Many years ago, a young mother was murdered and her son (Eun Dae-Gu) vanished after she insisted on testifying in a criminal case. The police officer (Seo Pan-seok) in charge of that case never stops searching for the child, but comes up with nothing. Now, in Modern Seoul, Eun Dae-gu has returned to get revenge both on the murderer of his mother and the police officer who let (and perhaps helped) her die. He joins three other young newbies as the new recruits at the Gangnam Police Station ~ a situation the local police officers find difficult to stomach. For these are four of the laziest, least inspired, self-absorbed rookies the station has seen yet, and making it worse is the fact that Seo Pan-seok is their bitter, grouchy boss. Now together they have to solve the people's crimes, while resolving their own personal issues with one another and the lives fate has dealt them. And over it all hangs the question ~ who killed Eun Dae-Gu's Mother?
This was a really sweet show, full of the perfect mixture of angst and comedy to keep me entertained. I never really like those dramas that are TOO dramatic and trauma-filled, which this one had the potential to become. Given all of the characters personal problems (murder, loss of a child, loss of a sibling, etc.), this could have been one of those too-deep for too-long shows. Instead the writers managed to pull in quite a bit of situational humor, due in no small way to the roles of Ji-Gook and Lee Eung-do who work tirelessly to brighten up their partners lives.
The basic mystery was well designed and well-written. The introduction leads you down one path and then small, believable red herrings keep you on your toes with the guessing-game.There were a few less-than-believable parts, and some remarkable coincidences, but with the suspension of disbelief you have a well-drafted little crime. The smaller episodic mysteries were pretty good too.
The character set-up was fairly stereotypical ~ older, gruff leader who has a sweet heart; stupid fool who is smarter and more loyal than he appears; arrogant main character who actually has a heart; tomboy girl who really wants "true love"; geeky sidekick that makes everyone happy. . . A little variation in the group line-up would go a long way to add originality to the storyline.
On the other hand, I have enjoyed watching almost all of the cast in other dramas through the years, and they did not disappoint. I will say that the girl got on my nerves quite a bit. Her self-absorption and arrogance was more or less passed off as being "quaint" and "adorable." To me, it was rude and thoughtless. The male cast played their parts well, but it was all the same parts they have played in other shows. Lee Seung-gi always plays an arrogant, thoughtless character that has a hidden tender side underneath. Cha Seung-won always plays a gruff, bull-headed lead that plows through life while occasionally showing his sweeter nature. It's all the same thing they have done in a thousand roles before. They are good at those roles, but it would be nice to see them change things up a bit.
The conclusion to this show was surprisingly pretty good. I was a little worried that they wouldn't be able to resolve everything to my satisfaction, especially as so much was left unanswered when we came upon the last episode. While they did drop a couple of the storylines, for the most part they actually managed to conclude most of the story.
All in All, I really enjoyed this show. Most of the complaints I have are truthfully not that important, and certainly did not detract from the show itself. The storyline was well made and planned, and for once it had a pretty good conclusion (rare for Kdramas). The cast was excellent and played their parts to perfection. I wouldn't call it a particularly deep drama, but it was a really fun watch.
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