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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Frost" Episode 7

2015/01/11

Writer Heo Ji-yeong appears to be going for weak synergy right now. The resulting product isn't exactly good but at least it's not terrible. What we have is less one story as it is three different plots of varying importance. Seong-ah meets up with a student who wants help in the romantic shyness department. Song-seon meets up with an old colleague known both to herself and Doctor Frost. And lastly, Tae-bong investigates a bizarre string of murders.

Tae-bong, not Doctor Frost. While the titular character does make a few token appearances throughout the investigation mostly the mystery is just being investigated by Tae-bong in his team. So unsurprisingly, there is once again a dearth of actual psychological discussion in a drama which by any rational measure should be devoted almost exclusively to psychoanalysis. So, nothing new for "Doctor Frost".

As police procedurals go at least Tae-bong's story manages to achieve the minimum level of build-up in order to keep the proceedings interesting. The twist used to reveal the identity of the murderer is either a classic or a cliché, depending on how snobby you are on this sort of thing. Personally I was more interested in the detectives' interaction with the children than the material that more directly featured in to the mystery. It turns out that having characters engage in normal conversation can tell you a lot about who they are as people. Who knew?

While the mystery's not particularly bad it definitely suffers from the fact that "Doctor Frost" comes so, so close to actually doing a more relatable psychological storyline with Seong-ah's plot, but Seong-ah's plot exists more as a weak parallel to the mystery than it is a genuine plot in its own right. It's like the drama is tantalizing us with the kind of interesting subject matter it could be doing if the creative direction wasn't so utterly determined on turning everything into a murder procedural.

Fortunately, it does look like "Doctor Frost" might be moving away from that material soon. The preview for the next episode implies that Song-seon's colleague will be of greater significance to the drama's immediate storyline, and that whatever nefarious scheme this man is up to will be taking center stage over the usual police matters. At least that's what I'm hoping. One of the few positives of "Doctor Frost" is that my expectations are so low it's difficult for the drama to genuinely disappoint me. That's not much but it will have to do.

Review by William Schwartz

"Doctor Frost" is directed by Seong Yong-il, written by Heo Ji-yeong adn features Song Chang-eui, Jung Eun-chae and Lee Yoon-ji.

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