Theme Depth: ★★★★★
Uniqueness of Plot: ★★★★
Technical Elements: ★★★
I didn't actually really care at all for Han Yeol Moo (Baek Jin Hee), and she took away some of the points I would have given the show. I'm not sure if it was bad acting or bad scripts, but her character just didn't really work. I'm used to the female stars being, well stubborn sure, but mostly good-hearted, solid morals, and someone who thinks of others first. But Yeol Moo has little patience for other people, actively and deliberately hurt her mom, and had no respect for the rule of law or her superiors. I mean, I understand that the point is that when bad guys are in control, you may have to work the system. But she actually was willing to sentence another girl to death or to sacrifice up evidence just to get her and her boyfriend out of trouble. Although the show never dealt with it, she was sometimes quoting basically the same thought processes as the bad guys she wanted to stop. It didn't help that her expressions were non-existent or just felt off, I never felt that her feelings (anger or love alike) were actually real.
Korean Dramas usually focus on personal relationships, with the political message in the background. However, Pride and Prejudice definitely pulled its themes forward, with the romance and friendships being largely a secondary plotline. The show questions the theory that "the ends should justify the means" with both good and bad characters trying to argue their point using this premise. Is it okay to do bad things for a good ending? Or what if you only do something wrong because it is the "lesser evil?" The show pulled in themes of Corruption, Pride, Self-Entitlement, Good v. Evil, Bad Leadership, and knowing when to draw the line. I thought one of the most interesting points the show brought up was the question of what to do when you can't defeat the evil. Most shows want to portray the bad guys as defeatable, but that isn't really true. Whenever one bad guy is defeated, another one is probably going to follow shortly. Furthermore, if the bad guy you want is only a middle-man, is it worth your career to stop him when you know the leader will walk away? We want to put everything on the line only when the person we're chasing is the ultimate evil. But what if he isn't? What if there are 50 others worse than him running around waiting to be stopped later? Will you still risk everything to stop the one? I liked this show just because it made me think, and gave us some interesting things to talk about when it was over.
The plotline was somewhat standard KDrama fare, but also threw in a bunch of unique elements. For the first time ever, there wasn't much of a triangle. This wasn't about the romances; the show wanted you to focus more on the philosophical questions of morality and good citizenship instead. The crime itself was actually well set up and had lots of new or unique little twists and elements. It wasn't the simple murder; there were about ten layers to even plot development, with each character having their own side to tell. The bad guys who weren't really bad guys, the good guys who made horrible mistakes, the bad guys who were just bad guys, and the good guys who were so good as to be little earthly good. The show pulled them all in, asking you to look at humans, our ethical systems, and the important question of when can the right go wrong.
There were of course a few plot holes (especially with the ending being so rushed), but overall, I wasn't too disappointed with it. On the one hand, the weak ending was a really, really weak ending. It went too fast, it left a lot of loose ties, it didn't finish things at all. On the other hand, t was well written and well-designed, even if it left me crying and largely unsatisfied at the end. To be honest, I think it needed an unsatisfying ending, because that's the point. The battle is never over, the next generation simply takes over the reigns and pushes on.