Trying to describe 'Evasive Inquiry Agency' with terms or similar examples for drama fans is impossible. As rare as other types and genres are in Korean drama, this series is just on a league of its own. If one could roughly compare it to anything, it would be Scooby Doo. Mysteries, villains, four silly and endearing characters who form a group to discover the truth and hopefully cash in.
Moo-yeol, Yong-soo and Hee-kyeong are acquaintances living in the same building. A taekwondo instructor, a comic book rental store owner and a tarot medium respectively, they are living simple lives trying to make do. When they hang around a vacant detective agency in their building, a client arrives thinking they are the owners. Not being able to resist the pay, they take on the case to find her missing cat. During its search, they discover a corpse in a wall of their building's basement. With the corpse, they find a few gold pieces shaped like leafs. To add to the mystery, a young woman named Eun-jae arrives at their building and wants their assistance in solving the mystery of the corpse in the wall. Knowing there is money in it, the trio agree and the group is formed.
'Evasive Inquiry Agency' is a comedy mystery. There are some more heavy parts, but they are very different to what we are used to in dramas. This is a series which is capable of creating laughs and moving to tears, but it never becomes melodramatic or lose its light tone. There is some light action too, but it is a case of a small scale feeling big due to how it is presented. The world of 'Evasive Inquiry Agency' feels very small. A building, a neighborhood. And yet its story and mystery feel very grand.
But much more than the treasure hunt and corpse in the wall parts of it, it is the characters and their camaraderie which make it wonderful. The plot itself is quite exciting, make no mistake. The series keeps viewers guessing about many things, including the more sadder or darker parts of these seemingly goofball characters' lives. The mystery of the corpse and the treasure are slowly developed throughout the series and like all good mysteries, the journey is the most exciting part. There are a few loose ends here and there, a few hiccups and some parts and twists are predictable, but for the most part, the main plot is intriguing right until the very end.
But it's the bonding, the friendship and the development of the characters and their little weird family that really makes the ride so enjoyable. These are all very different, but very likable and fun individuals. Furthermore, they all have their qualities that make them good detectives.
Moo-yeol might not be bright, but he is loyal, good with action and protective of the group. He has a crush on Eun-jae which is adorable, because he is very much a gentleman to her and genuinely wants to help. Yong-soo might look lazy and slow, but his mind is sharp and he is observant. He also cares for his friends and sometimes feels like the dad of the group. Hee-kyeong is the people-person and her acting and manipulating skills are unmatched. She has her weaknesses, but despite her loud and manipulative exterior, she is a softie and an honorable woman. Eun-jae manages to keep them focused and provides the resources they need. She is quiet, but that is because she has always been alone. The group get her to slowly open up with their warmth and concern. The incredible chemistry between the actors, each one's inspired portrayal of their character and the solid writing of them all makes them a group one just loves watching do their work and bond through it.
'Evasive Inquiry Agency' is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. There is no big romantic element here, with Moo-yeol's crush on Eun-jae being one of the many smaller subplots. There are also not many typical drama tropes or heavy angst and as easily visible, you will not find handsome chaebols beyond Park Hee-soon's charismatic villain. What will make or break the deal for viewers is the mystery element and these four whacky leads. But for those who do connect to this group and the series' unique nature, it will be an unforgettable gem unlike anything you have seen from recent Korean drama.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Evasive Inquiry Agency""
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