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Military Prosecutor Doberman: Episode 1 (First Impressions)

Ooh, what a fun premiere! Our hero may have been pushed into his job by circumstance, but he’s quickly found a niche for himself. Still, the arrival of a new player seems poised to shake things up; there are intriguing secrets behind every character, and these ticking time bombs are on the road to detonating.

Editor’s note: If there is sufficient interest, drama coverage will continue with weekly Drama Hangouts.

 

EPISODE 1 FIRST IMPRESSIONS

In a fancy restaurant, diners are enjoying their meals when a body suddenly drops into view, hanging upside-down outside the glass windows. The suspended man is our hero, DO BAE-MAN (Ahn Bo-hyun), who’s literally hanging on by a thread.

Up on the rooftop, a hooded figure takes out a knife and cuts through the rope, causing Bae-man to plunge to his — well, not-yet-death, because it’s time for a rewind.

We head back to Bae-man in his school days. An unrepentant troublemaker who’s been expelled from three schools for breaking the rules, he gets a scolding from his police officer aunt. She’s his only relative, and she yells at him for trying to drop out of high school so he can avoid getting drafted for the military.

Contrary to expectations, though, Bae-man manages to study hard and pass the bar exam. He applies to several law firms, but both the interviewers and his fellow applicants all look down on his lack of a high school diploma. (The interviews all end with him throwing his chair at the interviewers, HAHA.)

After failing all his interviews, Bae-man’s tucking into a sad supper of instant noodles when a man gives him a pack of kimchi. Upon recognizing the stranger, Bae-man chokes — it’s YONG MOON-GU (Kim Young-min), the managing partner at Law and One. It turns out that Moon-gu’s done a background check on Bae-man, and he tells him breezily that he’s passed his interview. What?

Moon-gu takes Bae-man to his opulent office, where he pours a glass of exquisite whiskey for him. He suggests that Bae-man take up a stint as a military prosecutor, to which Bae-man laughs incredulously. Declaring that he’s exempted since he never finished high school, Bae-man turns to walk right out.

Moon-gu’s next sentence gives him pause, though — the recently-arrested military prosecutor used to earn five times the salary of a typical lawyer, along with a ten percent commission. That could be Bae-man’s, if he fills the empty position.

It’s a tempting offer that could pay off the debt Bae-man incurred while studying for the bar. However, there’s a deeper reason he refuses to go anywhere near the military. Both his parents were military personnel, and they’d passed away in a car accident after being distracted by a call from a military superior. A young Bae-man had watched his parents die right in front of his eyes, clad in military uniform.

Moon-gu drawls that the military is like a gold mine, because the rich and powerful view it as a ticking time bomb. Offering Bae-man wealth and connections, he promises a job at Law and One if he serves as a military prosecutor for five years.

That seals the deal, and we fast forward to five years later. Bae-man has settled comfortably into his position, making friendly banter with the soldiers. However, his affable demeanor turns out to be a front. He’s actually investigating a particular sergeant, Ahn Su-Ho, for receiving preferential treatment, since his father is the president of Gusan Bank.

In the interrogation room, Bae-man reveals his fangs, refusing to listen to any of Su-ho’s explanations. Though the people around Su-ho willingly bent over backwards to curry favor, Bae-man is determined to pin the guilt on the sergeant.

This nets him a briefcase full of cash from Moon-gu, but that’s not all. It’s revealed later that Su-ho once beat a guy to death, then changed his name and pretended to live like a model soldier in order to escape his sordid past.

Bae-man knew of this when cornering Su-ho, suggesting that he might not have entirely abandoned his morals in favor of money. It seems like his choice to prioritize money over justice may be more of a pragmatic choice rather than an immoral one. He’s able to turn a blind eye and serve under Moon-gu for now, but when push comes to shove, his conflict would be an interesting one to watch play out.

Meanwhile, CHA WOO-IN (Jo Boa) is sworn in as a newly-appointed military prosecutor. Woo-in’s righteous ideals seem to run counter to Bae-man’s; in an interview with the department chief, she declares that she is a prosecutor first and foremost. Bae-man advises her to keep to the social order to avoid having her life turned into a nightmare, but she’s unperturbed.

Woo-in is spunky and stands her ground; there’s a bright-eyed idealism to her defiance that makes her likable and easy to root for. She exudes a confidence that means she doesn’t falter even when snubbed, and she doesn’t fall into the tomboy-or-Candy dichotomy that we often get.

