This article contains minor spoilers. 2/5 stars When it kicked off in mid-March, the thriller A Superior Day did little to rewrite the well-worn serial killer template, but at least it took pleasure in crafting grisly murder scenes for us to wince and marvel at behind our hands. The story built around macabre kill scenes involves Lee Ho-chul (Jin Goo), a firefighter on extended leave, whose daughter is kidnapped by a figure who orders him to uncover the identity of the Rich Girl Killer (who kills young women in their homes and contorts their bodies into gruesome poses) in return for the safe release of his daughter. By the end of episode one, all the pieces are put into motion – and there is already no doubt for the audience that the killer is Kwon Si-woo (Lee Won-geun), the handsome next-door neighbour who happens to be Ho-chul’s daughter’s creepy art tutor. So where does the story go in the next seven episodes? Sadly, not much of anywhere. The only additional variables involve Ho-chul being accused of murder, which adds a drab man-on-the-run dimension to the narrative, and the shifting, illogical alliances between Ho-chul, Si-woo and Bae Tae-jin (Ha Do-kwon), the kidnapper. A Superior Day: serial killer K-drama mystery yet to show it is a cut above Ho-chul saw the killer’s face two years earlier when he stumbled on the Rich Girl Killer at one of his gruesome crime scenes. The trauma affected his memory so he has to find a way to remember the killer’s face. You would expect this to lead to some sleuthing and a bit of rueful introspection, but this drama offers us neither. Tae-jin gives Ho-chul 24 hours to uncover the identity of the killer – hence the title. Ho-chul’s first impulse is to track down the young building security guard Kim Dong-joo (Kim Do-hyun), who seems suspiciously close to his daughter. Following an initial fracas, Ho-chul is convinced that Dong-joo is on his side and they team up to search for his daughter together. This search brings them down to the basement of their apartment complex, where Tae-jin emerges in front of Ho-chul, silhouetted above a scaffolding. He attacks Dong-joo, who perishes in a lift, which sparks a manhunt for the innocent Ho-chul. Any pretence of investigation is abandoned at this point and the relationship between Ho-chul and Tae-jin becomes one of posturing and one-upmanship. Ho-chul eventually figures out who the Rich Girl Killer is, but only when Si-woo reveals himself to him in a crowded area with the police bearing down on Ho-chul. Frankly, it’s astonishing that Ho-chul or any of the police on the case hadn’t figured it out before this point. Si-woo smirks his way through all his interactions, even when he’s interviewed as a witness by homicide detectives. He offers up that he knew the victim, flirted with her, went on a date with her and when asked if he saw her again after that, he answers – with a broad grin etched across his face – that she died. No questions asked, he’s free to go and isn’t viewed as a suspect. The same happens when Si-woo bumps into a frazzled Ho-chul outside the complex. He announces that he will move out, creepily asks after Ho-chul’s daughter, saying he wants to show her something and is preparing one last big event before he leaves. 8 new Korean drama series to look out for in May 2022 When you can’t trust investigators and protagonists to see what’s right in front of them, what’s the point in following their journeys? Ho-chul is a useless gumshoe, but more than that he’s an utterly empty character. Save for the one time he stands up to Tae-jin, when he threatens to burn the composite sketch of the killer, Ho-chul has no agency in the series. He fails to react when things happen to him. The script pushes him from one scene and location to the next, almost as though he had no legs of his own to do so with. Making no effort to branch out beyond its limited premise, A Superior Day soon begins to spin around its own axis. Ho-chul’s daughter escapes, is captured by the killer and then keeps changing hands. Meanwhile, the three leads form different factions against each other, only to immediately double-cross one another. It is as though the whole series is temporising to fill up eight hours of television. In an attempt to recapture the enjoyably grotesque imagery the series began with, A Superior Day shows some life during its climax, when Si-woo is forced to improvise to finish his bloody masterwork in gruesome fashion. However, with no emotional ballast to stand on, the violence of the finale comes across as silly rather than chilling. A Superior Day may not be a truly awful series, but its script is so aggressively lacklustre that it drags everything down with it. From the cast down to camerawork, editing, music and costume design, nothing here rises above the drab and forgettable. A Superior Day is streaming on Viu.