‘The Bequeathed’ Ending Explained & Series Summary: Was Mr Kim’s Mother The Killer?


The Bequeathed, or Seon-san, is a new Korean thriller drama series on Netflix that is satisfyingly grim and dark in many senses, even though it is not entirely a police procedural affair. The show presents Yoon Seo-ha, a woman who suddenly finds out about a family inheritance after the death of an uncle whom she had never known in life. However, this inheritance, which is a family burial ground, gives rise to more mystery than answers, as a string of subsequent deaths follow, and a very real threat to Seo-ha’s own life is also felt. Overall, The Bequeathed is a nice and entertaining show with a dark secret at its crux and is good to watch for its short six-episode format.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What is the Netflix Korean series about?

The Bequeathed begins on one dusky evening as an old man walks through open fields that seemingly belong to him. The man is disgruntled and angry at someone, though, as he cusses at them under his breath in a drunken slur that has been caused by the bottle of alcohol in his hand. But before he can get to any shelter, the man starts to have a fit, with a sharp pain shooting up in his chest, and he starts to have visions of some ritualistic cleansing event, seemingly from his past. Without anybody around to help him, the old man falls to the ground and dies, and his body is found only the next morning by the local villagers. The man is identified by the police as Yoon Myung-gil, and as he has no wife or children, the closest known kin is contacted after his death.

This closest contact is a woman named Yoon Seo-ha, a part-time college lecturer by profession, and she is bewildered to receive the call from the police. Seo-ha’s mother had been separated from her father, leading to the woman having no contact with her father after she was seven or eight, and since Myung-gil was the younger brother of her father, she did not know of this uncle’s existence either. Therefore, Seo-ha finds it awkward when she is asked to come down to the village of Jinseong-ri and identify her uncle’s body. She is then also informed by the police that the man’s only property, the vast family burial ground, is now an inheritance for her since there is no other successor in the family.

Seo-ha is unsure what to do with this new property of hers, even though her husband, Yang Jae-seok, is excited about this new wealth that the couple will have. But the marriage is not at a good place either, as Seo-ha’s suspicions that her husband had been having an affair with a client had just been confirmed by the private detective she had hired. Seo-ha soon runs out of patience, and she confronts Jae-seok about his infidelity, abandoning him on the road near Jinseong-ri village. In a strange twist, Jae-seok is shot dead that very night, leading to a stretch of some very tense days for Yoon Seo-ha.

Who is Kim Yeong-ho?

When Seo-ha and her husband hosted the memorial service for Myung-gil in the village, a young man, who is introduced as Kim Yeong-ho, visited the place and caused a ruckus. This is because Yeong-ho claims himself to be a stepbrother of Seo-ha and, therefore, entitled to the burial ground as well. He makes it very clear that he wants the burial ground for himself, and it initially seems like Yeong-ho would go to any limits to achieve this personal goal. Myung-gil’s elder brother, Yoon Myung-ho, had started a new family after his separation from Seo-ha’s mother, and Yeong-ho was his son from this marriage. When the police investigation progresses, it is revealed that Myung-ho had moved away from the city with Yeong-ho when the latter was still a child, and they had taken shelter at Gyeongamsa Temple, where the boy seemingly took training in occult religious practices. In short, Yeong-ho appears terribly stunted in social interactions, as he seems to be suffering from some mental troubles, too, making it evident that he did not have a very healthy childhood. Thus, Seo-ha feels threatened by the man’s presence around her every time, and she is also certain that it is he who must have killed her husband. When the police investigate Jae-seok’s murder, they look at his wife as a suspect as well, because, after all, Seo-ha had just had a huge argument with him, ending their marriage. There was also the fact that Jae-seok had claimed his part in the burial ground property as the legal husband of Seo-ha, and so the woman could have eliminated him because of this.

However, these suspicions are cleared off, and instead, Kim Yeong-ho, looks like the lead suspect in the murder of his stepsister’s husband. The young man goes around committing some strange acts as well, one of which is to draw some occult figures on the door of Seo-ha’s apartment, that too using chicken blood. When questioned about this act by the police, the man admits to having drawn the figures, but only as a protective charm for his sister. He keeps claiming that he has no intentions of hurting Seo-ha, but Yeong-ho’s presence in almost each of the suspicious spots makes his intentions look rather doubtful.

