Boasting powerhouse acting, Murder Diary <刑偵日記> attempts to break new ground in the Hong Kong crime genre, but can be confusing for the casual viewer not used to watching dramas with hawk eyes. Despite the cast of Kara Hui (惠英紅), Vincent Wong (王浩信), Philip Keung (姜皓文), Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪), and Mandy Wong (黃智雯), first week viewership ratings disappointed at 17.5 points.
Cast Delivers Top-notch Performances
Portraying a character with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Vincent plays a role that few actors can pull off. The two-time Best Actor brings both his personalities to life, with clearly differentiated speech patterns, habits, and aura.
Kara’s nuanced acting is always a joy to watch, and all her emotional scenes as a schizophrenic are layered and convincing. She even surpasses her own performance as a ruthless police official in The Defected <鐵探>.
Another surprise is Benjamin, who plays a psychiatrist and is able to bring the character to life through his tone and expressions. While Philip’s character did not make an entrance in the first five episodes yet, his normally explosive acting is expected to take the drama to new heights.
An Intricate Crime Setup
While the performances are top notch, Murder Diary seems to have lost some viewers by choosing to take a path less taken. If it were to follow a more straightforward plot similar to police dramas such as The Defected <鐵探> or Sinister Beings <逆天奇案> focusing on the whodunnit aspect in independent cases, Murder Diary would have likely received high viewership ratings.
However, Murder Diary features more intricate storytelling with interconnected cases. Although it already disclosed the identity of the Final Boss very early on in the third episode, chilling details are slowly exposed as the drama focuses on the crime setup which is the soul of every good mystery.
Unlike previous TVB dramas, where characters are usually introduced in a straightforward manner with many descriptors, Murder Diary takes its time to flesh out complex characters. Due to some characters suffering mental illnesses, their motives and actions add to the perplexity of the crime drama where traditional logic does not apply.
Murder Diary takes a bold step away from tropes found in classic TVB crime dramas, which may lose traditional viewer demographics, but it is a necessary change as the station attempts to gain more traction in international markets.
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.