‘Bad And Crazy’ first look review: solid cop drama with huge stars, humour and plenty of punches

The duo behind ‘The Uncanny Counter’ create a heart-pounding show with promise, but it’s the stellar casting that’s the jewel in it’s crown

Bad And Crazy, directed and written by The Uncanny Counter duo Yoo Sun-dong and Kim Sae-bom, is not your typical good-cop, bad-cop drama. While it offers enough of those old-school tropes to pique your interest if that’s what you’re into, the real draw of the series comes from possibly one of the most charismatic character pairings ever in Lee Dong-wook (Strangers From Hell) and Wi Ha-joon (Squid Game).

Lee plays morally lacking, promotion-seeking, “bad” police detective Ryu Soo-yeol who is forced to confront his less than righteous ways by a violent and mysterious motorcycle helmet-clad man, who beats Soo-yeol to a pulp every time they cross paths. Except for every time he does, there is no trace of him on CCTV, nor witnesses anywhere to be found. This seemingly elite and hardened ninja-esque criminal hunting Ryu down for his knack for turning a blind eye is K (played by Wi), who brings the “crazy”. Add them together and wind up at the drama’s moniker: Bad And Crazy. Clever.

Bad And Crazy also features other familiar faces, including VIXX member N, whose performance as the admirable and idealistic – if slightly delusional – rookie cop Oh Kyeong-tae is a seriously heartstring-tugging highlight. His dedication to the job in spite of the peril he faces may frustrate, but still, you can’t help being enamoured by the young recruit as his brave pursuit of a murder case starts to pay off.

Rounding out the main cast is beloved seasoned actress Han Ji-eun (Be Melodramatic). At first there is a sense of frustration when her character, Lee Hui-gyeom, takes a while to develop beyond that of lead Ryu Soo-yeol’s feisty ex-girlfriend and colleague, but give it a few episodes and the savvy young upstart will start to cement her role in the storyline – and in rather an interesting way, firmly lodged between Ryu and K, it would seem.

The cast of Bad And Crazy is airtight, but it would be an oversight not to mention the fantastic performance of one of it’s actors, specifically. Though he originally spoke of being apprehensive in taking a role alongside the inimitable Lee Dong-wook, a moment for Wi Ha-joon – please – who shines brightest in his first role since worldwide smash Squid Game. Oddly charming and indeed crazy, here, Wi shows he has the capacity to go from one end of the acting spectrum to the other, and at no time does his performance feel unnatural or overwrought. Keep your eyes peeled for him.

Bad And Crazy, for better or worse, pads things out with the oft-used (but at least done well) dodgy politician plotline, with a corrupt Assemblyman and his double-dealing detective brother. All things considered – institutional corruption, thrills, action (though more than might be necessary at times), developing angsty romance , psychology, righteousness and redemption – this K-drama has all the makings of a hit. Though some twists and tropes might initially leave viewers feeling muddled, power through them and the pieces slowly start to fall into place, compelling you to sit back, relax and enjoy the wild ride that is Bad And Crazy.

Bad And Crazy airs on tvN in South Korea, and is available to stream on iQIYI worldwide.

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