Spotlight on: Gapdong
Other names: Gapdong, Gapdongi
Star rating (out of 5):
Starring: Yoon Sang Hyun(Ha Moo Yeom), Kim Ji Won (Ma Ji Wool), Kim Min Jung(Maria Oh), Sung Dong Il (Yang Cheol Gon) and Lee Joon (Ryu Tae Oh).
Number of episodes: 20
Episode length: 70 mins
Recommended to: People who traditional Kdramas do not appeal to, ‘real crime’ story fans, Lee Joon fans.
NOT recommended to: Chaebol love story fans, high school plot fans, people who need happy endings for everyone.
Gap Dong is advertised as based on a true story (at least in English language media) but I think “inspired by a true story” is a better reflection.
The story begins with a serial killer who kills a number of girls before seemingly stopping out of the blue. The story itself centres on a series of killings that seem to be copycat killings of these original murders.
The characters we follow are: A ‘follows no rules’ policeman (Ha Moo Yeom) whose father was wrongly accused of the original crimes and who wants revenge/justice, a psychiatrist who has connections to the original case (Maria Oh), some convicted criminals in a secure mental ward (Ryu Tae Oh) and some of the key police staff from the original case(Yang Cheol Gon). We also follow a young friend of Ha Moo Yeom who becomes involved personally in the case (Ma Ji Wool).
The primary story line is initially a “whodunit” for the new murders, but evolves quickly into a ‘how do we prove it’. However, there are a few different story threads we follow during the plot, some of which identify how all the characters are connected, as well as some which explain characters’ desires to catch the original killer, despite the added complication of the Statute of Limitations having expired on the original murders.
There are two ‘love plot’ style parts to the plot, however these are not your typical romance lines and fit very well into the plot at their respective times and are far from overwhelming to the rest of the story.
Unlike many dramas I have watched, every episode felt like a continuation of the story with none of those pesky no-plot ‘wrap-up’ episodes at the end. (There is a wrap-up for all the characters but it certainly does not feel like an ‘oh by the way’ added at the last minute).
This one really is a testament to good acting in my eyes. I wasn’t an MBLAQ fan and had no idea who Lee Joon even was going into this one when I watched it but he plays his character to chilling perfection. In fact the quality of acting in this drama is generally very high, although there are still a few of those melodramatic ‘crazy eyes’ moments we know and possibly love.
Kim Ji Won’s acting is another high point for this show and remains some of the most subtle acting I have seen in a drama to this day. My heart broke for her character through out all of the drama without her seeming pathetic or overly needy.
The biggest down point for me is the Maria Oh character, I just couldn’t find anything likeable or interesting about her. Her motivations seemed very unlikely at many points and it jarred with a lot of the more underplayed characters. That said, the acting was still pretty good and I am sure in any other drama I wouldn’t have even noticed it.