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The three Infernal Affairs films are incredibly twisty cops vs. Triads films set in Hong Kong between 1991 and 2003. The first film, set in 2002, is based around the stories of two mirrored infiltrators. Chen Wing Yan is an undercover cop in the gang of the chubby, Affably Evil gangster Hon Sam. Yan's handler is Chessmaster senior cop Wong, who doesn't realise that his most trusted underling, Lau Kin Ming, is actually a mole planted in the police force by Sam years before. As Wong's attempts to bring Sam down reach their endgame, Yan and Ming both find their covers in danger of being blown and are both ordered by their pretended bosses to catch the "moles" who are actually themselves.

The second film is a Prequel that tells the story of how Sam rose to his position in the first film, and the unexpected roles that Yan, Ming, and Wong played in that. The third film is a sequel that follows the stories of the surviving characters from the first film, and also tells a flashback story set just before it. It introduces two new significant characters to replace the dead people: Yeung, a smooth and sinister, possibly corrupt, cop from the Security branch; and Shen, a mysterious gangster from the Chinese mainland.

The first film was remade as The Departed, which transferred the action to Boston and made the Triad equivalents Irish-American gangsters, and won the 2006 Best Picture Oscar.

Oh, and the title and the epigrams at the beginnings and ends of the films suggest that Hong Kong is Buddhist Hell and all the characters' lives suck because they're being punished for the sins of their past lives. Or they metaphorically evoke the hells that Yan and Lau are living in as a result of their undercover rules.

The film series provides examples of:

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