Netflix’s murder mystery film ‘The Abandoned’ revolves around Deputy Captain Wu Chieh, who discovers the dead body of a young woman. She soon finds out that the victim is an illegal migrant worker named Waree. Wu investigates the case with rookie officer Wei-shan and together, they unravel the mystery behind two murders with a third one about to happen. With a clock ticking, they race to find the killer along with Lin Yu-sheng, the boyfriend of Waree. The Taiwanese film ends with the revelation of the serial killer, who sets out to kill Waree’s sister Saipin, another illegal migrant! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Abandoned Plot Synopsis
‘The Abandoned’ begins with Deputy Captain Wu preparing to kill herself in the same vehicle in which her fiancé Yang Chen-kuo killed himself. Right before she could pull the trigger, the officer sees a woman running away making noises along with a few others. Wu investigates the scene, only to come across the dead body of a woman. Although Wu hands in her transfer request, she is forced to investigate the case with the rookie officer Wei-shan, who joined the department from the police academy as a topper in her class. After the autopsy, Wu and Wei-shan realize that the victim doesn’t have her ring finger and that her killer drained her blood to remove her heart.
Meanwhile, Saipin meets Yu-sheng to find her sister Waree, who has been missing for a few days. The police receive a call from an unknown source that the victim is Waree. Wu and Wei-shan go through Waree’s call records, only to discover multiple calls to Yu-sheng, Saipin, and Mankong. The duo brings Yu-sheng to the station to identify Waree’s body and Wu asks him about the other names in the call list. After stating that he doesn’t know any of them, he goes to Mankong to find out the truth about Waree. Mankong informs him that he dumped her body in the river after finding her lifeless and the former eventually kills himself due to the guilt he deals with.
Yu-sheng leads Wu to the body of Yeti Ayuni, an Indonesian illegal migrant worker whose body was found by her employer. Since the employer has several illegal workers working for him, he didn’t report her death. Yu-sheng then buried the body to avoid those workers getting exposed to the law. He informs Wu that Mankong did the same thing with Waree’s body and that the killer is using the respective employers of his victims to dispose of the dead bodies. After knowing about Yeti’s murder, Wu connects the dots and realizes that the victims are killed on their birthdays. Since Saipin’s birthday is just a few days away, they try to track her down.
Wu considers the possibility of Huang Tung-chi, Yu-sheng’s cab driver friend, being the killer after Wei-shan discovers a CCTV footage in which Saipin is seen entering his taxi. Yu-sheng then invites his friend for dinner for the officers to arrest him but Wu rules him out as the killer after realizing that the car in the footage doesn’t have a bend Tung-chi’s taxi has. The trio realizes that the killer is using the license plate of Tung-chi’s car to abduct his victims. The realization leads them to a traffic rule violation video, in which the imposter car is seen entering a parking lot. Wu, Yu-sheng, and Wei-shan then go to the lot to find the murderer.
The Abandoned Ending: Who is the Killer?
Fan Chang-fu is the killer. Chang-fu appears earlier in the film as a photographer who runs a studio. When Yu-sheng first meets Saipin, he takes her to Chang-fu to create fake documents for her. The serial killer finds his victims by running the illegal business of forging documents for them. Since they would need to submit their personal information like date of birth and phone number to make these documents, he is able to contact them by pretending to be someone else and kill them on their birthdays. After murdering them, he dumps the bodies at their respective work sites, a piece of information he can easily find from the people who seek his services.
Chang-fu is an invisible killer since nobody would notice him as the common factor among the illegal migrant workers who get murdered. Still, he knows all about them as the man who creates their fake documents. His connection with brokers such as Yu-sheng makes it easier for him to meet more and more illegal workers and learn about their working sites. By forcing his victims’ employers to dispose of their bodies, he succeeds in staying under the radar. Even if the police find the bodies, they are handled by several individuals for any officer to trace his victims back to him.
Chang-fu believes that illegal migrants are nobodies for anyone to report their deaths. Since the employers of his victims wouldn’t want the police to question them for employing individuals without a legitimate permit, drawing attention to others who work at the place, he doesn’t worry about the law until Mankong dumps Waree’s body in a river rather than burying her. His cunningness is further displayed when he tries to kill Wu by locking her up in the secret room where he has been killing multiple women. Chang-fu eventually gets killed by Wu, who shoots the photographer to free herself from him.
Why Does Fan Chang-fu Kill?
Fan Chang-fu started killing migrant workers after one of them betrayed his trust in her. In the past, Chang-fu had a migrant woman working for him and he was deeply in love with her. He even wished to marry her, which made him buy a ring for her. When he was taking a family portrait, he even stood beside her. Even though the woman was seemingly merely a housekeeper, the photographer behaved with her like his partner. The feelings, however, weren’t mutual. The migrant woman didn’t love Chang-fu back. To make things worse, she possibly hated him for keeping her as a captive.
Chang-fu locked the migrant woman’s documents up to ensure that she didn’t leave him. He must have thought that locking her up would make her a part of his life but the woman was not ready to remain in the household. On one of his birthdays in the past, she baked a cake with sedatives in it. Chang-fu ate his birthday cake with the immense joy of celebrating the special day with the woman he loved, only to pass out. The woman then found her documents locked up in the box and ran away with them to lead a new life elsewhere. Since she intended to just escape from Chang-fu, she didn’t even take the ring the photographer bought for her.
The incident deeply affected Chang-fu, only for him to start hating illegal migrant women who end up in Taiwan seeking better employment. He might have begun to see the woman who ran away from him in each of those migrant women who sat in front of him with a smile to create fake documents. Since he couldn’t take revenge against the woman who betrayed his trust, he set out to fulfill his thirst for vengeance by killing women who ended up meeting him for documents.
Chang-fu removes his victims’ ring fingers and hearts because of their connection with the concept of love. Before modern medical science, people believed that blood flowed from the left ring finger to the heart, only for the vein to be called “vena amoris” or “vein of love.” Since Chang-fu’s former housekeeper dismissed his love for her, he has been punishing other women by removing their ring fingers and hearts, the two ends of their veins of love. By removing these two parts of their bodies, the murderer can be seeking the gratification of removing the love he never received from the woman who ran away.
Chang-fu not only removes these body parts but also keeps them with him. He takes photographs with these organs beside him and hangs them on his wall. He must be seeing those body parts as a representation of the women’s love. After not receiving love from his former housekeeper, he can be under the impression that he is gaining others’ love by removing their hearts and ring fingers. Since these parts are removed from their bodies, they cannot run away from him as the former love of his life did in his view. The serial killer chooses to kill his victims on their birthdays because he was betrayed on his birthday as well.