Netflix’s Taiwanese miniseries The Victims’ Game <是被害者> is well-received for its thrilling scenes while incorporating realistic investigative details. Since Taiwan has limited expertise in producing investigative dramas, producers Hank Tseng (曾瀚賢) and Phil Tang (湯昇榮) shared the challenges in the production process.
Moving away from the common Taiwanese idol drama genre, the producers of The Victim’s Game wanted to create a drama to push new boundaries. They shared, “The drama is a bit like other Taiwanese dramas that have different themes, such as Wake Up <麻醉風暴> and Long’s Day Journey into Light <出境事務所>. Since these dramas found success, we are following their waves.”
Another reason the producers filmed the series is to address the rise of mental illnesses as a result of Taiwan’s societal transformation over the years. While the producers believed that Taiwan had made good progress, there are gaps in mental illness, which they hoped the drama can offer viewers a different perspective.
Challenges in Filming
Since there are limited Taiwanese suspense dramas, Hank Tseng and Phil Tang had to overcome many difficulties in the production process, but felt this was a necessary learning curve to open up more opportunities in the genre.
The producers shared, “In fact, I sometimes admire Hong Kong, which has a lot of rich and diverse types of dramas that offer material for creators. Taiwan has limited experience in filming these dramas and so, we need to set up a system. We had to do some field research, including speaking with the police, forensic scientists, and journalists. Since this type of genre is limited, our creativity space is relatively large and we have a lot of possibilities to try new things.”
Using Real-Life Cases as Inspiration
In the first episode of The Victim’s Game, the audience was horrified to see a realistic corpse and couldn’t help but wonder if it referenced a real murder case. While the producers admitted they drew inspiration from real life, they wanted to give faces to the deceased victims, “We hope the audience can feel and hear the victims’ voices through the drama. We hoped that these stories retain its authenticity. The news is one-sided and you do not know the backstory. So it’s a bit like writing the actual event and putting the focus to their stories.”
The production group spent a lot of effort to create special effects and realistic props. The production used pictures of bodies of different homicides for references. Recalling the amount of preparation and work that went into the drama, Hank and Phil said it took almost two years writing the script.
Actors Studying from Professionals
The producers credited lead star Joseph Chang (張孝全) for being enthusiastic to play a forensic investigator diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. While Joseph’s character is talented and clever, he has difficulty communicating with people.
The producers chose Joseph for the role because of his appearance, which they described as having “a hint of violence” underneath his wooden exterior. “He actually developed a very strong appeal with the audience.”
Praising the actor for his preparation, they said, “Before Joseph accepted the role, he was actually studying for the role for three months. He did a lot of homework and searched for symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome on the Internet.”
The producers continued, “Two months before the filming started, we began to seek professional guidance from actual forensic staff and they quickly helped Joseph. A month before shooting, Joseph went directly to the set to learn the actions when it is time to film. During filming, a police officer gave Joseph some advice. Joseph actually had a few stages of experience and that’s how he had the knowledge to play a [forensics investigator].”
This article is written by Sammi for JayneStars.com.