TEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT YOU
A former detective and current police academy professor leads a group of investigators in a special crime unit called “Ten”. They solve cases that have less than 10% rate of arrest.
I’ll be honest. I saw the teaser and had no desire to watch Ten nor did I even bother to retain the name of the drama. But then a friend alerted me to it and I decided to give it a second look. I’m glad I did (Thanks, Nik!). What I found was a gritty, police crime drama/thriller that is just as intriguing as the American and British dramas.
A breakdown of the main characters: Yeo Ji Hoon (Joo Sang Wook) was once a great detective who is also known for being a “monster who catches monsters”. He often becomes so focused on the cases and catching the villains that he goes to extreme measures. But one case/one villain got the best of this star detective, which got him off the beat and into the classroom sharing his expertise with a new generation of detectives.
Baek Do Shik (Kim Sang Ho) is a veteran detective nicknamed “poisonous snake”. He uses his intuition and street smarts to catch criminals. Like a snake, he lies low, often inciting ire from his inferiors, and then pounces when he has a hunch.
Nam Ye Ri (Jo An) has been a detective for 4 years. She is a human lie detector and has a natural ability to profile people, but also relies on making charts and diagrams to get a clearer picture of her victims. Park Min Ho (Choi Woo Shik) is the newbie, eager to work with the infamous Yeo Ji Hoon. Although he’s young, he’s smart, savvy and driven when it comes to investigative work, especially offering his expertise on the tech side.
The first episode was explosive. It was so engaging, confusing and thrilling all at the same time.
Not only that but we get some really great character development from the very start. As each character is investigating a different person, a different case, they realize that the separate cases are all related and this is what brings our team together.
I like how there is an element of fate that unites this team. However, the writers don’t beat you over the head with it. Like a good bookend, the theme of fate is discussed in the first and last case.
Joo Sang Wook is a conundrum to me. There are times when I think his acting is completely stiff and other times when I think his acting is acutely on point. He definitely loves to brood. I especially love how he always gives this far off look, ‘Hey this is me in thinking mode’. Yeah for a cop drama it works but I’ve also seen that look in Paradise Ranch and it always looks the same.
He always plays the tall, dark, quiet type and personally I found it refreshing that he showed another side of himself on Running Man. Who knew he was so loquacious? I think I like his real personality than some of the broody characters he’s played. (Btw, don’t you just love that giraffe sweatshirt he’s wearing? Hehe.)
Oh Kim Sang Ho aka Ahjussi. I just want to pet your fuzzy, bald head. His do is a bit on the Krusty the clown side but Kim Sang Ho is thoroughly entertaining to watch. Half of him is a comic actor and the other half is an intense actor. But either way he is always a scene-stealer.
Jo An is a bit less memorable for me. She does cutesy well but she is not much of a standout within this cast.
Choi Woo Shik is kind of an unknown to me. I was just reminded that he played the Young Jung Ki Joon in Tree with Deep Roots as I was looking up his profile. Here in Ten, he’s quite adorable as the maknae. He doesn’t play the maknae as someone who simply goes along with his superiors but he’s got a brain and knows how to use it. I think I have a new actor to continue watching.
The series is more episodic than your standard Korean drama and hence feels very much like a Western TV crime drama. Each episode is great as a standalone. Personally, my favorite is still the very first 2-hour episode. It was complicated and puzzling and didn’t dumb things down for viewers. The even used some real cases as a basis for some of the episodes. I wish Crime Squad and Sign was half as good as this first episode. And the cinematography of the show featured that distinct film-like feel to it. So I guess it makes sense that OCN is planning to bring this drama to the big screen as well.
My only criticism was that the first season was too short. I wish we had more episodes, more crimes to solve. The cliffhanger in the season finale was so suspenseful and on the edge of your seat that I hope the producers and writers don’t make us wait too long to get to the conclusion of that story. Combined with the great shooting style, writing and above par acting, you can trust that this is a good ride. No longer are Americans and the Brits the only ones that can do a compelling crime drama.