Tug-of-war between good and evil in bleaker ‘Shadow Detective 2’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Tug-of-war between good and evil in bleaker ‘Shadow Detective 2’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:20 AM July 06, 2023

Tug-of-war between good and evil in bleaker ‘Shadow Detective 2’

Scene from “Shadow Detective 2” (Photo from Disney+)

It’s the sort of challenge that “Shadow Detective” series star Lee Sung-min and new cast member Kim Shin-rok had to quickly adjust to. After all, it isn’t easy for actors to get cast as father and daughter in one TV series (for 2022’s “Reborn Rich”), then play subordinate and supervisor in their next project, this time for Disney’s “Shadow Detective 2.”

In the K-drama’s pilot season, soon-to-retire detective Kim Taekrok (Sung-Min of “Misaeng” and “Reborn Rich”) grudgingly teams up with colleagues Lee Seonga (Gyeong Su-jin of “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bokjoo”) and Son Gyeongchan (Lee Hak-joo of “Decision to Leave”) after he is suspected of killing a friend.


But the stakes are raised even higher in the crime thriller’s bleaker new season. Shot just two months after Season 1 wrapped up, Season 2 — which dropped the first two of its eight-part story on Disney yesterday — is just as unmissable because of its intriguingly bleaker tone and the main characters’ deliciously increasing ambiguity.


One and a half years after the events in the pilot season, Taekrok is transferred from the Homicide Division to the Women and Juvenile Affairs Unit of the Geumo Police Station. But before Taekrok could settle into his new role, he is once again drawn to a mysterious explosion that puts the life of a loved one in grave danger.

Initially classified as an accident, Taekrok recognizes the explosion for what it is — murder — but the more he digs up about it, the deeper he plunges into a discombobulating labyrinth of lies and conspiracies.

At the press conference last Monday — which was also attended by Sung-min, Su-jin, Hak-joo and director Han Dong-hwa — “new kid on the block” Shin-rok likened the experience of working in the series to “playing sports.”

Lee Sung-min at the press conference

Lee Sung-min at the press conference (Photo from Disney+)

 Seamless process

“The process played out organically, seamlessly … and it brought me great joy,” she shared. “When I decided to join the show, a big part of it was because of the chance to act with Sung-min again.

“In ‘Reborn Rich,’ Sung-min and I didn’t have many scenes where it was just the two of us. But when I saw the script for this, there were many scenes with just the two of us. The thought of sharing scenes with him and feeling that tension was something I really wanted to experience.

“And when we were already on the set, there were a lot of moments like that … and it proved very cathartic and pleasurable. I am grateful to be part of that, and it was made more alluring by a very taut script that has a lot of hidden information.”


Admittedly, the role Shin-rok plays isn’t easy to figure out. “I saw Episodes 1 and 2 of the first season as I was filming this, so I knew that I was part of this very intriguing universe,” the actress noted. “That was my motivation to work really hard and bring my character, Yeon Juhyun, to life.

“You really don’t know if Juhyun is friend or foe. Who is this girl and what does she want? She’s really not an open book. But later on, you’ll find out what all that ambiguity is about.

“I wanted to make sure that Juhyun gets to provide a measure of suspense and thrill in the beginning. So instead of being very expressive, I tried to be very restrained in portraying her.”

For Sung-min, the different tone and character shift provided a whiff of fresh thespic air. “The first season was physically draining,” he recalled, laughing. “This time around, Taekrok uses a lot of brain power. Season 2 is less an action show than an espionage thriller.”

Kim Shin-rok

Kim Shin-rok (Photo from Disney+)

 However, there’s a good reason behind Taekrok’s perceived apathy, as Sung-min explained: “In Season 1, Taekrok lost a lot of good friends, so he’s really hurting. He has these tragic feelings inside of him because he still does not know who the mastermind is behind ‘The Friend’ [a major nemesis in Season 1].

“Taekrok wants to hunt him down, but he knows that if he goes on that path aggressively, he might lose people again. So he’s trying to hide his real intentions … as if he’s been healed from all that tragedy.

“So, that is Taekrok’s state of mind in the beginning. He’s just thinking of a more peaceful life after retirement … that’s the way I wanted to mislead the audience. But he really just wants to protect his friends, like Seonga and Gyeongchan, and not let them fall victim to the villain.

“You guys saw the first two episodes, right? But beginning [of] Episode 3, you’ll see a new side of Taekrok, which will be different from the one you saw in the previous episodes. So you better stay tuned!”

Asked to explain the storytelling’s bold new direction and tone, director Han Dong-hwa described Season 2 as “an expanded universe.”

“It’s more comprehensive… so there are a lot of things viewers can look out for,” he asserted. “Season 1 was like a unilateral attack from a villain, but Season 2 is more like a tug of war between the villains versus Taekrok and the good guys.

Gyeong Su-jin

Gyeong Su-jin (Photo from Disney+)

More tension added

“It’s like fighting an invisible war. This element makes ‘Shadow Detective 2’ look more like an espionage show. Because of this, viewers will see the characters’ good and evil sides coming into play—which adds even more tension to the narrative as it unfolds.”

It’s this three-dimensional growth in the lead characters’ story arcs that made Season 2 exciting for both Su-jin and Gyeong-chan.

“I had butterflies in my stomach before we started filming this new season because it’s quite different from the previous one,” admitted Su-jin. “Seonga wasn’t very expressive of her emotions in Season 1 … and people didn’t know why! But it was obvious that she really looked up to Taekrok.

“But in Season 2, her backstory is going to be revealed. So I really wanted to show some new facets of her personality. Seonga might have come off as a passive person then, because she had a boss … and she wasn’t the one taking the lead.

Lee Hak-joo

Lee Hak-joo (Photo from Disney+)


“This time around, she becomes the leader who’s actively pursuing the case. So, she’s more mature as a detective.”

As for Hak-ju, he said he was delighted for the show to have a second season: “It’s my first Season 2, after all (laughs). And this really lets you appreciate how much the characters change through it all.

“Gyeong-chan didn’t look out for himself as much in Season 1 … he was just very passionate. But he saw some of his colleagues getting dragged into the case and losing their lives. As a result, this made him a little more cynical. He started to have doubts about his occupation as a policeman.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“So in the beginning of Season 2, he’s a bit more suspicious and cautious, even of Taekrok … who seems to be keeping secrets from him and Seonga.”


Park Eun-bin, Song Hye-kyo, Lee Sung-min lead winners at Baeksang Arts Awards

New zombies, sinking island part of Korean series’ ‘double-edged sword’

Korean TV dramas climb back up global video streaming chart

TAGS: K drama, series

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.