Vampire Prosecutor (뱀파이어 검사)
Synopsis: Min Tae-Yeon, an untypical prosecutor use his senses -taste and sense of smell- to solve criminal cases. Only a few people know his true nature…vampire.Informations :
Country: South Korea
Episodes: 2 season -> 23 episodes
Genre: Fantastic, crime
Aired: 2011 and 2012
Casting: Yeon Jung Hoon, Lee Young Ah, Kim Joo Young, Lee Won Jong, Lee Kyeong Yeong, Jang Hyeon Seong…
To be honest I never thought I would one day watch Vampire Prosecutor, simply because there is the word “vampire” in the title. I have never, and I think I’ll never be, a big fan of the “werewolf, vampire” world. I can’t help to always associate those stories with the term “teenager, soppy stories, crappy mystery etc.”. I’m probably making a huge generalization: “Hear ye, hear ye fans of vampire! don’t take offense! I’m not saying that ALL the stories with supernatural creatures are meaningless or inevitably summarize by those terms, it’s just that personally it’s not my cup of tea”. So what were the reasons that finally pushed me to start this drama? I think it’s important to mention it, cause it had an impact on my way to perceive this drama. I started Vampire Prosecutor because I wanted to watch a drama similar to Special Affairs Team Ten (if you haven’t watch it yet, go watch it… RIGHT AWAY THAT’S AN ORDER!). I couldn’t find a drama more alike than Vampire Prosecutor– same channel, same kind of story and characters etc… One slight note: I couldn’t help myself to constantly compare both dramas. It only stopped during the season 2. In short we can conclude that I started this drama for “crappy” reasons. But I’m really glad to have given it a shot.
So here I was, putting aside all my prejudices about vampires and throwing myself headfirst in this drama. My interest for the fantastic genre in drama is not old and rather motivated by my curiosity: how Korean are going to stage this kind of myth? For me, Korean are before everything else the kings of romantic drama. I’m starting to see other genres but there are in minority compare to the typical rom-com (it’s just my opinion). Therefore I found interesting to watch dramas that staged untypical story like Vampire Prosecutor.
This drama was probably made after the big success this genre encountered in Occident, trying therefore to attract a large public by telling this kind of story. But even thought it jumped on this occasion they tried to split away from the typical characteristic of the occidental vampire that everyone knows: our friend (Min Tae Yeon) doesn’t fear sun nor garlic, holy object and doesn’t need to be stabbed in the heart by a pious to die unlike traditional vampire. He doesn’t seem to be neither stuck-up nor to have abused of white foundation (no I’m not referring to Edward Cullen right now, nooooo). And finally he doesn’t REALLY suffers of blood thirst (except for some scenes). In fact our hero blends into the human mass quite well. The only things that betrays his vampire nature are his fangs (does anyone have noticed that he has 4 fangs and not 2 like traditional vampire? Or maybe it’s just me…), his eyes becoming blue, and his vision when he drinks the blood of dead ones (fact that was really interesting in my opinion! Finally an unusual power!)… ah and the excessive use of eyeliner (apparently make-up is common to ALL vampires. American, Korean, no one can escape from this rule, not even the cool Min Tae Yeon).
Therefore we have a different representation from what we already knew. And I think we have to accept this difference to fully enjoy the show. I saw lots of people criticizing that. Personally it didn’t bother me. The only things I could reproah to the drama was the lack of clarity about some points (like, are they immortal? Cause season 1 is at odds with season 2 on that point… or maybe I’m just the silly one who skipped the explanatory part). Anyway I prefer to warn the vampire fans: do not expect a story which only focused on vampires! It’s far from being that.
Cause the drama is definitely more about crimes, detective and investigation than anything else -especially in season 1. We actually almost came to forget that the main character was a vampire (well except when he had his vision… but for example when he fought bad guys! It was made in a so realistic way that we could almost perceive him as human even though we knew that he was using his vampire power). I think it was an interesting approach made by the scripwriters. It allowed person like me who don’t particulary fancy vampire, to enjoy the show while providing some originality to the script. It also allowed to fully develop the mystery, the “vampire story” and give time to the audience to get to know the characters. In my opinion, the other characters would have been outshined by Min Tae Yeon if we had been immediately and only immersed in supernatural.
The film making and ambiance of the show was outstanding. The fighting scenes and the reconstitution of crimes scenes were fabulous.
But the main strenght of the drama lied in the character’s interaction cause even if the different police investigations were great some were still quite banal.
PERMANENT CHARACTERS (SEASON 1 & 2)
The main lead was none other than our dear prosecutor/vampire Min Tae Yeon, played by Yeon Jeong Hun. He was a total stranger to me but it didn’t take me long to fall under his spell (how did I survive all this year without knowing him?)
I already mentioned the original characteristics of his character but it would be a lie to say that because of those ones he managed to entirely escape from the stereotypical image of the hero. He followed the traditional pattern of Korean main male lead. He was the cool, mysterious guy that every girls love (myself included ) and did not hesitate to sacrifice himself to protect his team/friends. He did everything to keep his true nature hidden and stopped himself from becoming too close to the woman he loves.
Besides his first minutes in the drama were awfully cliché. The guy came to the crime scene wearing a suit with- as it wasn’t cool enough- a pair of sunglasses in his hand. So yes, I know that his sunglasses are used to hide his blue eyes when he does his “vampire thing”. And I know suits are cool (bow tie are cool! Hum) and sexy etc… but still! A beautiful slow motion in addition and we would have been in a Korean version of Twilight (you know when Bella sees Edward for the first time in the cafeteria…hum yes I’ve watched that movie- not the best decision of my life). Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but guys, vampires are known to be sexy. It’s not a secret! Can’t we see that aspect in a more subtle way? without the suit and sunglasses? Next time come with a sign telling “hello I’m the sexy vampire of the show”. I’m criticizing but despite how paradoxical I’m gonna sound, I actually loved this mix of originality and stereotype. The scripwriters managed to well balanced both aspects. The last thing that I would like to mention was the incredible relation that Min Tae Yeon had with his team members. He was not the “one against the world” hero. They are the better part of his life and they help him keep on living despite his true nature.
Detective Hwang Seon Bum played by Lee Won Jong was the strongest link in the team. He was the one who got along with everyone and brought a slab of humor in the drama. The bromance between him and Min Tae Yeon was amazing. His tough looks disappeared whenever he was with his friend, allowing us to see his true personality (a big teddy bear!). The loyalty and trust that both shared for each other was touching. He was the only one who knew about Min Tae Yeon’s vampire nature and he didn’t hesitate to lie to protect his secret’s friend. Let’s just say that he was the key character to our hero.
I also loved his relationship with the other team members. He formed a comical sunbae/maknae duo with Choi Dong Man and his emotional quarrel with prosecutor Yoo Jung In was refreshing, preventing this latter to fall too deep in tragedy/drama.
I totally fell for the character played by Lee Young Ah- the prosecutor Yoo Jung In. She was a daring character that didn’t let herself crushed by the male members of her team. She always followed her instinct and it was hard to stop her when she had set her mind on something. She did not appreciate to be shut out by Min Tae Yeon/Hwang Seon Bum couple. Her childish smile and haircut (at least in season 1- don’t be too hard on her in the first episode, her haircut improves afterward) contrasedt with her boldness and ironic gesture. We came to know her along the episodes and could even catch some brief glimpse of vulnerability in some episodes. She was energetic and became more and more confident in season 2 (maybe it was the new haircut and the make up that did that).
The youngest of this family was none other than Choi Dong Man (Kim Joo Young), our temporary employee. His role was less important than the other but he was nonetheless indispensable to the story. The team would have had a hard time to solve cases without him! Plus Detective Hwang Seon Bum might have been less funny if he was not present in the casting, don’t you think? (besides he was such a cutie pie! Specially when he had his innocent smile).
