Love Me if You Dare (他来了, 请闭眼)
Synopsis: Simon is a criminal profiler from the US who retreats to China in the aftermath of an intense encounter with a serial killer. He hires Jenny to help him with his work, and they fall in love. But a serial-killer stalker is leaving calling cards for Simon in other killers’ crime scenes. The suspect pool is small. Someone who knows Simon’s terrible ordeal. Someone who sees Simon as a friend. Someone who is willing to kill Jenny to get to Simon.~~ It is based on the novel “Close Your Eyes, Stay Close to Me” by Ding Mo.
Genre: Detective, suspense, thriller, romance, crime
Network: Dragon TV
Duration: 45 min
Casting: Wallace Huo, Ma Sandra, Wang Kai, Yin Andrew, Zhang Edward etc….
Love Me If You Dare was a damn surprise! I wasn’t expecting to fall that much in love of the actors and the plot. The scriptwriter actually started pretty strongly its story. Right from the beginning a mysterious and worrying atmosphere was displayed throughout the making and the unknown characters (I loved how in the first episodes- they played with Bo Jin Yan’s identity by making us wonder whether or not that guy was normal or some kind of criminals). The firsts investigations were equally gloomy and complex with the creepy reconstruction of the crime by Bo Jin Yan.
My favourite dramas have always belonged to the detective/noir genre and Love Me If You Dare entered perfectly those categories (if we put aside the weird attempt of making us laugh with Zi Yu’s character, the non-subtle product placement, and Bo Jin Yan’s car worthy of an Inspector Gadget’s episode). But what I liked the most here, was that the scriptwriter added the little elements that makes a drama of that genre even more perfect: a touch of romance. I admit to have screamed and bit my pillow more than once in front of Bo Jin Yan’s non-subtle push and pull but in the end it brought the needed freshness to the drama and even helped thickening the plot for the following episodes. I’ve actually rarely seen a drama rising higher and higher in its twists than this one. I loved how the scriptwriter played with us and how he/she forced us to take guesses (I had the feeling of winning the lottery everytime I was right, that is to say^^). The atmosphere and the main investigation became more and more intense along the episodes, keeping me at all time on my toes. Love Me If You Dare was in fact a mix of the best western detective shows and the best OCN’s drama, I ‘ve watched. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It was thought-provoking and splendidly made. I wouldn’t call Love Me If You Dare perfect (>>>SPOILER- wasn’t completely satisfied by this end– SPOILER<<<) but for me it could as well be one the best drama of this year.
Bo Jin Yan (Wallace Huo) was the spitting image of Sherlock Holmes and that might explain why I liked him that much. Some might criticize that writing by stating that he wasn’t, therefore, that original. But for me he was! It’s not everyday that dramaland gives birth to such atypical hero! Bo Jin Yan was this mix of condescension, narcissism and childishness. He expressed himself with honesty without realising how hurtful and insensitive that could be for the people surrounding him. All the barb he cast to Jian Yao, Zi Yu and the police were actually a delight to my ears. Even now when I think it back, it makes me laugh. I also loved how innocent and proud of himself he appeared, when he realised that Jin Yao was in love with him and that he also loved her (the icing on the cake was, however, when she gave him a kiss on the cheek in episode 13…a real kid! it was as if his eyes threw stars).
It made him highly ridiculous and I can’t deny that it was most of the time never-wrecking to see him that dim, but it was only the logical continuation of his character. If his IQ was superior to the norm when it came to analyse, it was not the case with people (just like Sherlock). The last, but not least, quality this character had was his mysteriousness and creepiness.
The scriptwriter kept secret his past for a long time, playing with our feelings. It made him even more worrying and hard to read -and Wallace Huo’s flawless performance contributed a lot to that. Bo Jin Yan was in other word one of the best hero I had ever seen (and Wallace Huo quickly became my new point of interest).
Jian Yao (Ma Sandra) was an interesting heroine. She was a really humane character. If she showed some braveness during the first investigations, it didn’t mean that she was for all that completely insensitive to the situation. In fact she often put herself into the victim’s shoes and let herself be overwhelmed by the cruelty of the crimes. I liked how smart she was, without for all that being on an equal foot with Jin Yan or the police (that would have been irrational). She was always eager to learn and urged Jin Yan to explain his analyse and I liked how in return he played with her to make her improve her analytical mind. Unfortunately, in the second part of the drama, she seemed to be less present. She was still a key character to the plot but she stood out a bit less compared to the others. Ma Sandra’s performance was really natural and sweet to watch. A good heroine for a great hero.
Fu Zi Yu (Yin Andrew) wasn’t really a character retaining my attention in the firsts episodes. He was just Bo Jin Yan’s weird best friend (why did he always have to appear in weird place and make such weird creations in the firsts episodes?) but his character took more and more importance along the episodes. If in the first episodes he was just depicted as this funny matchmaker between Jian Yao and Jin Yan he then became a lot more serious. I loved both of those facets: his bromance with Jin Yan made me laugh a lot while his past with this latter and his sister touched me. He was this mix of smartness, loyalty, wittiness and coolness. In other words he was far from being left out. Yin Andrew did a wonderful job in his interpretation, making his character more likeable than what I first thought.
Li Xun Ran (Wang Kai) was a roller-coaster on his own. He was this hot, successful and considerate best friend. Though he’d always loved Jian Yao he stepped out when seeing her that happy with Jin Yan. You can’t imagine how thankful I was for that. I was so afraid to see him ending up as a boring third-wheel! I still pitied him for a bit because of this one-sided love (such nice, smart, and good-looking guy left out, what a waste) but it wasn’t because he was pathetic, it was just because I deeply liked him. Just like Fu Zi Yu he gained in importance throughout the drama (apart from the very end where he kind of disappeared) and I really loved what they made of him in the second part of the show. Wang Kai was perfect in his role and he’ll definitely be an actor I’ll follow in the future!
To every Sherlock is needed a Moriarty. No exceptions here. Bo Jin Yan had its own enemy: Xie Han (Zhang Edward). He was just as good as Jin Yan in term of intelligence, but I can’t say that he struck me as much as this latter. He was a good villain and I loved all his murder’s plans but I was too focus on the other’s characters -who tried to thwart his machiavelic plans- to really take interest in his character (being outshone by its own work, ouch). Plus Zhang Edward’s performance was not as good as the other. His play was more forced and that didn’t give me the desire to dwell more on Xie Han.
I would like to conclude with the American casting which was rather good (especially Susan and Tommy). The scriptwriter took a high risk by setting most of his/her plot in America. Most of the time I hate when they do that, cause we are always given shitty American actors -who sometimes even reveal themselves to not be American-, while Asian actors struggle with their English lines. But in Love Me If You Dare they made the choice to keep both native languages. I don’t know if it was a clever choice but at least they chose “real” actors and it spared our ears (though one could wonder how they actually managed to understand each other: it was believable for the FBI agents to understand Bo Jin Yan just like it was ok to see Xie Han and Tommy talk to each other without problem but, as for the doctors in America….? hmm I didn’t know all citizens in America knew Chinese^^).
Love Me If You Dare had in other word, all the winning ingredients: Sherlock-like character, dark and well-build investigations, a romance, a clever and beautiful making and hot actors with natural performance. This is a Chinese jewels that will keep you excited and well-occupied during its 24 episodes. I can only advise you to watch it (especially since they are talking about a possible season 2! Hope that’s true though ><)
Warning: Avoid watching the opening and ending credit! it contains spoilers.
Note de Dushbadou: 9.5/10
Note de Whoovy: 9/10
Note finale: 9.5/10