Moon-gu may seem like a master monopolizer, but it turns out there’s someone even higher-up who’s pulling his strings. That person is NO TAE-NAM (Kim Woo-seok), the young chairman of IM Defense.

Tae-nam is charismatic, but very decidedly unhinged. Smiling dangerously, he insults and beats up a man who disrespected his dog in a club. Yes, you read that right — this rich kid let his dog loose in a club without a leash, then humiliated the guy that dared to complain about it. I’m an animal lover too, but sheesh.

Colluding with his idol friend ALLEN (Park Sang-nam), Tae-nam spikes a girl’s drink. Later, she stumbles into a police station with bruises on her face, while Allen’s friends titter and cackle in his luxurious apartment.

Woo-in transforms herself with red lipstick and a wig, and then gains entry into the apartment. When Allen pulls a golf club on her, she swiftly takes him and his friends down with just her stilettos and her bare fists. Atta girl!

She confiscates the phone he used to film the assault on the girl, but Allen threatens that Tae-nam won’t let this slide. Woo-in smirks, then tells him that’s exactly what she wants.

Bae-man checks Woo-in’s files and finds out she’s a Stanford Law dropout that disappeared off the grid for three years, only to pass the Korean bar exam immediately upon her return. He’s intrigued, because he’s realized that she never flinched, not even when an aggressive soldier wielded a sharp glass shard right in her face. Who exactly is she, and how did she become a military prosecutor?

That question is left open for the rest of the series to answer, though we do get a hint at her childhood. Her father once gifted her a necklace with her initials, though he isn’t alive in the present day. It’s likely that her father’s death is the reason she’s so driven and determined, and her fearless fixation on Tae-nam seems to suggest that he might have had something to do with it.

I’m already enjoying the dynamic between Bae-man and Woo-in. Their bickering banter is a joy to watch, and I like that they can trade barbs and disagree without crossing into disrespectful territory. They both have scars from the past that led them to the path they’re on now, and I look forward to seeing how they help and heal each other.

So far, the show seems to be treading familiar waters: there’s a morally dubious male lead, a plucky and spirited female lead, and rich kid corruption that’s waiting to be exposed. Still, the drama executes its story with a brisk pace and amusing doses of humor, making it a fun watch. I’m already rooting for our protagonist pair — bring on the clever maneuvering and satisfying fistfights!


 
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Is it just me or does Ahn Bo-hyun need a vacation? I feel like he's been doing back to back dramas forever now. I'm excited to watch this show however! I'm not sure how I feel about Jo Boa because I think she tends to overact sometimes, but I'll watch it for Bo-hyunie.

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He's been doing the typical two dramas a year, it's just that his 2021 dramas both came toward the end of the year. I'm always glad to see a supporting actor break into leading roles. With the ratings this has already pulled in, I'd say he's cemented his spot as a leading man.

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The premiere episodes were so much fun and i'm already in love with Cha Woo In,might become my favorite character of Jo Bo Ah's...Also love we get this gray leads who might end up joining hands looking as IM Defence was originally Woo In's father company and his death pretty much connected to No Tae-Nam or his family considering he is still young to be able to pull that kind of stuff...

The OST rocks as well,heard like 3 songs and adore all of them!

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Jo Bo A kicking ass and taking names is my new favorite thing. Otherwise this drama is just okay. Cartoon villains, brilliant hot ML( not complaining), and basic story. Captain WI was different until episode 2, but I will continue to wat h because I like her character and Ahn Bo Hyun is yummy. Lol, I know very shallow.

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Really good show and cannot wait for the next episodes.

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Episode 1 was a great episode, addicted to a drama after a longtime…though there are typical characters, the script is very different with the twists and turns in 1st ep itself…

I love JBA character, she nailed the role perfectly…ABH plays grey character with ease…

BOBO couple has so much chemistry between them that I wish it was romance drama..So excited for upcoming episodes..

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Thank you for doing first impressions for this drama…

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This was a great premiere. Familiar set-up but characters are interesting enough for me to enjoy the story. This may be Jo Bo Ah's best role in a while. She was just so kick-ass and calm and I love that.

Ahn Bo Hyun's character also seems quite fun. I love the banter between the leads and love that they didn't start off on the wrong foot or anything. Definitely can't wait to see them kick ass together later on.

