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
MandarinYǐnmì De Jiǎoluò
LiterallyHidden Corners
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 companies
  • Wannian Pictures
Original networkiQiyi
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereophonic
Original releaseJune 16 (2020-06-16) –
June 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
External links

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]


Zhu Chaoyang is a young boy who constantly scores #1 academically at school, but is detested by others for his cold demeanor. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother, Zhou Chunhong. His mother is often busy with work but is extremely strict on his studying. She also has a relationship with her co-worker but doesn't tell Chaoyang. His father Zhu Yongping is remarried to a younger woman named Wang Yao and has a daughter named Jingjing. Chaoyang's stepmother and stepsister dislike him and he has a poor relationship with his father.

One day, Chaoyang is approached by Yan Liang, his former acquaintance. Yan introduces Chaoyang to his companion, Yue Pu (also known as Pupu). The two had escaped from the orphanage and struggled to live on the streets. Yan's father was a gangster and a former drug addict, and as a result, a police officer named Chen Guansheng tries to send Yan back to the orphanage. Yue Pu is a young girl suffering from asthma and Yan's only friend from the orphanage. She needs 300,000 yuan to cure her younger brother's leukemia. Chaoyang agrees to let them stay in his house while his mother is at work and the three develop a close friendship.

Zhang Dongsheng is a teacher who is in a failing marriage. He loves his estranged wife Xu Jing but she wants a divorce after having an affair. At the urging of Xu Jing's relatives, Dongsheng takes his in-laws to Liufeng Mountain. He asks his in-laws to help him fix his marriage, but they refuse for the sake of Xu Jing's happiness. Dongsheng then pushes his in-laws off the mountain cliff. This incident is unexpectedly recorded by the three kids, who visited the mountain to take pictures. Later, it is also implied that Zhang Dongsheng was involved in Xu Jing's death when unusual drugs were found in her body.

The three kids decide to hand in their camera in exchange for 300,000 yuan. They experience a series of events, including the death of Zhu Jingjing, in which Chaoyang was present, and Wang Yao is certain that Chaoyang was the perpetrator. Wang Yao repeatedly tries to harass Chaoyang and his mother in public. Zhou Chunhong breaks up with her lover and decides to spend more time with her son. Zhu Yongping also tries to develop a stronger bond with his estranged son and renews his son's interest in swimming. On the other hand, Yan meets his father, who is mentally ill and obsessed with pears. Although Yan tries to run away from Chen Guansheng several times, they begin to trust each other.

One day, Wang Yao's brother Wang Li learns of Jingjing's death and attempts to murder Chaoyang. Yan tries to help Chaoyang, and Chen Guansheng comes to their rescue. Chen Guansheng is stabbed by Wang Li while protecting Yan and is taken to the hospital. Wang Li forces Chaoyang into his car and takes him to an abandoned building. Zhang Dongsheng witnesses this, and unexpectedly takes Yue Pu to save Chaoyang. Despite Wang Li's tactics to force Chaoyang to admit he killed Jingjing, Chaoyang is saved by Zhang Dongsheng, who then murders Wang Li and takes his phone. Zhu Yongping and Wang Yao find out and tell Chaoyang not to tell the police about Wang Li's actions.

Chen Guansheng survives the stabbing and is certain he wants to adopt Yan as his own son. Yan initially refuses, but agrees after visiting his father one last time. Yue Pu eventually begins to trust Zhang Dongsheng after he saved Chaoyang and let her and Yan stay at his house. Zhang Dongsheng starts to forgive the three kids and gives them 300,000 yuan. However, this peace is disrupted when Zhang Dongsheng overhears Yan telling Chaoyang that he won't get rid of the backup copy of the camera roll. Zhang Dongsheng feels betrayed and forces Yan to give him the backup copy. He takes the backup copy and finds out that it is a fake. As a result, he hesitates to save Yue Pu during her asthma attack.

