Maybe OCN is the channel with greatest number of dramas I watched this year:
Bad Guys – review
Voice and Tunnel (reviews for each episode on my Instagram @meudrama)
Today, I will review another OCN Drama: Vampire Prosecutor.
Let me inform you quickly about Vampire Detective, before talking about the drama of the day: Vampire Prosecutor.
When The Best Hit was on air, I decided to know better the work of Lee Se Young. Also, at the same time, Lee Joon was working on Father is Strange. So, putting those two pieces of information together I decided to watch the OCN Vampire Detective with Lee Joon, Oh Jung Se and Lee Se Young.
It’s a drama about two private detectives, Yoon San and Yong Goo Hyung. One day, during an investigation, Yoon San is infected with a new kind of virus and become a special kind of vampire. He uses his new abilities to keep investigating their clients’ cases, find the truth behind his new condition and about his missing lover, Yoon Jin (Kim Yoon Hye).
Vampire Detective started as a very interesting drama, until episode 9. However, after that, the things were declining until the end, when you got a nonsense plot around the romance between Yoon San and Yoon Jin. About the blood, there was no mystery at all, because no vampire wanted to walk on daylight, they only wanted money and blood. So, the drama was pretty much a crime drama rather than a vampire drama. However, the procedural cases were interesting enough to make me finish the drama. That being said, let’s move on.
This drama, like Quiz’s God and Vampire Detective, is a procedural drama with a transversal main plot which helps the drama make sense as a whole.
Yeon Jung Hoon plays Min, a prosecutor who lost his sick sister in a mysterious murder case. He investigated the case and, in the process, he became a vampire. He, as Yoon San, is using his new skills to solve cases and both share a method: they can see how the victim died through the blood in the scene. Also, unlike Yoon San, Prosecutor Min can feel the pain and see what the victim saw in the last seconds if he drinks their blood. That information helps him to understand what happened.
Min Tae Yeon will solve many cases together with his team formed by: the detective Hwang Soon Bum (Lee Won Jong), the prosecutor Yoo Jung In (Lee Young Ah), and Choi Dong Man (Kim Joo Young).
Characters and actors
Yeon Jung Hoon is a good actor. I have already reviewed a drama with him: Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi.
Here, he did the same great job. I like the fact that the “legal” aspects of this drama are not the main issue here. The court scenes are short and enough to show us how the investigation resulted justice against the criminals. Also, we can see a Prosecutor much more relaxed and far different from the boring prosecutors we have seen this year.
Prosecutor Min is fashionable and he knows how to fight.
I appreciate this because the drama didn’t try to be about the law and, because of it there is no conspiracy or corruption. What matters here is the process of investigation. The justice is put on the capacity of finding the real criminals and sending them to the court.
Detective Hwang Soon Bum is the only person who knows the secret of Min. However, we won’t discover how he knows the truth. I also liked how the actor did his job in this drama, hew could play well a character who was between the funny and goody, but I enjoyed the loyalty. I could just make a hypothesis about it. Apparently, Hwang worked in the case involving Min’s sister and the murders occurred at the hospital where she was when she was killed.
Prosecutor Yoo Jung In is a young prosecutor, who is working for Min Tae Yeon, as part of her practice. She is happy and optimistic about her job. Also, she is reserved. There is some weird moralist aspect about her, but she is not an obsessed righteous person.
I can say that, in the first episodes, she was, in fact, a supporting role without a personality that makes her shine. She developed her personality during the drama, but I don’t think she could become a remarkable character.
She needs to fulfill a certain aspect of the drama and this is the reason why she looks undefined. I mean she needs to contrast with Prosecutor Min and create a bound with him. So, if she had a very confrontational personality it would difficult for her to become close to him. Additionally, the drama would lose the good harmony among the team, which is a positive factor in those old OCN dramas.
Choi Dong Man (Kim Joo Young) is the cute and multitalented guy. In fact, he is so multitalented that he himself is an entire CSI team. He fulfills the same space in the plot as Kong Kyung-Soo (SHINee Key) in Lookout.
Finally, Jang Chul Oh (Jang Hyun Sung) the leader of the Prosecutors. He is playing a role which reminds me of his role in Man to Man, especially because both faces ethical issues.
Jang Young Nam played the lawyer Yoon Ji Hee. The actress had a very dramatic scene in the episode 11 and she did an amazing job! So, even if she just played a supporting role, her good performance deserves a mention in this review.
Some extra notes
When someone in the team is hostile since the beginning, it’s difficult to create empathy for all characters and our connection with the plot can disappear.
It almost happened in Lookout [review here]: in this drama, it would have been difficult to relate with Jo Soo Ji (Lee Si Young) if her personal drama hadn’t been her big excuse to act as she acted. However, at a certain point, the author had to step back and fix it. After all, empathy is the powerful weapon in dramas, right? Also, I think this plot shows very well the 2017 drama’s style. There’s more appeal to the tragedy than to the goodwill. Some authors can realize it and fix their plot, others can’t. In my opinion, the Lookout author could do it, maybe a little too late, but not too late for me to give up.
The failure of a hostile character can be seen in Bad Guys. Here, inspector Yoo Mi-Young (Gang Ye-Won) becomes an unbearable character because her personality was too stubborn and disturbed the harmony of the team, which created an unnecessary dissonance.
