‘The Bequeathed,’ the Netflix Korean crime show, sports a series of unsolved murders at its narrative center, creating an intriguing mystery to keep the audience hooked. The show revolves around Yoon Seo-ha, a young woman with little connection to her paternal lineage. However, after her uncle, Myung-gil, passes away and leaves the family burial ground to her name, Seo-ha finds herself unearthing dreadful secrets about her ancestors and their past. Simultaneously, her right of claim over the profitable piece of land creates new, deadly complications for the woman as death shadows her, dropping bodies around her in tandem.
As a result, Seo-ha naturally turns her suspicions to her newfound half-brother, Kim Young-ho, an eccentric man prone to erratic behavior. The local detectives, investigating the several murders that seemingly stem from the family land dispute, remain doubtful about Young-ho’s involvement. Still, Seo-ha is steadfast in her belief, compelling viewers to wonder, is Young-ho really the killer? SPOILERS AHEAD!
Kim Young-ho’s Possible Motivations
As per genre conventions, the killer’s identity remains a secret in ‘The Bequeathed’ until the story nears its end. Nevertheless, Young-ho occupies an inherently suspicious space within the narrative since his abrasive introduction to the plot. Although Young-ho and Seo-ha share the same biological father, neither have been a part of each other’s life. Furthermore, before Myung-gil’s death, Seo-ha never even know of her uncle’s existence. Therefore, Young-ho’s compulsion to seek out his sister to share in his grief over their uncle’s death immediately strikes a red flag and puts Seo-ha on her guard around the man.
Yet, even before their unpleasant first meeting, Seo-ha already had reasons to hold Young-ho in contempt. As a kid, Seo-ha’s father left her and her mother in favor of performing his parental duties to his other kid, Young-ho, born out of infidelity. As a result, Seo-ha had to put up with her mother’s unlikeable array of boyfriends. For the same reason, she hated Young-ho, the boy who got to have the father she never did.
However, Young-ho’s origins aren’t simply a testament to Seo-ha’s bias toward him. Instead, they also explain a possible motive the man may have for sabotaging Seo-ha’s life. The killings begin after Myung-gil’s funeral, while Seo-ha and Young-ho remain disputed over the family’s real estate inheritance. During this time, Seo-ha’s husband, Jae-seok, becomes the killer’s first victim, killed by a shotgun and dragged off to a second location.
During the investigation of Jae-seok’s death, Seo-ha remains convinced that Young-ho is behind the murder. Her suspicions are based on her memory of their father owning the same hunting rifle model that the cops conclude shot Jae-seok. Since Young-ho grew up with his father, Seo-ha becomes convinced he must own the rifle. Their father, Myung-ho, was the eldest son in their family. As such, the family land should have rightfully gone to him.
Nevertheless, Myung-gil inherited the land after Myung-ho, declared to be insane, was exiled from the family. For the same reason, Young-ho believes that he deserves that land as Myung-ho’s son. Thus, Seo-ha concludes that Young-ho killed her husband, who also had a claim over the land by marriage.
Still, since the police are unable to investigate the man’s house due to his airtight alibi, Seo-ha takes matters into her own hands after her brother leaves a bloodied talisman on her door. While Young-ho insists it was a well-intentioned action to protect his sister from evil spirits— further condemning himself to an unpleasant impression— Seo-ha interprets the talisman as a threat. Therefore, she hires a private investigator, Kang, to snoop around Young-ho’s house.
Ultimately, Kang ends up dead, similarly assailed by the shotgun killer. Since his death came on the heels of his illegal investigation at Young-ho’s house, the latter becomes a prime suspect, further confirming Seo-has’ hunch. In her mind, Kand could have found something incriminating against the man, leading him to kill the detective. As such, the possibility grows that the woman’s theory is valid, and Young-ho is the killer out for blood to ensure he gains his inheritance.
The Truth Behind The Killer
Although Seo-ha’ makes a compelling argument for Young-ho’s identity as the killer, it’s ultimately a false theory. Young-ho is not the killer. Detective Choi, who is leading the investigation alongside his Captain, Park, learns the same after blood sample results arrive from the coroner’s office regarding Jae-seok’s death. After the man died, the morgue found two blood samples on his body, one of which presumably belonged to the killer.
Therefore, when Choi learns that the unidentified blood sample is related to Seo-ha’s paternal lineage and Young-ho’s maternal lineage, he realizes the real identity of the killer. Meanwhile, the killer simultaneously abducts Seo-ha, the last person standing between Young-ho’s and his inheritance. As such, both Choi and Seo-ha finally learn the killer’s identity. As it would turn out, the actual killer was Young-ho’s mother, Yoon Myung-hee.
Myung-hee is Myung-ho’s little sister, who underwent severe social isolation after her peers bullied her for being born with a cleft palate. As such, the woman turned to her brother, Myung-ho, for comfort and protection. However, the siblings’ relationship soon turned unpalatable when they fell in love, leading to Myung-hee’s pregnancy. For the same reason, Myung-ho left his family for Myung-hee and his son, Young-ho, after the woman went into hiding for fear of public ridicule.
For the same reason, Young-ho, a child of incest, had to keep his lineage a secret and faced complications in laying his claim over the family land since he was never allowed to bear the Yoon name. In turn, his vengeful mother decided to take matters into her own homicidal hands and ensure Young-ho remained the last Yoon alive after Myung-gil’s death so that he could inherit the land. The man’s mother worked entirely on her own, often going against Young-ho’s will, who never wanted to hurt anyone, least of all his own family.
Read More: The Bequeathed Ending, Explained