“Death By Zero” is Off to a Great Start

Currently in its second week of broadcast, Death by Zero <殺手> has impressed viewers for its refreshing storyline. The drama is off to a great start, and has stepped away from TVB’s reliable formulas from the past towards more sophisticated storytelling, characterizations, and style.

Good dramas have multiple elements–one is whether viewers can easily immerse themselves in the story. Death by Zero invites the audience into the world of assassins who live undercover as normal people with normal 9 to 5 jobs. As the drama interjects many elements of reality, the audience can easily suspend disbelief and barely even notices that the police are not investigating the numerous assassinations.

Secondly, good dramas must leave the audience wanting more. Many American dramas succeed through clever editing and have a short summary of the previous episode in the beginning of each episode. This helps jog the audience’s memory and prepares them to immerse back into the drama. Death by Zero added this element, and also ends every episode on a suspenseful note. The first episode ends with Moses Chan (陳豪) pointing a gun at Wayne Lai’s (黎耀祥) head. The second episode ends with Katy Kung (龔嘉欣) about to attack Wayne, and the third episode ends with Ali Lee (李佳芯) surrounded by gangsters.

A drama cannot survive on these small suspenseful moments alone–it also needs strong characters to uphold the story. As the story unfolds, each character’s motivations are cleverly revealed. Initially, the audience only knows Moses’ character as a top assassin who is enamored with Samantha Ko (高海寧). After five episodes, Moses’ true motivation is revealed; he wants revenge for his murdered friends. As for the other major characters, Wayne wants to make up for missing time with his long-lost daughter, and Ali wants to earn money so that her son can have a better life.

The story is also told in a more sophisticated manner. Death by Zero does not follow the usual routine of TVB dramas where characters spend a lot of time verbally explaining what had happened previously, assuming viewers have difficulty following. Instead, the drama uses sequences of events and the characters’ actions to tell the story, which creates a more natural flow to the drama.

Many viewers also like the style of the opening theme, which is filmed in a similar fashion to DC film Suicide Squad which uses a colorful animation style that was popular in the 1980s. A lot of thought was put into Death by Zero‘s opening theme, instead of the usual slideshow of clips from the drama. However, viewers are slightly disappointed that the drama is not filmed in the same style as its opening theme though.

Overall, Death by Zero marks a measured departure from TVB’s usual works. If it can continue to engage viewers, it may have a chance in becoming one of the best dramas of the year!

Source: HK01

This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.

The Making of “Death by Zero”

Wayne Lai is a Player On TVB’s “Death By Zero”

Related Articles


  1. Inb4 this drama is awarded Best Drama due to its star studded cast, but won’t win any individual acting awards.

    1. @bubbles23 I think Wayne can win a Best Actor award with this. His character has depth and range. He’s very natural and funny. In Episode 7, that scene with his daughter is just setting up the potential for more dramatic opportunities to show off his chops.

      Ali is also more natural in this role than previous ones to me. I don’t think she will necessarily win due to politics, but she is definitely a top contender.

      Moses shines in these types of roles, but it isn’t anything new for him. Elena’s story may evolve to be more award deserving. I am interested to see how hers goes.

      1. @potatochip I think it will really depend on what the rest of the year’s line up is. Shaun and Joel are solid contenders. Ali will be in top 5 because optics lol. Armed Reaction will probably air before award season, and maybe Chinatown?
        Wayne just keeps on giving, plus his arc with Louisa is honestly why I’m watching this. Very natural and showing a lot of depth.

      2. @bubbles23 I like Ruco, but I can’t imagine China Town winning anything. Story is already trite with just its summary. I think Armed Reaction is still taping, probably won’t be shown till 2021. Vincent has another action series, he is always a contender, but I don’t think action is his strong point.

        I need to watch Brutally Young. I think both Shaun and Joel are strong but they may cancel each other out in the same series.

