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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - The Suspicious 7th Ward"

2014/10/13 | Permalink

Soo-jin (played by Shin Yi) is one of those fistfighting supercops. She's also married to Ji-hoon (played by Kim Jung-min), another cop on the force and they are now in her mid-thirties after over ten years of marriage, so the question of whether or not they should have any children is becoming a more prominent one in their daily lives. Their problems are apparently comically solved when the force orders Soo-jin to undergo in-vitro treatment, as to gain undercover access to the girlfriend of a crime boss.

The obviously silly premise is a pretty good summation of the tonal attitude in "Drama Special - The Suspicious 7th Ward". Strangely enough, the whole bit about fighting crime is mostly just used as fodder for jokes, as Soo-jin and Ji-hoon repeatedly conduct their police investigations in an oftentimes silly and not always entirely effective way. They're very flippant about running into other while violently apprehending suspects, making for some nice comedy if nothing else.

But there's also a deeper undercurrent here about the troubles couples go through about trying to make the decision whether or not to have children. While it's pretty clear that Soo-jin and Ji-hoon do want children, they've been very bad about making any kind of effort to actually do it on account of their careers. That's the central irony of the entire assignment in the first place- if they weren't being ordered to undergo the treatment, they'd probably never have kids at all.

Soo-jin's discussions with other women in similar situations proves instructive for her. From the beginning we see that Soo-jin's hypermasculine supercop attitude has been a bit of an impediment to her being open about her feelings. This coalesces nicely with the investigative portion of the drama, leading to a climax where technically Soo-jin is doing her job but we see in actuality that she's come to some pretty definite political opinions.

Personally, I don't mind the soapbox element so much. "Drama Special - The Suspicious 7th Ward" is an effective blend of comedy, mystery, and social discourse. Even if it's only a single episode along the drama's a pretty good example of how to do genrebending correctly. The absurdity of the elements in concert is an apt comparison to how unsettled the question is of whether or not to raise a child in the modern world, even if most of us come to that decision in a less flamboyant way than Soo-jin does.

Review by William Schwartz

"Drama Special - The Suspicious 7th Ward" is directed by Lee Min-jeong-I, written by Choi Yong-wook and features Shin Yi, Kim Jung-min and Lee Byung-joon.

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