Well, drama fans, we ran into a snag. The Fangirls went into Live with high expectations, but those expectations weren’t met and some of our recappers weren’t able to finish the drama. I, your resourceful Maknae, will do my best to sum up what happened between episode 8 and the end so that you can judge if you want to continue. There will be spoilers, and there will definitely be commentary on the writing, the acting, and the overall feel of the drama.
I’ll try to be accurate in these summaries, but I can’t promise it. I started hitting play over and over again just to be DONE with this drama and I don’t have the patience to go through the episodes again to make sure I’ve got it right. This should tell you a lot about how I felt about this drama by the end. I’ll do my best to hit the highlights.
Sang Su gives everyone secondhand embarrassment in his pursuit of Jeong-o. Officer Oh is being kept out of a situation that would leave him NOT very happy with his former partner, who has been running a gambling den AND a prostitution ring on the side.
Officer Oh has a no-good, very bad, horrible day–he runs into the investigation of his partner accidentally, and takes it out on him with his fists. While he’s busy with that, good ol’ Dad pulls Mom’s plug without talking to anyone about it. Sang Su steps up and says, “Ju-yeong wasn’t your only subordinate. I am too.” Just a good reminder that not EVERYTHING Officer Oh touches turns to dirt.
Officer Lee Sam-bo finally comes clean about being beat up and the patrol division works together to take down the gang, led by a rich boy who’s been acting out. A serial rapist is on the loose, and Officer An’s superiors won’t let her put together a task force because they’re stupid.
Chief Ki lets Officer Oh work with Officer An to track down the serial rapist–they make a great investigative team. The case becomes personal when two of the victims are from the division’s beat, and are in a hard enough situation as it is with their alcoholic father and spineless mother.
Everyone gets in on the serial rapist case, and Sang Su and Officer Pretty chase him into the woods. The dude is a serious martial arts expert, but somehow they get him down–and then get yelled at for it. Chief Ki keeps his cancer diagnosis a secret and puts on a smiling face for his daughter’s wedding.
Stupidity lives on as Jeong-o argues for sex education at an emergency PTA meeting called together because of another potential rapist. Also, Jeong-o’s past rape and back-alley abortion as a teenager are revealed. Captain An was the one who found her.
Captain An is dismissed for the mishandling of the serial rapist case, when clearly she wasn’t at fault. Another patrol cop, Min Seok, is accused of beating a man at the station and faces disciplinary action and an impossible fine, even though the CCTV clearly shows the man injuring himself.
I think this is where the entire division starts following the supposed beating victim and record him IN HIS HOSPITAL GOWN at the batting cages, whooping it up and having a good time with his buddies. So. Slight vindication. Officer Pretty and Jeong-o were on the rocks, and ended up breaking up. I think this is the episode where she kisses Sang Su. I may have squealed, partially because FINALLY A STORYLINE WAS GOING SOMEWHERE. Also, a side character introduced late in the game loses his life in a violent way.
Jeong-o may like Sang Su, but she doesn’t like being in a patrol division because it’s not very safe. She applies to be an officer abroad. (I may have rolled my eyes at her.) Sang Su gets mopey because she’s leaving him. Also, the team has been chasing down a dude who stabs people and sprinkles them with flour, and Officer Oh corners him in a public bathroom and gets stabbed. Sang Su shoots the perp in the arm to save Officer Oh’s life.
Officer Oh pulls through his surgery, but the perp sliced a ligament in his knee, so he’s gonna be in physical therapy for a long while. Sang Su is on the receiving end of a disciplinary council for using his gun, and this is the part where I started hitting the fast forward button. There was the customary “one year later” epilogue that showed everyone being happy, but it was far from being satisfactory.
So there you go. I had high hopes for this drama, because I love Kwang Soo and was eager to see him in something other than Hwarang or a variety show. I was definitely impressed with his acting ability–his character and Officer Oh/Bae Sung Woo felt the most real and fleshed out to me. Captain An/Bae Jong Ok was fairly good too, but she didn’t have nearly as much to work with. Unfortunately, I kept comparing Jeong-o/Jung Yoo Mi with Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame in my head–neither of them are particularly good at emoting.
The writing in the drama failed the fantastic actors. There were a few cheap ploys, like the incessant cliffhangers that kept me pushing play at the end to find out what happened, and bringing in secondary side characters with tragic stories to die a tragic death to pull at my heartstrings. What really bothered me was all the scenes where the cops sat around telling each other how hard it was to be a cop and trying to look at the issue from both sides. Let me say that again–THE COPS WERE *TELLING* EACH OTHER HOW HARD IT WAS. Rule #1 of good writing is “Show, don’t tell.” And here we are, with a tv SHOW, with the characters TELLING each other about the issues they were facing.
That was terrible, terrible writing. And the story lines themselves were weaker because of it. A passing comment to reinforce a situation that was unfolding? That would have resonated more. Instead we have thin plot lines, a lot of underdeveloped characters who were difficult to care for, and an ending that fizzled. Live ended up being a lecture wrapped in a drama’s clothes. What a disappointment.
Kdrama Jen: Just popping in to say that I did finish the drama, but it was mostly guilt-watching since I said I would finish. I couldn’t bring myself to continue writing about it, though, because my recaps were full of my complaints and comments about how annoyed I was with some of the story arcs. Still, Kwang Soo really was amazing in this show. I hope that does not get buried beneath writing that went off the rails.
Kmuse: I skim-watched the last few episodes in order to get photos for this post. I have huge issues on crime shows that constantly play the blame game for every little mistake. And this drama became ONLY that. I would have loved watching them grow as characters but not whenever bit of growth is looked at and frowned by the higher-ups who are trying to make the nitty-gritty reality of police work disappear. Hope I am more engaged in the next drama we recap.
We’ll be recapping something more engaging next time. Until then, drama fans!
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi