While "Masked Prosecutor" was tonally undecided in its first episode, it did deliver a compelling backstory and give impetus to watch the next episode. The cast is strong and the younger generation performs so well that it makes me hope to see them for many more trips to the past.
This first episode mostly focused on how the main characters came to choose their current careers. Joo Sang-wook as the titular masked prosecutor, Ha Dae-cheol, is effective as the vengeful masked man and hysterical as the masked prosecutor's alter ego: a sycophantic, bumbling fool. What separates Dae-cheol from the Clark Kent comparison is that he shows moments of strength and hidden fire. That's interesting. Joo's youthful counterpart, No Young-hak, is winning as the younger Dae-cheol, the orphaned Dae-cheol who is suddenly scouting by his absent father to exact revenge on those who broke up their family. What I love about this young man's performance is how we can see the myriad of emotions he faces when confronted by a demanding father who has never been there, how it takes him a while to see that his father is truly his father, and that his father's story is what made him into a toughened orphan. Park Young-gyu as Jeong Do-seong is a strong casting choice, but the way he was introduced into the story was jarring. His role fit into the texture better as time passed.
Joo Da-young plays the younger Min-hee. She is a good complement to Kim Sun-ah. They both capture the girl's prickly attitude and need for justice. We don't know as much about Min-hee as we do Dae-cheol. I'm guessing that is being saved for the next episode as is Uhm Ki-joon's introduction. This episode focused more on Dae-cheol's story - Min-hee just happened to be in it.
Tonally, there is a mix of humor, urgency, action, and procedural rigor that doesn't quite fit right as it comes together. It is not that a show can't mix these elements, it's how it is done. From the first moments, the show highlighted humor and so the more serious aspects of the show were in direct contrast with it. Not that the humor wasn't great - it was fabulous. Joo Sang-wook has a keen sense of comedic timing.
As for the chemistry between Joo and Kim, I honestly could not tell you what I think yet. They don't have the instant chemistry some onscreen couples do, but neither did they have a lot of time together. This first episode was about the past where No Young-hak got to shine as Dae-cheol's complicated backstory was woven around absent parents, conniving rich men, and twisted politicians.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Masked Prosecutor" Episode 1"
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