Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Esther Lee
In 2021, various heroes who stood up against injustice received a lot of love from viewers. The leading actors in Vincenzo, Taxi Driver, The Devil Judge, and One the Woman used their own unique methods to punish evil, instilling catharsis to the drama. tvN’s Bad and Crazy, which premiered on December 17th, aimed to join the existing hero pool in K-Dramas. Lee Dong Wook, who starred in numerous popular romance and suspense series, joined Squid Game star Wi Ha Joon to collaborate on The Uncanny Counter production crew’s project to present a story about a redeeming villain.
Bad and Crazy follows corrupt, success-oriented detective Ryu Soo Yeol (Lee Dong Wook) and a man named K (Wi Ha Joon) who is crazy about justice. While heroes in previous times were driven by personal revenge or a general sense of justice, Ryu Soo Yeol only cares about his gains and profits to the point where he neglects his duties as a detective. And this is where K comes in to push Soo Yeol to do the right thing whenever he veers away from doing so.
That’s exactly the charm of Bad and Crazy and the identity of K, which is even more intriguing, by how he pushes Ryu Soo Yeol to change himself for the better. K is an alternate personality born from Ryu Soo Yeol’s conscience. In a way, Bad and Crazy could be a reversed interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Instead of a good-natured man being tempted by his hidden evil nature, Bad and Crazy presents a fresh take, depicting a materialistic man finally confronting his true good nature, which he had been ignoring the whole time.
The well-balanced comedy and action are notable, and the fact that the drama used cartoon-like elements in the play adds to the fun of this work. A great example can be seen at the ending of the second episode when Ryu Soo Yeol throws a high kick at congressman Do Yoo Gon against his will. A quick flashback scene shows that K was Ryu Soo Yeol’s alternate personality and that the things K did were actually done by Soo Yeol himself. And as his alternate ego takes over his consciousness, the scene comes to a witty conclusion as Ryu Soo Yeol smiles contently after throwing his kick at someone he shouldn’t. In contrast to the previous crime dramas that have portrayed Dissociative Identity Disorder in a heavy, dark mood, Bad and Crazy takes a rather light-hearted approach to this specific subject.
It’s worth watching Lee Dong Wook and Wi Ha Joon’s bromance as they team up despite their polar opposite personalities. Lee Dong Wook, who showed a sinister side in Strangers From Hell, perfectly transformed into this sly yet sympathetic character in this drama. He seamlessly switches back and forth between his incredibly selfish and secular self and a defeated self humiliated by his other ego. Lee Dong Wook’s realistic performance in some of his rage scenes is as good as Lee Sun Kyun and Park Jung Min’s, and I almost wanted to put him on the hall of fame for the actors who performed the best melt-down scenes of all time. Wi Ha Joon’s hilarious transformation is also noteworthy. He has played a wide range of characters thanks to his face that allows him to play both good and evil characters. Rather than portraying K as a charismatic and justice figure, Wi Ha Joon gave him a perfect balance between humor and craziness.
However, I do think that it’s a shame that the supporting characters weren’t actively utilized in this drama. Although the main plot revolves around the two punishing those who pretend to do good, the drama is a little slow because it only revolves around these two characters. Although the highly-principled officer, Oh Gyung Tae (Cha Hak Yeon), spices up the drama with his cute smile with an uncompromising attitude, he only seems to be there as a character who gives a wake-up call to Ryu Soo Yeol. On top of that, it’s obvious that Ryu Soo Yeol’s ex-girlfriend Lee Hee Gyeom (Han Ji Eun) is there to show her relationship with Soo Yeol, not her skills as a narc detective.
Bad and Crazy is now revealing the crimes committed by the drug lord named Mr. Yong, who conspires with congressmen Do Yoo Gon and narc detective Kim Kye Shik. Now, the show is about to unravel the mystery surrounding Ryu Soo Yeol’s past and the murder case related to him. This will probably lead to the reason behind K’s appearance in his mind, and I wonder if this mystery’s resolution will make Ryu Soo Yeol get ready to bid farewell to K.
Verdict: The plot is original, but the development is uneventful (6/10)
Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy!