Hidden Identity: Angels in a Demon’s Mask

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A thousand times yes! My special craving for crime thrillers has been fulfilled yet again. Interestingly enough, TVN takes a leaf out of OCN’s book and produces a grungy noir piece. Cha Gun Woo plays a broody detective who has suffered a lot of traumas in his career. As a man of few words, others find it hard to work with him. However, he has a warm heart and holds his friends dear. Unfortunately, on a stakeout, Gun Woo loses his partner of 6 years and falls into a deeper state of depression. He also blames himself for the death of his girlfriend a few years past when she became involved in one of his investigations. His sunbae, Tae In, is the brother of the dead girlfriend and threw himself into undercover work in a gang in order to find out who killed her. When Tae In became exposed, Gun Woo was called in to also become undercover in order to find where Tae In was being tortured. Gun Woo plays a gambler who would do anything for money and gets recruited by the gang. He becomes part of the gang’s scheme to steal the hologram for Seoul’s new printed money. Although reluctant, Gun Woo joins the team in order to repay his debt to Tae In and find his girlfriend’s killer. In a moment of moral conflict, Gun Woo had to “kill” Tae In in front of the gang in order to keep his cover as a cop. Luckily, each cop has a molar installed with medicine that will put them into a coma instead. Tae In survived the stabbing that he actually initiated so that Gun Woo would not have to pull the first move. Although Gun Woo is exposed after the hologram code is stolen, he continues to participate in the investigation team.

Color me surprised when pretty Kim Bum transforms himself into gritty Gun Woo. In the past I have always remembered him as the pretty playboy type who has the most gorgeous smile. What a change here! Barely saying a few lines each episode, he conveys all his emotions through his expressions. I never realized how expressive he could be and how well he plays the angst angle. His crew cut, mustache, and broody air really changes him completely. I also enjoy how this series has a strong female character who really kicks arse, multiple arse by herself! Although I wished he would be undercover longer as I love seeing double agent tropes, the story must move on! I feel like this is a great career move to play this variety of character for Kim Bum. Coming from the team of Bad Guys, the fighting choreography is also on point. With brilliant moves that gets my blood pumping! This is definitely my top drama to watch right now!

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Missing Noir M

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Crime-related dramas seem to fall into two categories, cop squads who can’t find their own butts or genius detective with a few sidekicks. Now if the main point of the drama is romance with a side of cop, then fine, you can have your incompetent police force. However, for me, I believe a good crime drama needs these ingredients: intelligent problem solvers, interesting crime scenes, actually clever villains, and a certain dash of gray aggressiveness that says hey, the world isn’t black and white. One crime drama in the past met this formula, Bad Guys and Hannibal, and I’ve hit it again with Missing Noir M.

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Bad Guys

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Bad Guys

Bad Guys is a deliciously dark procedural drama series. The drama focuses on a special investigation unit that tracks down vicious killers and cold cases that the regular police force cannot solve. However, the unique part about this team is that 3/5 of the members are actually convicted criminals. Woong-Cheol is a powerful gangster who used to have a lot of territory before getting incarcerated. Tae Soo is a contract killer who turned himself in. The third is Jung Moon, the youngest serial killer with genius level intelligence who mysteriously does not remember the murders he commits. With the brawn, killer instinct, and intelligence of these three criminals, they are a force to be reckoned with. Leading the team is suspended team leader Goo-Tak, who uses excessive force. Goo-Tak also harbors inner pain as his own daughter was murdered brutally. Rounding out the team is inspector Mi-Young who tries to reason and keep the team together. For each case that one of the prisoners solves, they get to reduce their sentence by a couple of years until they become completely free. Off to a rocky start, each criminal works mostly alone in order to reduce their own sentence when together they would be more formidable. The first procedural drama that I’ve watched in awhile, I really enjoy how the drama does not sugarcoat the seedy underworld and shows society at its ugliest. However, in the same vein, it shows that sometimes reform is possible as the criminals learn to save lives instead of taking them. The cinematography is also great complete with smoldering stares and broodiness from all four males. Though at times, Goo-Tak takes the broody to the next level, just a bit too dramatic. However, overall, it is a well-made drama that is underrated.