Sunday, June 07, 2020

[First Impression] Team Bulldog

I will be honest - once again I went into watching something blind. I watched one teaser, true, but kdrama teasers say little or purposefully mislead the viewers. The very first episode made me sure I will be sticking with this one. It has a great mixture of crime, comedy, and satire as well. Sprinkled with great chemistry between the characters, some of them we meet in the middle of a dangerous operation which proves their story goes way beyond the acquaintance with us. And some just meet and... well, annoy each other.

The first two episodes dealt with one crime - and it was solved, but in the meantime another happened (cause criminals don't kindly wait until one case is going to be solved, how rude of them).

The first episodes firmly established our characters. Kangho is a police detective in cahoots with "Red Zone" bar owner - Teddy Jung. Who is also an asthmatic gangster breaking necks and shins - unless he doesn't have his inhaler. He employs Yeonjang (which can mean "extension", "renewal", or "a tool") and Maenson (really dangerously close to Manson, but in fact, in Korean it means "bare-handed" so it fits the character tremendously) who are in their happiest element when breaking necks and shins [side note: that fruit cutting scene in the bar was a masterpiece]. Kangho is in his happiest element when eating something different from around the world all the time and spending money his police officer father has left him.

Then we have a very weird pair - Kang Muyeong and Tak Won. She is a reporter on the brink of being sacked and he was a psychological profiler who is now selling Korean medicine and natural cosmetics, probably due to a scam. They search for some nice stories for Muyeong to cover which lands them in trouble at the beginning of the story. Fun fact: Muyeong's signal that she's in trouble is a horse's neighing sound she makes. She also has a horsie's sound as her phone ring. Which is really smart because nobody expects a horse in the middle of some Seoul construction site.
Kings from parallel Universes excluded.

The best cameo so far.
There is also Banseok, a medical examiner, not working as one, with a very relaxed attitude towards death. And I find his character a wonderful addition not only because he brings the forensic science to the mix (and some weird humor), but also because he serves as the vehicle for familiarizing death. It is so removed from our culture that we hate it and fear it. Banseok talks to the corpses, puts make-up on them as a mortician, treats them not as some objects but real people.
That and he also sleeps in one of the refrigerator spaces.

The series weaves comedy elements (which are very, very well done, but no wonder, Director-nim also made one of the best comedies I have watched lately with Mexochi that is The Dude in Me) with crime and poignant observation regarding media, politics and power. This is yet another series in which we have a journalist as one of the characters - and the words that the  truth is what they want it to be (from Memorist), have never been more true than now. The stories on tv present the events in a biased way. I am a firm believer that anything presented through a person is skewed no matter how that person could try to be fair. It's not possible. Our culture, our experience, our mental state shapes how we perceive the world and events.
Also, the crimes here are brutal.

The characters are positively unique (for the lack of a better word describing a mixture of weird, competent, quirky, and well defined). The pacing and suspense are well done. The color palette and cinematography, and music are also good, so I actually have nothing to complain about. There is a lot of shots done from the above - like a grim reminder that there is an eye in the sky observing us, spying on us and in the age of digital surveillance and molka, nothing we do is really private.

The verdict? I will be watching for sure!