I had this Kdrama on my “shows to watch” list for quite some time, always passing it by for some reason or another but I sure am glad I didn’t wait any longer to turn it on. For some reason DramaFever has this listed as a comedy but boy, are they wrong! Yes, there are some funny moments but crime/thriller, mystery, romance – that’s the genres that best describe You’re All Surrounded.
Teenager Kim Ji-Yong watches in frozen horror as his single mother is brutally strangled to death. He manages to escape from his hiding place when the killer leaves but “Boots” goes looking for him because he knows Ji-Yong has evidence that points to the murderer. Narrowly escaping “Boots'” clutches, Ji-Yong safely hides away at an orphanage and changes his identity. Resurfacing 11 years later, he is now ready to find the person who killed his mother and bring him to justice.
Sorry, but that’s all the information you’re getting from me. Any more and the mystery part of the show will be ruined. But I can give you a brief character synopsis…
Team 3’s leader of the violent crime division is Seo Pan-Seok. He is the best detective in the whole station and is considered a legend by all the officers there, especially himself. He’s not at all happy about the fact that four new rookies have been put on his team.
Eun Dae-Gu is a quiet young man with a sharp tongue and a chip on his shoulder. He keeps to himself and refuses to say why he requested to be a detective on the Gangnam police force.
The only female on Team 3 is Eo Soo-Sun. She asked to be assigned to the violent crimes division because she heard they make the most money. She has an optimistic attitude and wants to prove herself worthy of being on the team.
Park Tae-Il was born and raised in Seoul. He’s not just the pretty-boy of the bunch who comes from a wealthy family, he’s very intelligent and can do just about anything well. He applied to work as a detective because he “thought it would be fun”.
Because he wanted to live in Gangnam, Ji Gook was hoping to work in the Gangnam traffic division but there was no space available so he was assigned to work in the criminal division. He lacks confidence but not determination.
Detective Lee Eung-Do is Team Leader Seo Pan-Seok’s partner and refers to him as Hyeongnim (respectful older brother). He is kind of the buffer between the four rookie detectives and their prickly team leader.
The plot centers around figuring out who is behind the murder of Ji-Yong’s mother which happened 11 years earlier, but there are several cases for Team 3 to tackle and solve along the way. We get to see the rookies learn from their many mistakes and come to truly love one another as they fight to earn the respect of their team leader. The audience becomes acquainted with each character, little by little, as their lives are revealed mostly through flashbacks. The detectives in this story are lovable and we care about each one.
In reading about Lee Seung-Gi, who plays Dae-Gu, I was completely surprised and overwhelmed with his achievements. The guy has a degree in International Trade and Commerce, receiving a Special Achievement Award upon graduation. But that’s not all – he went on to get not just one but two masters degrees, one in Trade Theory and the other in Finance and Cultural Contents. He began his entertainment career at the age of 17 as a solo singer, earning himself the title “Ballad Prince.” A year later he guest-starred in the sitcom Nonstop 5, made his official acting debut in 2006 with the drama The Infamous Chili Sisters, and starred in his first feature film, Love Forecast, in 2014. He was a torch bearer in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and (here’s what I think is most impressive) has won every single music award (a total of 25) he’s been nominated for! Wow! You’re All Surrounded is the first thing I’ve seen starring Lee Seung-Gi. Shocker, I know. I started My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox but just couldn’t get past the first half hour.
In 1988 Cha Seung-Won, whose character is Team Leader Seo Pan-Seok, dropped out of Sungkyunkwan University to become a successful model. His acting debut didn’t come until nine years later with the film Holiday in Seoul. He was in several movies after that although it wasn’t until he played an arsonist in the movie Libera Me that he began to attract attention. Finally, in 2001, he starred in the comedy film Kick the Moon and secured a place for himself as a major star. In fact, in a 2005 movie producers survey Cha Seung-Won was ranked as one of the top ten most bankable stars. Even though he’s good in this drama, he’s wonderfully amazing in the romantic comedy The Greatest Love.
In 2003, Go Ara won the SM Entertainment Teen Model Contest and then began training under them in acting, singing, and dancing. Her first acting role was the female lead in the drama Sharp #1. But the performance that finally garnered her big recognition came three years later in the drama Snow Flower. Her first movie was the Japanese film Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea. She earned her part, which happened to be Genghis Khan’s mistress, after being picked from more than 40,000 auditions. I’m not sure if each one of those auditions was a separate person or if some people had more than one audition but that’s still mighty impressive. Go Ara is not only beautiful but the wonderful and varied facial expressions her character, Eo Soo-Sun, makes are amazing!
He may be best known for his starring role in the 2011 film Bleak Night but Park Jung-Min, who plays Ji Gook, won three Best New Actor awards for his role in the film Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet in 2015.
Although Sung Ji-Ru has been in 27 dramas and 30 feature films the only other thing I’ve seen him in is the drama Becoming a Billionaire and I don’t even remember what part he played. He’s great in this show as Detective Lee Eung-Do, though.
The music in Your’re All Surrounded is quite good. Kwon Jin-Ah performs a lovely song entitled I Only See You. Her voice is soft, sweet, and tender amidst the simplicity of a solo piano. What’s Wrong With Me is my favorite song of the bunch – a toe tapping, finger snapping beat behind a male voice rapping the verses and a female voice singing the chorus. Love, That One Word is a really pretty ballad sung by the golden voice of Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation. (She was voted best female vocalist in 2016 by 20 different music companies!)
The location scouts did a good job coming up with places/backgrounds for this story to unfold. There was one thing that caught my eye and made me think, “cool” – the jail cells in the Gangnam police station were pretty posh. Each cell had an entrance way (I don’t know the exact name but it’s the lower place by the door where you leave your shoes before going into the rest of the house). The place was clean, painted, and it looked like they had hardwood floors. Not a bad place to be kept if you have to be locked up.
I really liked You’re All Surrounded. There’s romance, action, and a decent mystery to be solved all packed into a fast-paced 16 hour show. One very big plus is that it’s heart-warming to observe the individual growth of each character. Although there are lots of great new Kdramas to see, I highly suggest you take some time for this excellent 2014 one.
Interesting, varied characters