      3. @potatochip I think Armed Reaction will be ready to air by year end. Isn’t it called Armed Reaction 2020 anyway lol. Pretty sure China Town is just gonna be fanservice and a rip off of AFWFW, so no awards there. Vincent… Idk his roles have been super boring lately and tvb will probably want to promote someone new.
        Brutally Young is a must watch this year. Best plot and characterization in a while.

      4. @bubbles23 agree with above that either Moses or Wayne could win best actor though personally I would be really happy with either Joel or most particularly Shaun winning it this year.

        With Vincent and Ruco- Vincent’s upcoming drama sounds really intriguing where his role sounds quite EU Overrun over-esque so wouldn’t rule him out however for Ruco, China Town doesn’t sound amazing tbh…

      5. @ledge not sure if the one Vincent is filming now will be aired this year but I’m very interested in that show and hope that he does a good job.

        Also isn’t legal mavericks 2 coming out this year? Vincent won last time with this role. Excited to see where he takes it this time but Kelly is in it so… I hope that doesn’t mess things up as she’s not the best actress lol

      6. @bubbles23 lol, AR 2020 should come out this year. I wonder if they will air Amelia’s Rhapsody this year. But then that would be 3 Moses series, so unlikely.

        I forgot about Line Walker 3. I think Raymond Lam is the one to beat.

      7. @potatochip AR2020 wont come out this year, they just finished taping last month and its not on the list of dramas of 2020. I really hope raymond lam gets it this year, since he has been snubbed in a few years, but with the absence of charmaine in line walker 3 its going to be difficult. I think he should have won it in 2014.

      8. @potatochip amelia rhapsody wont air this year. According to the list, the remaining drama of 2020 should be the following. On-lie game (mat and samantha) , ratman to the rescue (sammy leung and priscilla wong) , Al cappucino (vincent and owen) Chinatown (ruco and natalie) , Line walker 3 (raymond) , Buddie do big things (bobby and joe) and legal mavericks 2 (vincent and sisley)

      9. @bubbles23 agree, wayne is always a contender, the rest of the year line up are decent. Really looking forward for the return of bobby and joe.

      10. @scre ohhh yeah , so many series with big cast yet to air. If LW3 airs, then maybe they won’t air AR2020 (but they finished that in May) So basically we have Wayne, Shaun, LF as the frontrunners. Then Shaun won’t have a chance if LW3 airs :$

      11. @jcc10 I agree, but don’t think he is winning this year since he won it last year and I thought the exorcist meter 1 was better than the second one.

      12. @bubbles23 Line walker 3 is airing this year. This year tvb is ending with some great series(hopefully). Don’t think Shaun will be top 5 this year, I believe to be able to get top 5 popularity and ratings are important. Brutally young wasn’t really high rated and he hasn’t got the popularity if you compare with kenneth or wayne, since he is still considered ”young” in tvb, I believe actors such as (raymond, vincent, bobby,kenneth,moses,wayne,ruco) are more likely to get top 5 this year than shaun.

      1. @xrc56 Not necessarily. If LW3 gets Best actor for LF and maybe some other my favourites awards, Best Drama could go to another major production. Ofc it’s still too early to tell if Death By Zero has a good story to be in the running.
        @scre yeah Shaun is out of luck despite basically having a breakthrough role in BY. Generally tvb is always late at awarding their artistes. Also why tf are they airing Sammy and Priscilla’s drama at primetime? It alrdy aired overseas so long ago and honestly one of those waste of resources filler drama

  2. Yeah still. Not watching. Katy Kung’s stylist needs to be fired. Gives me nightmares.

      1. @oligodendrocytes

        Not at all, TVB gives a similar style to every assassin in evey drama they’ve ever created. The stereotypes are so off the charts.

  3. I am really enjoying this so far. All the characters, except Katy’s, are fun and likeable. Not much story yet, but lots of charm in this series.

  4. Mo, Wayne, Elena, Timothy are definitely the highlights of the series. Sam and Ali are okay, but the other supporting characters drag the series down. Katy’s acting is so psychotic whereas Louisa Mak is pretty horrendous. I’m so glad she has a normal job now and won’t torture us with her grandma face and bad acting.

