Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jin Woong
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Drama, Suspense, Time Travel
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Mood Browse
Fifteen years ago, a young girl was kidnapped on the way from school, and Park Hae Yeong, who was an elementary school student at that time, witnessed the crime. A few days later, the girl was found dead, and the police were not able to find the culprit. As time went by, Hae Yeong started distrusting the police.
Fifteen years later, Hae Yeong is now a police officer and criminal profiler. One day, he finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to get in contact with Detective Lee Jae Han who is in the past. Police officers Hae Yeong, Jae Han, and Cha So Hyun then set out on a journey to solve cold cases.
I found this drama while I was browsing through Netflix. I’ve seen the woman actress in this show around so I stopped to check the summary out. I was sold after reading the summary but I didn’t immediately start it. I’m a little annoyed with myself that I waited for a while to get to it but I’m glad that I watched it because from beginning to end, I was invested in all of it.
There were parts that were pretty slow in terms of engaging me (the viewer) but overall, this was a really interesting drama that did a good job of telling Park Hae Yeong’s life story.
Let’s break this show down, shall we?
Main Lead: Park Hae Yeong
Park Hae Yeong is the victim of a wrongful arrest though he wasn’t the actual person that was arrested. His older brother was accused of rape and was let down by the entire local police department because of course, his older brother was innocent but because their family wasn’t as rich as the real culprit, Park Hae Yeong’s older brother paid for a crime that wasn’t his. Park Sun Woo (Hae Yeong’s older brother) was one of the good guys. He was a great older brother to Hae Yeong and he cared about his family, his friends, and his future. He was helping Hae Yeong bring his grades up and in the process of helping a girl study as well.
What happens to Sun Woo makes a huge impression on Hae Yeong and as Hae Yeong pieces his own investigation into his brother’s case when he’s older and a cold case profiler, things really heat up. He discovers a walkie-talkie that communicates with an officer from the past. A detective that could possibly help him find out what really happened to his brother. Maybe if they worked together, they can right some wrongs and get some things right. Hae Yeong’s story is a huge part of the show and I thought Lee Je Hoon’s portrayal of Park Hae Yeong was probably my favorite part of this show. Lee Je Hoon has some serious acting chops and I felt everything he felt throughout this entire show. Hae Yeong’s story is an emotional one and though I didn’t get the ending that I wanted for him, I was still satisfied and would LOVE a second season.
I really enjoyed the character growth from child to man for Park Hae Yeong. He had every reason to turn to gangs and a life of crime with his experience with cops and yet he grew into a man of the law with a clear conscience of what was right and wrong. Did he always get things right? Not at all. But he learned from every experience and used the experiences to be a better person.
Main Lead: Cha Soo Hyun
Actor: Kim Hye Soo
Cha Soo Hyun was the first female police officer in her department and though she seems aloof and completely reserved, she is fair and a good senior to Park Hae Yeong. Professionally, she tried to do what was right even when it was hard. Personally, there were times when I wanted to smack this woman upside her head. Did I understand where she was coming from when she would pop off in the middle of a case because Park Hae Yeong seemed to know an awful lot about the only man she’s ever loved that disappeared years ago? Of course! Did I want her to put her feelings away and get the bad guys before grilling Hae Yeong? YES!
Even with all of that madness, I still really liked her character and I thought Kim Hye Soo really did Cha Soo Hyun’s character justice. She acted her tail off and it’s really hard to do that when you’re playing an aloof and cold character that isn’t really any of that. I liked how smart she was and how loyal she was. She was good at a lot of things and seeing her as both a fresh rookie cop who was unsure of herself, her worth as a police officer, and then a strong and fiercely determined detective was fantastic. She played both parts well and I was rooting for her to find her man throughout the entire show.
Main Lead: Lee Jae Han
Actor: Jo Jin Woong
Holy cow did I like this guy. Lee Jae Han was such a compelling character that fought the good fight even when he had every cause not to believe the weirdo on the other line of the walkie-talkie. Seeing him fight against his very own bosses to bring justice to those wronged by the police force, the exact police force that is supposed to protect the victims made me love him to pieces.
His story was another emotional one because his personal life took a back seat to his professional one and it was hard on everyone around him. From his father to the woman he was starting to like and his friends, he missed out on a lot trying to right the wrongs that just kept right on coming to his front door. I wanted so much to see this guy in the end and we were left with a big ol’ question mark with everything but even without a solid ending with a solid wrap-up of all the things, I still really enjoyed learning about Lee Jae Han. My heart for him when he tried to get to Sun Woo before it was too late, freaking body falling apart but getting to Sun Woo was more important than his stab wound and that was just one of the many reasons that I loved this guy. He didn’t know how to give up and when he didn’t get things right, he was so remorseful that it hurt my heart and made me cheer for him and Hae Yeong even more. Gah, so good.
There are a lot of familiar faces that make up the rest of the cast of Signal and I enjoyed seeing them all again. These two guys are probably my favorite familiar faces and the most memorable of the bunch, outside of the villains. I also really liked the guy that played Park Sung Woo. As I said, there are a lot of familiar faces and that’s probably my favorite thing about k-dramas. There are side characters that pop up in every single k-drama and it’s always a treat to see a cast with great chemistry. This wasn’t the kind of show that showcases strong friendships but we got a strong team that really comes together as the show progresses and I was here for Hae Yeong and Soo Hyun’s team.
So Signal is about a detective from 1989 and a cold case profiler in 2015 working together through a magical walkie-talkie to solve and prevent crimes from happening. Solving them in 2015 helps prevent them in 1989 and through trial and error, Lee Jae Han, the detective from 1989, and Park Hae Yeong, the cold case profiler from 2015 figure out what went wrong and how to fix them in their own times. The concept behind the show is was initially drew me to watching it and I’m glad that I did because the actors really brought this story to life. It totally made sense to me that there was a magical walkie-talkie helping a man from the 80’s help a man from 2015 solve crime and beat the bad guys.
I also thought that the cases that they worked on together were interesting. From the kidnapping case to the rape case, to every other case, each story really stood out and had me thinking about them long after I turned the final episode off. These characters really go through it personally and professionally and they had to overcome so much to get to that end. There were times where I had to walk away from the TV because what was happening was too much for me and my blood pressure but I will say that the villains played their roles really well in this one because I hated their asses so much.
Overall, there were moments when certain characters and cases made my blood boil but I’m glad that I stuck with this show because it was a solid suspense drama and the time through walkie-talkie business was one of the highlights of the show for me. I love the friendship that blossomed between Lee Jae Han and Park Hae Yeong. I thought the way that their friendship grew and grew with each case that they worked on was just so stinkin’ great.
4 out of 5