The others have introduced themselves, so I guess it is my turn. In case you are new to the blog or never took the time to peruse my bio, here is a little about me. I am Kdrama Jen. I have been watching Kdramas since 2006. (Yes, it was back before streaming sites were as ubiquitous and we had to scour the big bad internets for our favorite shows.) I love dramas with really great acting and tightly written scripts, and I enjoy blogging about my first impressions and the random thoughts that come to me as I watch. I especially love it when I can connect from one drama to the next–either concepts, actors, or themes. I have a day job that forces me to use my brain, so I freely admit that I sometimes watch dramas that are NOT tightly written or do NOT have stellar acting. I have a soft spot for idol dramas, and sometimes those are just fluffy, but I love them anyway. Don’t judge me.
So… in the interest of full disclosure, I am recapping Live with Kmuse, Karie the Maknae, and Drama Geek, but I am not loving this drama and running home to watch. It may be because I have so many others to choose from right now, or maybe it is just that this is very much a slice of life drama, and I am feeling the need lately to escape from reality instead of watch it unfold on my screen. Having said that, though, the acting in this is pretty incredible, and the writing is quite tight. So . . . let’s jump into episode 4! Oh, one quick thing. Our recaps tend to highlight the themes and big plot points, but they are rarely a step by step recap, especially mine. You have been warned . . . .
Going by the Book
The episode begins with Choi busting a number of underage students and an older gentleman who clearly should have known better. Choi takes several opportunities to slam the man against the police car, and is able to really throw the book at him once the man starts kicking the barrier separating the front and back seats. It was almost as if Choi was just waiting for the chance to use the law to ensure the man would have to face even stiffer penalties.
In the meantime, Sang-su and Oh are facing off on the balcony. Oh happened to overhear Sang-su badmouthing him, so he asks Jeong-o to explain why he is a “son of a bitch” (at least this is how it is translated). Jeong-o says she has no complaints, and then begins to self-critique, pointing out everything she did wrong. The other rookie does the same, but Sang-su does not see anything wrong with his own performance.
Oh repeatedly kicks Sang-su in the shins and pushes him. He then has Jeong-o recite the proper procedure for dealing with a drunk citizen who attacks a police officer. Jeong-o points out everything Sang-su did incorrectly. Oh seems satisfied with this and leaves. Then, Sang-su storms off.
Our opening scenes really frame the episode to show the conflict between following rules exactly vs. bending the rules to meet your purpose. As the episode unfolds, this becomes a constant touchstone.
Making Up is Hard to Do
Jeong-o tries to make amends with Sang-su, but he is too busy studying. When Choi comes in to take a rest, he asks Sang-su if he finds Jeong-o attractive. Sang-su answers “I’m a man . . . .” While this is not a romantic drama by any stretch of the imagination, it does make me wonder if Sang-su and Jeong-o might have a love line or maybe Choi and Jeong-o. I am with Drama Geek on my love for Choi. I kind of had a crush on Hottie Priest in Lookout.
So, there is another pair that needs to make up too. Choi’s choice to force his colleague to turn himself in for internal investigation resulted in many of his fellow policemen thinking of him as a traitor. There is visible tension between Choi and his former friend. If looks could kill . . . . By the end of the episode, though, we get an adorable scene of the two reconnecting over the shared joy of an unborn baby’s heartbeat, and it made me smile to see how they were friends again.
Would You Like Coffee or a Knee in the Back?
So, probably my favorite scene of the show so far is when Oh keeps harassing Jeong-o because she has offered to make him and others coffee. She finally snapped back at him that she is not doing it to kiss up to him, but to show appreciation for what he taught her at the academy; she learned how to cuff any person regardless of size. Oh can’t let it go, so he challenges her, clearly intending to teach her a lesson. He ends up tossed to the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. I pretty much cheered out loud, and I think the other rookies might have too if they could have gotten away with it!
Maybe Going by the Book isn’t Always How it’s Done
Sang-su goes to a DUI traffic stop. He seems confident and ready for anything. When two obviously drunk men refuse the breathalyzer, Sang-su arrests them, without realizing they are congressmen!
And this is where it really feels like the show should be called “It Sucks to be Sang-su.” He is chastised for following the law so closely and not just letting the congressmen go.
While there is a scene that shows how some of the older officers try to handle the matter, ultimately there is a sense of helplessness when faced with such political pressure.
Choi is Kind of Swoonworthy Even When His Backdrop is a Murder Scene
Jeong-o and Choi are called to investigate a noise complaint, but it quickly turns into a murder investigation. Choi takes command of the situation and seems to recognize that Jeong-o is going to need help processing the shock of her first murder scene. So, I know I have a Choi-bias, but he seemed so chivalrous and delightful as he helped his mentee face this difficult milestone. The first murder scene is never easy. I also appreciated that it is Jeong-o’s questioning and observations that leads them to their hypothesis about the murderer. Good for her!
Oh, Wait! I Guess You DO Need to Go by the Book
Sang-su is on a call with his mentor, the very unlikeable Oh. Thinking it is a suicide attempt, Sang-su breaks through a barrier and rescues the man inside. It is only later that he understands why Oh is so angry with him. The man they thought was attempting suicide was taped inside (from the outside), so it was very clearly a murder attempt, not a suicide. When Sang-su broke through the barrier, he contaminated the crime scene.
While Oh took the blame from his superiors, it was obvious that he was very displeased with Sang-su. Once again, it really sucks to be him. In a fit of rage, Sang-su confronts Oh and asks the question I have been asking this whole episode. Why do we go by the book sometimes and not others, and is it really more important to preserve the crime scene or save a life?
First, I don’t like Oh. I find him irritating and mean. Yeah, I am sure there will be some kind of attempt at redemption, but I am going to be a hard sell. I really can’t stand people who use intimidation and physical force to prove a point or get their way. It is going to take a lot for me to change my feelings about Oh, but I am willing to let them try.
Overall, I like how this episode really showed the balancing act between using the law and abusing the law. There are so many grey areas. Should people with power and connections be allowed to get away with breaking the law? Did Choi do the right thing by turning in his colleague when they easily could have overlooked his transgression? Is it more important to preserve the crime scene or save a life? Everything gets called into question, and that is one of the reasons I will keep watching this drama. (The other reason is I committed to doing these recaps with my fellow fangirls and they will find a way to take away my Viki account or hold my Kim Soo Hyun mug hostage or something equally as terrible if I bail.) Seriously, though, the story is well-written and Kwang Soo (Giraffe) playing Sang-su is really stealing the show for me. Well, Choi is kind of doing that in other ways, but Kwang Soo is conveying such a range of emotions in this drama. I am beyond impressed with his acting! I am intrigued to find out what happens next. What about you?
Until the Next Patrol…
Kdrama Jen for Dramas with a Side of Kimchi