  5. I’ll be trying 2 episodes tonight. If this can’t hold a candle to kdrama, it’s good night Irene.

  6. Two decent dramas already this yr, nice to see TVB picking up the quality.

    Exorcist Meter 2 and now Death by Zero are fun and fast-paced dramas that actually managed to keep my attention. Well done.

  7. I think it’s still crap

    Best series so far is Life after Death this year…

    Priscilla Wong will get best actress nomination, depending on what other series is coming, she is leading contender to win so far…

    As for best actor, nothing outstanding this year so far…
    Probably Moses Chan at this moment…

    1. @mulder99 I think this series is decent, think the ratings will be quite high considering the strong cast. Imo wayne acting is better than moses in this series. But don’t think any of them will win best actor.

      As for best actress, priscilla will probably get nominated for best actress, but don’t think she is winning due to the fact that imo she is not a top tier actress. If this series keeps up Ali may have a chance to win it due to her popularity and decent acting skills.
      Mandy wong is also another actress that might get nominated.

      1. @scre
        Mandy Wong will nominated but both her characters in exorcist meter and brutally young wasn’t really a stretch.
        Ali will get nominated as well, but she already won and she’s only being unfrozen.
        Priscilla’s acting is great in Life after death, she showcases a range of emotions in the series, plus she’ never won before , her acting in this series compared to her previous series has improved heaps…

      2. @mulder99 great point. Priscilla acting in life after death is quite good. Selena may also get nominated for forensic heroes due to the high ratings, but she is not winning because the series was really boring. I think the only way she has a chance of winning best actress is Barrack o’Karma. The remaining series of the year, Sisley choi is the only actress that may get nominated (if legal mavericks and line walker 3 does well) even though her acting skills aren’t great.
        Joey Meng may also get nominated for the series later this year, but I am afraid isn’t going to since she left tvb already.

      3. @scre @mulder99 Priscilla is definitely TVB’s A list tier actress. She’s been the first lead since the year she debuted pretty much. Life After Death is a very touching drama but tvb tends to not award those. Depends if anyone gets more hype than her leading up to December. I don’t mind her winning but if I were Selena that’s gotta hurt. Selena’s acting is way stronger even tho Fishwong improved so much. Also Ali won’t win BA cries* becuase tvb is bitter. Sisley could be the surprise…

      4. @bubbles23 not a big fan of sisley. This year category for best actress is definitely one of the worst. I think Priscilla role in Life after Death has been good. I think the rest was/will be mediocre or below average.
        A lot of times tvb best actor and best actresses award winners don’t deserve it, but they win because of the popularity or high rated drama and not because of their acting skills. I am afraid that this year is going to happen to Priscilla.

      5. @scre It gets worse every year right? Lol. Like when the noms come out you just kinda know who’s gonna win, like last year. Sisley doesn’t have that big celeb look, maybe cause she’s young idk. You mean someone from a hyped drama will win instead of Priscilla? I always find that TVB is late at awarding a breakthrough because they have a last minute veteran shows up and one-ups everyone, but hopefully this year we get more breakthroughs for some competition

      6. @bubbles23 what I mean is that most of the time a series with strong cast usually gets best actress or best actor. But I think Priscilla got a chance this year( because this year competition is quite weal) What do you think about best actor?

      7. @scre hopefully Priscilla and then Selena next year (my wish is for Selena to be recognized haha) If Line Walker 3 airs then its definitely going to Raymond Lam. I doubt TVB will let Wayne win a fourth time (crazy!!) even if he outdoes himself once again. Vincent, Kenneth, Ruco will be in the running just because.

        Moses was awesome in My Ages Apart and had great chemistry with everyone. But in DBZ idk why he still needs to say random English words out of tone like rIgHttttt? it’s getting redundant.