When Seo-ha realizes that the police have been unable to find any concrete evidence against Yeong-ho and would, therefore, let him leave, she appoints her own measures against him. Seo-ha hires the same private detective she had earlier taken the help of, Kang Hong-sik, to spy on her stepbrother. Kang is expected to find out what exactly Yeong-ho wants and also to find any evidence against him in the process, which would get the stepbrother behind bars. In the process, Kang introduces Seo-ha to a friend of his named Hong Jin-ho, who is, to say the least, a shady character. Jin-ho owns a building that he wants to sell, stating that he needs the money for his daughter’s wedding, and he and Kang target Seo-ha to be the buyer since she has recently inherited the burial ground, which she would surely sell off and would therefore have quite some money in her hands. When Jin-ho learns that Yeong-ho is posing a problem in the burial ground issue by claiming his share in it, the businessman appoints Kang to go to the man’s house and teach him a lesson. But this backfires when Kang is shot dead as well.

How did Myung-gil die?

The first mystery in The Bequeathed is with regards to the death of the old man at the beginning, Yoon Myung-gil. When the police detective, Choi Seong-joon, looks into the matter, he suspects that the death was not from any natural cause but had a dark secret behind it. The village of Jinseong-ri was like any usual village at first glance, but the residents of the place also suffered from great financial struggles. Thus, they were elated when a company proposed to build a golf course at the place, since such a construction would bring in business for all the local shops and enterprises. However, the setback to this golf course was, as expected, a resilient Myung-gil, who refused to give up his family lands for it. The project had to be halted, and this financially hurt the village chief, Yuk Sung-soo, who had investments in it. Therefore, the chief, together with his college friend and a worker for the construction company, Kim Kwang-soo, had planned the murder of Myung-gil, so that they could buy off his land. Since Sung-soo lived in close proximity to their target, he mixed thallium in the old man’s makgeolli drink, which poisoned Myung-gil and killed him. As remains of thallium are found in his body and in the bottle next to him, and stocks of it are found inside one of the abandoned buildings from the golf course construction, the case is easily solved. Sung-soo is arrested by the police, and the village chief is jailed for the murder.

What had happened between Choi Seong-joon and Park Sang-min?

The two police officers leading the entire case in The Bequeathed also have some trouble between them, stemming from their past. At present, Park Sang-min is the officer leading the department, while Choi Seong-joon is a detective working under him, but the hierarchy had been just the opposite in the past. Choi had been the lead while Park worked under him, but the two were nonetheless very good friends. However, a personal tragedy in Choi’s life ruined this friendship when his wife died from a natural cause at their house.

Their son, Jun-hyung, was also present at the time, but as he had been listening to loud music over headphones, the boy did not realize that his mother was sick and dying. The desolate Choi considered this utter carelessness on his son’s part, and the relationship between the two greatly soured after this. Choi pushed Jun-hyung away mentally and emotionally, and this affected the boy tremendously since he had already held himself responsible for his mother’s death. As a result, Jun-hyung started hanging out with a group of delinquents, and one night, the teenagers kept the boy hostage, threatening to harm him if Choi did not personally come down to save him. Their cruel plan was to make the boy stab his own father to death.

However, on that fateful night, Choi had left his phone in Park’s car, and when the latter saw the threatening messages on this phone, he immediately rushed to the place to save the life of his friend’s son. Park was misidentified as Choi by the delinquents, and Jun-hyung went on to stab the man violently, leading to a leg getting tremendously damaged. Jun-hyung was sentenced to five years in juvenile prison for the crime, and Choi refused to keep any contact with his son. On the other side, Park was not only maimed for the rest of his life, but his marriage also failed after the incident. Park held Choi responsible for his fate for some time, but the man also realized that blaming Jun-hyung was not a smart thing to do. Choi, meanwhile, could never get over the guilt of this incident, and this ruined the friendship between the two men.

By the end of The Bequeathed, though, Choi and Park mend their broken relationship after a lengthy confrontation between the two police officers. Park had developed an inferiority complex after the incident, and he firmly believed that Choi still exercised the power of a superior officer, even though he actually held the position. The matter is solved only when the two officers come together to investigate the case, and this, in turn, fixes Choi’s relationship with his son as well.

