Monday, June 4, 2012

Vampire Prosecutor Review (2011)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved It!

Prosecutor Min Tae Yeon leads a small team at the Seoul Prosecutor's office to investigate murders and prosecute suspects for their crimes. Incidentally, he is also a vampire, with a special ability to detect the last few seconds of the victim's life - this often gives the team a head start on their investigations. While digging into these crimes, he follows a trail of clues to reveal more details about an incident that happened 7 years ago in which he seemed to be involved. Who else was there and what actually happened at the time?

*Spoiler warning*

This drama was a little unusual for a kdrama as it was somewhat short at 12 episodes, making it seem more like a jdrama series in terms of its organization. Each episode generally dealt with a single crime while an overarching mystery is slowly developed throughout the series. The individual cases were very well done for a mystery/crime drama, keeping the viewer entertained and guessing as to who the culprit was. I actually really liked the fact that they often inserted humor whenever possible to keep the drama well balanced. The main weakness was the overall story which was decently developed but left too many loose ends and some inconsistencies regarding the behavior of vampires. It would definitely have been better if the drama had been extended by a few episodes to wrap everything up nicely and if the writers had been a bit more consistent with their vampiric 'rules of engagement' - I mean, wouldn't Min Tae Yeon's vampiric side have come out upon sensing Prosecutor Yoo's blood?

The vampire prosecutor Min Tae Yeon is admirably played by Yeon Jung Hoon, giving his character a delicious mix of danger and justice. His noble and righteous drive is evident throughout and
Lee Young Ah's Yoo Jung In made some improvements on her performance in Baker King Kim Tak Goo as she carries over her feistiness to bring the team's junior prosecutor to life. Lee Won Jong 's Hwang Soon Bum was a delight to watch as he took on the role of Officer Hwang with remarkable ease, easily convincing me that he had been a cop for 25 years. I definitely noticed he still had some of his mannerisms from Iljimae. Kim Joo Young's wet-behind-the-ears lab technician/analyst Choi Dong Man was a fun addition to the story although they didn't really do too much with his character.

The director kept the use of music quite minimal in this drama, preferring to bring out the voicing and emphasizing the sound effects to give the drama a very gritty, investigative feel. This felt quite appropriate for this drama and only in certain places did the audience hear the sounds of the guitar or synthesizer to mark more emotional moments. The music, or lack thereof, quite nicely complemented the drama.

Crime dramas are pretty regularly seen on the drama circuit and this series definitely distinguished itself first, by its inclusion of supernatural vampire entities, and second, with its excellent murder case studies. Each case was superbly handled and very well-written to keep the drama addictive and fun to watch. As mentioned before though, the overarching background story was a little underdone as there were too many loose ends which didn't get enough follow-through. And unfortunately, the final few episodes lacked the coherency that could have made this drama really sparkle. Kudos for a decent effort though!

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