Netflix’s latest buzzworthy creation, A Killer Paradox, has found itself at the center of controversy shortly after its release. The show, which debuted on the streaming giant on the 9th, features a character, Hyung Sung Kook, a construction company chairman embroiled in various corruption charges. With his white hair swept back and round glasses, the character dons a prisoner’s uniform marked with the number 4421, a detail that quickly became a talking point among viewers.
Some audiences have raised eyebrows, pointing out unsettling similarities between this fictional character and Lee Jae Myung, the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea. From his appearance to specific plot points, such as a scene where Hyung Sung Kook enjoys eel sushi in a visitation room and his prison number’s speculated significance, critics argue the show maliciously borrows from Lee Jae Myung’s real-life narrative. Furthermore, a scene where Hyung is stabbed in the neck by Song Chon (Lee Hee Joon) has been interpreted as a nod to an attack on Lee Jae Myung.
In response to the swirling controversy, Netflix addressed the allegations on the 11th, stating, “We have become aware of the discussions circulating online. The assertions are completely without merit. The prisoner number of Chairman Hyung Sung Kook in the show does not carry any significant meaning. It is in no way related to any real-life individuals.”
A Killer Paradox is based on a webtoon of the same name released in 2010. Given its original simplistic and exaggerated art style, drawing direct parallels between the show’s character design and real-life figures seems challenging.