      8. @bubbles23 Raymond is definitely the favorite, but I afraid with such a strong cast in Line Walker 3 it may not live up to the hype. Don’t see Wayne winning this year with this series (even though he is doing a good job at it) he is better of with period dramas. I think Bobby might be a surprise candidate, since he is always a fan favorite, he does quite well in investigations dramas and always has high ratings in his dramas but since his contract ended he probably won’t get nominated. (he is one of the few who can still act left in TVB)

        Don’t see Vincent winning again with legal mavericks.
        Kenneth won last year, so he probably won’t win this year.
        Ruco Chinatown doesn’t look that good, basically another fist within four walls with no nancy.
        I think moses got a higher chance of winning with AR2020 next year.

      9. @scre Thanks for the info about the schedule above. At this point, I think Raymond Lam is the most likely to win Best Actor, but Wayne should be a contender due to his talent. I think Vincent, Moses and maybe Kenneth will round out the top 5. Perhaps Shaun as a dark horse. Bobby should be there because he’s always great, but Tvb overlooks him. I feel Ruco has fallen out of favor, but Chinatown is probably undeserving anyways. Joe and Kenneth just won, so they won’t win again. Joel hasn’t hit elite status yet. Benjamin Yuen also seems like he was pushed back.

        Next year, with Vincent and Kara being in the DID storyline, he would be hard to beat.

        For actresses, I think it is between Priscilla and Mandy. Mandy is due for the award and will be in Line Walker 3. Is Priscilla going to be in LW3 too? Sisley, Rebecca and either Katy or Ali will be top 5. Ali if she is unfrozen completely. Perhaps Kelly Cheung if TVB wants to promote her more.

        I may be cynical, but it is sad that my predictions are based more on Tvb favorites than actual performances.

      10. @potatochip both Priscilla and Ben are in LW3. And yup, Ben probably keeps thinking it’s his turn soon but he’s been pushed back in line for a while. Ben, Joel, and Shaun are probs what you’d call “next in line” except LF is coming back to claim his prize. I didn’t know Mandy is in LW3. That means she will have a very high chance of winning if she’s a major character. I agree that 2021 will be Vincent’s year especially if LM2 is returning.

      11. @potatochip Don’t think both moses and wayne are getting nominated for DBZ, I think only one will make the cut, and I think it will be Wayne due to better acting skills. I was just wondering if Raymond Lam is on a permanent contract with Tvb or just came back for LW3.

        Mandy Priscilla and Sisley are all on LW3, this series can be decisive on who wins Best Actress.

        Next year tvb series are expected to be really good. I believe these are the following series airing in 2021.

        Children’s Hospital -Kevin, Kenneth, Linda and Catherine
        Barrack o’karma 2 – Joel and Selena
        DID – Vincent, Kara, Phillip, Benjamin and Mandy
        Armed Reaction 2020- Moses and Jessica
        Super Messenger- Ruco, Natalie, Joel
        White Men Duel 2 – Roger, Kenneth, Moses, Nancy, Natalie. (they are only going to start filming in november this year, which means it may air end 2021 or early 2022.
        There is a rumour saying Wayne is going to film a series in september with Owen, which it may be the sequel of Gloves Comes Off back in 2012 with Kevin and Raymond Wong.

      12. @scre Gloves Come Off was Selena’s first drama as lead. Imagine her returning ohoho (impossible I know).
        I could say it again, I can’t believe Ali got dropped from Big White Duel 2. Natalie is such a bore you can practically replace her with a pet rock.

        I just wished tvb had an award for best scriptwriter/editing. That could be contested between Brutally Young and Life After Death.

      13. @bubbles23 A lot of people are really excited for selena return on Barrack o karma. She was unlucky that kara returned last year, otherwise she would have won best actress. Hope the sequel doens’t disappoint. I am most excited for kara vincent and phillip next year, people also called it detective investigations files V, but it doesnt look like it about solving cases. White Men Duel 2 is going to be interesting, nancy and moses are on the cast, but don’t think they should of got rid of ali, instead it should have been natalie (she can’t act)

      14. @scre how sad she even had to share her Character award with Mariam out of politeness on TVB’s part.
        Also hands down on Yoyo winning BSA. Her acting isn’t too far off from her other half.
        No one’s gonna be mentioning FH4 by the end of the year. Has Roxanne won any award before? Cause then wouldn’t she win Most Improved? Katy’s got her eye on BA, but I don’t think her acting and fan support is there for her to be a competitor.

