Synopsis: If you get a chance to connect with the past will you be able to change the future?! After finding an old walkie-talkie, Detective Park Hae Yeong manages to connect with detective Lee Jae Han in the past. Together with the help of team leader Cha So Hyun they manage to solve South Korea most famous cold cases and reveal Police corruption.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Crime, suspense, thriller, mystery, supernatural
Casting: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jin Woong, Jang Hyeon Seong, Jung Hae Kyung etc…
I had not seen such good plot for a long time. Signal partly reconciled me with dramaland as it kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was addicted to that drama but I certainly spent a good time in front of it. Signal had one of the cleverest plot I had ever seen as it married my two favourite genre: the detective and supernatural one.
In term of investigations, the scriptwriters answered all my expectations. It was as dark and complex as an OCN drama and all the characters had their own amount of involvement in each one of them. I’ve always loved dramas with detectives having their own personal cases and background resurfacing at some point in their lives, and here I can’t say that the scriptwriters let me down. I loved the concept of a cod cases team as it was my first time dealing with such idea. I had only seen so far in dramaland, teams created to fight the most dangerous criminals and solve the most difficult cases. It was therefore a refreshing idea as it allowed to bring back the past in a smooth way and to add a supernatural touch to the plot. This radio transmission idea between two detectives of different time was both at the same time original and brilliant, as it made the relation between the characters even stronger.
In term of emotions, Signal managed to play quite well with my nerves as I could only feel powerless in front of all the events involving Lee Jae Han, Park Hae Yeong and Cha Soo Hyun. Changing the past brought automatically consequences to the present and our hero learnt it the tough way. Seeing them struggling with their every decisions in each episodes made them terribly human and touching. For that clever writing I would have easily put a 10/10 to Signal if it had completely managed to overwhelm me. But unfortunately, it didn’t in the end. I actually couldn’t help than comparing it with Missing Noir M, as that latter was the last detective drama making me go all crazy for his characters and plot. Both dramas managed to hook me for the atmosphere displayed in their episodes, for their investigations and characters. But where Missing Noir M had me all tearful in some of its episodes, Signal didn’t (I felt sad and shook up but only used one handkerchief at the end) and that’s what kept me from putting a full score to this drama -besides its originality and cleverness.
Park Hae Yeong (Lee Je Hoon) was a strong character. I liked how in the firsts episodes he teased his teammate like a big kid with his heart melting smile, while being a complete smart ass in reality. I liked how he gradually gained in thickness along the episodes and how in the end his first draft completely disappeared to let place to a character constantly beset by doubt, fear and despair. Having the power to change the present by influencing the past brings necessarily responsibility and I loved how Park Hae Yeong learnt from his mistakes and never let himself being driven by irrationality despite his strong desire to fix his brother’s case. His story was actually heart breaking as the scriptwriters had the good idea to reveal the informations little by little and in a crescendo way. It would be a lie to say that Lee Je Hoon didn’t also play a major part in my appreciation of his character. I had never seen this actor before, but you can be sure that I’ll remember his name and keep a close eye on him as he deeply moved me here, by expressing in multiple way the sufferance of his character.
Lee Jae Han (Jo Jin Woong) was just as good as Park Hae Yeong just like Jo Jin Woong had nothing to be ashamed of in comparison to his younger colleague. I can’t even say which one I preferred in the end as both character deeply affected me. Lee Jae Han was a tough policemen who had an iron will and I had actually rarely seen a character being that hungry for justice. Even after knowing his own future, he kept on fighting against those high ranking officer and person who thought themselves above the law. Both him and Park Hae Yeong were, in that way, stunning for their strength and weaknesses. Seeing them shaking for the victims and the unfairness of our society (the powerful escaping easily justice and framing the powerless and penniless) was inspiring and a call to get us deeply involved in the story!
Cha Soo Hyun (Kim Hye Soo) was the weakest character in this trio, though I still greatly appreciated her (the competition was just too tough). While Lee Jae Han and Park Hae Yeong almost made me forget that they were drama’s character, Cha Soo Hyun had the tendency to bring me back to this reality. Her overall writing gave a feeling of easiness: she was this badass heroine who never let herself being trampled upon by her male colleagues and always wore this judgemental and stern look -that made her quite unpleasant to be honest (at first at least). Kim Hye Soo’s performance also seemed a bit too forced compared to her male co-workers and I think I would have kept on finding her character quite dull if eventually the scriptwriter had not cracked this image by revealing a bit more about her, along the episodes. Her interaction with Lee Jae Han and a personal background and trauma was what eventually cleared my indifference towards her -though I still think her personal story came a bit too conveniently in the plot. Both Cha Soo Hyun and Kim Hye Soo succeeded in convincing me in the end as both of them became more intense throughout the drama.
Signal was, to conclude, beyond all my expectations. It was an amazing drama with a superb ost, an outstanding casting, a mind-rouser plot and a great making. Be aware though: this is the kind of drama that will haunt you for quite a long time after its watching!
Note de Dushbadou: 9/10
Note de Whoovy: /10
Note finale: 9/10