The Bad Kids (TV series)

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The Bad Kids
The Bad Kids 2020 web series promo image.jpeg
Promotional poster
Also known asCat's Cradle
Traditional Chinese隱秘的角落
Simplified Chinese隐秘的角落
Literal meaningHidden Corners
Hanyu PinyinYǐnmì De Jiǎoluò
GenreSuspense film
Crime film
Based onBad Kid (坏小孩)
by Zi Jinchen
Written byHu Kun
Pan Yiran
Sun Haoyang
Directed byXin Shuang
ComposersDing Ke
Xin Shuang
Country of originChina
Original languagesMandarin
No. of episodes12
Executive producersHan Sanping
Dai Ying
He Jungyi
ProducersBian Jing
Lu Jing
Du Xiangyu
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeVaries per episode
Production company
  • Wannian Pictures
Original networkiQiyi
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereophonic
Original releaseJune 16 (2020-06-16) –
June 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)

The Bad Kids (Chinese: 隐秘的角落; pinyin: Yǐnmì De Jiǎoluò) is a 2020 Chinese streaming television series that premiered on iQiyi on June 16, 2020, which tells a story of the web of consequences birthed among different families after three children accidentally film a murder.[1] It is directed by Xin Shuang, and features an ensemble cast that includes Qin Hao, Wang Jingchun, Zhang Songwen, Liu Lin and Lu Fangsheng, with special starring by Rong Zishan, Shi Pengyuan and Wang Shengdi.

The series was adapted from Zijin Chen's 2014 novel, Bad Kid (坏小孩).[2] It is the second drama as part of iQiyi's Light On Theater (迷雾剧场), after Kidnapping Game.[1]


Fifteen-year-old Zhu Chaoyang is a young boy who excels academically, but he is detested by others for his cold demeanor. His parents are divorced and he is generally left to fend for himself. His mother, Zhou Chunhong, is often gone for work at a resort. He has a poor relationship with his father, Zhu Yongping, his step-mother, Wang Yao, and his half-sister, Zhu Jingjing.

Chaoyang is approached by Yan Liang, his former primary school acquaintance. Liang introduces Chaoyang to a younger girl named Yue Pu (nicknamed Pupu). The two escaped from a welfare house. Liang's father was a criminal and former drug addict who now lives in a mental hospital. Pupu is an orphan who needs 300,000 yuan to treat her younger brother's leukemia. Chaoyang agrees to let them stay in his apartment while his mother is at work.

Chen Guansheng is a police officer about to retire. He arrested Liang's father years ago and, as a result, he feels a bit of responsibility for Liang. Guansheng is on the trail of Liang and Pupu, but consistently one step behind.

Zhang Dongsheng is a teacher whose wife, Xu Jing, wants a divorce. He takes his in-laws to Mount Liufeng and asks them to help him fix his marriage, but they refuse. Enraged, Dongsheng pushes them off a cliff to their deaths. The three kids accidentally record this crime while visiting the mountain to take pictures. The trio decide to trade the footage with Dongsheng in exchange for 300,000 yuan. Dongsheng says he doesn't have the money but offers them 30,000 yuan upfront with payments to come later.

Jingjing falls to her death from the fifth floor when Pupu and Chaoyang are present. However, Chaoyang claims to have not witnessed the event out of fear of being blamed. Wang Yao's gangster brother, Wang Li, learns of Jingjing's death. He kidnaps Chaoyang and tries to torture a confession out of the boy. Dongsheng tries to steel Wang Li's car keys to retrieve the 30,000 yuan he gave the children. However, he is caught by Wang Li and so Dongshang stabs him to death. Chaoyang is found by Yongping and Wang Yao, who take him to the hospital.

Pupu eventually begins to trust Dongsheng after he saved Chaoyang and let her and Liang stay at his apartment during a typhoon. Dongsheng gives the kids 300,000 yuan he borrows from a loan shark but overhears Liang telling Chaoyang that he will keep backup footage of the murders. Dongsheng forces Liang to give him the backup but finds that it is fake. As a result, he hesitates to save Pupu during an asthma attack and puts her in danger of dying of asphyxiation.

Wang Yao and Yongping return to the factory to look for Wang Li but are attacked and murdered by Dongsheng. Chaoyang and Liang also arrive at the factory to search for Pupu, but fail to find her. Dongsheng burns down the building and escapes. Chaoyang and Liang decide to finally report Dongsheng.

