The Maknae’s Journey through the Classics: Signal

Oh man, y’all — Signal was an incredible bit of storytelling. Thank you for choosing that drama for me! Fingers crossed for a season 2, right? Let’s chat about what I loved and why I think it DEFINITELY deserves a second season.


I think the success of this drama rests on the incredible depth our three main characters, and the richness the secondary characters bring to the story without taking attention away from the mains.

Park Hae Yeong — What a complex character, who hates the police and yet becomes one, using his incredible intelligence to become a profiler. Having his backstory become the foundation for the drama was an excellent choice, especially because he had no side stories to clear away — there was no romance, no childhood friend entangling his steps, nothing but his single-minded purpose to find out exactly what happened to his brother. In a less well-crafted story, that could fall flat, but it works so well here.

Lee Jae Han — Here is the heart of the series. Detective Lee was the one with the humor, the dogged determination, and the integrity to keep things moving once he realized someone cared about the outcome. I think I adored his character the most, especially when he became determined never to give up. He was such a rock-solid individual, and I think that the casting for this character enhanced the depth, because Jo Jin Woong’s mountain-like build fits the image so well. If faith moves mountains, then maybe a moving mountain can create faith….

Cha Soo Hyeon — Detective Cha was the bridge between Lieutenant Park and Detective Lee, for sure. Well, maybe she was the secondary bridge, enhancing the connection that the radio created. Her undying devotion to Detective Lee could have been one-note as well, but was played for excellent character depth. She would not have been the detective she was if it wasn’t for him and her love for him.

Favorite Secondary Characters — I loved Detective Kim Gye Chul (Kim Won Hae again!) for his whiny, almost weasel-ish character who stuck with his team and excelled at finding people. I hope he gets to solve the Odaeyoung case someday. And Detective Ahn Chi Soo. My love for conflicted characters knows no bounds, and Jung Hae Kyun played him so, so well. I hope he shows up in the second season too.


Can’t have such excellent characters if you don’t have a fantastic plot to work with. I think the most interesting thing was how the story came full circle, but with each tweak the characters caused through the radio exchanges, they built on that circle, adding to the story and showing how some things were going to happen no matter what they did. And that ending! I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t watched, but I will say this: Normally, I have a deep and abiding hatred for endings that are clearly begging for a sequel. The ending of Signal was so well done, however, that it didn’t bother me at all. I really, REALLY hope there’s a second season. There’s a satisfying amount of meat left on this plot to make an excellent follow-up story, while still providing more than adequate closure for the story they started with.


Yeah, Signal wasn’t focused on romance at all. Not even a single kiss. And yet love was a motivating factor throughout the plot — romantic love, family love, and love of friends.


I don’t know if I would rewatch this series without a reason. It’s intense and the flashes of humor I live for are few and far between. HOWEVER, if a second season is announced, I would definitely watch the first season again to get myself in that mindset. And I would definitely recommend it to any drama watcher, beginning or seasoned, with the caveat that it is not lighthearted fluff, but it’s definitely worth the time.

Thanks again, drama fans. That was a good time. Watch for a new poll in January on the FB page!

Until then, I remain–

Karie the Maknae

  1. Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

7 thoughts on “The Maknae’s Journey through the Classics: Signal

  1. I like how you describe the 3 main leads as the Foundation, the Heart and the Bridge. That’s absolutely correct. In the hands of a less-skilled writer this could’ve been a mess. Time Travel is already messy, you have to watch with a suspension of disbelief otherwise it won’t work for you. This one worked, and so well. Especially loved that episode where Cha Soo Hyeon disappeared because they’d created the alternate time-line where she dies.

    This drama blew me away and gave me hope when I was in a huge drama slump. And afterward the hits kept on coming, dramas like this – Voice, Tunnel, Money Flower, etc. are my favorite type. I loved the movie Frequency that “Signal” sort of borrowed from too.

    • It really was well-written. Good writing wins me over EVERY time. And when Lieutenant Park goes to Det. Cha’s house to console her family and she’s just like, “What? You’ve never seen a sick person before?” Cracked me up.

      I love Frequency too. And I have Tunnel on my list, but not Voice and Money Flower. I’m waiting to see if my sunbaes like Money Flower — revenge dramas are hard for me to watch unless they end on an up note — and I don’t think I’ve heard of Voice…?

  2. I am in the minority that Signal wasn’t mind-blowing for me. It was solid and well-acted, but it wasn’t all that. The characters never really engaged me, although Jo Jin-woong was excellent as usual. I also think it could have benefited from an episode trim to tighten story and flow. However, it was generally well put together and watchable.

    • Everyone has different tastes! And it was solid, like you said, which I appreciate deeply. That complex of a story HAD to be solid or it would have failed.

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