First, let me say thank you to everyone who voted in the Twitter poll to decide which BL to review first. I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything or talked about anything besides WHYRU, but I feel ready to tackle some new shows now.
I have been anticipating Manner of Death for a while now because I especially enjoy watching crime dramas. At its heart, Manner of Death is a crime/murder mystery with a non-heterosexual central pairing. I have only watched the first episode, but it seems similar to other shows I’ve watched previously. My favorites are Marcella, Luther, Dark, and Borderliner. I forgot to mention my absolute favorite one, which is Broadchurch. I realize my bar is set high, but I’m going into this with an open mind. Plus, I am excited to see a different scenario that doesn’t involve school uniforms.
Another reason for anticipation is the couple pairing. Max & Tul (“Max” Nattapol Diloknawarit & “Tul” Pakorn Thanasrivanitchai) are amazing together. They are comfortable with each other; they have an easy camaraderie & their on-screen chemistry sizzles. Max & Tul have been favorites of mine since Together with Me. I watched the show in the order everyone should, in my opinion. I began with Together with Me. Then I watched Together with Me, the Next Chapter, followed by Bad Romance, set in the middle of the two, but filmed first. It’s the weakest of all three, in my opinion.
What do we know about Manner of Death? It’s an adaptation of the novel with the same title by Sammons. The official English translation of the novel is available on MEB books. https://www.mebmarket.com/index.php?action=BookDetails&book_id=134258
Disclaimer : This will contain spoilers. Also this deals with heavy subject matter like rape, drug use and murder.
I have not read the novel as I didn’t want to have spoilers. I usually read the book, like Oxygen, first and then watch the show. But given that this is a murder mystery, I want to be surprised.
Here is the novel’s plot description: I’m paraphrasing the Google Translate version on the MEB site.
The Manner of Death is divided into five categories.
They are suicide, homicide, animal attack, an accident, or natural disease. These are key to investigating cases.
Dr. Bunnakit Songsakdina (Bun) is a forensic pathologist at a provincial hospital. He issues a ruling of what happened at the crime scene by identifying the cause of death. But his life is changed forever after being called to the scene about a hanged woman’s death.
His job is to listen to what the corpse is telling him.
Chookiat Sakveerakul, nicknamed Ma-Deaw or Matthew, directs the show. He is a film director and screenwriter, born in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has many directing credits under his belt; the one most associated with the bl world is the movie Dew.
We begin with Bun as he is driving through the sleepy town in the northern region he’d left 15 years earlier called Viang Pha Mork. He recently transferred there from bustling Bangkok.
When he arrives at the crime scene, he seems comfortable with the routine procedures, such as putting on gloves & other protective covering. He looks around, making mental notes of things in the room as he is led to the body by an officer. He reminded me of Sherlock Holmes with his ability to take in information to process later. His skills of observation aid him in his job, I’m sure. I’m also sure his eidetic memory will be how he will solve this case in the end.
The body of a woman sits next to a hot tub with a noose around her neck. Dr. Bunn looks visibly shaken upon seeing her. Though she is cold and blue, there is no blood. Why is he shaken? As a forensic pathologist in Bangkok, we assume he’s seen his fair share of bodies in various scenarios and situations. To find the answer, we rewind five days in time.
Dr. Bunn tells us this story. We only have his point of view. As he drives to work, he talks about his love for this sleepy little hamlet and the quiet life. He’s moved back from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to be in this, his home town. He appreciates the slower pace of life. At least, that’s what he thinks.
A young woman wanders the streets. She is bleeding from under her dress. She collapses in the middle of the road, as blood pools around her. People try to help, but nothing can be done. We shift back to Bun as he suits up in scrubs, getting ready to examine her body.
His apprentice/intern, Oat, played by MD Nuttapong from My Engineer, helps him perform the autopsy on the young woman’s body. Bun asks Oat what his observations are, and we learn there are signs of uterus damage, but Oat missed the signs of needle marks and bite marks on the body. They run a toxicology screen on her as well to identify what drugs were in her system. Bun calmly says this is probably due to sexual abuse and drug use. I don’t understand why they didn’t perform a rape kit because if she had vaginal bleeding when she died from possible sexual trauma, there could be evidence. I’m sorry if that bothers some of you. I will put trigger warnings in the front of my post, so everyone will know it deals with sensitive subjects.
After autopsying, Bun is relaxing in the kitchen when a nurse asks him to speak to A reporter. He shows up to ask questions about the young woman and her death.
You can tell this reporter is used to getting his way. He asks for sensitive information about the case. And when Dr. Bun refuses, he offers him cash for information. He is surprised and insulted when Dr. Bun refuses to accept the bribe for information but leaves his card if Bun changes his mind.
Bun’s refusal to release information for money gives us a glimpse of his character, someone who has integrity and believes in going by the book not to screw up a case. I’m sure as he and Tan become embroiled in a relationship, it may become harder to remember what’s right and wrong. The reporter is eager for a scoop and willing to bribe officials, who may or may not have connections to the case.
We have Dr. Bun at a cafe, looking out at this beautiful idyllic village and mountain. It’s so peaceful I can almost feel myself relaxing by watching him sit there.
He is interrupted by the two inspectors who approach him. The main one is Inspector M and his partner Inspector Gun. They chitchat about the case, and Bun gives them a heads up that if the toxicology report comes back with drugs in her system, it will become their case.
The inspectors are aware that Bun lived in the area before. It leads to a discussion about how much the town has changed and grown. They offer to take him out & show him the nightlife. He takes a rain check, as he has plans, but they agree to go out the next night. We see that he’s meeting an old friend for dinner, Jane.
Jane is one of those childhood friends Bun left behind but was someone with whom he was going to reconnect. He’s happy to see her, and she’s delighted to catch up with him as well. Soon after greeting each other, she returns a book she borrowed in middle school. It’s the original Hans Christian Anderson tale The Little Mermaid. He’s surprised she kept the book, but there is a little mermaid keychain on her purse. It must have impacted her as she talks about how tragic the mermaid is because she dies in the end – maybe some foreshadowing right here. Also, Bun makes a mental note about the keychain. Whatever he focuses on, I’m sure, will be important details for later.
She’s a local high school teacher. She tells Bun that the teen he autopsied was her student and felt like she had failed the student. Jane looks troubled by this, but when pressed about the matter, changes topics. She isn’t ready or willing to share her concerns about the situation with Bun. They have a pleasant, relaxing meal. They smile while laughing and chatting away like the old friends they are.
The next day the director of the hospital pulls Bunn aside because he appears in the local news. The director warns him that this reporter likes to twists things and that the reporter has the community’s trust, so don’t get on his bad side. I wonder if the reporter has something on the director or if he is hiding something. Time will tell, I guess.
After class ends at school, Jane stares at Natty’s desk (the girl who died). She sees the reporter taking pictures of the desk. She orders him to leave, and he agrees, saying that he got what he came for. I was confused here. Wouldn’t any empty desk serve as a visual for the story? And how would this reporter know which desk was hers? Maybe these questions get answered, perhaps not, but it made me wonder.
Then we move on to Dr. Bun’s night out with the inspectors. We have Bun bumping into Tan outside the bar/club because he’s busy looking at his phone. Bun is immediately struck by how gorgeous Tan is. I don’t know if Bun is gay and out of the closet or this is his first attraction to a guy. Maybe he was out in Bangkok, a big city, but not in a rural town?
Bun joins M and Gun inside the club. They order him a special of the local drink, basically a flight of them (many shots in a row). A cute woman then whisks away the inspectors to catch up with them, leaving Bun alone with all the drinks. He downs one quickly, decides he likes it, then decides to let loose and enjoy himself. We see his vision double as he dances around to the thumping music, clearly drunk. He approaches the bar to order more drinks, slips and begins to fall.
Tan keeps him from slipping by catching him. The tension between the two of them stretches out until Bun pulls Tan in for a kiss.
Then Bun passes out.
He wakes up on his couch with a hangover. He gets to work and finds his assistant has videotaped him puking and stumbling as he attempts to carry Bun home. The inspectors called Oat to take care of Bun. Then we have Bun with slow reflexes gets the contents of a stomach splashed on him….yuck. I can’t imagine the smell. So Bun goes to take a shower. Now, here’s where I both roll my eyes and enjoy myself.
Since there are only ridiculous clothes to change into, Bun takes Oat to buy something suitable to wear. They buy clothes from a stall in a market area. Where I live, there are no stalls or shops like the one that Bun goes inside. I noticed that when I’ve traveled that a lot of countries have these. Maybe there are even some in parts of the US, but I’m from a biggish city, so if you want to shop, head to the Mall or one of Target or Walmart places.
After paying for his new clothes, he runs into Pued. Pued is also one of his childhood friends like Jane. They must have been a close-knit group of people because they all seem to greet each other as good friends do. Bun sees a watch on Pued’s arm, and it triggers a flashback to the nightclub and the kiss with Tan. He asks Pued about the watch saying it looked familiar, but Pued reassures him it’s an expensive, limited edition. This watch is another clue we should pay attention to. They will see each other at the director’s birthday party.
When Bun sees Jane approaching, his heart sinks. Tan, the man he kissed the night he was drunk, escorts Jane. She introduces them, and to Bun’s relief, Tan doesn’t mention their previous meeting. Tan is an investor in Jane’s school. Later we see Dr. Bun at the bar when Tan approaches.
The chemistry between Max and Tul is incredible. I have missed this. Very few BL couples manage to pull off this level of sexual tension believably.
It’s worth noting that Bun decides to come clean and admit that he can’t forget anything. I think it’s a nod to his photographic memory. Tan also admits to remembering what happened between them. And as the two gaze at each other, we hear a couple arguing as they are coming closer.
Jane speaks loudly and sharply to Pued, demanding that he let her go. Pued is dragging Jane off somewhere, with a rough grip on her arm. Tan steps in and proceeds to punch and kick Pued for mistreating Jane. Jane pulls Tan off and tells Tan that what happened with Pued was none of his concern. The two walk off, leaving a bewildered Bun and an injured Pued.
Also, while Tan is beating up Pued, a photographer appears and starts taking pictures. Jane runs him off before pulling Tan off of Pued. I find it strange her first impulse is to drive the reporter away rather than stopping her boyfriend from beating up her other friend.
Bun asks Pued what the issues are that led to their argument. Pued dismisses Bun’s concern by claiming it’s a woman’s matter. I have no idea what that translation was supposed to imply. Is it a bad translation, or is that what he said? If that’s what he said, I don’t think it makes any sense. What is a “woman’s matter?” The scene switches back to Jane and Tan, still dressed in party wear and house slippers.
They appear to live in an opulent house. I can only assume it’s Tan’s since Jane said he was an investor at their school. The home, the watch, and the wardrobe show us Tan’s wealth and social status.
When Tan asks Jane about the argument with Pued, she refuses to tell him. She puts him off with the vague promise of “you’ll know soon enough.”
Bun is back home when he gets the toxicology screening report on the young woman. She had Meth (methamphetamine) in her system. He makes a call to check on Jane. Jane seems troubled, but when asked about what was bothering her, she said she felt responsible for her student who died and felt she let her student down. It appears there is more to it, as we see Jane hesitate, but in the end, she doesn’t talk to Bun about the issue. They make plans for Dim Sum the following day, and then Bun heads to bed.
The next morning begins as Bun reaches the house where a young woman’s body was found. As he walks into the scene, his eyes take in every detail. The little mermaid keychain on her bag, hanging on the chair, placed numbers for evidence found. He is led outdoors to a spa-type area where he is stunned and shaken to see Jane sitting on the floor next to the hot tub with a noose around her neck.
He and his assistant examine the body for signs of trauma. Bun is trying to determine if it is self-inflicted or someone else murdered her. According to needle marks and ligature patterns, Bun rules the death a homicide. Tan found Jane, and Bun learns that Tan was Jane’s lover. We end the scene on Bun staring at Tan while telling the audience that most murders are committed by the ones closest to the victim.
It’s off to a good start. I enjoy a real whodunit it type of murder mystery. This one will be even more interesting as to whether the boyfriend, who will become lovers with the forensic scientist, killed his girlfriend? And if he did, why? And will he use Bun to cover up the crime? Or is he innocent, and Bun will help him prove his innocence?
Also, what is going on with young women in the town? Is there a sex trade or booming drug trade? Who is corrupt and complicit? Who can Bun trust? Bun will want to find out who killed his childhood friend. I think he will begin his own investigation into things.
Were there negatives in this episode? Sure. I think they should do a better job explaining the forensic evidence and Bun’s job description. Also, despite his age, Bun appeared to be shy around Tan. Given how hot Bun is, it doesn’t make sense he wouldn’t be confident in his abilities to attract hotties. That’s the official term for Tan. Lol.
I am looking forward to the next episode. I will combine 2 and 3 so that I can catch up faster. Thanks for reading my review. Please drop me a comment and tell me your thoughts too.
Oh hell yeah I’m commenting. One I love you did this. Two, I have missed you. And three I really love you did. There one of these online but it doesn’t go past episode 3. I like your a lot better. You put to reason a lot of things that were questions to me. One I kept getting Tan and Bun confused, it happens. I thought Bun seemed shy around Tan too. Maybe he’s newly out or these are people he grew up with and he’s unsure of their reaction. I thought he found out at the party Tan and this girl were together? He seemed ashamed Tan was getting close to him at the at the party. Embarrassed, maybe. Tan wanted to be close, couldn’t tear his eyes away.
Tan is so dark and mysterious. I haven’t seen all the clips, I’ve seen pictures.always in dark clothes, in one he’s wearing a dark red shirt. If he can remember the kiss, he wasn’t drunk enough to black out. It’s funny those inspectors left when it was supposed to be their night out with him. They had wanted to when he turned them down. They could have turned the girls down. I just thought it was a little rude, all the drinks they ordered for themselves and Bun gets stuck with them.
I was surprised too, I’ve seen together with me, the next chapter and bad romance and didn’t think they could pull it off given it’s a different show and different context then was around the others.
Hey sweetie! Glad you liked it. I’m happy to be back. Needed to get to a better place but I think I’m there now. Bun, hottie Tul who has buns of steel….see now you won’t forget. And Max is tan. So there ya go! 😁
My thoughts too about his sexuality. But maybe he’s worried about being outed before he’s ready to. So the hesitation could be due to fear rather than confusion. Time will tell us, I’m sure.
As for Bun, even if he’s so drunk he blacks out, he has an eidetic memory, i think, so things aren’t easily forgotten by those type of people. My kiddo was one of those people.
We went to the beach when my kids were 3 and 4. We had been there about six months before. We start driving the route to get there and N, then 4, says we are on are way to GG13. I had no idea what he was talking about and said, ok sweetie. We get there and its then i realize he knew the route and remembered which unit we stayed in previously. He was 4. He also would tell all the kids at preschool whose mom was there to pick them up cause he knew all the cars. So I have some experience with this. Once someone learns or does something, it’s committed to memory and filed away in their brain storage for later. Also when he was 5, we lived in England, i went to Paris for the weekend with my mom, coming back we got on the wrong train. I called home, and at five years old he was able to tell my mom and me how to get home from where we were. What trains and transfers we would need to make. The brain is amazing. Can’t wait to see how it works for Bun.
Well the inspectors clearly subscribe to the bro code. Lol. If the inspectors have a chance to get lucky, its that unwritten rule. I just asked my 17 year old about this…..😂😂
I’m glad they are pulling off Bun & Tan. It helps that it’s been a few years since they have had those roles, so people aren’t automatically going into this seeing Knock and Korn.
I will start new episodes today!
