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The most recent Korean drama I finished was “Bride of the Century”, which I am still obsessed with. There was an announcement that a DVD and Blu-ray of the series will be released for Japanese audiences with extra episodes!! I don’t care how much it will cost me, I am buying them. The preorder is on-going through the next few months as the official release date is scheduled to be late in the summer.

“Gapdong” (also spelled as “Gap Dong”, “Gap Dongi” and “Gabdong” over various sites) is not a romance but a crime drama about a cold case from 20 years ago. Apparently based on a true crime, the drama’s villain raped and murdered 9 women over a period of time and disappeared. The main protagonist is Ha Moo Yeom (nicknamed Mad Monk), whose mentally challenged father was accused of being the serial killer. Due to lack of evidence and reliable witnesses, the case went cold and the statute of limitations expired. Moo Yeom’s father subsequently died but the lead detective of the case, Yang Chul Gon (nicknamed Scary Tiger), still believes him to be the murderer.

Now a police officer himself, Moo Yeom believes the case is over. However, an incident at a local psych ward suggests that Gapdong is not only alive, he is very possibly one of the residents. Here, we are introduced to Dr. Oh Maria who accepts the possibility that Gapdong is one of her patients. It is implied that in her youth, she survived an encounter with Gapdong. Detective Yang is also back in the picture, hoping to prove that Ha’s deceased father was (or was one of several) Gapdong. So he asks one of his subordinates to get Ha’s DNA in an attempt to match it with Gapdong’s DNA on file. Here’s where I was taken out of the story a bit because the subordinate took shaven hairs from Ha’s electric razor. It is unlikely (though not impossible) the lab would have gotten a workable DNA profile from those samples. In the end, due to bureaucracy, the whole scheme was nixed. I’m being nitpicky but this is what happens because I read and watch too much about forensics. MBLAQ’s Lee Joon plays Ryoo Tae Oh, who leaves the psych ward at the end of episode 1. It is clearly obvious that he is Gapdong’s protege. Obsessed with the old murders, he discovers the identity of Gapdong (whose face we cannot see).

There are scenes where Ha puts himself in the place of the killer as he envisions how the first victim of Gapdong’s return was killed. He can see similarities between old cases and the new one (specifically, a fishing knot that is used to bind the hands of the victims). This is interesting because it is VERY reminiscent of how Will Graham (of TV show “Hannibal”) examines crime scenes and can see through the killer’s eyes. I’m not going to flat out say that “Gapdong” is copying the idea, but is it coincidence that in episode 2 Hannibal Lecter is namedropped?

I’m looking forward to seeing how this cat and mouse game develops. Will Ha and Yang’s relationship improve over time with their shared interest in capturing Gapdong? Will Maria survive? Seems Tae Oh may eventually target her since she is not only secretly looking for Gapdong among the inmates but has a growing relationship with Ha.