      15. @bubbles23 don’t think roxanne has ever won any awards, Don’t think she is winning most improved because the two series she was on wasn’t good at all. (FH4, Airport Strikers) but since she is dating kenneth, I won’t be suprised if she wins it because of her popularity

        Don’t think katy kung can win BA, she is BSA at best.

      16. @scre @bubbles23 I don’t really like Moses’s acting, and I don’t think his performance should or will win an award. But he and Ali have such amazing chemistry that makes him really pop and enjoyable to watch. It’s been a long time since TVB has had a couple that compatible.

        Perhaps, it is because I am in the medical field, but Big White Duel was so dull and unbelievable. I did like Ali’s storyline, and they should have had her die of her illness instead of that terrible cliffhanger. I don’t have high hopes for a sequel.

        Actually, I am probably expressing an unpopular opinion, but Kenneth isn’t believable as a brilliant doctor. He tends to have this spacey, goofy look. He’s very likeable in more lighthearted roles, but serious dramas is not his strong suit. I am not looking forward to him in 2 hospital dramas next year.

        I am excited for Vincent, Kara and Phillip. Phillip should have won Best Actor for The Defected.

      17. @potatochip after getting the Mo-Ali pairing it’s harder to believe him paired with another love interest. I have the same opinion as you lol. I think Kenneth won last year partly because of pity due to the scandal and partly because he has been nominated so many times it was finally his turn. See, if the old crop of leads Bosco, Ron , LF if they hadn’t left I’m almost certain they’d all win before him.
        Kenneth hasn’t reinvented himself since oncall36. Always that same look and tone. I’m going to go as far to say that he was cringeworthy in Flying Tiger 2 and just filled time. At least Philip is a well known film actor. Everyone knows his acting is top tier.

      18. @potatochip @bubbles23 Moses and Ali chemistry kind of reminds me of me of moses and charmaine. They can win best oncreen couple this year.
        Kenneth overall acting skills is just ok, he gets more credit than he deserves because of his popularity.

        Not really a big fan of vincent acting skills, Kara and Phillip are good.

      19. @bubbles23
        FH 4, was a decent series. But Selena’s role wasn’t that outstanding. Roxanne Tong actually was more impressive and I think she will get a best supporting actress nomination. She will fight it out with a Katy Kung for this along with Yo-yo Chen.

      20. @mulder99 FH 4 was really boring and disappointing. Roxanne was the only decent one on the series. Katy kung won BSA in 2016, don’t think she is winning again. Yoyo chen is the favorite, she did a great job at life after death.

      21. @scre I agree with you, FH4 was horrible. I cant stand Sisley’s acting. I know she tries to improve, but in every series, the way she stares while saying her lines is unnatural.

    2. @mulder99 I have many conflicting feelings about Life After Death. I definitely think there was a lot of potential with the script but ultimately, it fell flat due to some of the extra fluff and inconsistent acting.

      Will agree that Priscilla has improved but why is she always so…out of breath in this?? Its like she’s always struggling with her breathing and/or whispering at the same time.

      Also, I feel like Shiga isn’t a very good actress. She’s doing a bit better in the past few episodes but some scenes just feel so…unnnatural.

      1. @scarlett013 I actually love the interactions that Shiga has with everyone. It feels so genuine that sometimes she outshines Priscilla, or maybe it’s cause her character is less sad than Pris. I mean, it’s a melodrama after all. I actually find the script above average. And yeah Pris still needs work on that breathy voice but for this role it was ok

      2. @scarlett013 shiga is better in the last few episodes but her character is annoying. The relationship with mark’s character could be so much better but the way her character is written is annoying.

        Priscilla shows a different side to her acting with this character so that will prob get her a nom but it was meh. The whole series was okay, I had higher hopes.

