This article contains spoilers of seasons one and two of the show. 4/5 stars “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” is the overriding sentiment in Light the Night , an enthralling 1980s-set Taiwanese drama series from Lien Yi-chi and Ryan Tu, set in Taipei’s seedy red light district. Ruby Lin and Cheryl Yang are both wonderful as childhood friends who run a Japanese hostess bar, and the show charts the tumultuous relationships between the staff and its customers in the lead-up to, and fallout from, a shocking murder. Netflix premiered the first of three eight-episode seasons of Light the Night in November, and it has now reached its climax with a series of thrilling revelations. Season one opens with the discovery of a woman’s body on a hiking trail outside Taipei. It quickly becomes apparent that the victim is one of the hostesses from Light, a Japanese-style club in the city that offers flirtatious companionship. Owned by Ching-yi (Yang), known as Sue to her customers, and managed by Yu-nung (Lin) known as Rose, Light is already under surveillance by Detective Pan (Yo Yang) as part of a drug-dealing operation, so the investigation of the young woman’s death also falls to him. Season one ended with the revelation that the victim is Sue, who we have seen through a kaleidoscope of flashbacks make enemies of all her colleagues, not least Rose. The show is at its best when developing its rich ensemble of supporting players. The girls at Light are a vividly realised collective of damaged and downtrodden women, nursing broken hearts, shattered dreams and defiled reputations. Sue and Rose provide them safe haven, but as the show delves deeper into their troubled pasts and strained personal lives, each is revealed to harbour resentment against their employer. Cherry Hsieh is especially strong as Ah-chi, the indomitable veteran hostess buried in debt and driven by desperation, who eyes Sue as competition for the affections of a wealthy Japanese regular (Kagami Tomohisa). Puff Kuo, a former member of girl group Dream Girls, also stands out as Aiko, a frustrated college student who takes a job at Light after being cut off by her mother. Her classmate Yu-en (Derek Chang) discovers her secret, only to become instantly smitten by Sue. Also notable is Yuri (Nikki Hsieh), who is indeed dealing drugs at the club on behalf of her pushy boyfriend Henry (Wang Po-chieh), a male escort from a rival nightclub. The show features a number of big-name cameos from the likes of Vivian Hsu, Gingle Wang, and most amusingly, Ruby Lin’s real-life husband, Wallace Huo, as an overprotective gangster. Most fraught, inevitably, is Sue’s relationship with Rose. Their shared secrets date back to childhood and an unwanted pregnancy that still has repercussions today. We learn that Rose came to work at Light after being released from prison, having taking the fall for her unscrupulous husband (Joseph Cheng). While serving time, Rose befriended Hana (Esther Liu), who also comes to work at Light upon her release. Rose and Sue eventually find themselves at loggerheads over womanising screenwriter Chiang Han (Rhydian Vaughan), who becomes romantically involved with both women, driving a wedge between them. Season two ended with Chiang Han’s death in a seemingly deliberate hit-and-run caused by hot-headed rookie cop Ah-ta (Nash Zhang), and the third season wastes no time in delving into his conflicted motivations for doing so, his desperate efforts to cover it up, and his increasingly frayed relationship with his superior officer, Pan. In fact, much of Light the Night ’s third season veers away from the murder investigation to probe deeper into the drug-dealing operation and how senior members of the police department may be involved. This change of focus appears to have prompted the show’s producers to include a disclaimer at the end of each episode reassuring audiences that events on the screen are purely fictitious. Season three also sees Pan shore up his position as Rose’s potential love interest, while she must contend with a custody battle for her teenage son, Tsu-wei (Jim Liu). Sue’s final act, distributing her majority stake in the club among the other girls, has put the club’s future in jeopardy, and the opening of a rival venue, Sugar, across the street, only adds to its problems. The persistently meandering subplots are of fluctuating interest, while depictions of homosexuality leave a lot to be desired. Regardless, the drama is always executed with compelling conviction by its seasoned and uniformly excellent cast. When the killer is finally identified, the revelation strikes the perfect balance between being satisfyingly unpredictable and tragically inevitable. Ultimately, the murder mystery becomes somewhat inconsequential. Light the Night is knowingly melodramatic and gleefully gaudy in its celebration of 1980s excess, and triumphs not so much as a whodunnit but as a timeless tale of trust and betrayal, and of the suffocating burden of friendship. Light the Night is streaming on Netflix.