Live may have finished a week ago, but the amateur that I am at understanding Korean, I was waiting for the subtitles to do complete justice to this brilliant piece of work. A drama based on the lives of rookie cops in the patrol division of the police force, Live was a primarily action drama laced with a whole lot of background regarding the private lives of police officers. Dealing with the lives of young officers, those raising families and those near retirement, it really brought the human-ness of law enforcers to life. This happens to be the third Korean drama that made me cry at its ending. Without much more wait, I would like to explore the members of the Hongil precinct.
Han Jeong Oh (played by Jung Yu Mi), who has been rejected from a number of respectable jobs for one reason or another. Having absolutely failed, she has no goals in life. She lives with a mother who is constantly complaining about how bad their lives are. With no success at finding a good job, Jeong Oh contacts her rich father who has abandoned her. She asks him for money and uses it to prepare for the police exams, which she passes and enlists in the Korean police. On the other hand, there is Yeom Sang Soo (played by Lee Kwang Soo), who has been abandoned by an elder brother who has a good job. Every job he gets turns into one scam or the other, always leaving him destitute, and unable to provide for his mother. Such terrible circumstances again, make him apply for the police force for which he is selected.
While training at the police academy, their instructor is Oh Young Chon (played by Bae Sung Woo), who is incredibly strict and gives them the most harsh treatment possible so they can be practical members of the police force. He is separately investigating a ten year old case with a senior, because the police was unable to catch the criminal so many years ago. Now that there is evidence, he vows to have the culprit arrested. While catching this criminal, an accident occurs which causes the death of the senior and Young Chon is indicted for negligence. He is removed from his position as an instructor at the academy and is sent to Hongil police station, where both Jeong Oh and Sang Soo join him as probationary officers. Young Chon is married to Ahn Jang Mi (played by Bae Jong Ok), who is a detective in the violent crimes unit. She usually joins the team at the scenes of crime. Tending to her ailing parents, Jang Mi wishes them goodbye, without Young Chon by her side, since he is persistently busy catching criminals and fighting crime. Being a man who hates emotions and hides behind loud and rough behaviour, Young Chon drives Jang Mi to the prospect of a divorce. Seeing how he is never there for the family physically, making Jang Mi take care of family all alone, makes her question his loyalty to her.
With these four people leading the story, we got to see a whole lot of different sides to these characters and their private and public lives. It was heartening to watch these upright individuals leading such a noble life. The drama made everything even more realistic by the way it was shot. The way petty crimes like causing a commotion while drunk were juxtaposed with issues of rape and sexual assault, really added so many layers to the script and individual lives of these officers. Furthermore, it would be wrong to ignore how issues of domestic abuse, rape, and sexism were actively highlighted and explored in the drama. The actual crime was never just the focus, but rather the psychological effects of these incidents on the victims were actively dug out. By exploring the weight of the duties of a police officer, the drama peered into the ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ nature of work that the officers engage in on a daily basis. The characters were wholesome and I enjoyed watching how their lives unraveled. It was definitely an amazing journey that I was glad I got to participate in.