K-Drama Review: ‘Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation’ An Adequate Combination of Comedy and Mystery

Credit: OCN

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: OCN

OCN’s dramatic cinema Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation (hereinafter referred to as Off-duty Investigation) expressed its desire to capture both laugher and mystery. And the level of completion they have shown proves that the confidence was not a lie.

Off-duty Investigation literally deals with off-duty investigation, as the title suggests. Those with extraordinary jobs, not detectives, gather to solve the case outside the police line. If existing investigation dramas have shown the process of detectives solving the mystery cases, Off-Duty Investigation offers a unique fun of ordinary people gathering to solve the case.

With Kang Ho, an eccentric detective, at the center, Moo Young, a TV producer, Tak Won, a former criminal profiler-turned-private investigator, Ban Seok, a coroner-turned-funeral director, and Teddy Jung, a gangster-turned-cocktail bar owner, gather to form “Team Bulldog” to catch the criminal of the case that have enraged the entire nation.

Credit: OCN

The biggest fun of Off-Duty Investigation can be found in the unique charm of Team Bulldog. They once made their mark in their respective fields, but the glory is long gone, and most of them live from hand to mouth. Tak Won, who used to be famous enough to appear on TV, is now running a multilevel marketing due to the lack of income as a private investigator. Teddy Jung, who used to be a legendary gangster, is now in concerns over his poor business and his health. The way they talk about their reality as they sneer at themselves draws laughter.

Yet, Team Bulldog manages to show their skills whenever they are in the middle of the investigation. Tak Won easily finds the clues the police have missed, while Teddy Jung throws a punch to save his colleagues. The sight of him giving a blow to those who ignored him just by his looks gives the viewers a satisfying thrill.

Cha Tae Hyun, who leads the Team Bulldog, also stands out. Although this is his first time playing the role of a detective since his debut, Cha Tae Hyun is responsible for both laughter and reasoning with his grumpy manner and extraordinary sense of investigation. Especially, it is full of exhilaration to see him pay back the bad guys who are pressuring him with money and power.

The drama doesn’t forget its role as an investigation drama. Off-Duty Investigation progresses as detective Kang Ho and TV producer Moo Young investigate and dig into the case that has already taken place. The two have the same goal of finding out the truth, but their approaches are so different that there is a limit in discovering everything. For example, in the episode of “Butterfly Murder,“ Kang Ho realizes that the criminal had an accomplice, whereas Moo Young discovers another crime that has mimicked the case, but the two fail to catch the crucial evidence.

Soon, the two share information, cooperate with each other, and find clues to the solution. Moo Young gives Kang Ho the decisive evidence of copycat crime, and Kang Ho solves the areas he cannot cover by himself with the help of Team Bulldog. In the process, the bickering chemistry between Kang Ho and Moo Young evokes laughter. Also, the process of putting together a big picture delivers the joy.

Credit: OCN

Off-Duty Investigation well balances comedy and investigation but shows signs of regret from time to time. The investigation process is slow due to the desire for laughter, and the new character that pops out in the middle interferes with the story. Moo Young’s younger brother, who shows out of nowhere to ask for money, or her rival PD, who suddenly joins the program that Moo Young is working on, does not work well with the story and seems out of place. Fortunately, the drama refocuses on Team Bulldog and their performances in the latter half, cutting the stories pointed out to be hindrances.

Now, Team Bulldog has buckled down as a team after solving the Butterfly serial murder case. Now, with only two episodes left till the end, the tension is heightened as the relationship between Cha Tae Hyun and the owner of the shoe store, which raised many questions from the start, is revealed. I hope that the laughter delivered by the characters full of personality, even during the intense investigation, will be maintained until the end and wish for the good fight of Team Bulldog.

Verdict: A satisfying investigation, a delightful laugh (7/10)

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