Zhu Yongping and Wang Yao arrive at the abandoned building to reprimand Wang Li, but are attacked by Zhang Dongsheng. Wang Yao is strangled while Zhu Yongping is stabbed. Zhu Chaoyang and Yan return to the building to find Yue Pu, and Zhang Dongsheng burns the building and escapes. The two kids survive the fire after Yan calls Chen Guansheng, but they find Yue Pu gone. Chaoyang tells Yan that there wasn't a backup copy in the first place and they decide to report Zhang Dongsheng. Police officer Ye Jun believes Zhang Dongsheng is suspicious and starts to investigates him.

Eventually, Chaoyang and Yan arrange a meeting with Zhang Dongsheng on a ship by the shore. Yan sends a letter to Chen Guansheng about Zhang Dongsheng's crimes and 300,000 yuan to save Yue Pu's brother. The two boys confront Zhang Dongsheng, but Zhang Dongsheng tells Chaoyang to stab him to revenge Zhu Yongping. Chaoyang hesitates and stabs Zhang Dongsheng in the shoulder but not in the heart. Zhang Dongsheng doesn't kill the two boys because he wants them to suffer for the rest of their lives like he did. Zhang Dongsheng also reveals that Yue Pu is alive and safe in the hospital. Yan then jumps off the ship, after telling Chaoyang not to become the second Zhang Dongsheng. Chen Guansheng, Ye Jun, and other police arrive and Zhang Dongsheng is shot to death. Chen Guansheng rescues Yan and Chaoyang returns to living a normal life with his mother. The ending is Chaoyang telling Ye Jun about how Jingjing actually died.[3]




The Bad Kids was headed by the same team behind Burning Ice, which was adapted from another one of Zi Jinchen's works.[4] 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.[5] 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."[5] House of Cards screenwriter Joe Cacaci acted as script consultant.[6]

The series was mainly shot in Zhanjiang in 75 days between June and September 2019.[7]


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.[8]

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.[4] However, after meeting with the director and producer Lu Jing, he was convinced to take up the role.[4]

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.[5]


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)".[9][10]

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."[11] 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."[12]

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.[13][14] 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".[15][16] A phone case featuring the quote (meant to promote exercising and unaffiliated with the show) became a best-selling item on Taobao.[17]

The show currently earns a 8.9 on Douban with more than 619,000 user reviews.[18]

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.[19] This series also won several awards including the Best Creative at the Asia Content Awards unit of 25th Busan International Film Festival.[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2nd Asian Contents Awards Best Creative The Bad Kids Won [21][22]
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 [23]
21st China Video Awards Hot Drama of The Year The Bad Kids Won [24]
16th Chinese American Film Festival Best Web Series Won [25][26]
Best Leading Actor Qin Hao Won
2021 Douyin Star Motion Night Actor of The Year Won [27]
5th Golden Guduo Network Film and Television Festival Influential Web Drama of The Year The Bad Kids Won [28]
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 Perfomer 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 [31][32]
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 [33]
Best Director of The Year (Drama) Xin Shuang Won
2021 iQIYI TV and Movie Awards Drama King of the Year The Bad Kids Won [34]
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 Pending [35]
Best Director Xin Shuang Pending
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
3rd Sir Movie Cultural And Entertainment Industry Awards Best Director in a Television Series Xin Shuang Won [38]
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 [39]
7th The Actors of China Award Best Performance by an Actor-Internet Drama Qin Hao Nominated [40]
Best Performance by an Actress-Internet Drama Liu Lin Nominated
2020 Toutiao Entertainment Awards New Star of The Year Rong Zishan Won [41]
3rd True Aspiration Awards Top 5 Young Directors of The Year Xin Shuang Won [42]
Outstanding Platform Producer of The Year Bian Jiang Won
7th WenRong Awards Best Net Drama The Bad Kids Won [43]
2020 Zhihu Little Blue Star Filmmaker of the Year Best Director TV Series Xin Shuang Won [44]
Best Actor TV Series Qin Hao Won
Best Actress TV Series Liu Lin Won


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External links[edit]