I especially liked the constant evolution of those relationships. They grew even closer in the season 2: more bromance and the relation between the 2 prosecutors became deeper. Thanks to those evolutions we were able to see news facets in the characters of Min Tae Yeon: he smiled more often and was more affectionate with Yoo Jung In even if he still kept his distance with her.
About that! I want to warn the fans of true romance. Even if the relation Min Tae Yeon/ Yoo Jung In improves in season 2, that remains quite ambigous. Both are attracted by each other but NOTHING happen. The scripwriters played with the audience on that point. Keep faith the season 3 will soon come (at least I hope) and maybe -just maybe- one of them will finally make a move. Personally this lack of romance didn’t bother me (just try to wacth Special Affairs Team Ten! After that, the pesudo romance in Vampire Prosecutor will appear outstanding to you!)
THE NEW CHARACTERS IN SEASON 2 (/!\ contain mini spoliers for those who have not seen the season 2 yet)
Supernatural was more present in this season especially because of the presence of news characters.
The biggest change was the replacement of the sexy, young female coroner by the Doctor Jo Jung Hyun (Lee Kyung Young). This latter had a more important role than his predecessor. Indeed this time the coroner was not just dissecting and reporting his discoveries to the detectives! He had the right to have a real story (yeah!). He was mysterious (I even believed once, that he had actually discovered Min Tae Yeon’s true nature) and smart. He played a great role in the resolution of cases. He was easily accepted by the team especially by Hwang Seon Bum, that even asked him to be in a dongsaeng/hyung relationship (relation that cutie pie had repeatedly asked to be with Hwang Seon Bum but which had always been refused by this latter haha. Poor mimi). He would do anything to repair his past mistakes. His guiltiness pushed him to play the role of a father for the little girl (Ji Ae) who had lost all her family because of him. His relation with her was really beautiful.
Along the episode he becomes involve in the vampire business. For me it was interesting but also disappointing. That change was too excessive. But I appreciatde the reasons the scripwriters gave to us to explain that twist (there are nothing worse than a twist wrongly developed). He becomes the perfect antagonist of his original character. His love for Ji Ae -which was the best part of him- becomes his worst one. He does not hesitate to turns against his team to find the little girl who was previously kidnapped and becomes uncontrollable, irrational. He charges ahead without caring about the collateral damage (poor Hwang Seon Bum). If at first it was a welcoming twist it quickly turned out into a crappy diehard evilness. The worst was his sudden change of wardrobe. Once again hello subtlety! While we are at it, give him the sign that Min Tae Yeon had in the first episode and just change the “hello I’m the sexy vampire of the show” into a “Hi! I’m the mean guy from now on, nice to meet you”. So to resume, it was a shame that the scripwriters wasted such an awesome character by being too much.
Let’s maintain its present momentum by talking about the big bad wolf of the show played by Kwon Hyun Sang. This guy- L (Korean loves our Latin alphabet) was creepy! We see him for the first time during a simple investigation… wait did I say the first time? Héhé in fact we saw him for the first time in the first episode (the hairy man with bad fashion taste… yes yes it was also him). His character brings lots of answer but raises as much questions.
Special mention for Yoshitaka Yuriko. She reinforced the supernatural side of the drama… but that was not the most important. She discovers Min Tae Yeon true nature, all by herself and that! That was good!
CL: The continuity between the 2 seasons is well made with the reuse of former character like prosecutor Jang Cheol Oh and Park Hoon, the bartender etc… We are not flung into another story with unknow characters. I loved both seasons but I have a little preference for season 2 despite everything. Better alchemy between the characters, numerous answers are given, and more suspense! Normally a season 3 is planned… the waiting is killing me… hope it will be as good as those two seasons if one day it is aired.
Note de Whoovy: 8/10
Note de Dushbadou: 8.5/10
Note finale : 8.25/10
Note de Whoovy: 9/10
Note de Dushbadou: 9/10