[PICK] Thrilling Time-Slip Crime Korean Dramas

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Time travel is always an exciting subject for dramas. Especially when it’s combined with a crime drama, it presents more variety of fun. This is because the pleasure in finding new clues in different times and the secrets behind the time-slip attract viewers’ interest. This year alone, dramas that added romance and crime genre to the time-slip theme, such as The King: Eternal Monarch, Born Again, and Train, were aired. This article introduces four exciting crime dramas that captured the thrill of time-slip and tension of mystery.


Tunnel (2017)

Credit: OCN

Tunnel, starring Choi Jin Hyuk, Yoon Hyun Min, and Lee Yoo Young, is about detective Park Kwang Ho from 1986 traveling to 2017 after chasing the criminal in the tunnel and working with his new partners Kim Sun Jae and Shin Jae Yi to solve the mysterious serial murder case. The drama compellingly unfolds the process of these three, who have their fate twisted by the “past” incident, struggling to change the “future” by ideally capturing the “beauty” of time-slip. It also highlights the relationship between the three characters as much as finding the culprit. It is touching to see Kim Seon Jae and Shin Jea Yi, who are highly skilled but suffering from their past wounds, grow up after meeting Park Kwang Ho, who does everything in his power believing that saving people is what a detective does.


Life on Mars (2018)

Credit: OCN

Life on Mars, the Korean remake of the BBC TV series of the same name, revolves around Han Tae Joo, a leader of a crime investigation team in 2018, waking up as a detective appointed to work at a police station in a small city in 1988 after getting shot by an unidentified assailant. Jung Kyung Ho played Han Tae Joo, a detective in 2018 who trusts data over all else, while Park Sung Woong took on the role of Kang Dong Chul, a detective in 1988 who trusts his guts. The drama interestingly depicts how Han Tae Joo, who finds himself in the past, solves mysterious cases with detectives in 1988. Another key point that cannot be missed in the drama is that Han Tae Joo faces a new phase when the secrets of his time-slip are revealed one by one in the process of solving the case. Rather than the recent crime dramas filled with scientific techniques, this retro-style investigation provides a new kind of “fun,” and episodes based on real-life events are full of tension.


Signal (2016)

Credit: tvN

Signal, in which Misaeng: Incomplete Life director Kim Won Seok and writer Kim Eun Hee of Sign and Ghost joined hands, tells the story of a criminal profiler in 2016 and a detective from the past meeting through walkie-talkie and setting out on a journey together to solve cold cases. If the two dramas introduced earlier had their main characters travel to different times, Signal has the main characters from different times investigate the same case simultaneously and creates unexpected results, adding to the fun. Also, the fact that the three main characters’ past is gradually revealed through the present cases, including the affectionate feelings built up between Cha Soo Hyun and Lee Jae Han as they worked together as partners and Jae Han’s guilt over hurting young Hae Young with his case, is the beauty of Signal.


God’s Gift: 14 Days (2014)

Credit: SBS

Time-slip to find her missing daughter – was it a gift of god or a curse? God’s Gift: 14 Days is a drama about the pursuit of a mother who went back 14 days to save her kidnapped daughter. If the mother’s struggle to save her daughter is at the center of the story in the early parts, the overall plot grows bigger as it gets entangled with the serial murder. Each episode presented a shocking twist and clues, and the drama maintained its level of immersion by making it impossible to predict who the real killer is till the final episode. In particular, the heartbreaking performances of Lee Bo Young, who took on the role of a mother who just wants to find her missing daughter, were well received. Thanks to the drama’s popularity and completeness, in 2017, ABC (American Broadcasting Company) produced Somewhere Between, the remake of the drama, starring Paula Patton.

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