69

[Dramaland Catnip] The anti-hero’s journey out of the darkness


Bad Guys

By @klmeri

Who doesn’t love a good anti-hero? Producers of Korean dramas apparently do; there seems to have been an uptick in recent years of dramas featuring an anti-hero as the protagonist. But it is not the mere existence of an anti-hero that draws me in—I am anticipating the emotional, sometimes psychological, struggle of this character to come.

It’s one of those will-he-or-won’t-he kind of deals. Will the anti-hero overcome that less-than-stellar quality (bad habit, criminal career, unscrupulous personality) that makes him an ill fit as the archetypal hero? Is there a redemption arc in play, or has the anti-hero simply hidden a soft, gooey center from the world? Often this is a character who started out with good intentions but at some point in his life stepped onto the wrong path and kept on going without looking back. However, we simply don’t know how far-gone the anti-hero is when the drama starts out. That mystery, combined with the thrill of the journey to proper heroism, is the true catnip for me.

What makes these dramas stand out is the degree to which our anti-hero is a bad guy versus a good guy. Fittingly, there is a drama called Bad Guys which falls right into this definition. The drama centers around a team of convicted felons (and murderers!) who are forced to work together to solve crimes that the police cannot. But there’s a catch: These bad guys are not villains—at least not in the context of the drama.


Bad Guys

While they may lack moral compunction and rate high in apathy, they are for all intents and purposes the heroes of the story. Bad Guys is not a drama in which the anti-heroes must repent for their sins, but instead must learn to move past them. Tracking down other bad guys who have committed heinous crimes for pleasure’s sake aids in this, as it has the effect of defining that divide between what makes a criminal and what makes a killer for both the audience and the Bad Guys themselves.

In other words, Bad Guys is your classic anti-hero material at work. The characters’ shades of gray are meant to make us question what we believe to be right and wrong. To that end, each man lets go of any ambiguity concerning his true nature. He decides who he is instead—a criminal or a killer.

Not all anti-heroes have to have served time in prison to qualify as my catnip, thank goodness! Take for example the swoon-worthy Jo Gook from City Hall. This is your definition of a good politician—and by good, I mean able to sway the average voter. Jo Gook can charm and deceive, and what really makes him the anti-hero is his perfect blend of selfishness and ruthless ambition, ensuring he is a shoo-in for the world of politics. He isn’t looking to be a real-life champion to his constituents; he just wants a ticket to the Blue House as fast as humanly (that is, electorally) possible.


City Hall

We watch Jo Gook play games with the fellow politicians standing between him and his ultimate goal with an almost enviable finesse. Only when Jo Gook meets a woman with a determination to do good for the city’s citizens that rivals—and often interferes with—his own determination to climb the political ladder does he find himself helping her more than hindering her. In truth, Jo Gook is not as apathetic to the plight of others as he pretends; by the end of the drama his self-interest has been set aside for the sake of love. There is something to be said when an anti-hero sacrifices his life’s dream for the person he loves.

Sacrifice goes hand in hand with the concept that anti-heroes must choose to be better. This was the central theme of a more recent drama, Chief Kim. The wacky Sung-ryong has one of the most relatable qualities of an anti-hero: Like most people, he loves money. Unlike most people, he will commit accounting fraud to obtain it. In fact, viewers are first introduced to Sung-ryong while he’s under investigation for cooking the books of a local gangster for whom he is the primary accountant. Sung-ryong is so talented at financial misstatement that even the prosecutors cannot pinpoint exactly how he does it. Sung-ryong will neither deny that his actions are unlawful or excuse them, and will even go so far as to cheat his cheating clients to squeeze out a little extra money for his own pocket.


Chief Kim

Sung-ryong’s endgame, ironically, is to save enough money to live in Denmark, a country he considers far less corrupt than Korea. To expedite this plan, he goes to work at a corporate giant and winds up thwarting a more sinister scheme by pure coincidence. Once thrust into the unwitting position as the “hero” of the company, our Chief Kim is far out of his comfort zone. Cue the emotional struggle of the anti-hero. It’s fun to watch how shocked Sung-ryong is by his own actions. It’s also poignant to watch him reconcile what he wants to do (embezzle) and what he actually does (fight the chairman who is embezzling).

