Tunnel: Time Slip

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In a way, this drama reminds of Signal, but only with the time travel part. Otherwise, it is another fascinating drama by OCN based on the Hwaseong Murders. To give a little background, the Hwaseong Murders is a famous case that was never solved in S. Korea. Several women ranging from ages 14- 70 were strangled by their own clothing by a serial killer. Tunnel features a homicide detective in the 1980s who is in the middle of investigating a series of murders where the victim is strangled by her own pantyhose and the ankles are dotted in the order they were killed. After several false leads, detective Gwang-Ho manages to catch a glimpse of a mysterious man in a tunnel. While running after said man, he is knocked out on the head with a rock by the man. When he wake up and tries to get out of the tunnel, he ends up walking into another world. This world is the same as his, but 30 years in the future. He is extremely confused as to what is going on and tries to make sense of it by going to his police station. He pretends to be an officer with the same name, but his experience gives him away. Coincidentally, a junior officer of his has now become chief at the same station. His junior officer recognizes his friend that had disappeared 30 years ago. In the past, his body is never found and his team is disbanded after the tragic event. Together, in the future, they try to make sense of what has happened, where Gwang-Ho’s wife is, and how to get back to his time. Of course, adapting to the new traditions at the police station is difficult. He ends up clashing with Sun Jae, an extremely smart detective who is also quite abrasive. Joining the bunch is Jae-Yi, a criminal psychologist who lends her expertise to the homicide unit.

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Voice – Tuned In

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After vacationing for three weeks, I finally finished my winter Korean dramas. However, oddly enough, I haven’t been in the mood much to start a new batch of dramas. It may also be due to the fact that I am marathoning through Vampire Diaries. Voice, though, is the only one so far, that I have started for this spring. This drama tells the story of Jin Hyuk, a ex-detective who lost his wife to a serial killer. However, before she had died, she had called the emergency response center. They could not get to her in time. The woman who had responded to her call was Kwon-Joo. Kwon-Joo had the special talent of sensitive hearing due to an illness when she was younger. Everyone thought the culprit was a certain male and no one would listen to the details she gave because it did not match the person she caught. The tragedy of the event changed their lives forever. Jin Hyuk went on a three year bender while Kwon Joo decided to improve her skill set in America. Fast forward three years, Kwon Joo comes back to revamp the emergency response system. She wants to create the Golden Time team where an emergency team of police officers are dispatched and apprehend the perpetrator within ten minutes. She wants Jin Hyuk to head the team, but to his reluctance the ridicule of the entire police department. Furthermore, she is still searching for the killer who had murdered Jin Hyuk’s wife. Slowly, through multiple cases, these two manage to work together and save several people. Jin Hyuk finds out about her special ability and trust begins to develop between them.

OCN, this trusty cable network, always has gritty crime dramas that are right up my alley. Jang Hyuk is a talented actor who portrays Jin Hyuk’s doggedness and fierceness very well. Of course, I also missed his insane laugh from Fated To Love you. He has a talent for playing intense characters. As for Lee Ha-Na, this is my first drama with her. She plays a decent character who is actually strong in her own right in a world run by men. She doesn’t take any nonsense or ridicule from the men in her workplace and puts her foot down to get what she needs. I appreciate this type of female character that you don’t get to see a lot in a crime drama. As for the culprit, I have a good idea of who is playing him. However, the show throws out several red herrings which makes me wonder if there is a bigger twist. I of course had suspected his partner for playing a part in the tragedy, but who knows? I love these kind of shows that keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing.

