Crime, mystery, suspense, thriller – all genres that describe all of the shows I’ve seen that have been broadcast on the OCN network – Missing Nor M, Neighborhood Hero, Reset – and now I get to add Vampire Detective to the list.
Yoon San is betrayed by his police officer colleagues and ends up quitting the force. We join him years later after he has set up shop as a private investigator along side his friend, Yong Goo-Hyung. Tough girl, Han Gyeo-Wool shows up in the first episode as their client, hiring San and Goo-Hyung to find out what kind of secretive (and possibly shady) thing her brother is involved in, and sticks around the rest of the time as their faithful sidekick. Together, the three battle the people and things of the darker side of life.
Yoon San has a special gift for being able to see something that triggers his mind to logically, step by step, play out what happened in a certain instance. He’s able to “see” what happened even though he wasn’t there. That phenomenal talent/gift makes him an amazing investigator. He’s also not your typical can’t-be-in-the-sun-bloodsucking type of vampire.
Senior investigator, Yong Goo-Hyung, is sober and serious yet playful, as well. Even though he is a detective through and through, he’s also a giant flirt who appreciates a beautiful woman.
Although she acts tough, Han Gyeo-Wool definitely has a soft side. She quickly learns to love and respect her bosses while picking up the ropes of the investigation game quickly, adding her talents and skills to the team.
The ominous vampire leader is scary Yo-Na. Once a normal college student, she survives a vampire attack and slowly becomes the head of the whole evil group. She’s one bad lady!
Through a scholarship he won from taking second place in a dance contest, Lee Joon, who plays Yoon San, attended Seoul Arts High School. He later went on to major in modern dance at the Korea National University of Arts and also attended Kyung Hee Cyber University (an online university). He was first a model, then trained under Rain and debuted as a singer and dancer with the group MBLAQ. In 2014 his contract was up and he left the group to begin acting in the drama Mr. Baek. I have no idea if he has any martial arts training but I was completely impressed with his execution of the fight scenes he did in this Kdrama.
I’ve seen Oh Jung Se, whose character is Yong Goo-Hyung, in seven Kdramas, now. He’s been very busy in 2016, just beginning (in June) his third drama in the past 6 months and he’s in a major motion picture this year, as well. He also spent several years doing theater at the beginning of his career.
Playing the part of Han Gyeo-Wool-Wool, Lee Se-Young is 100% actress. Having been acting in dramas and films a little less than half her life, she began her career as a child actress when she was 12 years old. She was cast perfectly in this drama, appearing every inch a street wise girl with a soft heart. I remember her as the pushed-to-the-breaking-point singer in the Kdrama Trot Lovers. Her acting was impressive as the selfish, rotten, deadly trainee Park Soo-In but she outdid herself in this role as Han Gyeo-Wool-Wool. I just loved her character and she played it perfectly.
I can’t imagine anyone screaming “evil vampiress Yo-No” better than Lee Chung-Ah. She looked scary, sounded scary, and just plain was scary. She played the cutesy female lead in the Kdrama Flower Boy Raman Shop. I wasn’t crazy about the show and the fact that her character didn’t end up with the guy I wanted her to be with made me dislike it even more. However, two years later, in real life, she began dating the guy she didn’t choose on the show (co-star Lee Ki-Woo) and I know it’s silly but for some reason, finding that out made me not dislike the drama so much. One more little tidbit of information, both of them are members of the celebrity skiing team A11.
Vampire Detective starts out its 12 episodes with an event that leaves us wondering what just happened, then finally gives us the answers to that question in the last three hours. All the other episodes are separate, stand alone storylines, cases the private investigating trio begin and solve in that one hour. You’d think a drama with the word vampire in the title would be all about vampires, but this show has several episodes that lean heavily on the detective end and almost entirely bypass the vampire thing altogether. My favorite case has to do with a tragic incident that happened when Goo-Hyung was in high school. But the best, by far, are the last few that give us the whole story surrounding San – what happened that made his friends betray him and the incidents that lead up to him becoming a vampire.
I really enjoyed the fight scenes in this drama – good choreography, good execution, good filming angels. However, if you’re a bit squeamish when it comes to blood and violence, you might be closing your eyes fairly frequently throughout this drama. Vampire means blood, and detective means violence – Vampire Detective, giving the audience a dose of both. But it’s not as bad as some other shows I’ve seen – Reset comes to mind. Just be cautious choosing this drama if you don’t handle on-screen violence well.
The director chose to film San’s “visions” in black and white, helping the audience know what we are currently seeing is what he’s seeing in his mind, separate from what’s happening in real life on the show. I appreciated that bit of clarifying help.
Since I could only remember one song from the drama, I went to YouTube to find some more, in order to jog my memory so I could write a fair review about Vampire Detective‘s music, but there was nothing there by way of soundtrack. I guess the fact my brain is in a stalemate says the music didn’t stand out in my mind either way, good or bad. The one I can recall is a rap at the end of one of the episodes. It was pretty good. Wish I knew what it was called and who performed it.
There’s lots and lots of filming that occurs during night hours and in dark rooms, fitting for a show whose plot deals with those creatures of the night, vampires. The backgrounds were well thought out and fit perfectly into each scene. From the house the detective agency works out of and lives in, to the dirty, abandoned, old warehouses where evil lurks, everything we see fits the story just right.
This drama was obviously set up for a sequel. There’s no way the writer had “the end” in mind while writing the last part of episode 12. A character referred to as “Bad Blood” is mentioned for the first time just minutes before the show is over and we see someone (not a face) take something that is very important to the plot. If that doesn’t scream sequel I don’t know what does. Give them a year and I bet we’ll be seeing Vampire Detective part 2 surface. I’ll watch it.
Entertaining fight scenes
Mysteries to solve
A lot of violence
Bigger stars would have been nice
Lots of filming in the dark