It is noteworthy to mention that Chief Kim goes an impressive step beyond this typical anti-hero trope by introducing an anti-villain in Sung-ryong’s foe Yul, a finance director who also joined the group for less-than-honorable reasons. Yet being a true villain requires committing acts on behalf of the corporation that Yul frequently finds too dirty even by his standards. Together Sung-ryong and Yul, anti-hero and anti-villain, create an entertaining dynamic. The former is gluttonous for money; the latter is greedy for power. Yet they keep tripping themselves up because their moral compasses aren’t so off-kilter as to allow them to disregard the underlings who are already suffering, especially once they become powerless underlings too. That means giving up their greed to serve justice to the more powerfully greedy. Up to the last episode, I would call Chief Kim a true anti-hero treat.


Police Unit 38

But are all anti-heroes created equal? Hardly. I have been enticed to watch a few anti-hero dramas, only to be left confounded after they ended. Sometimes it’s not obvious if the anti-hero has a bona fide change of heart, such as with Police Unit 38. This drama promised to host the anti-hero trope of my dreams: Talented con artists and a government tax collector join forces to trick high-dollar tax evaders into giving up their unpaid taxes. But the lead con man, Jung-do, had mysterious motives from the first episode. What made him the anti-hero? Love of money? His ability to manipulate people? His arrogance?

To this day, I still cannot pinpoint Jung-do’s fatal flaw, and so throughout the drama I could not reconcile his continued betrayals of his teammates (due to a hidden agenda) with what I vaguely expected as a character arc for him. When Jung-do sacrifices his freedom at the end, I cannot tell you if that sacrifice is the result of a change in his character for the better. Part of me believes this anti-hero will resume his old ways after prison; he is more or less the same from start to finish—that is, he remains ever the mystery. I should clarify that the drama is still an excellent watch. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat with all its plot twists and team camaraderie. But if you are watching Police Unit 38 for the anti-hero redemption, that comes in tiny, tiny doses.

To conclude: Give me anti-heroes, or give me… well, just always give me anti-heroes. I want to agonize with the anti-hero over his struggle against the righteous path. I want to watch his fruitless attempts to avoid a vested interest in the downtrodden state of his fellow Man. For beneath each anti-hero’s off-putting persona, beyond the blustering or feigned disinterest, regardless of bad habits or poor career choices, there exists the potential for goodwill. Simply put, it is up to the anti-hero to prove that he is more heroic than he seems!


Police Unit 38

RELATED POSTS

Tags:

69

Required fields are marked *

My current fave anti-hero is the King in 7DQ... Though he's looking like he'll be down right villain soon ? LDG plays him reaaaally well I can't imagine anyone else in that role

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well said. He's perfect for the role! But like you said it seems like he's slowly turning into someone we are all afraid of he'll be right from the start of the drama.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I absolutely love him, but to me he's always been a villain-in-training rather than an antihero, just because of the automatic connotations of who he is in history. Either way, he's phenomenal in every episode.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL villain-in-training! Well said!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Team Crazy Dog! You'd think I wouldn't care about a group populated by convicted (for the most part rightly) criminals, but I loved each and every one them.

And anti-villian? I like it.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I nominate "Last" with Yoon Kye Sang as the jerky and greedy day trader who tries to scam and instead gets scammed and Lee Beom Soo as the leader of the street beggars. He lived in a mansion thanks to the homeless guys and all the other illegal activities he was into, but put his little bro through school after their father was cheated out of his business and bankrupted. Really difficult to cheer for anyone, but a great watch.
"Last" also needs an Honorable mention for another category I haven't seen here: When the romance between the second leads outshines the romance between the leads.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Last is in my to-watch queue. You may have just helped me move it up a few notches!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ooh I can't believe it's another catnip that I may have! Haha. Actually this whole series has continually amazed me by the different catnips possible.

I do love a good antihero redemption, because I do believe most people (except some kdrama villains) have a soft gooey centre in the middle, it's just about how many layers it's buried beneath.

I now realise that's why I liked Chief Kim so much! (In addition to Nan Goong Min Oppa and the wacky offbeat humour, oh and that TT dance ?) Anti villain redemption is a glorious thing! Yul ah! ?Thanks for enlightening me @klmeri! ❤️

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Can't agree more! Aside from the comedy, Chief Kim had the redemption of not one, but two anti characters (and don't forget young spoiled Myung Seok). I waited all 19 episodes for Seo Yul to turn to the good side, and it was worth it. Plus bromance! ?

