"You're Surrounded" has never really been a police procedural drama. Neither has it developed its cases very well. The police station setting and the cases have been a tool to highlight the characters on their journeys. And that is what it does exceptionally well.
The romance came to the forefront this episode. Dae-goo and Soo-seon have been dancing around each other for fourteen episodes and feelings have begun to bubble over. The development of their partnership turned friendship turned romance has been cleverly crafted in that it has slowly, but steadily developed. The payoff this episode was in the adorable awkwardness between them and how their feelings for each other affect the rest of the team. Ji Gook has to contend with his jealousy of their relationship and Dae-goo has to deal with jealousy over Soo-seon in general. At the beginning of the drama, jealousy wasn't in his emotional repertoire. Neither was consideration for others, or happiness. His time with the team and his feelings for Soo-seon have opened him up. His character has grown leaps and bounds since the first week.
Although the procedural aspect of this show is overly simplistic, "You're Surrounded" always makes time to highlight the small emotional beats. On occasion it takes too much time on other aspects, like company outings or following the rookies while they do legwork on cases. But the slower paced plot development is really geared towards growing the characters. This slower pace is often lacking in K-dramas that usually proceed from week to week at breakneck speed. It gives the characters, and the viewers, time to revel in the beautiful moments like Dae-goo realizing that Pan-seok is the opposite of what he imagined. This realization allows them to trust each other and become a true team. Their workplace pairing also afford many opportune moments for comedy, which the writer takes advantage of.
Chief Kang has been highlighted as of late. While she has good intentions, she chose the darker path to achieve them, making her a grey character. What makes her so effective, especially as a female leader in the police force, is that she has stopped catering to Assemblyman Yoo's whims and has begun to fight him. She aided him in the past so that he'd help her build up the police force and fight for police rights, but he has done nothing. She is using her part in the coverup of Dae-goo's mother's murder to force Yoo's hand, and that makes her interesting.
Also, Dae-goo and Pan-seok have lost their hero-worship of her because they realize she isn't a clean and pure as they had once believed. The disillusionment is particularly effective because the viewers have watched her suffer as she lives a double life, and they've watched Dae-goo and Pan-seok suffer because of her deception. She is a character who people can hate, but also empathize with.
Another moralistic point is made when Soo-seon and her teammates choose to leave her mother's case alone and not seek justice at the expense of others. This is in direct contrast to all of the corrupt policemen and politicians above her like Chief Kang and Assemblyman Yoo. Had the cases that the detectives worked on been less transparent, this lesson would've been much more poignant. If this show has a fault, it is that the cases are overly simplistic. They are specifically geared to move the characters along in their personal stories rather than having a strong structure unto themselves.
I am also missing the development of the relationship between Pan-seok and Sa-kyung. We get small snippets of flirting and faux-fighting, but no real progress. There isn't much time for it to happen, so if the writers want to include it, it needs to be soon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 15"
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