‘Copycat Killer’ Episode 1: Recap & Ending, Explained: What Is Prosecutor Kuo’s First Breakthrough?

Serial killer television always has a lot of traction because it is always exciting to know the kind of MO every serial killer uses out there, and the hunt to find out who the perpetrator is excites the viewers all the more. A lot of shows and films in this genre are either hits or misses. A lot of things must fit perfectly, like dots that must be joined, to make an investigative thriller interesting. “Copycat Killer” was directed by Henri Chang and Jung – Chi Chang and written by Miyuki Miyabe. Set in 1997, the show is about a serial killer on the loose. But this serial killer has no clear-cut motive for the investigating officers to trace him down and make an arrest. Will the investigative team reach a dead end, or will the team slowly and steadily get to their end goal?

Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Hsiao-Chi Kuo?

The show begins with the kidnapper/killer releasing a tape of himself wearing a joker mask, talking about how anybody can turn into a killer if given a chance. If a normal person were given a button to press that would save them but kill the other person, the same average workaholic person would press the button. He or she would not think twice before making a split-second decision to kill the other person. The other person can be a stranger, a friend, or an acquaintance, but the human being wouldn’t hesitate before prioritizing saving themselves first and killing the other person. This is the point the man who taped himself was trying to make. We as human beings can be selfish people, and that fact will not change for generations to come.

The man makes many copies of this video he just made and sends it over to all the television news channels to let the people know he is something to be afraid of. The television channels don’t think twice before airing these tapes. They don’t care a bit about what the consequences might be for the people who watch the news and consume this media. The whole idea of the television news channels that air these videos is to garner more eyeballs by getting people excited and tensed at the same time. They might not intend to create a scary situation, but they aren’t worried about the consequences yet.

We are introduced to Hsiao-Chi Kuo, a diligent and honest public prosecutor who believes in doing the right thing. He follows all the procedures to make sure things are done the right way and does not get carried away by influence and bribes. Kuo chooses to live the way he does and is not afraid of corrupt officials targeting him for not following their rules. As he keeps digging deep into every investigation, he comes across as a different type of prosecutor. Many officials around him are surprised at the way Kuo works because no one puts as much effort into any investigation as he does. He comes across as a different breed. Kuo and his team unearthed the murder of a couple who were brutally stabbed to death, and the only person in the house who did not witness the murder was their adoptive son. The son is considered a suspect because he kept quiet during the arrest and seemed to be in shock at what just transpired with him being at home.

Kuo and his team end up letting the boy go because they cannot find concrete proof the boy was the one who committed the murder just because he was at home. The boy is relieved, but he also confesses that he cannot believe a murder of this scale took place with him in the house. The boy confesses to being busy playing video games with headphones on. That is the only reason he could not come out and save his parents. Kuo understands the boy’s situation and helps him understand that the orphanage where he will be put is the safest one in the country, and he will probably lead a safer life over there. This proves why Kuo, as a prosecutor, is a person of good heart who looks out for the victims and makes sure they stay safe.

‘Copycat Killer’ Episode 1: Ending Explained: What Is Kuo’s First Breakthrough?

Kuo is an insomniac who works night and day to make sure the case assigned to him is closed with the right conclusion. He works with a team, but most of the time, he is alone because he does not want anyone to bother him or his workflow. Kuo is so idealistic that he ends up arresting another public prosecutor for taking bribes from high-profile construction companies. Kuo knows he will be under scrutiny for bringing down his people, but at this point, he does not care about what his office would think of him. Kuo is glad to have taken this step, and now he has become the most outright honest prosecutor with whom no one can mess anymore.

As the bribery investigation is ongoing, a woman and her pet dog find a box that has a severed hand placed inside it. The woman informs the police immediately about it. Since all the investigation teams and media’s attention was on the bribery scam unearthed by Kuo, he is not keen to pursue it but wants to begin investigation on how the severed hand ended up in the park. He wants to investigate further and not get into the bribery scam because he knows this severed hand would lead him to something important.

Ya-Cih is one of the most important journalists and the most headstrong person working for the local television channel. She is known to be the toughest, and her boss, too, will not make any major decision about airing a particular piece of news without her consent. She is also curious to know more about the severed hand case, and her assistant wants to know more about Kuo, who will be taking forward the case. Her assistant Lu Yhan Jhen too, who has other connections, makes sure the image of Kuo arresting the other public prosecutor is leaked. Ya-Cih, just like Prosecutor Kuo, is keen on finding out what led to the hand showing up out of nowhere and wants to look into it further. The police hope  this remains an isolated incident. 

While another girl gets kidnapped, the news of it is still coming out, and a guy is on the move and buying stuff while driving his red minivan. This proves there are more kidnappings and perhaps more deaths in the making, and Kuo and Ya-Cih will come across a lot more tragic news coming their way. A serial killer is on the loose, as Kuo suspects, but he needs concrete proof to make that claim. One severed hand is not enough to prove his point. Kuo is joined by detective Yong, who is on the prowl to find out more about this severed hand case. If the team formed by Prosecutor Kuo finds a serial killer linked to the severed hand case, the team would have to put all their force into making sure the person responsible for this severed hand is put behind bars. That would also mean the police would have to dig up cases from the past where the killing of a woman was deemed an isolated incident. Kuo will have a big task in hand if more such cases come across in the coming days.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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