I wouldn’t call Signal a ‘masterpiece’, there have been better dramas than it, or at least dramas I felt more connected to. It’s a well crafted crime show with a competent cast and director, and definitely one of the better kdramas I’ve watched over the past fiew years. It just didn’t have that eluseve factor which would have made me throughly enthralled, the way e.g. ‘Monks and Masters’ did. Yes, it tugged the ol’ heartstrings and made me save the last fiew episodes for a binge watch, to avoid the cliffhangers, but I didn’t feel the need to compulsively talk about it.
That said, when I think about it, for me Signal is filled with positives. The script is solid and it shows that the writer had the whole thing plotted out till the end. Even the Magic Walkie-talkie has been so expertly integrated within the plot that I didn’t even once wonder upon how and why the darned thing worked. It just did and I accepted that. What I really appreciate is the lack of filler and draggy episodes. Some of the more quiet scenes are perhaps a bit too drawn out but that is a minor quibble and didn’t affect my overall enjoyement. All the episodes have plenty of detailed info you just have to keep tabs on, which I generally love in crime shows. There are hints and foreshadowing, some red herrings too but also bits and pieces that keep you guessing. It’s also a big bonus that the actual police work doesn’t make you want to cringe at every turn. When an investigation is shoddy, it’s easy to see why. Bungled investigations are not unheard of in real life, neither is corruption.
The characters are nicely drawn, everyone an individual with his or her own special quirks. It isn’t every show that makes you sympathise with a bad cop… or a serial killer. Jung Hae Kyun and Lee Sang Yeob really aced those roles. But then, all the actors/actresses did a great job, even in the bit parts. My favourite is Jo Jin Woong, no surprises there. He’s such a versatile actor who can play all sorts of characters at ease. His Jae Han is a totaly lovable teddybear and I spent most of the drama wanting to squish him, LOL! It’s also great to have a competent female cop with a working brain, though even she didn’t start out that way. We were all clueless rookies once.^^ Kudos for Kim Hye Soo for being totally beleavable in both incarnations of Soo Hyun. Lee Je Hoon was a tad rusty in the beginning but I never thought he was overacting. That’s just the way Hae Young was written. Very exact and precise, even in his speech. Special mention goes to the young actors who played big bro Sun Woo and kid Hae Young.
I liked the ending. It’s consistent with the more realisitic view that wrongdoers may go unpunished, things don’t always work out, nor is it possible to right all wrongs. The ending, though open, is still hopeful and we leave the characters with a feeling that maybe, with a little help from the past, the future can still be changed for the better. There has been talk about a 2nd season but I’m not all that sure I want one. Sometimes it’s just best to leave things be.
I love the OST, it’s atmospheric and very fitting for the drama. The ending song 떠나야할 그사람 (The Person Who Has to Leave) sung by 잉키 is perhaps my fave.
But I realy like 길 (The Road) by Kim Yuna (of rock band Jaurim) too.