Bloodhounds was released on Netflix in June 2023 and gave us a chance to have a close look at the criminal underworld of South Korea in that period of recession that hit the whole world during the 2020 pandemic. As it happens pretty much in every kdrama, the series cruelly shows the challenges of modern society, where every day seems a battle for survival. This way, we learned about the existence of the so-called loan sharks and bloodhounds. What are they, and what’s their meaning in the criminal world? Let’s find out.
You can watch the official trailer for Bloodhounds here on Youtube.
Bloodhounds & loan sharks: the meaning from Netflix kdrama
Bloodhounds and loan sharks are two terms used in the criminal world of usury: it’s the illegal practice of lending money at extremely high interest rates, bigger than the threshold allowed by law. The typical victims are poor people who need money on short notice and may be already in debt with other lenders. Usually, those people wouldn’t be allowed to receive more loans through the official channels, so they become the perfect target for illegal loans.
In usury, the criminal who lends money at illegal interest rates is the usurer. In modern English, the term has been replaced with the expression “loan sharks.” On the other hand, the bloodhounds are the men who collect debts for loan sharks, chasing debtors every day and using illegal methods, as we see in the Netflix kdrama series: as part of organized crime, they threaten the victims, use violence on people, places and business activities, playing on fear to extort money. The term “bloodhound” is inherited from the dog world: it’s a dog breed famous for its talent in tracking people.
In the Netflix kdrama series, bloodhounds and life sharks have a precise meaning, symbolizing the degradation of society. When modern capitalism becomes so demanding, a significant portion of society lives close to the survival threshold, and they more often enter into contact with illegal practices. As usual, criminality plays a prominent role in environments where poverty is more common: when people are more in need, they often give up their moral values for money.
Watching Bloodhounds, you get a crude representation of South Korean society, similar to what many other modern productions have done recently.