First Impressions: “Two Cops,” A Fun Supernatural Crime Drama With Strong Leads

2017-12-04 02:29:22 2017-12-04 02:29:22

MBC’s new Monday-Tuesday cop drama delivers action, comedy, mystery, and romance, in well-placed, half-hour installments.

Cast and characters

Jo Jung Suk plays Cha Dong Tak, a stoic and righteous police detective in the Violent Crimes Unit. After his partner is murdered on the job and posthumously accused of corruption, Dong Tak is out to apprehend the killer and clear his partner’s name. More on Jo Jung Suk’s acting chops later.

Song Ji An (Hyeri) is a rookie reporter after a big scoop. Tenacious and unrelenting, she is not afraid to stand her ground and will do anything in pursuit of a story. She is currently trailing Dong Tak and reporting developments in his case, employing any cliche necessary to get the facts.

Just a cleaner, cleaning. Nothing to see here!

“I’m actually waiting on a very important scoop right now.”

Drama fans will probably never reach a consensus on Hyeri’s acting, but I personally think she’s really good here (or maybe it’s residual Duk Seon love, carrying over…). It’s good to see an assertive female lead, and Hyeri portrays the character’s qualities competently.

Kim Sun Ho also does a fantastic job portraying the sleazy-yet-charming swindler, Gong Soo Chang.

We haven’t seen too much of Hoya yet, but he seems very likable as Dong Tak’s plucky new partner. I also can’t wait to see more of Im Se Mi as the quirky Bong Sook, Soo Chang’s partner in crime.

Plot

Drawing from both Western and Korean fiction, the cliches are frequent and heavy-handed, but never not entertaining. Somehow, the familiar television tropes and formulaic elements just make the show that much more enjoyable.

The police procedural and buddy-cop genres have been scavenged with particular fervor. In the debut episode, detective Dong Tak exits the police headquarters where he works and takes a moment to stare at a plaque memorializing his late partner, Lieutenant Jo Hang Joon. Naturally, his partner was the most experienced cop in the department and left behind a beautiful wife and young kids.

Dong Tak then unwinds a bandage on his hand revealing a deep wound, and looks off into the distance, instigating a flashback. We learn that Dong Tak was on duty with the lieutenant the night he was killed and that the cop only narrowly escaped death himself.

And that’s probably enough exposition.

In episode two, Dong Tak hunts down Soo Chang and arrests him, believing him to be the murderer. On the way to the police station, the real bad guys appear, and a fight transpires on a bridge. The detective, handcuffed to the conman, throws himself into the water and wakes up in a hospital…

Ominous.

Alright, the man’s just come out of a coma, he’s a little confused. I think we’ve all referred to ourselves in third-person after narrowly and scientifically-implausibly escaping death.

Before Jo Jung Suk could even rip out his IV and claim he didn’t need to be there, the reality dawned on me:

I’d been swindled! This isn’t just a cut-and-dry, formulaic cop drama! It’s a body-swap rom-com too!

Well, not exactly. The drama diverts the trope and has the conman and detective’s spirits co-inhabit the same body. In future episodes, the unlikely pair will cooperate to solve cases, and a beautiful bromance will blossom (probz).

I ventured into “Two Cops” not knowing much about the premise. I knew Hyeri was the female lead, and that was all the incentive I needed to give this drama a shot.

So how does the series fare with the introduction of the supernatural twist? It’s a joy watching the tough, composed Cha Dong Tak take on the body language, gestures, speech patterns, and mannerisms of the loose-cannon conman. Jo Jung Suk mimics Kim Sun Ho and his character masterfully.

When Soo Chang (in Dong Tak’s body) looks in the mirror and sees “himself” for the first time, his reaction is genuinely hilarious. Soo Chang in Dong Tak’s body trying to act like Dong Tak is even funnier.

The drama is additionally utilizing the fantasy trope to set up an interesting love-triangle between Hyeri’s character and the two men. It’ll be interesting to see how that’s played out…I’m rooting for Soo Chang.

Final thoughts

“Two Cops” is fast-paced, punchy, and so far lacks extraneous padding.

A special shout-out to Dong Tak’s coworkers on the force… Yo, your buddy is clearly suffering from a major head injury (or a body swap, but no one would blame you if you thought the former, given head injuries are probably more common).

His posture has changed. His “swagger” is different. His personality has done a 180. He can’t remember where his desk is. He splurged on a new, flamboyant outfit and wore it to the office (midlife crisis, or concussion? Concussion, probably!). He’s acting like he’s just overdosed on caffeine following a lobotomy.

You’re detectives! Connect the dots!

If you haven’t already, start watching “Two Cops” here!

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honbap is an aspiring screenwriter from Sydney, Australia. Shinwon from PENTAGON is the best looking idol she’s seen in real life.