Tunnel. Not since Nine: Nine Times Time Travel have I enjoyed a time travel drama so much. Tomorrow With You was very good but lacked the nail-biting suspense held by the other two. We get to watch, sitting on the edge of our seat, as Detective Park Kwang-Ho chases a serial killer suspect 30 years into the future.
In 1986 Detective Sargent Park Kwang-Ho and his junior partner, Detective Jeon Sung-Sik, are desperately trying to find a suspect in the murders of five young women. All five have been found in remote places with their hands and feet bound, strangled with their own stockings, the killer having left his mark on each victim – dots on their ankles just above their heels. Detective Park is able to arrest a high school student he thinks is responsible for the horrendous crimes but has to release him when the young man comes up with an alibi. In tying to piece more clues together Detective Park goes to the place where the last victim was found and there encounters the killer. Unfortunately, because it’s dark and they are in a tunnel Detective Park, is unable to see the man’s face and, after a short chase, looses sight of the suspect . While hiding in the darkness the man is able to ambush Detective Park, hit him on the head with a rock, and make his escape. Once conscience, Detective Park walks out of the tunnel and finds the world has changed, drastically. He has traveled 30 years into the future! The first thing he does is go straight to the Hwayang police station. There, he finds out a Detective Park Kwang-Ho has been transferred to that station and everyone assumes he is that newly transferred officer . Since the 2016 Detective Park has yet to make an appearance, they have the same name, and everyone already thinks he’s the officer that’s been sent there, the 1986 Kwang-Ho decides to pretend he’s the Detective Park they’ve all been expecting and go after the man who began the killing spree 30 years earlier. Will he be able to do what he couldn’t do in 1986 and catch the killer this time around?
Sargent Park Kwang-Ho believes the most important part of a cop’s job is to protect people from criminals. He adores his wife, Yoon-Sook, and believes the only way he can get back to her is to catch the serial killer that got away in 1986. He’s not happy to be partnered with someone who comes across as conceited, standoffish and plain old rude but has to admit Detective Kim is a good cop.
Detective Kim Sun-Jae would rather be left to do his work alone but reluctantly joins forces with his new partner Park Kwang-Ho-Ho. Detective Kim seems to have a big chip on his shoulder but remains tight-lipped as to why that is. He meets Professor Shin and his admiration and respect for her quickly turns into something more.
Shin Jae-Yi is a professor of criminal psychology. She was orphaned at a very young age, adopted, and grew up in England. She shows very little emotion and never smiles but is very willing to help the police in profiling the serial killer they are trying to catch.
Officer Jeon Sung-Sik was Detective Park’s partner in 1986 but happens to be the team leader in 2016. He is stunned at the physical similarities between the newly transferred Park Kwang-Ho and his old partner. It doesn’t take long for him to realize the new guy really is his partner from 1986, the same guy they were never able to find and assumed was dead 30 years ago.
The love of Park Kwang-Ho’s life is his wife, Shin Yeon-Sook. She is everything a man could ever want – sweet, understanding, supportive, loving, strong, and beautiful. She worries about Kwang-Ho and gives him a whistle necklace, instructing him to blow it if he’s ever in trouble and she’ll come save him.
Professor Mok Jin-Woo is a well respected coroner who often does the autopsies for the police. He works in the same university as Professor Shin and is someone Detective Kim has looked up to and confided in for quite some time.
Kwak Tae-Hee and Song Min-Ha are detectives who are on the same team as Detectives Park, Kim, and Team Leader Jeon. When they discover there’s a good chance the murderer they’re after is the same guy as the serial killer from 30 years ago they resolve to do everything in their power to make sure the man is caught.
Detective Sargent Park Kwang-Ho is played by Choi Jin-Hyuk. He began his acting career in 2006 (using his birth name, Kim Tae-Ho) after winning the grand prize on Survival Star Edition, a reality talent show. Then in 2010 he decided to change his name to what we now know and love him as, Choi Jin-Hyuk. He has been in both film and TV dramas and has sung on the soundtracks for six of the many, many dramas he’s been in. Some things I’ve seen him in are Pasta (he’s credited with his birth name in that one), I Need Romance, The Heirs, Emergency Couple, Fated to Love You, and Pride and Prejudice. He just keeps getting better and better because although he was good in all those shows he is is absolutely fantastic in Tunnel.
Before he was an actor, Yoon Hyun-Min, who plays Detective Kim Sun-Jae, played professional baseball for the Hanwha Eagles in 2005 and the Doosan Bears in 2006. Then, after watching Finding Kim Jong-Wook he decided to trade in his bat and glove for costumes and props. He fell in love with the stage and was starring in (believe it or not) Finding Kim Jong-Wook in 2007. He’s been in one film and four theater productions but spends most of his time acting for TV. I’ve seen him in Discovery of Romance, Falling in Love With Soon-Jung, and Beautiful Mind.
Lee Yoo-Young’s acting debut was in the movie Late Spring for which she won a Best Actress and three Best New Actress awards. Tunnel is the first thing she’s done for TV. Up until her role as Professor Shin Jae-Yi she had only been in films. A bit of romantic news – in December 2016 it was confirmed that she and Kim Joo-Hyuk, her co-star in the movie Yourself and Yours, were in a relationship.
This is one tense, thriller and although the plot is about the cops stopping the man responsible for murdering many young women there are several different cases they take on while they’re hunting down the serial killer. There’s a murder at a roadside rest stop, murders connected to several cases of stolen identity, and arson.
Although, after many episodes I was finally able to guess who the serial killer was, I was never able to guess why the person killed the women the way they did. Thankfully, I had good old criminal psychologist Professor Shin to enlighten me on that subject.
Believe it or not, there is a spot in the show where I was very close to tears. Yep, I had a lump in my throat while watching a murder mystery drama. But this particular thriller is packed with a bunch of different emotions and, you never know, you might just get misty-eyed like I did.
Tunnel began its 16 episode/hour run with a 2.760% national rating and ended at 6.490%. The rating more than doubled by the last episode. Now although just shy of six and a half percent might not sound like much, it’s pretty awesome in this case because the drama aired on a cable channel which people have to pay extra to watch. Cable TV show’s ratings quite often end with the type of rating Tunnel began with. Woo Hoo, Tunnel!
Because this drama is so good I really don’t want to say much more about it. One reason I enjoyed it so much was because of its amazingly suspenseful storyline. The less you know about the show before you start watching it the more you’ll be able to enjoy it. So, sorry but I’m not saying any more.
The music is all instrumental with the exception of Kim Dong-Wook singing Circle of Life (not the Disney one) at the end of some episodes. I need to put in a “yippee” for the opening credits, though. The song is an excellent representation of the tension in the show and the black and white still photos aid in the feeling of darkness that surrounds the plot. It’s amazing at how a good, solid opening can help the whole show. It’s like frosting on a cake!
The scenery spotlight is, of course, the tunnel. It’s not a particularly spooky looking tunnel but it’s definitely not one I’d want to walk though alone, especially at night. They did a great job contrasting the 30 year difference in the city scenery. Also, the places where the bodies are found are vastly different even though most of them are remote areas – on rocks by a river, in a forest, in a field of tall weeds, a not well traveled roadside, the tunnel…
If you enjoy really good mysteries or crime/thrillers this is a drama you’ll love. Tunnel is a tense, captivating, emotionally charged show you’ll be anxious to talk about with friends.
Prompts a wide range of emotions
Just can’t think of anything I’d consider bad