The South Korean police drama Live opens with busloads of trainee officers sitting cross-legged on the pavement on a snowy night time, shovelling down dinner earlier than an operation, shivering.
Regular police work, stripped of glory and scrubbed of heroism, is among the present’s topics. And these women and men in uniform are common individuals, who have slogged away for years to cross an entrance examination and endured months at a police academy simply to do that work – from suppressing protests to cleansing up after drunken, projectile-vomiting civilians.
There are youngish people, similar to Jeong O (Jung Yu Mi) and Sang Su (Lee Kwang Soo), who are coaching to be law enforcement officials as a final resort, after a sequence of no-hope McJobs and no-good employers.
There are veterans similar to Yang Chon (Bae Seong Woo), a coach who offers the trainees hell in an early episode. But the present rapidly humanises him, nearly as quickly as he drives out of the academy.
He is a detective, a husband, a father and, typically, as his mentor places it, “that idiot”. A man who takes dangers, misjudges conditions and could be wrong-footed by the grim calculus of police work: Is a life price saving or a job price doing, as an illustration, if it means placing a colleague’s profession or life on the road?
Live is by author No Hee Kyung, who specialises in damaged individuals and fractured relationships. One of her greatest dramas, It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014), is that uncommon factor, a psychological well being romcom that really works.
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Dear My Friends (2017) is a carefully noticed and warmly felt present about aged individuals and long-time relationships in numerous levels of disrepair, although the drama can be tricked out with pointless eye sweet.
Live is extra pared-down and centered. It stays near Jeong O and Sang Su, who turn out to be patrol officers and go concerning the every day business of holding a district protected, typically armed with not more than stun weapons.
And it retains a watch on the human price of all their selections made on the fly. They are public servants, but in addition simply individuals holding down jobs.
It is their obligation to guard the general public, however the present wonders: Who’s defending the women and men in uniform?
In the Korean model of the American authorized drama Suits, there are every kind of fits. There are individuals in fits. There are lawsuits. There are fits, as in impersonal, influential individuals.
And there may be additionally much less zing than within the unique.
The Korean present has a busy soundtrack – it typically appears intent on being a authorized drama you may dance to – and but it’s much less brisk and talky.
What’s lacking is the exhilaration of all that speak, the sense that two mavericks, an unprincipled lawyer (Jang Dong Gun) and his rule-breaking affiliate (Park Hyung Sik), can speak their approach into, out of and round harmful conditions.
The characters are completely different too. Park’s character isn’t a junkie, not like his American counterpart, and has much less to show. Jang’s character is a authorized shark within the unique, however feels extra like a namby-pamby herbivore right here.
Likewise, the Korean Suits has fashion, however not a lot chunk.