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You are most welcome! I kept watching Chief Kim solely because of the anti-hero arc.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yep!! It didn't occur to me until halfway watching through Lookout, but antiheroes can be sooo sexy. Case in point: Jang Do-han (and his amazing amazing wardrobe. I swear, he gets hotter every week!)

And can we count Tae-san from Two Weeks? The show started with him at such a low point, and his journey to being redeemed is one of the best I've ever seen. And not to forget the Lee Jun-ki factor ?? *fans self*

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I heartily concur! TWO WEEKS was a big factor in my watching LOOKOUT. (Not to mention Shin Dong-wook's return to acting, which I've been enjoying immensely.) Both stories are taut and mesmerizing. I never know what to expect next. ;-)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

KYK has became my latest idol becos of his Lookout. I even went back to watching a couple of his past work (as the lead guy )! His D-day and Go Ho's Starry Night are awesome as well !#

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this. Also, thank you for giving me some truly interesting sounding dramas to add to my must-watch list. I think the thing about anti-heroes that always gets me and reels me in every time is their complexity. And often times, this is a type of complexity that isn't offered to your regular heroes/protagonist; either due to lazy sub-par writing or because people feel those added complexities negate the "purity" of the hero.

And to be frank, pure, all around good-guy heroes can be quite boring. Not always of course but there is a pattern. Give me someone human, and 3-dimensional and prone to messing up just as horribly and terribly as the next person. Better yet, give me someone who is morally ambiguous, who is so far in the gray in regards to their ideals and their actions that you're shaking your head at them and at the same time wondering if you wouldn't have done the same in that situation.

There is such a draw to these characters because of the layers they are given and the lee-way that they are afforded. Often times, they're doing things that sometimes we ourselves wish we could do, at least in regards to skirting the law in questionable ways for those we care about or to right a wrong (NOT in regards to such things as murder or embezzlement).

And like you pointed out the arc for the anti-hero is so interesting to watch and unravel. How did they get to this point? What motivates their actions? How do they reconcile the less than savory things they do/feel with the rest of society's expectations? Can they be motivated to change all-together or to at least be more sympathetic towards the plight of others?

I think another small part of the attraction (and to be frank, a very shallow part) comes from the concept of a "bad-boy". I feel like a lot if not all of us have had that period (guilty!) or the on-going struggle where you are attracted to someone who you KNOW isn't the best person. There's just something about them not giving a damn, and the seeming freedom that comes from living a life unhindered by the opinions or feelings of others.

Idk man, there's just SO MUCH that can be garnered from this catnip/trope, it's positively endless. I love it. Such a good read, thank you for submitting.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL, who needs only "pure" heroes? I'm totally with you, I want my protagonists to be flawed humans. I'm more emotionally invested in the drama that way.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The anti-hero is a favorite of mine. I actually see Eun Oh in Arang and The Magistrate as one. I still remember in the first episode the scene of him watching injustice happening and saying something like " You know what I do when I see injustice?" I fully expected in true hero style for him to save the day. Nope. His counterpart says, "You stay still" and then they walk away. I started laughing; it was so unexpected. But the joy is in the journey of watching this character stay around first to get his own questions answered and eventually end up helping out the town and put everything on the line for Arang.

I actually think writing this type character can be hard to do because to work the change has to be gradual and we have to see it evolve. I'm hoping people come up with lots of examples of this catnip because I've seen all the ones listed in the article except Chief Kim which is on my list.

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@ 7 sorrynotsorry,

Yes! I agree that Eun-oh is an anti-hero. His total antipathy towards injustice as well as the disembodied makes him a prickly and unsympathetic personality. He doesn't treat the living all that well, either. Watching him thaw out and learning what makes him tick was a wonderful journey indeed.