My mom has been fascinated with the human mind forever. I hear kids grab into details, he sounds like he was really watching, informative and helpful.
No one should be outed before they are ready. If they know the people around them but don’t know the reaction, are being cautious. Do we know if he came out in the place he lived in before? I’m glad he’s able to reconnect with old friends easily. It doesn’t seem like him and Tan knew each other that well If he’s that caught off guard just bumping into him in the parking lot. Bun was really embarrassed at the party where they were introduced “I kissed this guy and he’s dating my friend”. He’s nervous when Tan gets close to him when Tan removes whatever from him. He remembers the kiss but does he regret it? Tan likes the conversation of the night at the bar and glad Bun remembers.
Looking at the crime scene and the body, it doesn’t look like Bun trusts Tan or anyone. With or without the statistic of who killed her.
Glad your back, can’t wait for more
I love psychology and almost ended up with a minor in psychology during college. It fascinates me.
As for the outing, I agree. I don’t know if he was out in Bangkok, or not. I haven’t read the story. I, too, think it shows Bunn’s character that he likes old friends but is wary of new people. He’s definitely worried about whether Tan would say anything about the kiss to anyone else, and it appears Tan kept his silence. Neither regret it nor apologize for it.
Bun trusts no one. Everyone is a suspect in his eyes.
My mom would have majored in it after she became a CNA. She loves how the mind works.
Tan is in panic mode during the introduction, he knows Bun is going to out him for the kiss at the bar. It would mean Bun outs himself. He’s almost breathing again when it doesn’t come up. When they see each other later at the party Bun is like might as well admit I remember it, get it over with. He doesn’t like it hanging over his head, that’s his friend is seeing Tan and he kind of wants to clear the air.
Is it just me or does everyone in town treat Tan like he’s a criminal?
Long time, missed you.
I love this pick, I think it has so much to offer and quite entertaining.
First, the roadside lady surprised me. When I saw the bleeding I thought miscarriage? but why is no one helping? They were so slow to respond. Then when we got to the autopsy I was prepared for some pretty nice details and process but I guess I set myself up for that one. Hollywood crime drama! It didn’t hit the spot, but I got answers. I don’t think It would improve much or if it will, but now I know what to expect.
I am already finding that reporter guy annoying. About knowing the dead lady’s locker, I am assuming he may have asked around. It’s the latest news in town, everyone is curious and eager to have a say. That wouldn’t be hard in a school setting.
Oh and when Bun kissed Tan at the club, he may have needed a little courage for what he had planned to do the moment he saw Tan. I was like, wow, city guy, it’s a small town, slow down. But, I loved the instant chemistry they had going. They are so good together on-screen. With the ease of how he picked up Tan, I think he knows himself, they did not give me any reason to question to believe his questioning or discovering (like most series do).
Jane’s death? I am side eyeing 99.9% of the cast. Then they give me Tan like that just because he found her? I am double side eyeing Bun and the directors! Why does he have to be the first one?😭😭
On the negative, Bun’s friendship with his childhood friends. They give off the implication that they used to real close. Now that he is back and wants to catchup, they are not as enthusiastic as I imagined they would be. Given they are grown and have lives now, but still…
Big positive, this episode did nice in setting us up the pace for what it is to come.
Missed you too sweetie! I don’t understand why he didn’t find scar tissue and trauma around her uterus. Maybe they were worried about being too graphic. I think I will have to suspend my disbelief about medical evidence presented there. I’m sure they changed things from the book because I believe the author has a background or did research into the medical field.
The reporter guy is annoying. But oh well. I am finding not many people are like able except Jane Bun and Oat. Those are my favorite characters so far.
When Bun kissed Tan, I don’t think it was anything more that a fleeting, wow this man is hot, I feel chemistry with him. I’m going to kiss him. Before that he was drinking and dancing around like a fool. He wasn’t looking for anyone in particular, just having a good time.
Me too. Everyone seems suspicious. As for childhood friends there are a lot of things happening in this little town.
Catch you next time. Or next comment. You read both today, so yay!
Hugs 😘💕- Jen