 

 

 

Vampire Detective: A New Strain

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OH OH OCN, you have lured me into watching the 7th airing drama on my list. Vampires done the right way for once! In the lieu of Vampire Prosecutor (which I will watch one day), we have vampire detectives now! Lee Joon is Yoon-San, who originally attended police academy before messing up a special undercover operations with two other new officers. One of these officers was his girlfriend, who always wore a sun pendant. However, after the three of them barely escaped from a dangerous situation, his girlfriend starts acting weirdly. She ends up shooting Yoon-San in the chest, and then blows up with the car and the third officer. I guess in one way, you can see it as her trying to save him before the car blows up. Yoon-San is mystified and heartbroken at the the turn of events. After recovering from his wound, he decides to do private investigating instead of pursuing a path in police work. He and Goo-hyung make a living investigating everything from murders to affairs. One day, Gyeo-wool visits them and demands that they help her find out why her brother is acting suspicious. They end up running into more suspicious people who have a storage of blood samples and the boss is a woman wearing a sun pendant. This piques their interest and they decide to take the case. It turns out that her brother is actually a vampire who is researching different blood strains in order to save his girlfriend. However, things come to a head as the brother and girlfriend sacrifices their lives to protect the little sister. Before the brother passes, he injects his new blood strain into Yoon-San who had leapt into the path of a bullet to save Gyeo-wool. The blood saves Yoon-San’s life as his chest wound heals. The three are left in amazement at the aftermath of such events.

Vampires can either be done very well or end up in nonsense.  Luckily, as a spinoff of Vampire Prosecutor, we know we have good writing and cinematography behind the wheel of this drama. Fortunately at the helm of this drama is Lee Joon, an idol turned actor that I very much admired due to his previous works. He has a wide range of acting, and I especially enjoy the brooding type. I am interested to seeing how his new powers manifest and how it will aid his job. Furthermore, I want to know what is up with the sun pedant woman and if it is old girlfriend. As for Goo-hyung and Gyeo-wool, the other two legs of this detective agency, they make nice support and I hope to see them develop more into their own characters. I am already loving Geyo-wool who is street smart and already a big help to their multiple escapes.

Local Hero: Homegrown

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OCN never disappoints! As some of you may know, Park Shi Hoo has come back to the acting world with a new drama. After his highly publicized scandal in 2013, he laid low and now after two years, he ventures back, albeit a smaller cable channel. His name is still highly controversial and thus, many will probably shun this new drama of his. While I am disgusted by his past behavior, I cannot say the same of his acting. His acting ever since The Princess’s Man, has been brilliant and impressed me. He continues his excellent acting in Local Hero.

Local Hero tells the tale of Baek Shi Yoon, an ex-secret agent who was on a large scale mission before he was told to stop his efforts. Due to him not listening to this command, the mission becomes botched and a fellow agent ends up dead. He ends up going to prison for 3 years for being insubordinate. After getting out of prison, he buys the bar, “Neighborhood”, which doubles as a chill location for former agents. Secretly, he wants to revenge on the ones who told him to halt his mission and is haunted by his friend’s death. However, ex-agents are not allowed to dabble back in intelligence, so he is forced to act like a regular person instead of a highly trained agent. Meanwhile, Im Tae Ho, is a detective who is short on money to manage his wife and three kids. He ends up taking a side job from a ex-intelligence officer and sets up a “monitoring” company to make an extra buck. He hires Chan-Gyoo, a young man who wants to get into the police academy, but fails the exam. Chan Gyoo is ordered to follow ex-agents and take notes on their routines. However, one day the man Chan Gyoo is following ends up dead. The same guy who had told Shi Yoon years earlier to halt his mission. Shi Yoon, who comes into contact with Chan Gyo, tries to make friends with this young man, thinking he will be of use in the future. While being the new owner of this bar, Shi Yoon grows closer to its employees and even begins sympathizing with their plights. A few times, he takes action using his martial arts skills to help get his employees out of sticky situations. All the while, wearing a hat and mask to not reveal his identity and skills.

While I am definitely attracted to this plot, the drama is still laying down its groundwork in its first two episodes. Characters are introduced and their backgrounds are explained. People’s missions and ambitions are being established. As we know from The Princess’s Man, Park Shi Hoo does that brooding angst thing perfectly as well as stubborn on revenge part too. I get the added deliciousness of his abs in a workout scene as well! But beyond his abs, I enjoy the Batman, local hero type theme. And looking at the preview for episode 3, I can see that Chan-Gyoo, played by Lee Soo Hyuk (very steady actor in my opinion), will be his disciple in local crime fighting!

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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