      3. @scarlett013 Life After Death started off strong, but became draggy. Priscilla’s emotions are on point, but the way she says her lines is bad.

        Shiga is a little bit stiff. I havent watched her movies, so i cant tell if the stiffness is due to her acting or role. However, her voice is nice & speaking is clear. This is also her first time acting in drama and she’s not bad at all.

    3. @mulder99 Truthfully I’m hoping TVB will do a twist like they did for Best Supporting Actor last year and give it to someone on Lo and Behold, especially considering none of the dramas this year have been outstanding and all of the actors/actresses have been decent but not amazing as well. I’ve been catching up on a lot of episodes for Lo and Behold lately and am pleased to see that the acting in the sitcom is actually quite good! Personally I hope to see the cast there getting more recognition for their work.

  8. Enjoying Death By Zero so far although I can’t say I was super tuned in the first two episodes. It is picking up though.

    Wayne Lai’s character and portrayal here basically mirrors his Journey to the West piggy character but in modern-day and as an assassin. That said, I find him fun to watch and he has good chemistry with all of his co-stars so far INCLUDING Louisa Mak, whom I actually dislike watching. I thought she actually did very well in her confrontation scene with Wayne and that may have been the best scene she’s had in her career thus far.

    Moses and Ali remain one of my favorite on-screen couples and I seriously would ship them in real life if Moses and Aimee never happened and if Ali were also single. Moses does well in his light-hearted/comedy roles and Zero reminds me of two of my favorite Mose’s roles ever (Kelvin Siu in Family Man and Duk Duk Dei in Heart of Greed).

    Ali is also great in comedy and so far, she’s giving a realistic portrayal of a little c9 who doesn’t have her crap together. I do feel like there’s a lack of screen time on her part though. I wonder if any of her scenes got cut due to her being (wrongfully) frozen.

    I know that Katy Kung has a lot of haters but I genuinely find her to be a decent actress. She probably is a little shady in real life but I have found her to be convincing in roles – good or villainous.

    Samantha Ko, though I could do without. I find her mediocre at best.

    1. @scarlett013
      I’m on episode 4 on death by zero , I’ll try to persist with it once life after death is finished tonight, as the replacement series next week with Matt Yeung as lead is not enticing

      1. @mulder99 matt yeung acting isn’t bad at all. Considering he has been with tvb for 20 years, its a shame that tvb doesn’t give a opportunity with better roles.

    2. @scarlett013 Glad I’m not the only one who ships Moses & Ali hard. I also love Duk Duk Dei! I havent heard anything about Ali’s scenes getting cut.

      1. @luye you’re not alone they make a very lovable couple. I watched snippets of their scenes in My Ages Apart today and it makes me squeal. Their chemistry is off the charts and so believable

  9. Enjoying this drama so far. Good drama with interesting characters. Good & strong cast such as wayne, moses, ali & not forgetting Elena as Lulu.

    Life after death, watchable. Priscilla may stand high chance for best actress for this role.

    I’m guessing TVB will air Line Walker 3 end of the year & Best actor to LF. But I’m a little doubtful about LF without charmaine. He did well in LW1 mainly the great chemistry with Charmaine.

    1. @bennyjr After watching tonight’s episode of life after death, Priscilla is a strong contender for sure.

      I’m happy with either LF winning best actor or Vincent but Vincent would have to blow it out of the freaking water with legal mavericks. With Kelly as a co star, I’m not too sure about that. Unfortunate because I love Vincent’s acting.

      1. @tt23 I’m supporting Vincent than LF. Legal Maverick will likely to air next year. Vincent chemistry with his co stars are generally good. But was disappointed Ali was replaced, not keen with Kelly.

      2. @bennyjr Legal Mavericks is airing by the end of the year. Don’t think is going to be better than the first one with Ali out of the cast.

      3. @bennyjr @scre I hope it airs this year! Been waiting for it all year.

        And You’re right – he’s usually good with costars. But very very disappointed that Ali was dropped from the show. Loved her character

Comments are closed.