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Jo Boa's character is more interesting than Ahn Bo Hyun's and I would be watching it, if only the story was about her because the script seems to be one of those same old "fighting against corruption" stories.

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This is definitely a good role for Jo Boah which is very different from Nine Tails. While I mostly remember Ahn Bo Hyun as the second lead in Itaewon Class so he can sell the morally grey character well. I suspect he is more than what we see so far.
I am not sure if I will stick with this yet since the story seems predictable so far.

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I liked it - although it's started on a fairly predictable arc, I like that things are being revealed fast. Two leads who are sharp, smart and with agendas-that-must-be-fulfilled are keeping it moving quickly. DBM's second-in-command (aka Cupid) is making me chuckle and I'm interested to see how the military mum and inspector mum come into it. Will definitely watch again next week.

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I'm not sure what think about the ML, his agenda is not very clear for now.

Woo-In is a badass but why she's stupid enough to leave lying around her wig...

It's not good to be lead's parents in this drama, everybody died in a car accident. I wonder how it's connected.

I wonder how No Tae-Nam's mother is behind this. I don't think she's innocent, her son is really not discreet and she's not stupid, she can't ignore what is happening with him.

When one of the leads will adopt the dog? He's too cute to be with the villain! I need a scene like in A Person of Interest, Bear was the best!

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I bet she is not stupid enough to leave the wig, she throws a mysterious smile while putting on same glasses too… looks like it is part of her plan.

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I hope so. Letting Se-Na in the hospital alone with the USB key wasn't the best idea.

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I’m with you on the wig and shades being part of her plan. That anticipatory smile says so.

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Wait, how can he pass the bar exam (and become a lawyer/prosecutor..) when he dropped out of high school?! Is that a thing??
I haven't watched the actual episode, just read the recap to test the waters and now I'm confused xD

..also, I've been wondering about the reason of that doberman in the title, I had no idea it was because of ML's name lol!

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From what I understand, until very recently in Korea, you could take the judicial exam even if you had just finished high school or were a college dropout. If you cleared the exam, you would train at the Judicial Training Institute and then become a lawyer, prosecutor, etc. The law was changed in 2016-17 and a law school degree is now required. The kdrama Delayed Justice was based on the true story of one such high-school educated lawyer.

In this drama's case I'd assume he'd have taken a GED equivalent after dropping out of high school.

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Ohh!! I understand!
Thank you for the thorough explanation! ^^

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On another note, despite not being fond of law dramas, or military dramas (and here we have both??!!! xD) the recap was intriguing!
Initially I had no intention to check this out, really, but now I'm interested!
I might wait till it's done to start it, though!

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Please, Please, Please continue recapping this fun series! It needs support and the recognition. I loved the first 2 episodes and the chemistry between our leads is obvious. Their both not what they seem to be and smart enough to notice that about each other.

The pace is fast, the fighting scenes enjoyable and with a kick a$$ FL what's not to love? I love it when the FL can take care of herself and has the smarts to do it. It's also refreshing to find a ML who isn't intimated by a strong woman but rather intrigued by her.

I've been waiting to see Ahn Bo-hyun in this drama after my major disappointment in Yumi Cells. I was heartbroken by the end of that series and will not watch Season 2.

Ecstatic to have Ahn Bo-hyun on MPD in a super role that showcases his acting range.

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i actually really like this! it’s always nice when the female character seems balanced with the male lead. in a lot of these types of dramas, it feels like one character (usually the female lead) is more naive or out of the loop or weaker or sometimes just less fun. it’s cool to see both jo boa and ahn bo-hyun be smart, capable and badass

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I had no idea Ahn Bo-hyun was such a huge guy. I never noticed this because I didn't get past his horrible character in Itaewon Class, it took until the end of My Name for me to get over the aftertaste. (I liked him in Yumi's Cells, but don't remember him as such a big guy) He's on another scale here, and he's not only tall but also very fit and strong looking. I'm looking at him with new eyes, and I'm also interested to see how his character ends up.

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I am watching this for the plot, which is actually interesting. I am also watching it because I need to support my boo Ahn Bo-hyun. So glad he has the lead in this one! Jo Boa is not my favorite actress, but I do enjoy her in some of the roles she has been in. Sometimes she can be a bit bland, but so can Bo Hyun. No one is perfect.

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