The Good Detective – SPOILET ALERT. Don’t read if you don’t want to learn more.

Drama finished this week and I have to say I liked it a lot. It had been a long time since I didn’t watch a police drama that I was so invested in, probably since Watcher (although it’s true I haven’t watched but have the intention to watch Nobody knows).

The show was solid: the writing, directing, the acting. Characters were well defined and they acted as they should act. They all grew up, or at least, they learn to accept those parts of themselves that were not he most likable. And this was particularly interesting. Even the tropes

I was really surprised about how the show was set. It could perfectly have been two different dramas in one: the first 8 episodes dealing with trying to prove that a man was not guilty of murder, and the other 8 episodes, after the devastating defeat that led to the execution of Lee Dae Chul, about the search of a way to make the real culprit pay for his crime.

This twist, the execution of an innocent man, was a total shock to me. And it was even more when so many people were involved and they could live on with no remorse. it was even worse when the two only people who fought for Lee Dae Chul and put almost everything they had on defending him (our main good detectives) excused almost everyone that was involved in this crazy conspiracy because “you couldn’t have done anything more”. I can understand that SeoKyung releasing the conversation between Chief Moon and the prosecution would not have prevented the execution by itself, but if would have helped. Or that Sang Mi perjury was not the only motive to sentence the man to death, but if she had told the truth, it would have helped. I also can understand Chief Moon trying to cover a sloppy investigation to save his precint (because they also do good things), but if he had told he had seen the images that proved the alibi, it would have helped. I can also understand why the prosecutor didn’t want the sentence to be revoked, but if he had thought about what was on stake a human life!, it would have helped. And again I can also understand Yoo Soon, because she had nothing and was menaced, but if she had been brave enough and spoke the truth, it would have helped. These five people covered their mistakes just for their own personal and selfish reasons. Were they mean? Because, even with the terrible result, you can understand them. I had a conflict with myself, because I could understand why these five people did what they did. But in the end it was clear why: they did it because they were humans. And I think that’s what this show was about: explaining what it means to be human, to have your flaws, to overcome them, or at least to learn how to live with them. At the end all of them: SeoKyung, Chief Moon and Sang Mi embraced the “good detective” in them, but kept thinking what they did was not so wrong, because they did it for their survival. And again, I can totally understand them.

The only people who had real reasons to hide the truth were the real culprits: Jong Tae, Jung Seok and Detective Nam. Of these three only Jung Seok showed some morals at the end, but not because he was sorry, only because he was caught. He could have been living his life as a bad persona but a good journalist forever. I have no pity for him. He got away for five years after killing two people (I know he actually didn’t kill Det. Jang, but I don’t care, because his death was a result of his actions).

Kang Do Chan was another thing. He’s the real good detective. He was never moved by any other interest than to serve the public and find the truth, no matter what the cost would be. In this sense JiHyeok position was totally different (as a rich person who doesn’t really care if he’s fired or not). But it was interesting watching their bond, how two people apparently so different could work together and find their way into the truths. Their motivations were different: Do Chan wanted to correct his acts as he was proven wrong, and JiHyeok wanted to punish the boy (now a man) that had tormented him his whole life knowing that his heart was evil. They couldn’t have done it without each other. And even though they can be heroes to us, at the end their motivations were just as selfish as the other character’s were: they wanted to feel better. They were humans.

All the side plots and the side characters were fantastic: from DoChan sister and the way she overcome her alcohol addiction for her son, to EunHye embracing a new family, to the police squad (all of them different, perfectly acted and in character), to the prosecutors and the politics. Even the evident tropes were not evident: JiHyeok childhood drama had nothing to do with the case we were dealing, but it served to explain his personality and how close he got to be to EunHye.

Well, this is far too long. Thanks for reading.

15
18

    Thiis wasn’t episodic? That comes as a surprise to me, I have assumed every thriller, detective show would be episodic procedurals. I may have missed out and now also spoiled myself on a show i would’ve liked to watch lol.

