Ack, I’m so proud of myself for marathoning Cop ep2 to ep14 (current) in juz 2 days. That goes to show how much I ❤ Cop. Although I admit I ffwd those bits containing our 2D nefarious villain, President Kang. (yawns)
2015’s Summer has been a season filled with police thrillers, from the usual OCN fare (Cheo-yong, My Beautiful Bride) to tvN’s first venture, Hidden Identity. Tbh, ep1 of Cop didn’t really inspired me to continue on, so it’s been placed on the backburner until I’ve got spare time to come around to review it. But boy, luckily I did. The moment Sohn Ho-joon (Jin-woo) and Lee Da-hee (Do-young) came on board, I fell in love with Young-jin’s new team.
One thing about Cop that sets it apart from other police procedurals of this season is Cop concentrates on police work. (i hear an “eh?”) By “police work”, I mean that instead of focusing on catching one psycho, or one Big Bad Boss, Cop spends more time on “small cases”. Sure, there’s President Kang and his world-dominion scheme (yawnz), but Cop spends sorely little time on that. We only know he is planning something, but Cop‘s delivery sidelines whatever “plan” he has. (and yunno, i can’t be bothered really)
Instead, we get cases like finding missing teenage girls (which takes up half of Cop‘s 18eps series), and later finding lost SUVs. While you may find Cop‘s plot to be dithering, imo, this is exactly what a police officer deals with day in day out. Seriously, there aren’t THAT many psychos to catch everyday (thankfully), and Big Bad Bosses usually are un-catchable, thanks to corrupted police officials or the Bosses’ bevy of highly paid lawyers.
Da-young even helps to vocalise our question, when she asks Young-jin why their homicide team is looking into “mundane Missing Persons cases”, where the majority are kids who run away from home. And I find Young-jin’s answer to hit very close to what Cop is trying to say — a police officer’s job is not juz to catch a murderer or a bank robber, but more importantly, to make sure that the crime doesn’t even happen. And to do that, you have to get the troubled teens off the street and back home, so that they don’t end up dealing in drugs or prostitution. In other words, the low profile + itsy-bitsy-not-exciting cases.
So yes, like Investigation Team 5 of Hidden Identity, Hyun + Ji-an in I Remember You, Young-jin and her team are also battling crime, but at its roots. Which is more practical than later tearing their hair out (which Young-jin almost did) trying to dig out a psychotic serial killer. Although not much is said about Seung-woo’s motivation in targeting young girls, we can surmise from his interrogation that he probably was one of those teens that nobody cared about.
Another strength Cop has is in its character developments. Unlike Hidden Identity, which gave us loads of action, plot twists but virtually zero characterisation, Cop makes sure that we identify with Young-jin and team, and really care about them as human beings. A lot of time is spent on Young-jin and her family. Even her second-in-command, Jae-deok, gets loads of screen time, thanks to her being close buddies with his wife. We even have some sorta love lines’ development, between Young-jin and her superior + long time friend, Jong-ho, and of course, the newcomers Jin-woo and Do-young. (i totally ship the 2!)
Lastly, Cop, imo, clinches the “reality-police” show award by making sure its characters look like seasoned police officers. No man-in-dark-suits (re: Vampire Prosecutor, Hidden Identity), no too-pretty-to-beat-up female cops (re: I Remember You), but officers who look really mussed up after having spend 12h sitting in an enclosed, hot vehicle staking out their targets. Plus their jocular (and irreverent) attitude at betting who will get the reward for catching the criminal — totally unlike the straitlaced police officers’ characters we commonly see in kdramaland.
And of cos, they can really kick ass. (even my puppy Ho-joonie grew fangs for Cop)