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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 3

2018/01/24 | Permalink

While the premise of "539 Yeonnam-dong" is just unrelated people live in the same house for economic reasons, increasingly it seems like this was just a contrivance intended to give Bong-tae access to people who could personally report cybercrimes to him. I like that. Most police procedurals are too high concept to focus on minor crimes, when minor crimes are the ones normal people are most likely to report, so Bong-tae's investigations are genuinely interesting and new, if only for practical reasons.

Consider how I-na identifies a woman in an online sex tape and immediately realizes it was uploaded without her consent. What's that called, revenge porn? Except that name kind of implies the pornography is just a revenge role play. Uh, anyway, when I-na goes to Bong-tae with this, he needs facts. What are the names of the people in the tape, when was it taken, how do you know it wasn't consensual, so on and so forth.

A more feminist minded production would get indignant about Bong-tae asking these questions, but the production team behind "539 Yeonnam-dong" correctly appreciates that this is just how law enforcement works. I-na understands this and agrees to work within Bong-tae's constraints. Even the solution, while not proper, is actually fairly realistic in terms of how such cases are likely to end. The law can't cover every possible eventuality, at least not for such a relatively minor crime.

Outside of the revenge porn case "539 Yeonnam-dong" is quite weak, though, as the only other storyline of note involves Ryan gaining access to a new, explicitly crazy fan. This storyline almost has a good pay-off, when Bong-tae runs across Ryan's dilemma by random chance, but ultimately this one-off character is just far too annoying. Her behavior is not amusing in any way. Whenever this character is on-screen, I just want her to leave as fast as possible.

We get more laughs out of Jordan behaving menacingly with the fresh fish, or Do-hee losing her precious ramen, than we do out of that major plot. It's not that either of those jokes are that funny either, the one-off character is just that annoying. The punchline to the episode is pretty good though, for exactly the same reason the one-off character is so bad. It takes Bong-tae (and us) a few seconds to realize what he just accidentally implied. The crazy fan, by contrast, simply repeats the exact same overdone joke every time she's on screen.

Review by William Schwartz

"539 Yeonnam-dong" is directed by  Min Yeon-hong, written by Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shin, Seo Ji-hoon, Lee Yeol-eum, and Kim Sun-young-III.

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