Dae-gil in CHUNO rates as another anti-hero. He actually gives a great big damn about his cohorts -- and some of the slaves he captures.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oops! Should have read:

His total antipathy towards the disembodied, as well as redressing injustice, makes him a prickly and unsympathetic personality.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Now that you mention it, Eun-Oh definitely counts as one! He goes from being apathetic ( and calculating) to all-loving hero. At first, he was all about using people for gain but slowly but surely, he realises that he has the power to good and chooses to help people, just because he can (and doing everything for Arang, just because he can!) The fact that amuses me the most about him is that how he went from completely ignoring ghosts to fulfilling all of their last requests!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh my gosh, yes! Arang and the magistrate is one of my favorite dramas because I also love supernatural-themed dramas, but now that I think about it you're right about the main lead. He really does start out as an anti-hero! I'm going to go back and do a rewatch of this drama with that in mind. Thank you!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This! I'm all in when it comes to redemption. This why I like Lookout so much right now. And Wang Yo=Grim Reaper in Goblin would also qualify after killing scores of people as king and coming back as Reaper to amend and find forgiveness for his past. That was beautiful. And that was catnip for me.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Love it! Well written!
Who doesn't love an anti-hero?

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh my gosh I lovee Police Unit 38 !!! The heist is so cleverr I feel like watching movies with 16 sequels !!

I want to keep it up with Bad Guys but I wait and wait still

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Go Soo in Empire of Gold also bad curse from hell anti hero, seriously.

Jang Hyuk in Midas , Kang Ji Hwan in Incarnation of Money, Suzy in Dream High,
and how can we forgot Song Joong Ki -Kang Maru anti hero!!!! Haha

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha, I'd never have thought to put suzy from dream high in this category, love it. And how can we forget kang maru. Golden.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

haven't heard midas again for years,,hahhaha

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

welcome to revenger mania here. Haha. Heist, detective, revengeful plot are my main dish.

Btw, add again, Kim Rae Won in Punch is included in total bad guy redemption

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Two thumbs up! Excellently written and I agree completely! ?

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And Kang Maru from Innocent Man :P

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This may just be my catnip. I absolutely love most of the dramas mentioned: Bad Guys, Chief Kim and Police Unit 38. (So that leaves City Hall for me to watch.)
I love redemption arcs of anti-heroes. Quite fulfilling to see them change right infront of your eyes.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Bad Guys (or as I like to call it, Psychopaths Are People Too, Dammit) is my love. It's on Netflix now so I'm doing a rewatch. Great post! I love a good anti-hero. I think Spike from Buffy started it for me :P

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@14 anzabee,

ROFLMAO at "Psychopaths Are People Too, Dammit"!

Thanks for the pointer to BAD GUYS on Netflix. I recently watched MY ONLY LOVE SONG there. ;-)

*High-fives fellow BUFFY fan*

Spike is truly one of the great anti-heroes. I have to put him and Angel neck-and-neck, so to speak. Both are epic bad boys.

Speaking of psychopaths, LOOKOUT has some truly twisted (sociopathic?) baddies along with the hunktastic and devious anti-hero. Now that I think of it, VOICE had a rather anti-heroic protagonist in hot pursuit of a serial killer -- who still creeps me out six months after the show ended. CIRCLE has techno-fanatics willing to do anything to achieve their goals, but I wouldn't call the good guys anti-heros so much as highly-motivated underdogs. Most of DUEL's characters are so convoluted I'm still trying to figure out what's going on. But the cop in search of his abducted child surely appears anti-heroic at times.

As an antidote to all the above darkness, I've been thoroughly enjoying THE BEST HIT. It has underdogs galore, and lots of heart. ;-)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hey, wouldn't Wang So from Scarlet Heart count? Maybe? Though his character arc took him out of anti-hero and straight into hero (while the 8th Prince went through the opposite change).

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't seen any drama of such genre...so it's not really my trope...? ??

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@klmeri,

Thanks so much for your anti-hero as catnip essay. I love the way you write. ;-)

I appreciate your insights into the appeal of several shows that I haven't seen, but would now consider watching. Being mathematically-challenged, I never thought I'd ever be intrigued by a show centering on accounting fraud, but you've gone and piqued my interest. Plus Namgoong Min as the lead is mighty enticing. Anti-villains? I'd never considered that concept for some reason. It looks like I'll be meeting CHIEF KIM sooner rather than later. ;-)

For me the downside of crime shows is the spiritually corrosive effect of constant exposure to evil. I can only take so much of it. However, redemption is catnip to me, so if it's done in a believable way, I can hang in there and keep watching. ;-)

Give me a good anti-hero any day of the week. Often they are underdogs to boot, and many of them can't seem to get out of their own way. Watching them overcome their growing pains can be satisfying, and sometimes even inspiring and uplifting. More catnip for me.