For me, the success case can be seen in 38 Task Force. Here, we can see the same kind of character: Chun Sung-Hee (Sooyoung). However, the author preferred to reduce her scenes and turn her into an observer rather than an active character. She could have been a disintegrating element, but she wasn’t. In fact, it was the opposite – her actions strengthened the message of the drama. As her actions were mostly ineffective, since she was using the wrong method, the author could show that powerlessness of the “wrong righteous action”. That allowed her to understand what she couldn’t in the beginning: there’s a moment in which right/wrong are confused by the corruption of the world. If she had advanced in her actions, everyone would have been arrested and the drama would have finished without any kind of justice for anyone.
Yoo Jung In eventually will figure out the truth and she will accept it because of the relationship her character and Prosecutor Min created since the beginning. She respects his efforts to find the truth behind the crimes and punish the bad guys in the terms of the law, but she also understands his personal pain, which resulted in a connection between them when the time came. I think she was a little bit naive, but she did what she believed. In general, I enjoyed how her character finished the drama.
I appreciate that, when she discovered the truth about her boss, it wasn’t a disruptive fact in the plot, as I was expecting. I think she was very coherent with the situation she was living since the beginning of the drama and reacted as a normal person would be, without becoming crazy like the female inspector of Bad Guys.
We can’t forget that one of the authors of this drama also wrote Squad 38 and Bad Guys. So, yes, the author made a mistake with his first drama, improved it with the second and reached the jack point at the third! 😊
Are you more curious about it? You can see the same character in an MBC drama: Night Lights (review on IG @meudrama). This drama is highly recommended.]
I have the tendency to like OCN productions. Here, it’s not too different, but I have some comments. In the first episodes, the director decided to move the camera frantically and make a lot of cuts to make some scenes more dynamic (and maybe more modern). Sometimes, it works well, but in other moments, it doesn’t. For example, the first time I saw this effect was when they were presenting Prosecutor Min’s house. The house is important for the story so I would like to see it more clearly. Maybe, the director prefers to maintain the suspense, but I’m not sure. He used the same effect to present the club where Prosecutor Min goes to drink blood. In this scene, the effect worked better.
Anyway, the director just used it in the first episode. I really enjoyed the background sounds too. It helped the director to get his dynamic effect. In the other episodes, I didn’t notice anything special (good or bad) in this sense.
From episode 5 on, the director used another particular way to film again. He decided to follow the movements of the actors in some scenes, creating that “Blair Witch” or homemade effect. In episode 11, it was very annoying. Also, in some scenes, he made an artificial zoom in the actors’ faces. I couldn’t find a reason for those special camera movements and I don’t like them because sometimes they distracted my focus from the acting. – So, yes, I think the director made wrong choices here.
As I commented, I liked the costumes chosen for Prosecutor Min. He is very fashionable for a prosecutor! I love it! However, sometimes, I think it’s quite informal for his profession. So, yes, I think they could have been more careful here. To be fair, they eventually fixed this a little bit.
My final thoughts
OCN is searching for a “signature” to make them unique. I like the investment on investigations. However, some characteristics have been producing better effects than others.
Here, I found a moral issue as in other OCN dramas: is killing bad guys a crime? Or is it another form of justice?
We can’t forget that one of the authors of this drama also wrote Squad 38 and Bad Guys (1 – and he will write the season 2). So, these three dramas share a discussion regarding whether the bad actions can be a form of justice or not. In the other dramas, the author chose a position in favor of that thesis. However, in Prosecutor Vampire, Prosecutor Min uses his skills to investigate and the law to punish. He never uses “bad actions” to do justice. So, the answer is the opposite: no, justice is made by law.
Prosecutor Yoo Jung-In set free her father because his bad actions aimed at protecting her. On one hand, this has one reason: it was necessary to make her character turn a blind eye to the fact that her boss is a vampire. She had to be seen as flexible about her sense of justice. On the other hand, it’s a flaw in the logic of the drama, which is punishing the bad guys using the law. So, in the end, the problem here is that the law is never absolute. Sometimes, the law should be applied with humanity to guarantee the real justice will be made.
Besides, differently from Quiz’s God, the moral or ethical discussion appeared just at the end of the drama, in the last three episodes. So, it didn’t sound too integrated to the plot as it would be desirable to make the question a solid point.
In the last episodes, I saw another problem, which also appeared in Vampire Detective. It is the fact that the romantic storyline, made to create the transversal plot for the drama and give it an emotional depth, is a mess. Prosecutor Min did the same thing as Yoon San [I will avoid a spoiler here…]. When the plot was completed and the truth was completely revealed I couldn’t help the feeling of emptiness. I had watched 12 episodes, with an irregular quality of cases and an overall bad filming, to receive a plot which didn’t make any sense. It was very frustrating.
So, if you’re looking for a drama about the investigation, Vampire Prosecutor is an average drama but I wouldn’t advise against it. However, if you’re looking for a good drama, besides the investigation aspects, so I would say this is not the best drama you will find in dramaland. [I think Vampire Detective could be a better first choice.]
Last but not less important: the sexist jokes. OCN has dramas full of men, and the plot appeals more to the male public. However, the high quantity of sexist jokes and references were high here, close to disgusting.
My score is 7.5, which is a shame because of Yeon Jeong-Hun’s good work and other good performances.
- Crazy Love – Lee Jung
- Don’t Cry – Joseph feat. Rhino