K-Drama Review: Vincenzo

The narrative of the charismatic mafia consigliere has ended powerfully. For all its 20 episodes, Vincenzo has stayed number 1 in ratings in nationwide South Korea with its finale episode garnering its highest with 14.636%. It became the 6th highest in TvN history’s drama series, bested only by its predecessors Crash Landing On You, Goblin, Reply 1988, Mr. Sunshine, and Mr. Queen. A powerful ending for a powerful narrative. 


Whilst the story is of a man who doesn’t possess the purest of morals and the narrative constantly picturing a dark justice with the rich and those in public office are presented as law breaking and exploitative characters, it created a weirdly satisfying fictional retribution that the rigged society with those in power can only be broken with something even darker. Vincenzo’s character represented that evil channeled through Song Joongki’s charismatic visuals. 


For a detailed analysis of the series, read further below…




From the get-go, Vincenzo is a story of how a mafia consigliere crushed the villainy of the story’s antagonists using the system of the mafia. The show does not shy away from deaths and torture. The finale episode alone was an all-out show of brute force and dark justice on Vincenzo’s part. It’s a narrative that tries to make sense and justify how one evil can end another evil using Vincenzo as the channel piece of this goal.


In a way, the story was able to achieve that goal through the harsh deaths of the major villains of the drama. In a weird manner, those deaths were very satisfying to watch. It felt like the victims of Babel finally received the justice they so long for. In trying to justify Vincenzo’s actions, the story painted the rich and those in government office as evil and the only way to cut that evil is for a character like Vincenzo to be the evil that uproots other evil.


It’s morally conflicting but for what the drama guns for it somehow worked in making us believe that since the world teems with evil men and that true justice is a fantasy as told from the point of the drama, evil can only be met with evil albeit in reality this could pose major problems. Undermining the justice system by working above the law devalues the system in general since it presents society with a darker and faster approach. 


This moral conflict of the drama, I believe, is one of the things that made this series all the more interesting. It allowed us to question in every episode the legitimacy of the moral compass used in the drama. For a drama to force its viewers to think these things is a good feat. Moreover, the plot build-up of the drama is also something worth mentioning. The tensions and skirmishes that the protagonists and the antagonists of the drama constantly gain momentum. There was never a dull moment in Vincenzo. If it’s not blood or murder, you’ll get tears and laughter. 


Jang Han-Seok punished by Vincenzo for his crimes. The look of anger on his face will be his last.
Jang Han-Seok punished by Vincenzo for his crimes. The look of anger on his face will be his last. | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)

The execution of the narrative in unfolding the elements of the plot was done smoothly. The characters’ clashes that lead to the climax were tied logically. How the characters made decisions based on these clashes made the story’s climb very exciting, making the climax reach its heights to the point of being fan service because of how gruesome and cruel the poetic justice was done to the villains. 


The drama gave us what we wanted the most. But then again, for villains who have done so much evil in a story, one of the swiftest ways to do so is kill them off and sometimes the most gruesome and cruelest retribution would do the trick rather than give them redemption. For Vincenzo’s character to work, what happened must happen. The ending was sort of expected given the nature of Vincenzo’s character. 


The Chief Prosecutor Han Seung-Hyeok meeting his tragic end | K-drama review: Vincenzo
The Chief Prosecutor Han Seung-Hyeok meeting his tragic end | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)

Honestly, I could care less about the romantic arc of the story; that kiss at the end is fan gratification. We all saw that coming since the two started their unlikely partnership. I personally do not approve of stories like this with romantic arcs albeit only materialized towards the end to give viewers that gush-mush feeling. Nevertheless, I cannot think of a different ending. The  story opened with Vincenzo’s monologue and it ended with him in the monologue too; that for me is a perfect enough ending. 




What made Vincenzo so alive was how the characters played their roles. From Vincenzo to the minor characters of Geumga Plaza, everyone gave their fair share of dynamism. They were so alive, thus, making the narrative alive as well. Moreover, each of the characters possessed some layers, not much but enough in helping propel the story forward and contribute to the story’s conflicts and dynamics. 


The villains of the story carried their villainy well albeit Choi Myung-Hee kept on failing for the majority of the drama. The villains were consistent in their character goals except for Jang Han-Seo who had a redemptive moment when he changed to Vincenzo’s side and risked his life for Hong Cha-Young resulting in his death. Although, his death was in a way a victory for his character. It was a manifestation that a man who was once bad can change. 


Choi Myung-Hee and her last evil smile as she faces her death | K-drama review: Vincenzo
Choi Myung-Hee and her last evil smile as she faces her death | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)



Thematic pursuits:


1. Family goes beyond blood


Vincenzo and the unlikely family that he was able to build- his very own Mafia | K-drama review: Vincenzo
Vincenzo and the unlikely family that he was able to build- his very own Mafia | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)

Vincenzo’s background as a Mafia consigliere allowed him to create that version of family in South Korea. When the tenants of Geumga Plaza decided to help Vincenzo, they basically transformed into badasses in crisp black suits and femme fatale leathers. It was like a Mafia South Korea version. It sounds weird but it is what it is. 


2. Evil for evil


The look and the aim that can kill of Vincenzo | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)
The look and the aim that can kill | K-drama review: Vincenzo (Photo from Hancinema)

Vincenzo represents the fuel that vehicles this narrative’s theme. Him using the brutality of the Mafia ways in making the villains pay for their actions is basically that- evil for evil. To extract the poetic justice of the narrative, he has to work above the law. By bending and circumnavigating the legal system, he became the weapon of the oppressed. He is definitely one heroic outlaw. 


His last statement in the drama’s finale supports this idea. He believes that one cannot win with villains with justice alone. “If merciless justice exists, I am willing to yield to it”, he said. “Evil is prevalent and vehement” was his last words and being true to those words he did not change his ways. He remained and plans on remaining that evil to eradicate other evils in society. 


Ultimately, Vincenzo was truly a solid drama series. Its dynamics and its definition of evil doing good created a playing field that can allow citizens to have the elusive justice they so desire. For all the K-drama’s I have seen so far, this definitely is top tier. The dark comedy of Vincenzo is smooth, although at some points the mafia interpretation is sort of hollywood-ish, but for what it’s worth, Vincenzo stood its ground as one of the best K-drama’s this year. 


Drop your thoughts below and let’s have a reminiscent discussion… We hope this article did justice to the drama.


Korean Drama review on Netflix original series Vincenzo
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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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