Misaeng" by TvN (another cable channel) are the dark horses for this season of Korean dramas.
The first episode of "Bad Guys" is fast-paced and action-packed. It starts with a police officer stabbed to death by a psychopath serial killer he was trying to catch. This incident exposes the weakness of the police force in Korea - it is understaffed, and too mild to deal with the increasing crime rate.
The father of the dead officer is Police Chief Nam Goo-hyun (Kang Shin-ll). He reinstates Oh Goo-tak (Kim Sang-joong), a police detective who was suspended for using excessive violence, and asks him to help him catch the killer. In return, he will help Goo-tak to "get all the anger out of his heart". At this point in time, we don't know what he means. A flashback gives us a hint - someone close to Goo-tak, possibly his daughter, has been murdered too.
Chief Nam says to Goo-tak, "To beat up good people, that is violence. But to beat up scoundrels, that is justice." And so, Goo-tak, whose nickname is "mad dog", decides to use an unconventional method to catch the killer. He wants to fight crime using criminals, so he is getting three prisoners out to form a team with himself and police inspector, Yoo Mi-young (Kang Ye-won).
The first prisoner is gangster Park Woong-chul (Ma Dong-suk) who "conquered" all the triads in Seoul in 25 days. He is big and tough, but not very smart, which makes him the comic relief in this show.
The second prisoner is contract killer Jung Tae-soo (Jo Dong-hyuk) who has both brains and brawn. He was a skillful killer who did a clean job every time but one day, he suddenly surrendered himself to the police.
The third prisoner is Lee Jung-moon (Park Hae-jin). He has a documented IQ of 165, was Korea's youngest member of MENSA and the youngest person to attain a PhD in Mathematics. He is also the youngest serial killer, a cold-blooded psychopath.
Woong-chul and Tae-soo are brought before Goo-tak and told that whoever catches the killer first can have his prison sentence reduced by 5 years. They take up the offer but much to their displeasure, they have to wear electronic ankle bracelets for tracking purpose.
Suddenly, Mi-young receives news that Jung-moon has escaped while on the way from the prison to meet them. She tells Woong-chul and Tae-soo that whoever catches Jung-moon can have his sentence reduced by 4 years.
Goo-tak is sure that Jung-moon has gone to look for Yang Yoo-jin (Hwang Seung-eon), the woman he loves and who nearly became his last victim. With Woong-chul and Tae-soo's help, they find out Yoo-jin's current whereabouts. But Jung-moo gets to her first.
Jung-moo tells Yoo-jin that he doesn't remember trying to kill her. She reminds him that ever since he witnessed his parents' death, he has been having bouts of blackouts. During those blackouts, he killed people. She even suspects that he killed his parents. Jung-moo starts to strangle Yoo-jin. Luckily, Goo-tak and gang arrive in time to stop him. After an exciting car chase scene, Jung-moo is caught and the team is officially born.
At the end of the drama, we learn that the prisoners were not randomly selected. Mi-young confronts Goo-tak with some interesting facts she found - the prisoners went to jail around the same time Goo-tak was suspended from his duty. Goo-tak shuts her up. I suspect one of the prisoners is his daughter's murderer.
This is a testosterone filled drama, and the main characters are manly and charismatic. It is a refreshing change from the typical Korean drama, and I'm looking forward to the next episode.