First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Inspector Koo

How To Make a Quirky Mystery Cocktail: Take one former cop turned insurance inspector. Add a young sociopathic serial killer. Dump an insane amount of depression channeled through video games for the inspector and shake well. Toss the cocktail shaker in the air, catch it behind your back, and empty into the nearest Netflix feed for Inspector Koo

To Get Us Started

From “A hard-boiled investigative comedy drama that centers around the insurance investigator Koo Kyung Yi who investigates a murder case. Koo Kyung Yi, an intelligent woman who solves cold cases for the thrill of cracking the case rather than for bringing justice to the world. By hook or by crook, she ferociously chases the truth behind every case. A college student who is a serial killer plots an accidental murder case to defraud her insurance money.”

Duelling Female Leads

Inspector Koo is, at its heart, a battle of wits between Inspector Koo Kyung Yi and the serial killer, a young woman named Song Yi Kyung. Their paths crossed when Song Yi Kyung was in high school and Inspector Koo was still a police detective, but not for the reason you would expect. Years later, their paths cross again as the inspector chases down an insurance fraud case.

At first glance, present-day Inspector Koo (Lee Young Ae in her first role since Saimdang, Light’s Diary) is a mess. She’s content to live in squalor as she takes out virtual enemies with her MMRPG teammates, barely taking time to eat ramen and drink alcohol. On the surface, her situation is played for humor, but it’s hinted at early on that she’s in a deep depression. 

On the other hand, Song Yi Kyung (Kim Hye Joon, CHIP-IN) is bright and energetic, living her best life while being watched over by her loving aunt. Gradually it’s revealed that she’s pretty ignorant of social cues and tends to take things too far, especially when the words “I want to kill him” are uttered by her friends. The people around her are subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) put off by her actions, but she’s never quite sure why.

Fascinating Side Characters

Our good inspector has a few interesting people around her, which is a small miracle given the fact that she’s done her best to cut herself off from the world. Na Je Hee (Kwak Sun Young, Hospital Playlist) works at NT Life Insurance and pulls Inspector Koo in as a consultant on a regular basis. She also keeps Koo from starving to death and occasionally gets the woman and her surroundings clean. 

From her virtual world, Inspector Koo convinces gamer Santa (Baek Sung Chul, How to Be Thirty) to be her assistant. His qualifications? He can drive. LOL. Also, he uses an AI voice interface to speak to other people. Santa’s got a sweet personality and connects with other people well in spite of his silence, but by the end of episode 2, it’s clear there’s more to him. Will that stop me from falling for his character? Oh, probably not.

On the other side of the law is Keon Wook (Lee Hong Nae, The Uncanny Counter), our serial killer’s friend who is doing absolutely NOTHING to stop her from getting away with the perfect murder. In fact, they’re in it together, with him disposing of evidence cleanly while they plan their next escapade. 

And then there’s the mysterious Chief Yong (Kim Hae Sook, Hospital Playlist). She acts like a gangster boss, right down to the back tattoo she shows off to the viewers when she summons Inspector Koo to the bathhouse for a quiet conversation. What exactly is she up to??

Watch Or Not?

WATCH. All the way — WATCH. The characters have been thrown at us fast, but they’re already well-defined and I can see hints of hidden motives for almost everyone. The plot has been expertly revealed, and the pacing is right on. I’m eagerly anticipating the next episodes and the head-to-head battle between the inspector and the killer. I’m pretty sure this female-led drama is EXACTLY what I’ve been waiting for.

What do you say, drama fans? Will you be watching?

Until the next chase through dark fields at night —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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