In other cases, a character's back story turns out to be way more than meets the eye. You have to be patient in order to understand the big picture. TWO WEEKS was such a show, and is one of my all-time faves. SWEET STRANGER AND ME / MAN LIVING IN OUR HOUSE falls into that category, too.

Thanks again for thought-provoking and entertaining article. ;-)

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

You are very welcome. I agree with you that crime shows or revenge shows can be very dark sometimes, so much so that it's hard to watch. Luckily I think some dramas have been mentioned in the comments here that are less dark yet still have good anti-hero arcs to them. My hope is that you can find some more "lighter" dramas to satisfy your catnip.

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gee, thanks, klmeri!

I forgot to mention that I'd watched CITY HALL, after seeing MY NAME IS KIM SAM-SOON. I hadn't thought of Jo Gook as an anti-hero, but now that you mention it... I think I didn't notice because I was so surprised by Cha Seung-won's performance. It was only the second production I'd seen him in -- and he was like a chameleon. I couldn't get over how swoon-worthy he was.

The first production I'd seen CSW in was a low-key but deeply affecting film with Ryu Deok-hwan entitled MY SON, and it was a doozy. He played a murderer on 24-hour leave to visit his 18-year-old son and elderly mother -- after 15 years of good behavior. He was serving a life sentence, and looked every inch the part. Talk about an anti-hero! (Needless to say, seeing him later in THE GREATEST LOVE came as a delightful shock.)

I was floored by the way CSW expressed himself with his eyes. It was pretty early in my career as a Kdrama fan, and came as a total revelation. Ditto for RDH, who had caught my eye with his turn as King GongMin in FAITH. Although the family circumstances were very difficult, there was redemption, and even a bit of surrealism reminiscent of WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL.

MY SON is one of my favorite films. I highly recommend it for its high anti-hero quotient. ;-)

PS: WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL has a couple of anti-heroes in its ranks, too. But it's more a tale of underdogs. ;-)

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

CSW is hands-down my second favorite actor. He is a chameleon for certain. I'm convinced he can and will play any type of character - and do an amazing job in the process. There are some dramas he plays in that he basically carries the production and is its saving grace - You're All Surrounded, Splendid Politics - but even then you are likely watching just for him. That's why I watched City Hall. I had to see him on my screen one more time!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

HWAJUNG / SPLENDID POLITICS ftw! I couldn't bear to pass up 25 episodes of CSW as Prince Gwanghae. ;-)

1

And when Bad Guys meet Police Unit 38... I can't...
Apparently not for the faint hearted.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

YOU FORGOT PUNCH :(

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is another drama in my to-watch queue. I can't bring myself to watch it yet because of the terminal illness aspect. I'll get there someday!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I hope you'll get there quickly because this is easily one of the best written korean dramas of all time. If you enjoy novels and appreciate eloquency, every dialogue will be a treat for you.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Was thinking the same. The tension in that series. And the stakes! Wow!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ooh. Yes I love a bad boy redemption and these are some of my favourite shows or on my to-watch list. Like other beanies Kang Maru also came to mind. Thanks @klmeri Are there any anti-heroines though? None spring to mind immediately.

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Your question about anti-heroines got me thinking and I'm bummed about the fact that I cannot think of any kdrama ones. I can think of quite a few k-movie anti-heroines but none for kdramas. :|

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was wondering about what seems to be a double standard. A redemption arc for bad women never has the same up swing as for men. They usually just accept their punishment and slink off to jail, suicide or heartbreak. Why? A cultural standard that a dirty woman never washes clean? So troubling.
Can anyone comment on Miss Ripley or Queen of Ambition? I haven't seen those dramas, but read the main female characters have questional moral compasses.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmm, anti-heroines... Night Light?

Overall, I wonder if it's something reserved to second leads? For example: Mishil in Queen Seon Deok, Han Chae Ah in Gaksital. I didn't finish Introverted Boss. Did Gong Seung Yeon's character have a redemption at the end?

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I gave this question some serious thought while I was writing the article; unfortunately I could not come up with the good anti-heroine drama that I have seen. The closest is Empire of Gold, but it's more on the flip side where a potential anti-heroine is created but there would have to be a whole separate drama for the redemption arc. I would love to see a good anti-heroine drama!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Several of Lee Kyung Hee Male Lead is an anti heroes. I think I consider Cha Moo Hyuk in MISA as an anti hero as well... And Kang Maru in Nice Guy. Or Park Gyung So's leading male... Yoo Jung in Cheese In The Trap is also I consider an anti hero.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't watched Bad Guys, after reading this post, it's definitely going to be on the top of my watchlist! Thanks for the post!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I watched it fairly recently and it was so good.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great post. I was thinking this wasn't my catnip, but then I thought of Hello Monster/I Remember You. It's left somewhat ambiguous, but little bro appears to be on a redemption arc by the end, and even at his most anti-heroic (since he's never exactly the main villain) you just can't hate him, for obvious casting reasons. I think my appreciation for this trope generally has a huge amount to do with casting--if there's a redemption arc, the actor needs to be skilled enough to make me believe it, and for them to stay in antihero territory (as opposed to out and out villain), I need to like them enough to sympathize with them even at their worst.

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Right. Hello Monster too. At first the plot made us thought that he might be another psycho killer too. Hah.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And I meant SIG role.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you, and I think the catnip sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Most of us watch dramas to see the good in people, and so when the anti-hero begins to show glimpses of being a decent human being, one cannot help but be drawn in to his story.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was hooked watching "Empire of Gold" with its anti-hero and anti-heroine. But I wouldn't call it my catnip.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

YAS. This is a favourite catnip of mine. And I'm glad you wrote about it @klmeri !

I loved how you laid out why we love an anti-hero. It's interesting watching them struggle with the concept of good and bad and also explore the gray area in between. They are often fascinatingly complex characters (in that hands of a good writer that is!)

I like straight-up heros and villains too but 99% of the time, if there's an anti-hero story, you bet your butt I'll check that out.

Bad Guys and Squad 38 are on my list of dramas to watch and now I guess I'll have to add City Hall to that list as well.

Finally, I love that you mentioned Chief Kim. I feel like its one of those dramas that explored the whole anti-hero/anti-villain concept really well. Sung-Ryong thought that being good brought you nothing but as it turns out, he just couldn't stand by and let people exploit others. Yul thought that having power would make you invulnerable but then he realised that he did not have it in him to trample on everyone and gain that power. And in the middle of all of this, they keep coming up against each other and find each other exasperating (but also secretly admire each other) and both realize that it's not so bad to good, not if you have an amazing partner on your side. (Can you tell I love and miss this drama terribly?)

Great job on this catnip essay! It is one of my favourites. I really enjoyed reading it! :)

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You are very welcome, and I'm so glad to learn there are others who have this catnip!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lookout is in my to-watch queue. I may have to check this out for the anti-hero!

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@thethickofit, @klmeri,

Yes to Prosecutor Jang Do-han in LOOKOUT! He's a 200-proof anti-hero if ever there was one. His smarmy duplicity is stunning. Kim Young-kwang is fantastic in the role. As a connoisseur of anti-heroes, you simply have to watch LOOKOUT. For science. ;-)

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Right right ! Right now we have Jang Do Han as the borderline crazed anti-hero in Lookout.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

i need bad guys and police unit 38 season 2 ????

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I just watched all of Bad Guys yesterday (yay for a teacher's first days of summer vacation!) and loved it. I wasn't sure about Park Hae-jin until the end.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is a good catnip. I've never set this theme of, but I love most of these dramas. Thanks for the article,@klmeri.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're very welcome!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I've always loved the anti-hero tropes. I've just recently finished Bad Guys and Park Hae Jin's character there was set up as this serial killer, in the end I did not even care if he did it or not because he was atoning for it! I fist pumped when the truth was revealed!
I basically am in love with the Mad Dogs team and loved their complex character arcs, I keep wishing they had more episodes working as a team. I want to give them hugs!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Currently Airing

Prime-Time Shows This Week
Monday-Tuesday (July 6-7) Wednesday-Thursday (July 8-9) Weekend (July 10-12)