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K-drama ● Review: Gap Dong

English Title: Gap Dong

Korean Title: 갑동이 [Gapdongi]

Director(s): Jo Soo-won, Shin Yong-hwi

Screenwriter(s): Kwon Eum-mi

Studio: Pan Entertainment Released: 2014

Runtime: 20 episodes, ~1h each

Starring: Yoon Sang-hyun, Kim Min-jung, Kim Ji-won, Lee Joon, Sung Dong-il

My Verdict: Mostly nonsensical, try-hard crime-thriller drama that drags on for way too long.

Gap Dong (갑동이)

● Ha Moo-yeom (Yoon Sang-hyun) is a hothead detective who wants to catch the serial killer dubbed “Gap Dong”.

● Gap Dong committed a series of murders 17 years ago. Statute of limitation period expire soon, and Moo-yeom is resigned that the murderer may be dead… Of course, murders start happening again and we have a show.

● The series is apparently inspired by real serial killings. Although it is not meant to be strictly a crime-thriller drama, the tone attempts to be consistent to that, to convey that these are real crimes the characters are dealing with… except the plot and the character’s actions don’t make sense. Almost everything just happens at the show’s convenience.

● The so-called plot just doesn’t move. Of course, the police have procedures and one should not act without just cause, but one can be discrete and prepare for the possibilities, at least in a series you should be able to just to keep things moving.

● Maria Oh (Kim Min-jung), a psychiatrist who knows a lot about the original Gap Dong cases, just conveniently can’t work it out.

● Oh also releases her patient Ryu Tae-oh (Lee Joon) who is highly intelligent and who worships Gap Dong. Yes, let’s release into society someone who is probably not quite ready.

● Ma Ji-wool (Kim Ji-won) is a high-school girl previously saved by Detective Ha Moo-yeom, a.k.a. the show’s eye candy. She draws webtoons which conveniently foretells the latest crimes. This may be intriguing for the supernatural-horror genre, but is just a joke for a series that tries to be half-realistic.

● The series attempts to build up to the final twist and resolution with suspense, only for the nonsense to drag on and on. It is slow even by K-drama standards.

● It’s not a spoiler to say the murderer is someone in the cast, that it’s not someone totally unknown to the audience. There are plenty to choose from. Whether you can predict it or not makes no difference, the progression doesn’t make sense.

● I am loath to blame the cast for anything. Cast members are typically not the director or the writer, they are supposed to just take orders from the director(s). Anyway, no one is particularly good or bad—although I am not convinced Kim Ji-won can act, at least not for this role—but no actor or actress, no matter how good, can save this show anyway.

● The one exception, and this is the only good thing, is that Lee Joon plays the psychopath Ryu Tae-oh quite well despite being written as a cardboard intelligent psycho.

● Overall, this 20-episode series wouldn’t be so bad if it is 5 episodes instead.

● This is one of the worse K-dramas I have seen. It’s so bad that there are a few laughs in there, but I recommend to simply avoid it. Thankfully, the others I’ve seen are better.


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