K-Drama Review: ‘Tell Me What You Saw’ A Crime Drama that Turned Its Weakness into Development and Twist

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: OCN

Tell Me What You Saw is an investigative crime drama in which a bad-tempered genius criminal profiler and a detective who remembers everything that she sees team up to trace the serial killer. Looking at the story alone, the two main characters are expected to use their abilities to catch the criminal easily, but the drama allows the weaknesses that are just as deadly as their strengths, giving the audience unexpected fun.

Genius criminal profiler Oh Hyun Jae cannot go to the crime scenes personally since he suffered severe injuries when he lost his lover in an accident five years ago. So he needs someone to explain every detail of the situation on his behalf. Cha Soo Young, a detective, has the ability to remember exactly what she sees, but her investigative skills are yet immature due to her lack of on-site experiences. Two people who cannot solve the case alone meet and team up as each other’s “eye” and “brain” to find the truth.

Their investigation comes as a creative charm of Tell Me What You Saw. Detective Cha captures the small details of the crime with her ability of “picturing” and explains them to criminal profiler Oh. It adds the interest by elaborately illustrating the process of discovering buttons left by the criminal, the shape of the footprints, and subtle facial expressions. Oh listens to Cha’s explanations and analyzes the current condition or state of the criminal. They even point out the details that the people who were on the scene missed, allowing the viewers to immerse more in the play.

Credit: OCN

The actors’ performances are also impressive. Jang Hyuk, who plays the role of Oh Hyun Jae, grabs the play by showing his perfect acting prowess. In a calm voice, he gives orders to Cha, never losing the image of a veteran criminal profiler. The fact that he lost his lover right before his eyes make us feel more mournful for him with Jang Hyuk’s restrained expressions. On the other hand, Cha leads the play by exploding her emotions. It makes us sad when she cries as she blames herself after making a mistake, and it makes us smile when she nevertheless does not give up and move on to solve the case. The character seems more humane with the added emotional acting of Choi Soo Young.

The cooperative investigation, which maximizes the strengths of the drama by supplementing the weaknesses, affects not only the fun but also the story. Since Cha has no field experiences, she follows the directions of Oh. She does make a lot of mistakes at first, but she ends up doing a great job as she builds up her career. The drama naturally expresses the growth of the main character, which is unusual in an investigative crime drama. Oh even uses his weakness to make the criminal come find him on his own, giving the viewers a powerful twist. It is impressive that the process of overcoming weaknesses was not accomplished as an individual effort but acts as an essential factor that leads to a significant change in the story.

Credit: OCN

The composition of the criminals in Tell Me What You Saw is also enjoyable. Usually, investigators struggle to catch one criminal, but in this drama, criminals appear back-to-back. The moment you think it is over, a new clue is discovered, and someone else appears as another part of the story unfolds. Breaking the typical formula of an investigative crime drama, it maintains the tension even after the culprit has been caught.

However, the pace of the development seems to be a bit stagnant since the 6th episode, which marked the turning point. The cooperative investigation that has led the play has not been as interesting as before since Oh got up from a wheelchair. Since then, the collaborative investigation comes as a loose setup since the two characters no longer need to work so closely together for the investigation. The key to making the drama unique again lies in restoring the bond between Cha and Oh.

Credit: OCN

But still, Tell Me What You Saw continues its expectations. I want to watch Cha grow up as a real detective, and I wonder what is behind Oh’s intention of bringing out the new truth and changing the flow of the story in every episode. Above all, the collaboration to catch the real serial killer behind the veil is not over yet. Tell Me What You Saw started its bold investigation that pierces the viewers’ sight, hearing, and hearts with its description, “I’ll make the decisions, you just tell me what you see.” I am looking forward to the next story with the shining chemistry between the main characters.

Verdict: The cooperative investigation that supplements the weaknesses grabs both fun and chemistry of the story. (7/10)

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