I found Search to be intense and captivating, all ten hours of it. Yes, it has faults, but I zipped through each episode, excited to see what was coming next.
In 1997 the DMZ was the setting of massive bloodshed and traitorous behavior from both sides of the 38th parallel. As soldiers from the North were in pursuit of a runaway husband and wife research team, the South ran into the party and, because of the stupidity of one lone man, all hell broke loose and most of the people there that day lost their lives.
When, 23 years later, a South Korean soldier is found dead in the DMZ, a special forces team is formed for the sole purpose of tracking down the wild dog they think was responsible for the man’s death. However, no one is prepared for the truths this elite team begins to uncover.
Sergeant Yong Dong-Jin, affectionately known by his nickname Dragon Snake, is the military dog handler of Battalion 14 Search Party. Before his military service he was a veterinary student and already has a job lined up at a wildlife rescue center for when he is discharged. He has a very close relationship with his mother, affectionately calling her “Miss Hee-Ra,” but doesn’t remember much about his father, and his mom has never volunteered information about him. Along with his uncle, Sergeant Yong’s mother own and runs a restaurant called Yong Hee-Ra Hangover Soup.
First Lieutenant Son Ye-Rim is part of The Armed Forces CBR Defense Command, 24th Special Mission Battalion. She and Sergeant Yong have a history together but broke up about a year ago, in fact, the title “Traitor” comes up next to her number in his phone. Although the young woman is fearless in battle she is deathly afraid of needles.
Captain Song Min-Gyu (Kyu) is the man in charge of The North Star Special Missions Force. There is something in his military past that threatens his future and in order to get ahead he allows his allegiance to be bought. Although he has been given command of The North Star Special Forces Team to find and kill the “target,” he’s also under secret orders to locate a military item from many years ago.
Deputy Team Leader Lieutenant Lee Joon-Sung is known to be a martial artist of distinction. He doesn’t always agree with Captain Song’s choices and often comes to the defense of his teammates when he thinks they are being treated unfairly. He sometimes goes off on his own to talk to someone on his phone.
Sergeant First Class Park Ki-Hyung is a sniper, firearms, and explosives expert. Because of his amazing ability as a sniper, he was specifically chosen to be part of the elite North Star team. The man is friendly but also does well on his own. He’s engaged to be married soon.
Staff Sergeant Joo Moon-Cheol is in charge of reconnaissance and observation at the regiment company. After his special forces training he was trained in the workings and handling of drones. After having served together before, Captain Song personally requested Staff Sergeant Joo be part of the North Star Special Missions Force.
Kim Da-Jung lives in a tiny village bordering the DMZ. She is a tour guide at the visitor’s center there, teaching people all about the history of North and South Korea’s relationship, including the horrific incident that happened there in 1997. Da-Jung is married and has a 10-year-old daughter. People in the village have no idea she used to be a Master Sergeant in the Special Forces.
There is some information about Krystal Jung, the actress who plays First Lieutenant Son Ye-Rim, in my Bride of the Water God review.
During the show, Sergeant Yong works with two different military “Soldier Dogs” – Leo and Maek, who happen to be siblings. The relationship that young man has with those animals is very heartwarming. To pull off that tender relationship on screen, I’ll bet Jang Dong-Yoon became close to the dogs in real life. I want to put all animal lovers’ hearts at ease by letting you know there is an explanation at the beginning of each episode stating, “All scenes with animals were filmed safely with the help of experts.”
Although my dad was a sailor in the United States Navy, he served before I was born, so I know absolutely nothing about the military. I was fascinated to discover, through this show, that soldiers (and dogs) wear cameras during their missions. It makes sense, though. In the drama, the team is able to review footage taken during one mission which, in turn, helps them plan what they’ll need for the next. Brilliant!
The special effects and makeup in this drama aren’t noteworthy but the captivating storyline’s suspense more than makes up for that. The fighting/action sequences, of which there are plenty, deserve high praise indeed. Every one of those scenes were choreographed, acted, directed, and filmed beautifully. And there’s very little blood and gore for an army show.
When Sergeant Yong Dong-Jin is being questioned at the military police station, just days before his discharge, he meets Captain Song Min-Gyu and hears that he will being going “to the High Military Court,” which Sergeant Yong realizes means he’s been accused of a brutal crime. Sadly, that’s all the audience is allowed to know. We never discover what happened to warrant Captain Song being threatened with such a punishment. I guess it really doesn’t matter what it was. It’s simply a scene that allows us to know what type of guy this Captain, who becomes the leader of the North Star Special Missions Force, is. Another thing I wished had been explained was Sergeant Yong and First Lieutenant Son’s past relationship. How close were they, how long were they together, and why did they break up? I guess we’ll never know.
Like most action shows, the background music is all really good instrumental stuff that adds to the intensity of the story. I can recall a song with lyrics played now and then but I don’t remember what it was like or if it was the same song each time there were lyrics. I was able to find one Search music video on YouTube but it didn’t say whether the song was from the show or not.
About 85% of the drama is filmed either at The North Star’s base or in the jungle. In other words, the show’s backgrounds are out of the ordinary and very pretty. Something Sergeant Yong mentions while they are out setting things up in order to carryout their mission is that, “There are over 2000 species of insects, 2000 species of plants, and 50 species of mammals living in the DMZ.” That’s a lot of unique wildlife for an area that is roughly only 160 miles long and 2.5 miles wide.
After reading this show’s short synopsis, I immediately put it in my queue, anxious to see it, and wasn’t disappointed. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better military sci-fi drama no matter how hard you Search.
Excellent variety of character personalities
Relationship between Sergeant Yong and his dogs
Super action/fighting scenes
Only ten episodes
Makeup and special effects weren’t great