Plot: Tells the story of Ahn Joon-ho and Han Ho-yul, two members of a military team who work to catch those who desert. Also highlights the undesirable nature of the military, where bullying and survival of the fittest are common and the weakest have horrifying experiences at the hands of their superiors.
(Actors: Jung Hae-in, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Seok-koo)
Director: Han Jun-hee. Also directed Coin Locker Girl and Hit-and-Run Squad.
Thoughts: This drama was very good. It’s the type of drama that’s filmed well and highlights social issues, but you won’t want to rewatch it because it saddens and disturbs you. Kinda like how Parasite was. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting going into it. Maybe I thought it would be more detective-ish like the main characters would be like solving a case in order to find the deserters. But rather than that, it was mostly about the abuses that occur in the military – mental, physical, and sexual. Some scenes just stop your heart for a second because you know these things are happening in real life. A friend sent an article about how men in Korea are commenting that the show is very realistic in portraying the abuse of military life. It actually happens on every level. The higher-ups only care about their image, not about the actual soldiers. The seniors in the unit abuse the juniors and when the juniors become seniors, they, in turn, abuse their juniors. Vicious cycle. Korean men are forced to serve in the military and some men are strong and some are weak. The stresses of being bullied are displayed, including how some internalize it and how some are pushed too far and break. Maybe this show will scare those who have yet to enlist, but maybe it will also prepare them.
I wonder how Jung Hae-in’s service was since he enlisted before becoming an actor. I also wonder how famous people who enlist are treated differently than regular people. I watched an episode of I Live Alone where Key (from pop group Shinee) went on an overnight trip with 3 of his friends from the military. The friends seemed like typical guys and the four of them laughed and reminisced about funny times when they were in the military. I wonder if experiences like this are rare or if guys actually stay in touch with other guys they served with.
Overall, it’s a drama that needs to be seen. The acting is good, the bromance is good, the cinematography is good. There’s speculation there will be a Season 2 and while I’m not sure I want to see more of this drama, I probably would watch it.