    0
    2

      Didn’t you read my disclaimer? 🤣🤣🤣
      The whole show is about one case only, which really turns out to three different cases that are related. Even if you’ve spoiled yourself a little I highly recommend you watch it. It’s really worth it.

      3
      1

        Haha I kept reading because I thought it’s episodic and I won’t end up watching it. The more I read, I realized it was based on one case and i don’t mind watching detective shows if they’re not episodic and less gory. Ah I feel bad that I missed this, it’s quite rare to come across a detective/ cop show which isn’t episodic and binge watching keeps getting harder.

        1
        0

      Went into this drama knowing nothing but the title and it did surprise me that it wasn’t episodic >.<

      2
      2

        I totally skipped it because why would a show named the good detective not be episodic hah.

        1
        1

        I began because I thought it would be more of a comedy, the title “Model detective” led me to think that 😆😆😆
        But we watched and we liked it, that’s what matters!

        2
        1

    I agree with every word.

    1
    0

    I really like The Good Detective! So agree with you that the characters are all human. There is no genius (Jung-seok and Ji-hyuk might be smart but it’s apparent that they’re also seasoned with experience) and there is no noble idiot. The makeshift family of 4 in the end look really happy, maybe they could adopt Ji-hyuk as well. My only complain is sometimes the fighting scenes were a bit too graphic, like you could feel the harming/killing intention, especially when Nam Goo-hyun tried to harm Kang Do-chan.

    3
    0

    Thank you for the review – I read it even though I’ve only watched a few episodes, and don’t mind spoilers. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s not a *clever* show as I like a good police drama. to be (gosh, Stranger has really spoilt us all), but it has a lot of heart. I will get to it soon!, and from the sound of it, will probably like it 🙂

    1
    1

      I think even if you have read this you will enjoy. I mean I knew from the very beginning who the culprits were. This was some sort of SK Colombo. I like that old TV show because it was unusual. You knew from the very beginning who the culprit was but the you were intrigued about how the detective would find out. This is something similar: you know (or at least suspect) what’s happened but you want to know our good detectives to find out. It’s quite different from what I’ve seen.
      Sure it would have been really interesting if the debate about the death penalty was dealt other way, but you will enjoy, I’m pretty sure.

      2
      1

        Yes I understand! I haven’t watched Colombo, but I get what you’re saying. You’re engaged in the process of the detectives unravelling the motive/method. That’s where the fun lies! It sounds like my kind of drama. I got distracted by Life – another one of your recommendations – you are a good salesperson 😀 – because I wanted more of Lee Soo-yeon. I will write about that separately somewhere! Will get to TGD after Life.

        3
        2

          I’m not that good salesperson, believe me, but I’m passionate about what I love. Life went directly to my top ten when I watched it. I felt directly in love with a show in which nothing really seems to happen.

          3
          1

            Passion is all that is needed, and it comes across in all that you say 😀
            I totally get what you mean when you say Life is a show in which nothing seems to happen. It’s the best description for this drama!

            2
            0

          Life, The Good Detective, Watcher are all well worth the effort.

          2
          0

    Well said Twin, well said.

    1
    0

    I think my one complaint with the whole drama is the way they handled Ji-hyeok’s past. That last minute conversation with the old man convict felt like a rushed way to conclude the story of Ji-hyeok’s past. I would have preferred if they gave us no answers and dealt with it in a subsequent season (assuming it got another season). I will say, though, that the show is wonderfully self-contained as a result of this last revelation.

    Most of what you’ve said resonates with my experience of watching this show. I think I’m still digesting the show, which was a hard watch for me overall. I think the complexity of the show, the moral ambiguity, is what made it most interesting to me. In a sense, it ends with where it began, with a man going to prison for something he didn’t do. And yet there’s a completely different valence to what happened at the end vs what happened at the beginning. I think that’s very interesting. These character are each committed to a vision of justice, but how they pursue that ideal is different and they are all human. The ethical quandaries throughout this show and how each of the characters navigate them, how they compromise with themselves and with their principles, whether for their own sake or for the sake of their principles writ large, makes for a compelling watch.

    Also, I just want to say the JSJ has a super beautiful smile.

    1
    0