Who was the real killer, and what was their motive?

As the series progresses towards its end, the real secret at the heart of The Bequeathed and also the Yoon family is revealed. While nobody really knew who Myung-ho’s second wife, meaning the mother of Kim Yeong-ho, was, it is this individual who becomes most important in the case. When the police find DNA evidence on Yang Jae-seok’s body, it is certified to be of someone who is related to Yeong-ho on his mother’s side and to Seo-ha on her father’s side. The mystery of this weird familial mix-up is revealed when detective Choi visits the Yoon family’s old neighbors. Myung-ho and Myung-gil were not the only siblings, but they also had a younger sister named Myung-hee. The girl had been born with a cleft palate, and because of this, she was terribly bullied by people around her.

It was the elder brother, Myung-ho, who always protected Myung-hee, and in the process, the two developed a twisted, incestuous relationship. Although Myung-ho got married and also had a daughter, Seo-ha, his love for his sister never went away, and after this marriage failed, he moved in with Myung-hee. Kim Yeong-ho was actually a child of incest, as his parents were actually siblings. Myung-hee is actually still alive, and she is the one to have killed Jae-seok and Kang. Everyone knew the woman as Myung-gil’s neighbor, and Detective Choi had even met her at the beginning of the series.

As a member of the Yoon family, Yeong-ho definitely had the right to claim the family burial ground, and Myung-hee pushed him towards getting the property, solely out of sentiments towards the family. However, she knew that Yeong-ho could not tell anyone his real identity, as she had faced tremendous persecution from society because of the incestuous relationship. At the time, Myung-ho was faced with numerous ritualistic cleansings, and Myung-hee also had to go away with her young son, and at present, the woman did not want her son to face similar persecution. Thus, she stayed behind the scenes and killed anyone who posed a threat to him and his claim to the inheritance. Jae-seok was one such threat, since he wanted the burial ground to be sold, so he was killed by the woman. Later on, the private detective Kang had found a photograph of young Yeong-ho with his parents, and if shown around, this would have revealed the secret. Thus, Myung-hee had killed the man as well.

How Did Myung-hee Die?

During The Bequeathed’s ending, Myung-hee kidnaps Seo-ha in order to remove her from Yeong-ho’s path to owning the burial ground. But on the other side, Jin-ho’s men had also kidnapped Yeong-ho and intended to kill him so that Seo-ha could sell the ground and invest the money in his business. This leads to Myung-hee taking Seo-ha to the factory where Yeong-ho is held captive, and the old woman tries to shoot down the men there. But in the process, Seo-ha and Yeong-ho are both buried alive inside a kiln, while Myung-hee desperately tries to save her son.  During this time, Choi cleverly found out the location of this factory from Myung-hee, and the entire police force also arrived at the location. Jin-ho and his men are ultimately arrested, while Seo-ha and Yeong-ho are able to get out of the kiln, helped by Myung-hee. However, the old woman realizes that she will be arrested and punished for the murders, and she walks into the burning kiln, killing herself. 

What Happens To Seo-ha And Yeong-ho?

Although the two step siblings survive, Seo-ha reveals at a later time that she is not really in contact with the man. It is highly unlikely that the siblings will ever be in touch later in life, for the woman is definitely not someone to be attached to family. She had earlier stated how her family had only given her grief and despair, and so she would prefer to live on by herself. In the end, Seo-ha also tells Choi that she has decided not to sell the burial ground at the moment as a mark of respect for the Yoon family. She is also seen burying the remains of Myung-hee together with those of her father’s, suggesting that she decides to accept their incestuous love, even though society had rejected the sibling-lovers.

What Happens To Detective Choi?

The Bequeathed‘s ending also shows Choi visiting his son in prison for the first time since the boy’s imprisonment. This marks a great change in Choi, who finally realizes that he too was at fault for the crime that the boy had committed. Park’s confrontation earlier had made him understand that young Jun-hyung needed the love and support of his father and not the wrath of a police detective. Finally, his life is bettered by this entire experience, and his bonds with both his son, Jun-hyung, and his old friend, Park, are healed back to normalcy.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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