Mystery Queen producers explain ending, hopes for Season 2
(This whole post is a bit of a spoiler alert, so for those of you who haven’t caught the ending episode, proceed at your own risk.)
I’m sure that all of you who watched the Mystery Queen finale this past Thursday were with me as I started to panic counting down the minutes and the show STILL hadn’t resolved the main mystery connecting our two leads, Choi Kang-hee and Kwon Sang-woo. And then they go ahead and bring back Kwon Sang-woo’s not-so-dead girlfriend with 3 minutes to spare. When it ended, I stared at my screen, thinking, That’s it? That’s your ending? It felt like an American mid-season finale, except there wasn’t going to be another half season to, you know, solve the mystery.
Thankfully, the producers behind Mystery Queen released a statement the day after the finale aired, explaining that they had planned this ending with a second season in mind. That’s a step up from my conjectures, which ranged from thinking the director/writer had run out of episodes to tell their story or that they were giving a big middle finger to its viewers and the station. At this point, though, the key takeaway is that the producers want a second season, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get it.
Mystery Queen pulled in decent ratings for KBS, but they weren’t in “smash hit” territory: The ratings ranged from 8-11% in its run, which isn’t terrible, but there was definitely a slight downward trend throughout the series. The producers said themselves that if Mystery Queen had pulled in better numbers, they could have given a firmer answer on whether the second season is a go, but as of now, they’re still in talks with KBS about it. If all the stars do align, we could see Mystery Queen 2 on the airwaves as early as next year.
I have to admit, I feel torn about this whole situation in general. I grew pretty attached to our ragtag Scooby gang, and it’s a format that could easily work as a multi-season show, with its semi-procedural elements and one overarching mystery. And there were promising developments revealed in the finale that I would be happy to see play out onscreen, like Choi Kang-hee gaining her autonomy (sort of) and studying for the police exam, the secret HQ paid for by Kwon Sang-woo’s watches, and the tiny, fleeting moments of the ajumma and gruff detective maybe developing romantic feelings for each other. The show was such a tease with that last one.
However, there’s also a part of me that kind of feels cheated by the producers, because I got invested in these storylines and characters over these 16 episodes, and I didn’t get the closure I was expecting in the finale. If they were planning for a second season, they really should have announced that beforehand, instead of blindsiding the viewers like this. It almost seems like the producers planned that unresolved ending to arm-wrestle a second season out of the station, which leaves me with a vaguely uncomfortable feeling.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that there’s a possibility we might get a whole second season’s worth of episodes to continue the adventures of the ajumma detective and the grumpy teddy bear that is Kwon Sang-woo. On my wishlist for the new season is Choi Kang-hee as a divorcee rookie detective getting into a love triangle with Kwon Sang-woo and puppy Lee Won-geun. Anyone else have any wishes for the new season? Let us begin a prayer circle to the drama gods!
Given the new season only remains a possibility as of now, I just hope this doesn’t end like Vampire Prosecutor, with that cliffhanger ending at the close of its second season, and no new season in sight even though it’s going on five years now. I need closure, people!
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