Signal

About: A police profiler in 2015 discovers a walkie-talkie that allows him to talk to a detective from 1989.

Inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders.

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Starring: 
  • Lee Je-hoon as Park Hae-young, a profiler whose brother was charged as the leader of a high school gang rape years ago
  • Kim Hye-soo as Cha Soo-hyun, the team leader, a female detective
  • Cho Jin-woong as Lee Jae-han, a detective from 1989

Genre: Crime / Fantasy

No of eps: 16        Release date: 22 Jan 2016

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Recommended: If you even remotely like mysteries. This was raved about even though it wasn’t a romance drama, that never happens.

Reason for watching: My husband was making me watch Buzzfeed unsolved murders so I was in the mood for a bit of detective work and remembered Signal was raved about.

Reasons to keep watching: The intrigue! Everyday my husband, who does not watch any tv with me ever, would ask ‘Signal? Can we watch Signal?’ It’s that good.

Re-watch: No, I can’t really watch mystery shows again, I already know the answers.

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Gush Time: It was so interesting I want more! I complain about US shows just trying to milk it and prolonging the backstories to keep it going but I wanted the opposite in this drama! (The most of a US series I’ve watched is up to the start of season 3 of Castle and The Mentalist.) I want a sequel but it’ll be hard to have a good one after that ending. They should have dragged out the drama to 2 or 3 seasons. That would’ve been amazing but that’s not how Korean shows work unfortunately.

Apart from a few tiny things, if even that, everything leading up to the main case (from ep 13?) was amazing. Just wow. Brilliant. Time travelling tends to go over my head but this one didn’t… much… It made sense eventually! Mostly! Which is what was great about it!

I love the way they went about dealing with the effects of changing the past and the impact on the current times. The comparison between giving Lee Jae-han big details and their effects, compared to ‘just keep trying’ and that effect and then the final thing that Cha Soo-hyun tells him then that effect. It’s just so good.

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I love Lee Jae-han (above). Out of everyone in the drama he’s the one I wanted to live the most. He just tries so hard despite all the crap. He’s a big, nice, oaf kind of character which I wouldn’t normally care much about but he tries so hard and I needed him to live. Just look at that scruffiness and confusion… my heart.

Lee Je-hoon is pretty cute, not a new love but pretty cute. His character was just a tad too whiny.

It look me so long to figure out whether Kim Hye-soo acts as her younger self as well. She looks in her early 20’s even though she’s 46! Make-up and lighting may help but wow! She’s an amazing actress, she really gave out the vibe of a young rookie in love! Compare both her short-hair and long-hair pics that are floating around this post. (I have so many complaints about Korean’s casting people too old for their character, they have to have both looks and vibe not just one or the other. Thinking of you Ji Sung and Shin Min-ah)

I picked up a reference! A few minutes into first episode the profiler was talking about famous people who are dating and they showed the Misaeng cast and mentioned Lee Bo-young and Ji Sung!

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Rant Time: Ep.1 – how did Park Hae-young know she was a nurse who worked at the hospital? It’s a fair assumption but why not a doctor?

There’s a few flaws in the series, such as when it shows Cho Jin-woong using a slim flip mobile phone like what I had in 2006, unless Korea was 5 years ahead of us in technology. Cha Soo-hyun was seen using a less slim version in 1999 but it was still a flip phone.

They spent too much time “flashback-ing” in the final episodes. So I was rolling around wallowing about how they can’t die (even though all three die at some point) for a good 3 hours of the drama, just popping up when the story starts to move again. They spent so much time stalling but not enough into the actual case. WHY!? Where was the effort!? It was the main case!

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From my basic research (Wiki) countries don’t usually have a statute of limitations for serious crimes especially first-degree murder but South Korea does… I’ve just realised that the whole purpose of the drama was solving cold cases because they finally eliminated the statute of limitations on violent crimes in South Korea but with the final alteration of history the statute is still there! It’s the premise of the drama! What! Anyway, dramas tend to be dramatised, I get that, but in police dramas, everyone but the main character is always more concerned about pride than their job! It’s the worst! And I really hope it’s just being dramatised but I don’t think there’s as much difference between drama and reality as tehre should be.

Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog_Boys which is a real-life unsolved serial murder case in South Korea (or summary below). It’s so stupid!

  • Police: Oh they uh just died of hypothermia
  • Parents: NO! INVESTIGATE!
  • Police: They just got lost
  • Parents: Impossible! They were found near a village they know well!
  • Police: Fineee… sooo it turns out they were hit really hard multiple times in the head aaaand one of the kids was shot as well for some reason
  • Me: WHY WAS THAT NOT OBVIOUS FROM THE BEGINNING!?

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So another big part of this drama was the fact that everyone hates cold cases because the public’s like why didn’t you do your job properly from the beginning!? And the person who solves the case is ‘proving’ that the original investigators didn’t do their job properly. And in the drama the police are more concerned about finding a suspect than actually having the right one just so they look like they’re doing a good job. Then the real murderers are still running about free to KILL MORE PEOPLE. So stupid. Innocent people get blamed/punished/defamed/DESTROYED!

The end!!!! WHAT! Who, what, when, where, why??? It made sense but there was not enough information! It ended with a swarm of evil people coming to kill Lee Jae-han but how does he get saved? Who saves him? His only helper is his dad and the future walkie-talkie guy it’s not like the police can help him. Does he get saved in time? Do the 2 main characters save him? Do they get there in time? WHY DO THEY DO THIS TO ME!?

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Conclusion: This drama was amazing. It should have had at least one more case squeezed in or just more in general. If it must have 16 eps then they could have fully utilised it so the main case made more sense! Be more finalised! Have at least half a real conclusion! More depth into what happens to the bad guy or how he was caught or his purpose! More of the case or the characters! Anything! I’m still keeping it as a 9/10 but why did they make the lead up cases amazingly perfect yet the main case has so many holes and vagueness???

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