical inspection of the questionable methods used by people who chase the rule-breakers while they themselves are muddied in the process.

3. Happy Valley (2014-2023)

A resilient police officer, Sergeant Catherine Cawood, is faced with deep personal tragedy amidst a complicated case involving murder in the crime drama ‘Happy Valley.’ A creation of Sally Wainwright, the show delves into the thin barrier between personal and professional life when dealing with high-profile crimes that incite passion within those investigating it. Catherine’s emotional scars from her past are brought to the fore when a criminal who destroyed her life resurfaces to haunt her and push her over the edge. Her relentless pursuit of bringing him to justice threatens to overwhelm her life and throw it entirely out of balance.

The British show is set in Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, and tackles the day-to-day problems in Catherine’s job as an officer of the law. There are similar themes of familial struggles and a haunted protagonist in ‘The Victims’ Game’ and ‘Happy Valley.’ Fang Yi-jen’s past errors with his own family return to terrorize him, just like Catherine’s relentless nature, steers her into coming face-to-face with Tommy Lee Royce, a criminal who shares a history with her because of what he did to her family. They are both plagued by their own actions and the twisted ways in which their past comes back to alter their life once again.

2. The Bad Kids (2020)

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Titled ‘Yin mi de jiao luo’ in Mandarin and adapted from the pages of Zi Jin Chen’s novel ‘Bad Kids,’ the fellow Taiwanese crime thriller, ‘The Bad Kids,’ centers upon an unsettling murder mystery confessed by five high school teenagers who all have their own individual motives. The show follows Detective Chang as he tackles this complicated and entangled affair while fissures open up in the small town where the murder takes place. As secrets and hidden pasts rise to the surface, a web of deceit and unresolved issues come to the fore while Chang is left grappling with an insidious plot with no easy answers.

Directed by Shuang Xin, ‘The Bad Kids’ aligns with ‘The Victims’ Game’ in its depiction of a complex array of tangled and interpersonal relationships that muddy the cold and hard logic of the case. Objectivity becomes a difficult route to follow in the narrative, as just like Fang Yen-ji’s emotional reaction to his daughter’s fate, Detective Chang learns the difficult and tragic pasts lurking underneath the town’s facade of peace and quiet. Innocence is shattered as the lives of several kids and their families get intertwined with the murder, revealing a darker version of the scenic community in which lives have been led thus far.

1. Signal (2016-)

Image Credit: Netflix

Originally titled ‘Sigeuneol,’ the South Korean thriller directed by Kim Won-seok centers upon a present-day criminal profiler, Park Hae-young, who establishes a communications channel with a detective from the past called Lee Jae-han through a walkie-talkie. The two form a relationship in their separate timelines as they attempt to find the culprits behind cold cases that have been left unsolved and left a bearing on the modern-day narrative. As their mysteries unravel, their actions lead to potential changes across time, leading to further complications that have previously been unforeseen.

Based on the science fiction film ‘Frequency,’ ‘Signal’ explores how the unending quest for justice can lead to unintended consequences that profoundly impact people’s lives. Like ‘The Victims’ Game,’ it delves into the moral complexities of the methods employed in solving a serious crime, such as the one used by Fang Yi-jen in the Taiwanese show and Park Hae-young through his exploitation of a time-travel mechanic. They both spark a detailed inquisition into how emotions and personal cost drive human beings into a dark corner from which they often never make it out.

Read more: The Victims’ Game Season 2 Ending, Explained: Who is the Killer?