I muz say, tvN’s first dabbling into OCNish territory is a resounding success. Let’s juz hope the dark grittiness in Hidden‘s opening extend for the remaining of its eps.

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Main cast:

  • Kim-beom (from Boys over Flowers) as Cha Gun-woo. [kooriyuki: He looks like a younger version of Takeshi Kaneshiro! yums~] (not your wishy-washy Gun-woo in Warm, this Gun-woo is a kickass Alpha) He is the Lone Wolf type which the Police Force has a love-hate relationship with. He is a good policeman…but doesn’t play well in teams. We learn from his most recently deceased partner that nobody wants to team up with him. And it’s obvious why: he’s as reticent as Lone Wolf types come. Probably stems from having lost his girlfriend (also his hyung’s, Tae-in, dongsaeng to thugs). Then again, being better off working independently means Gun-woo is well-suited to an undercover job. He thinks fast on his feet and keeps such a grouchy, poker faced demeanour that it may take a bit of an effort to unearth his cop identity.
  •  Park Sung-woong (from Gaksital) as Team Leader Jang Moo-won. He is probably everything you’d expect from the Alpha that leads the pack. He is calm, and even though he does value his team mates, he is able to make difficult decisions in emotionally trying times (like choosing not to rescue Tae-in in order not to jeopardise the operation).
  •  Yoon So-yi (from IRIS 2) as Jang Min-joo. The sole female detective in Investigative Team 5. She is everything I like in a female police officer — Min-joo uses her pretty face and her feminine charms to her advantage, and she can kick serious ass at the same time. She is also very much a Master of disguises, being able to turn from demure, coquettish OL to loud, vampy whore at the drop of a hat.
  •  Lee Won-jung (from Girl Who Sees Smells) as Choi Tae-pyeong. The “old bird” of the team, he plays the typical police officer who goes by experience and gut feel. Juz as much a Master of disguise himself, he is usually teamed up with Min-joo on operations.
  •  Kim Tae-hoon (from Angry Mom) as Min Tae-in. Yay! Finally disgusting Teacher Do plays a good guy. And maybe in return for playing horribly smarmy characters in the past, poor Tae-in has his identity exposed, captured and tortured by the baddies in Hidden. (i feel slightly sorry for him here)

Synopsis:

Read Dramabeans‘ full recaps here.

Hidden‘s debut is very much focused on Gun-woo. After his partner is murdered in broad daylight by a mob boss, he goes on a Rambo rampage at the night club to avenge his partner’s death. His subsequent suspension is lifted by Team Leader Jang when he is recruited to help locate (and save) Tae-in.

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Tae-in was his brother-in-arms — until his sister (also Gun-woo’s then girlfriend) was murdered. Tae-in apparently went undercover for 3 years to unearth the mafia Boss behind his sister’s death. Unfortunately, he blew his cover and was captured by “Teacher Jung” — the mob boss working under the Boss.

Gun-woo agrees to the risky rescue cum intelligence gathering plan, and manages to successfully infiltrate Teacher Jung’s gang. Even though one of the mobsters recognise him as a “cop”, his faked identity managed to pull him through. Gun-woo does manage to find out the purpose of Teacher Jung’s operation — it is to steal the hologram template for the new 50,000 won bill.

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In addition, the team also locates where Tae-in is held. However, Tae-in chooses not to be rescued, fearing that it will spooke Teacher Jung to suspend the hologram robbery (and the team will then never get to capture Boss). Team Leader Jang makes the heavy decision to abort Tae-in’s rescue.

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Unfortunately, that also means Tae-in may not survive. As speculated, Teacher Jung decides to do away with the “traitor” after they successfully implemented the first step of their robbery plan. And who should be the one given the “honour” to murder Tae-in, but Gun-woo (aka the “newbie”)?

Review:

Gripping, suspenseful, testosterone-packed. I think these 3 words capture the gist of Hidden. If you are new to this genre, you may be put off by the outright brutality. Well, the bad guys here are hardcore gangsters and murderers, so it’s a departure from the clean, slick police flicks that usually pepper kdramaland. Even Bad Guys (from the same producer) pales in comparison to the grittiness of Hidden. I was juz telling kooriyuki that Hidden feels like a true-blue HK gangland show, with no-hold bars on the cruel factor. Hidden doesn’t have the superhero flair of Bad Guys, or at least the debut eps don’t, it’s gritty, it’s dark and more hellish.

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And the noir suits Hidden. It isn’t a show where the police are on the police side, and the thieves are in the thieves’ camp. We now have a storyline where the territorial lines are blurred, and cops cross over pretending to be thieves in order to catch them. In other words, less sitting around in pristine (or hi-techy) police stations (re: Missing Noir M, Vampire Prosecutor, God’s Quiz), and more hands-on dirty work, which may also involve doing “bad stuff”.

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Though I adore those sit-around-solve-riddles type of police flicks, I’m also a fan of nail-biting undercover ops. So, yes, Hidden gets my nod of approval. 🙂

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