"Signal" is an intense crime thriller with a storyline that keeps your heart pounding to the very end. It's filled with heavy emotions all the way through, and is the perfect drama for inducing nail-biting adrenaline. What makes Signal even more intense is the time sensitivity of its cases. At first, our detectives solve cold cases with statutes of limitations that are about to expire. But as the drama moves along, the cases have to be solved before more bad things happen. As such, it constantly makes my heart race when time is almost up and our detectives have not found the answer they're searching for."Signal" weaves together an intricate story with many plot twists and impactful moments.
"Signal" is like a time travel drama without the actual time travel. But rather, the past and the present is connected through a walkie-talkie, through which our main characters communicate with each other. Our detective from 1986 assists our profiler living in 2015 to solve cold cases in the future. And the profiler in turn helps the detective get ahead of those same cases in the past as they take place. Of course, as with all time travel stories, Signal alludes to the time travel paradox of how the past affects the present, and the butterfly effect of consequences that our characters must live with once the past is changed.
I commend the writers of "Signal" for weaving together such an intricate story with so many plot twists and impactful moments. Every episode ends with a cliffhanger that leaves me screaming for the next sequence of events.
The drama gets right to the thrill from the start. The first character we become acquainted with is our male lead Park Hae-yeong (Lee Je-hoon). He strikes me as a competent, intelligent profiler with a little sass, and a lot of sarcasm. Then there is his team lead Cha Soo-hyeon (Kim Hye-soo), a female detective who seems abrasive and cutthroat. But she gives me the impression of only being hard on the surface and a big softie on the inside.
The first episode starts out a bit confusing, and I have a hard time following along for the first half hour, mostly because of how the drama veers between the past and the present. But by the last quarter of the first episode, I'm on the edge of my seat cheering our main characters on. As far as introductions go, I'd say that "Signal" did well in hooking my interest. Right off the bat, I can tell that Soo-hyeon and Hae-yeong have great synergy. The signs are there in how much they exchange thinly veiled insults.
Towards the end of the first episode, another key character is introduced - detective Lee Jae-han (Cho Jin-woong) from the past, who communicates with Hae-yeong through a broken walkie talkie. We don't know much about him, except for the fact that he was Cha Soo-hyeon's senior back in the 80s. He helps Hae-yeong solve the first cold case, which was especially exciting because it was directly related to Hae-yeong's childhood and had an unforgiving time limit on it.
Shortly after, the cold case team consisted of our lead characters is set up. It looks like a definite ploy by Police Director Lee Beom-joo (Jang Hyun-sung) and his lackey, Police Chief Ahn Chi-soo, to take them out of the picture all at once for stirring up trouble. We get a few laughs as our cold case investigation team members get to know each other. But Soo-hyeon immediately takes charge of the cold case investigation team. Although she's brusque and commanding with Hae-yeong, they make a good team and begin to solve puzzles faster than ever together.
Meanwhile, Hae-yeong finally figures out how and when the radio transmissions come. He also realizes that he can help change the past through them, even though Jae-han is still clueless about the truth behind the transmissions at the moment. And so, as new cold cases from the past surface in the present, Hae-yeong gathers intel from the present and uses them to direct Jae-han to get ahead of the murders in the past.
We're also given a closer look into the past at times to piece together the backstories behind Jae-han and Soo-hyeon's history. These glances into the past also help the viewers understand the details surrounding the cold cases better.
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