EDITED 4/20/19: Everything in this review still holds true! The second half and ending are fantastic. Give this show a chance!
I like the story. It's the typical "there's an injustice, someone dies, a cabal of corrupt higher officials from the police/prosecution/rich people cover it up" storyline that seems super common among Korean crime dramas (and for good reason.. funnily enough this drama is airing as the burning sun scandal is being exposed in Korea). The execution is less serious for the most part (it lives up to its comedy tag), and sometimes bridges into being a little campy, but they always bring it back so that the more emotional scenes never feel forced or out of place. The emotional scenes (character backstories) are engaging and genuine. I'm hard to sell on edgy, tragic character backstories, because they're a) super common and b) often used as an excuse for why [this character] is now a douchebag in the present, but the backstories in this show (especially Father Kim and Detective Dae Young's) are less of that and more of a glimpse of what their characters are suffering with alone.
It's not extremely suspenseful or mysterious, and there's no doubt who the bad guys are from, like, the first few episodes, but it's a solid plot and the writers throw in enough important events to keep it moving along. It's not boring, and it provides plenty of scenarios for the characters to shine.
This is definitely the star of the show for me. I tend to be a character-focused watcher, with a good plot being an added bonus, but this drama really blows my expectations out of the park for character writing and acting. Usually there's at least one (usually multiple, if I'm being honest) actor/character I think is unrealistic or wooden, and it puts me off, but all the actors are absolutely fantastic.
I've never seen any of the main actors before, but I've been especially appreciating Kim Nam Gil and Kim Sung Kyun's acting. Kim Nam Gil is the obvious star of the show, with perfect execution in the comedy scenes and a heart-wrenching look in his eyes in the more emotional ones. Even Lee Na Hui, whose character is my least favorite out of the three (and, honestly, kind of annoyed the hell out of me for at least the first 15 episodes, but that's just personal taste), acts well enough that I only disliked her character just because her personality wasn't my type, not because her acting was poor or the character was poorly written. She's growing on me. Even the weakest actor IMO (I won't say who) isn't anywhere near the level of annoying over-acting that I dislike in dramas. The cast is a solid A, with even side characters' actors delivering a convincing and engaging performance that adds value to the scenes they're in and makes the characters likable in their own right, instead of being treated like convenient props to further the main characters.
Every interaction feels genuine, and every scene runs fast enough that you're never left thinking, god, this dialogue is dragging and the characters won't stop staring silently/dramatically at each other. (Plus, I'm not an eye-candy watcher, but Kim Nam Gil is almost ridiculously cute in every scene he's in. Watch out for the scenes when he fights and his bangs fall into his eyes. Cute, right?)
The fight scenes are also an absolute delight to watch, even if you're not a fan of gritty action (the show has a martial arts director on set, so the choreo and execution are great.) Filming technique, cinematography, the occasional unique lighting choice, and other visual cues are used well in each scene.
OST usually isn't a huge factor in how much I like a drama, but a good one is always a plus. This drama's OST is great: the emotional scenes are paired with delicate orchestral pieces, and the fast-paced and fight scenes aren't afraid to use rock, rap, and raunchy songs with an exciting beat. I downloaded the ending song to my phone.
Rewatch Value: 10/10
...I've been rewatching each episode probably at least twice each after they air, and the whole series when I feel like it, so there's not much else I can say about rewatch value. They're just funny as hell, and I'm a sucker for humor. The scenes don't feel like they get old, and even rewatching a stupid joke for the 4th time is at least 50% as entertaining as the first time. As long as the writers don't drop the ball by a huge amount in the second half (and, honestly, even if they do) this is probably going to be one of my comfort rewatch series and one of my all-time faves.
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