Welcome to DWASOK Live recaps, I’m Drama Geek and I will be co-recapping with Kmuse, Karie the Maknae & Kdrama Jen.
If you are new to the blog, here is a bit about me. I’m an author and I have many obsessions: reading, writing, most things geek related (Doctor Who and the Last Airbender/Legends of Korra being the most pronounced). I have been an avid Kdrama watcher since 2013 and blogging here for a little over a year. My drama tastes vary, but I’m drawn to a good script and stellar acting (okay, a khottie never hurt).
Live is a slice of police life drama. Each of the main characters are going through changes in their lives and it’s interesting to see how they all tackle whatever comes their way. So even if I’m not crazy about a character (I’m looking at you, Oh) I’m still interested in seeing how the character is going to react to the new situation. There isn’t any big bad so far, and I don’t think there will be, or that we need one. Most police officers go their entire career working case after case and not really fighting one main evil person.
Let’s talk about sexual assault.
I’ve been informed by someone who watched the entire series already that there are a lot of sexual assault/rape cases during the course of the drama. This doesn’t surprise me since this topic is all over the media, in both America, and South Korea. So trigger warning now for this show. If you have a hard time watching things related to this topic, you may want to sit this one out.
Our rookies were whining about not having anything to sink their teeth into (yes, I went there, har har) and then they get a call for a sexual assault in progress. The kicker is the person who reported the crime can’t tell who the victim is and who the assailant is, and when they get there, it’s still not clear. A guy bursts out of the room and his mouth is covered in blood and he only has his underclothes on. He says he’s the victim and was brought there while drunk, then the women tried to have sex with him against his will.
Inside, the motel room is covered in blood, and the girl is on the ground gagging while bleeding profusely from her mouth. THE GUY BIT HER TONGUE OFF! I guess that is one way to stop an attacker. They rush her to the hospital and secure the scene (along with an ice bag with her tongue in it) yeah… they went there.
So that’s the gist of their first big call. What this drama is great at is showing us how they are experiencing these events as rookies. Like the protest scenes, I bet every officer in Korea has had to go through that training. It’s not an easy task, and they did a fantastic job of portraying the conflict. Now we have a situation that is pretty hard to stomach and they handle it with clenched teeth and wide eyes. They’re all learning, and they need to make sure they notice everything around them.
Because they need a woman to assist, Jung Oh is picked to go in first and Officer Choi (Shin Dong Wook) tells her he’s right behind her. Jung Oh is totally freaked out, but she does her job and stays level-headed.
Side note: I’m not sure Karie the Maknae introduced Officer Choi properly so I feel it’s my duty. I fell really hard for Shin Dong Wook in Soul Mate and then in Stars Falling From the Sky. When I went to search out more to watch him in, I was sad to find out he wasn’t doing dramas because of a very painful chronic illness. Thankfully, he has gotten it under control and came back in last years Lookout as the hot priest. I am so happy he has a bigger role in this and I hope he will one day be able to resume his leading man status.
I am not the only one who has noticed Officer Choi because later when the two female police officers are talking they both agree that Officer Choi is their ideal type.
When the rookies are debriefed on the scene they’re asked to look at pictures and list what isn’t shown to test how well they were paying attention. Jung Oh is the only one who impresses their sunbaes. Sang Soo’s competitive streak is ignited and he plans to prove himself no matter what. Except… he just keeps putting his foot in his mouth. He’s super happy that they’re getting a new team leader, and bad mouths the ones he currently has, only to find them around the corner smoking.
Oh is a jerk, and this show will NOT make me like him.
Captain/Lieutenant Oh is a piece of work. No, he didn’t get drunk and cause his mentor to drown, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be demoted. After he finds out that one of his friends betrays him by not handing over the video footage that would exonerate Oh of causing his mentors death, Oh locks him in a room and beats the crap out of him. Then he offers him a deal. Oh will accept a demotion and transfer if he can just have the video footage shown to his dead friend’s wife. Here is where I totally get that he’s trying to do the right thing, and cares about his mentor’s family, but his methods are all wrong. I loathe when police brutality isn’t shown for what it is, a misuse of power. I think this show is teetering that line between sometimes being okay with Oh’s tactics and the rookies being disgusted with them.
Speaking of the rookies. When they find out Lt. Oh is their new boss they are not happy, Sang Soo being the most upset. He’s mouthing off about how pissed he is in the kitchen when Oh overhears him. You can bet from now on, any time Song Soo starts talking trash about someone, they’ll be within earshot.
True to form, Oh takes them out on patrol and tells them they’ll be handling everything on their own. The first stop is a man yelling and pushing his girlfriend around. He makes Jung Oh get out to help, and she doesn’t really waste time talking, she just subdues the boyfriend. Then Hye Ri gets in the middle of two women fighting and they pull her hair.
Sang Soo takes a different approach when another drunk person gets in his face and tries to talk to him instead of using force. The more experienced officers eventually have to jump in and help.
Once back at the station, Lt. Oh takes Sang Soo into a room, and you guessed it, starts pushing and kicking him around while yelling at him. So…. you give absolutely no instruction while out in the field and the one officer that tried to de-escalate the situation without using unnecessary force gets wailed on. Yeah, I’m not okay with his teaching style at ALL.
Don’t Creepy Cuddle Your Wife After She Asks for a Divorce
On the home front Lt. Oh’s wife, Jang Mi, asked for a divorce and he doesn’t understand why she’d want one. He originally thinks its because she believes the lie about him getting drunk and causing his mentor’s death, but she sets him straight on that saying she knows he wouldn’t do anything like that. She doesn’t really explain further, and given his track record, he probably wouldn’t really listen to her anyway. She packs his things up, and when he gets back home she instructs him to go stay with his dad.
Instead of leaving, he tries to keep talking to her and when she lays down to go to sleep he thinks they settled it because he says he’s sorry. You know, for whatever it is he did wrong. He then spoons her and puts his hand on her arm. She reiterates she wants a divorce and he needs to stop touching her.
When he leaves, he says goodbye to his kids. I find their response very enlightening regarding his role as a father and husband. The son says he doesn’t want them to divorce and the daughter asks if he wants to turn out like his dad, and son says no. Then the daughter asks if he’d want her to date someone like their dad, and the son says Hell no. She then asks him why their mom should have to stay married to him then.
By the end of the episode, he goes to stay with his dad, and no one in the police station is happy to have him join the team.
I know the writers are going to try to make me like Oh. And hopefully, they do that with his transformation, and not just implying he has reasons for acting the way he does. When we aren’t focused on him, I’m really enjoying seeing the rookies learn their place in the world. I didn’t touch on Jung Oh and her father and mother drama, but I like how that aspect of her life is playing against trying to survive as a cop. She is extremely smart, and if the hiring system wasn’t set up to favor those who go to more prestigious schools or their gender, she would have landed a job a long time ago and never become a police officer. But I think the job will fit her well. Sang Soo is a character that I like because of who is playing him more than his actual traits. He’s hot-headed and petty, but I can see how he will grow on me, and I will end up loving the character as well.
I am invested in seeing everyone grow and become a family. Even Lt. Oh, as long as he actually changes.
Until the next patrol,
Drama Geek of Drama With a Side of Kimchi