The stories of killers never fail to catch our attention. Either the true stories, like the success of Dahmer or The Murdaugh Murders proved between 2022 and 2023, or the fictional ones, as we saw many times in theatres and streaming platforms. Copycat Killer, released on Netflix in March 2023, is a fascinating TV series made in Taiwan based on the book The Copycat by Miyuki Miyabe, with an exciting mix of crime, violence, psychology, justice, and media. The plot could be hard to follow, and the ending may need to be explained: let’s understand everything about the killer Noh, the prosecutor Mr. Kuo and the other people arrested in the story.
You can watch the official trailer for Netflix’s Copycat Killer here on Youtube.
Copycat Killer plot explained: who really was Noh?
A series of murders are shocking 90s Taiwan. The police and the prosecutor’s office are collaborating, and Mr. Kuo, the prosecutor following this case, is putting a lot of effort into finding the killer. We soon understand that the recent series of crimes are related to a girl killed two years earlier, for which a murderer confessed and went to prison. But When Mr. Kuo talks with him from jail, we immediately suspect his confession is fake.
The girls involved in the cases share some similarities: they all have complicated relationships with their parents and often go to a dance club, the Kink. While Mr. Kuo investigates, we start having our suspects too, and already in the middle of the series, we understand who the serial killer is: Shen Jia-wun, the DJ working at the Kink, a boy with a tough childhood, during which he has always been neglected as a son from his mother, who always wanted him to be a girl. We clearly see Shen Jia-wun torturing the girls in the middle of the series, so we have no doubt he’s the killer.
When the investigations are getting closer, Shen Jia-wun takes his childhood friend Hu Jian-Ho in his car, and they drive away together. They have Yu-tong (one of the kidnapped girls, the police officer’s daughter) inside the trunk. Shen Jia-wun is obsessed with the figure of his dead sister, the one his mother wanted to keep alive by forcing him to look like a girl. In this altered state of mind, they have a lethal accident where they both die. Yu-tong survives and goes to the hospital. We are just after the middle of the series, and apparently, the killer is dead. The plot of Copycat Killer seems entirely explained so far.
But something doesn’t add up. The series’ beginning shows us a killer, Noh, challenging the prosecutor on TV. The facts we are watching so far have happened eight weeks earlier. So we know that, in the future, a killer is still there, threatening the victims.
The prosecutor Mr. Kuo doesn’t close the case: he wants to collect all evidence and dissolve all suspects about Hu Jian-Ho. He also realizes that the killer’s communications have shown two different styles, and he suspects an accomplice is out there. The suspect is confirmed when a new murder occurs: Ms. Ya-Cih, the reporter of TNB news channel. There, we understand that the real mastermind behind all deaths is Noh, aka Chen He-ping, the other reporter at TNB: a man who craves the audience’s attention, obsessed with the idea that every murder is a creation and is valid only if people are focused on it. Chen He-ping met Shen Jia-wun years before during a reportage about Sodom. From that moment, he became the puppet master who drove Shen Jia-wun into the murders.
The prosecutor has strong suspects about Chen He-ping, but nothing can justify an arrest. While frustration grows, Chen He-ping keeps acting as an undisturbed TV star, provoking the law and the prosecutor’s office. As a last extreme crime, he kills Hu Yun-huei, Mr. Kuo’s ex-girlfriend. Mr. Kuo is devastated; he confronts Chen He-ping, beats him, and fires a shot in his direction. That brings us to the ending of Copycat Killer: let’s have it explained separately.
The ending explained
Mr. Kuo is arrested. Chen He-ping becomes the victim of bad law enforcement and keeps bringing public opinion on his side. The killer Noh keeps threatening society, and apparently, the law is unable to catch him. There is also a formal confession from the man in prison for the murder two years before, who officially admits Chen He-ping is the killer behind all the cases. But there is no evidence.
Therefore, the chief prosecutor and Mr. Kuo organize a trap for Chen He-ping: Mr. Kuo gets assaulted in prison and needs to go to the hospital. He asks Chen He-ping to be invited to his show, and his request is accepted. During the show, a phone call arrives: apparently, it’s the killer Noh, talking directly with Mr. Kuo. Cleverly, Mr. Kuo hosts a challenging conversation with Noh, intending to provoke Chen He-ping: he knows Chen He-ping needs to feel important, so Mr. Kuo turns down Noh’s importance in front of him, with all spectators witnessing his statements.
The plan works: Chen He-ping reacts instinctively, stating his importance and confessing publicly that he is Noh. That’s the confession they needed to arrest him.
Copycat Killer closes with a happy ending that has explained the meaning of the events: months later, Noh is, in fact, forgotten, proving that he wasn’t that important to society; the girls who survived him now have a good relationship with their parents. Mr. Kuo exits prison some months later and becomes an esteemed public defense lawyer who believes the truth always wins. Lu Yan-jhen, the reporter who did so much to honor the victims, now has her own show and is working hard for the prestige of journalism. And Chen He-ping dies, stabbed by an unknown masked person out of the tribunal.
After 10 episodes, the truth is restored, the good characters are returned with dignity, and all villains get what they deserve. The spectators can feel satisfied.