The boys arrange a meeting with Dongsheng on an old ship. Liang sends a letter to Guansheng about Dongsheng's crimes and the 300,000 yuan to save Pupu's brother. The two boys confront Dongsheng, and he tells Chaoyang to stab him. Chaoyang hesitates and stabs Dongsheng in the shoulder but not in the heart. Dongsheng reveals Pupu is alive and safe in the hospital. As Dongsheng moves to stab Chaoyang to death, he is shot to death by the police. Chaoyang returns to life as normal with his mother. Guansheng pays for Pupu's brother's medical treatment. Liang aspires to become a police officer. At Pupu's behest, Chaoyang tells the police of the true cause of Jingjing's death.




The Bad Kids was headed by the same team behind Burning Ice, which was adapted from another one of Zi Jinchen's works.[3] In 2018, iQiyi, who owns the copyright of the original novel, contacted Wannian Pictures (whom they had previously cooperated with), in hopes of turning the novel into film and television. The people behind the scenes include photography director Li Jianing, art director Tian Zhuangzhuang, editing director Lu Di, and casting director Li Junting.[4] Producer Lu Jing met up to 30 screenwriters for the project and settled for the final four. Pan was the first screenwriter and was responsible for the overall story and characters of the script, while Hu added the specific details. Sun Haoyang rewrote the original novel into a script outline that "retained the original author Zi Jinchen's most exciting characters and story bridges, and lay a good foundation for the entire adaptation."[4] House of Cards screenwriter Joe Cacaci acted as script consultant.[5]

The series was mainly shot in Zhanjiang in 75 days between June and September 2019.[6]


The crew revealed that it took six months to cast before the filming began and selected three child actors from more than 2,000 children.[7]

When approached for the part without the script, Qin Hao initially declined the role, remarking, "I have read the novel. If I play a child, I will play it. If I play Zhang Dongsheng, the character's motive is just for money and it's flat. I don't think it's interesting." He also admitted the decision was influenced by the fact that he now avoided villain roles after having a daughter.[3] However, after meeting with the director and producer Lu Jing, he was convinced to take up the role.[3]

The role Chen Guansheng was not in the original novel, and was written specifically for Wang Jingchun, who the crew wanted but could not cast for Burning Ice.[4]


The Bad Kids
Original Soundtrack (OST)
Soundtrack album by
Ding Ke
ReleasedJune 23, 2020
LabelRed Fire (红火火)
ProducerDing Ke

Each of the series' 12 episodes features its own ending theme, with the last episode's theme composed and written by director, Xin Shuang. The Bad Kids Soundtrack Album (隐秘的角落 配乐专辑) was released on June 23, 2020, and features 35 total tracks. It also includes the 11th episode ending theme, "Past, No Glory (昔日,没有光彩)".[8][9]

The Bad Kids 《隐秘的角落》 Ending theme music
1."Little White Boat (小白船)"Yinke RongYinke RongXiaojuan & The Residents of the Valley (小娟&山谷里的居民)2:41
2."Hesitation (犹豫)"Muma木玛Muma木玛Muma木玛9:04
3."Dancing With The Dead Lover" The MoldsThe Molds2:47
4."DESCENT" Anti-GeneralAnti-General3:26
5."Thy Name (因你之名)"P.K. 14P.K. 14P.K. 149:42
6."Hell on Earth (人间地狱)" Anti-GeneralAnti-General3:12
7."Lady in the Moon With Rabbit (偷月亮的人)"Queen Sea Big Shark (后海大鲨鱼)Queen Sea Big Shark (后海大鲨鱼)Queen Sea Big Shark (后海大鲨鱼)6:54
8."Good Night"JoysideJoysideJoyside7:54
9."Dying in a Rotating Apartment (死在旋转公寓)" Xue RanGlow Curve (发光曲线乐队)7:33
10."A Crane Smaller than a Youngster (比一个年轻人小一点的鹤)"Who didn't come on Tuesday afternoon (周二下午谁没来)Ding KeDing Ke5:01
11."Past, No Glory (昔日,没有光彩)" Ding KeDing Ke4:32
12."White Boat (白船)"Xin ShuangXin ShuangQin Hao, Wang Shengdi3:40


The series released with critical acclaim, with Beijing Times noting: "Some people say that [The Bad Kids] raises the standard of domestic suspense dramas. From narrative, art, photography to performance, it has truly improved the standard."[10] Director and actress Zhang Ziyi praised the series' production and the actors' performances, proclaiming: "After watching American and British dramas for so many years, there is finally a "Chinese drama" whose quality can compete with them."[11]

The Bad Kids also became a social media hit. By June 23, the series garnered 1.12 billion topic posts on Weibo, and by the 25th, trended on the site 50+ times.[12][13] After broadcast, a quote by Zhang Dongsheng, “Wanna go for a hike (一起爬山吗)?”, became a widely used meme and euphemism "for wishing to do someone harm".[5][14] A phone case featuring the quote (meant to promote exercising and unaffiliated with the show) became a best-selling item on Taobao.[15]

The show currently earns an 8.9 on Douban with more than 619,000 user reviews.[16]

Variety listed The Bad Kids in second place as their "The 15 Best International Series of 2020", and gained favorable reviews for its storytelling, cinematography, performances and dark soundtrack.[17] This series also won several awards including the Best Creative at the Asia Content Awards unit of 25th Busan International Film Festival.[18]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2nd Asian Contents Awards Best Creative The Bad Kids Won [19][20]
Best Asian Drama Nominated
Newcomer Actor Rong Zishan Won
Newcomer Actress Wang Shengdi Nominated
Technical Achievement Award Production Design Nominated
3rd China Television Drama Production Industry Association Awards Outstanding Young Director Xin Shuang Won [21]
21st China Video Awards Hot Drama of The Year The Bad Kids Won [22]
16th Chinese American Film Festival Best Web Series Won [23][24]
Best Leading Actor Qin Hao Won
2020 Film and Television Role Models Quality Drama Series The Bad Kids Won [25]
Best Supporting Actor Rong Zishan Won
Drama Director of the Year Xin Shuang Won
Producer of the Year Dai Ying Won
Screenwriter of the Year Hu Kun, Pan Yiran, Sun Haoyang Won
2nd Fusion Screen Communication Episodes of Fusion Screening Era The Bad Kids Won [26]
5th Golden Guduo Network Film and Television Festival Influential Web Drama of The Year Won [27]
29th Huading Awards Top Television Series Won
(1st Place)
Best Producer for a Television Series Dai Ying, He JunYi Nominated
Best Directing for a Television Series Xin Shuang Nominated
Best Actor in a Television Series Qin Hao Nominated
Audience's Favorite TV Actor Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series Liu Lin Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series Zhang Songwen Nominated
Best New Performer in a Television Series Rong Zishan Nominated
Best Writing for a Television Series Pan Yiran, Hu Kun, Sun Haoyang Nominated
2020 IFeng Film and TV Awards Best Television Series The Bad Kids Nominated [30][31]
Best Actor in a Television Series Qin Hao Nominated
Best Actress in a Television Series Liu Lin Won
4th Internet Film Festival Best Drama of The Year The Bad Kids Won [32]
Best Director of The Year (Drama) Xin Shuang Won
2021 iQIYI TV and Movie Awards Drama King of the Year The Bad Kids Won [33]
Actor of The Year Qin Hao Won
Most Potential Actor of The Year Rong Zishan Won
Wang Shengdi Won
Shi Pengyuan Won
16th Seoul International Drama Awards Best Mini Series The Bad Kids Won [34][35]
Best Director Xin Shuang Nominated
2020 Sohu Fashion Awards National Drama of The Year The Bad Kids Won [36][37]
National Drama Male Star of the Year Qin Hao Won
2020 Sina Weibo Night Weibo Hot Drama of the Year The Bad Kids Won [38]
3rd Sir Movie Cultural And Entertainment Industry Awards Best Director in a Television Series Xin Shuang Won [39]
Best Leading Actor in a Television Series Qin Hao Won
Best Sound in a Television Series Zhang Nan Won
Best Casting in a Television Series Qin Hao, Wang Jingchun, Rong Zishan, Shi Pengyuan, Wang Shengdi, Zhang Songwen, Liu Lin, Lu Fangsheng, Meng Li, Huang Miyi Won
2020 Super Red Man Festival Most Influential TV Series on Weibo 2020 The Bad Kids Won [40]
7th The Actors of China Award Best Performance by an Actor-Internet Drama Qin Hao Nominated [41]
Best Performance by an Actress-Internet Drama Liu Lin Nominated
2020 TikTok Star Motion Night Actor of The Year Qin Hao Won [42]
2020 TikTok Entertainment Awards TikTok Quality Drama Series of the Year The Bad Kids Won [43]
2020 Toutiao Entertainment Awards New Star of The Year Rong Zishan Won [44]
3rd True Aspiration Awards Top 5 Young Directors of The Year Xin Shuang Won [45]
Outstanding Platform Producer of The Year Bian Jiang Won
7th WenRong Awards Best Net Drama The Bad Kids Won [46]
2020 Zhihu Little Blue Star Filmmaker of the Year Best Director TV Series Xin Shuang Won [47]
Best Actor TV Series Qin Hao Won
Best Actress TV Series Liu Lin Won


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External links[edit]