Filled with seemingly never-ending plot twists, Taiwanese detective series Copycat Killer (The Copycat) catapulted into streaming giant Netflix’s top 10 non-English-language TV shows when it hit theaters on March 31, rising to No. 1 in the first quarter. The second two weeks this month, second only to South Korea’s The Glory.
As of Saturday, the show was still on the list, but had slipped to No. 5.
As of April 3, Copycat Killer is the first Taiwanese Netflix title to break into the streaming platform’s top 10 non-English charts, with 17.74 million hours watched globally.
Photo courtesy of Netflix
It is one of the few Taiwanese productions in Europe and the Middle East, and the first Taiwanese show on Netflix in seven languages.
Set in the late 1990s, this crime drama follows stoic prosecutor Guo Xiaoqi (Guo Xiaoqi), whose stubbornness alienates him from his peers.
Guo finds himself embroiled in the mysteries and games of the enigmatic “Noh,” a fictional serial killer who targets women and soon begins taunting law enforcement and launching a game of cat-and-mouse.
The dramatic and horrific events that take place between the protagonist and his rivals end up on the national news, bringing the entire country to the whims of a serial killer.
“The Copycat Killer” was adapted from the 2001 crime suspense novel by Japanese writer Miyuki Miyabe, setting countless milestones for Taiwan’s small screen.
The show’s critically acclaimed twisting reveals, disturbing serial killer and hard-nosed detective lead also earned it a top 10 rating on streaming services in countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Regarding the popularity of the show, producer Tang Shengrong said that he and his company Greener Grass Production are gratified by this achievement.
“After all, we take it from Taiwan and Asia to different parts of the world,” he said, “to deal with the challenges of language, demographics, worldview, cultural differences and genres.”
To adapt and translate Miyabe’s novel, Tang said Netflix hired American TV writer Neal Baer as a story consultant to ensure the quality of the parodied Killer script.
Tang said the rights to the story were acquired years ago by one of the show’s producers.
After the success of Greener Grass with its 2020 crime drama “Who’s the Victim,” the company decided to prepare for an adaptation, giving the writers two years to produce the TV series and a full year of post-production to produce the show before releasing it. .
Don credits the show’s international success to a joint strategy between Greener Grass and Netflix ahead of its release.
Tang said the show is the first Taiwanese production to be released simultaneously in its original Chinese version, along with English, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, to cater to audiences in countries that prefer dubbing over subtitles. .
The series is also subtitled in more than 30 languages.
While The Copycat Killer and Victim’s Game owe their success in part to the exposure Netflix provides, Tang said Taiwanese productions should not rely solely on the streaming service.
Taiwan should “broaden our imaginations as we tap into the global market,” Tang said.
He said that the entertainment industry is an important strategy for Taiwan’s globalization.
“Just look at the influence of (Korean boy group) BTS and Korean shows abroad, which proves the impact of South Korea’s soft power,” Tang said.
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