K-Drama Review: ‘Mouse’: Three Things that Are More Exciting than Finding the Culprit

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

The crime thriller genre hides the criminal’s identity and provides a captivating experience as the hero removes the veil. Mouse illustrates a breathtaking confrontation between a psychopathic killer and detectives. This project, too, follows a familiar formula, but it shows a different touch in plot and speed. From the first episode, the series reveals the killer’s identity and even catches him by the third week. It feels like playing poker with all the cards opened. But surprisingly, the tension doesn’t dwindle and only raises more questions about what’s coming next. What’s so special about Mouse that such directing was possible?


Another secret behind birth? This time, it’s different

Credit: tvN

Mouse depicts polite rookie police officer Jung Ba Reum and ruthless detective Go Moo Chi, whose life goal is to take revenge for his parent’s death, facing an unexpected fate after chasing the psychopath killer “Predator.” According to the plot, Jung Ba Reum (played by Lee Seung Gi) and the Predator are born with psychopath DNA. But it adds more riddles to their background. The “secret behind birth,” a common cliché of Korean dramas, is cited once again. But it acts as an indispensable mystery in the play without a taste of trite, taking full responsibility for the fun.

Their secrets are essential because they’re closely related to the question “who is the real Predator?” The show recently aired its 8th episode. And so far, “Headhunter” Han Seo Joon’s son Sung Yohan looks like the “Predator.” However, leaving behind various questions, it continues to show how Jung Ba Reum’s childhood is connected with those two. In other words, Jung Ba Reum may be another killer with psychopath DNA. With this, the secret of birth that seems somewhat boring becomes a clue to a new twist every episode, making a story even more compelling.


Lee Hee Joon’s overwhelming presence

Credit: tvN

Jung Ba Reum’s childhood may serve as a secret that shakes the foundation of the play. However, there is no exaggeration in saying that the drama is unfolded in Go Moo Chi’s (played by Lee Hee Joon) eyes by far. Go Moo Chi witnessed Han Seo Joon murdering his parents as a child. He is a cop, but he is dead set on going into jail even he has to kill someone and complete his revenge on Han Seo Joon. Because of his painful childhood memories, Go Moo Chi is very different from other detectives. He is reckless in his investigation, and his hatred and retribution against the perpetrators often cause troubles. In particular, his fellow detectives can’t stop complaining about his crazy obsession with all cases related to Han Seo Joon.

Lee Hee Joon’s delicate acting flawlessly melts in Go Moo Chi’s unique characteristics into the play. In the 5th episode, Go Moo Chi appears on a live broadcast to catch the Predator. And that particular scene, combined with Lee Hee Joon’s soulful performance, became one of Mouse’s most captivating scenes. Indeed, the actor led the 70-minute running time by himself. His battle against the Predator makes your hand jitters. But at the same time, the scene where he begs and cries to save his older brother is heart-trending. Lee Hee Joon breathes life into the character that could end up looking eccentric who acts first with his solid acting. Hence, viewers form a bond with him over the anger rising from bizarre events and the feeling of pity for the victims.

The truth that’s still behind the veil

Credit: tvN

As mentioned earlier, the crucial perpetrator, “the Predator,” was caught and even died. Han Seo Joon, the murderer who opened the series with terror, is behind bars. Mouse, which I thought showed all the cards for its mystery, suggests that the “real” truth is yet to be revealed in the 7th episode. On top of that, another terror is on its way. Surprisingly, the 6th episode is only a preview of the story that will unfold in earnest.

By the 7th episode, the fact that Han Seo Joon had an accomplice in his past crimes came to the surface. Like that, the narrative fell into a mystery again. Go Moo Chi and Jung Ba Reum must seek clues from Han Seo Joon to prevent constant killings and unveil the truth. The situation where police have no choice but to rely on a serial murderer stirs up a dizzying tension. Additionally, Jung Ba Reum suffered a fatal brain injury while fighting against the Predator. When he comes around, he became a whole new person, raising more questions about his birth.

At first, I thought the show moved too hasty as the main storyline ended in 6 episodes. Yet, it turned out that it was only a part of something bigger, raising expectations for future development. Maybe, we might have to review the early plot about the Predator’s death once again. The clues and baits within it can create a giant butterfly effect and become a new key to the events currently pursued by the heroes. In the beginning, Mouse looked like another typical TV show about finding the killer. But as it turns out, the series has been hiding its real ambition. And now, it will begin its race for the main game.


Verdict: The show’s ambition that hid a bigger picture than fiding the killer (8/10)


Editor Hwang Hong Sun: A Korean movie buff who wishes that the warm messages in good works will warm up this world at least by one degree Fahrenheit

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