Why 'A Model Family' Should Be Your Next Netflix Obsession

A Model Family Mobeomgajok Dong-ha Jung Woo Netflix
NARDA / Netflix

A tight pickle, a reckless choice, and a string of stunning disclosures help define “A Model Family” (“Mobeomgajok”) Netflix recently released the Korean drama, which has already sent this viewer’s pulse racing. Season 1 follows, Dong-ha (a brilliant Jung Woo), a college professor who risked everything on a bribe to secure the tenure he had earned.

Unfortunately for Dong-ha, the move completely backfired. His wife is on the verge of leaving him, and most upsetting, his son needs a life-saving heart transplant. While all of this is terrible for Dong-ha, it is a tremendous backdrop for “A Model Family” to forge Season 1. So, as the entire world crashes in on Dong-ha, a minivan of all things, crashes into the back of his sedan.

The weary dad soon discovers a van filled with murder victims and a bag of cash, a lot of money. Hot on his trail is ganster, Gwang-cheol (the ever-charismatic Park Hee-soon, “My Name”). If you think he won “Squid Game” without hurting or watching anyone else suffer, think again. Dong-ha is in for a rough time and far from having the money firmly in his grip despite it being in his possession.

Unlike many other movies and TV shows that explore the premise, “A Model Family” Season 1 acknowledges that quite a few strings come with finding “easy” money. Hence, this is the most realistic portrayal of that aspect this viewer has seen. In contrast to how “Money Heist” depicts it, getting the cash here is the easy part. It is shuffling into it the deck that is the hard part.

Most shows would coast on that aspect alone, but “A Model Family” ups the ante with each episode. At its core, the series is about family. Those that are average, criminal, and in law enforcement. How these familial units play against and with each other is a dynamic that never grows stale. Its timeless place in narrative structure is indicative of why it is such a rich “model” to navigate.

There is no going wrong with a classic motif, which brings us to the constant hustle of the Byrdes on “Ozark.” Did you enjoy that? How about the terrific twists of the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite”? If the answer to one or both of those questions is “yes,” - you will undoubtedly find yourself at home with “A Model Family.” It is slick with lots of intriguing layers. Join the family.

Season 1 of “A Model Family” (“Mobeomgajok”) is currently streaming on Netflix alongside many other intriguing TV crime thrillers.